Islam in textbooks_short_version


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Aquest es el resultat del treball del Georg Eckert Institute. Amb la Cristina M. vàrem fer una primera aproximació al tema l'any 2006, en un dels primers tallers que organitzà l'Insititut.

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Islam in textbooks_short_version

  1. 1. No Chance of Belonging? Islam and Modern Europe Remain Segregated in European Textbooks Research results from the Georg Eckert Institutefor International Textbook Research on current depictions of Islam and Muslims in European textbooks funded by Celler Str. 3 * 38114 Braunschweig * Tel. +49 (0)531 59099-0 * Fax +49 (0)531 59099-99 * *
  2. 2. Table of ContentsABSTRACT ....................................................................................... 3CONTEXT ........................................................................................ 4QUESTIONS AND METHODS ........................................................... 5RESULTS ......................................................................................... 6The Heterogeneity of the Teaching Materials.......................................................... 6National Characteristics ......................................................................................... 7Similarities in Patterns of Interpretation ............................................................... 7Patterns of Interpretation for the History of the Emergence and Expansionof Islam – Islam as a Religion of Law ...................................................................... 8Patterns of Interpretation for Mediaeval Islam – Homogeneous, CulturallySuperior, Stagnating ............................................................................................. 10Patterns of Interpretation for Contemporary Islam – Political, Threatening,and "Other" ............................................................................................................13CONCLUSION ................................................................................ 16Eurocentrism: A Fundamental Component ........................................................... 17Outlook ..................................................................................................................18LITERATURE .................................................................................20APPENDIX – RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TEXTBOOKS................. 23Islam and Europe – Inclusion rather than Segregation ........................................ 23Islam as Diversity.................................................................................................. 24Muslims Today – Islam, Islamism, and Secularization ......................................... 24 2
  3. 3. ABSTRACTA recent analysis by the Georg Eckert Institute for International TextbookResearch in Braunschweig has found that schoolbooks in European coun-tries today adhere to simplified depictions of Islam and thus perpetuatethe perception of Muslims as a (predominantly) religious collective of non-European "others."1 The majority of history and politics textbooks exam-ined from Germany, Austria, France, Spain, and England give, orstrengthen, the impression that there is "one" Islam and "one" modernEurope—two mutually exclusive and internally homogenous entities thatare confrontational in their contact with each other—yet which are largelywithout overlap or similarities.The lack of differentiation between Islam as a religious model and Muslimcultural and political practices is essential to this perspective. Approachesto Islam and Muslims in todays European textbooks are thus dominatedby essentialized conceptions of a religiously-based difference and collec-tive associations. Views of "Islam" as a control system that, while anti-quated, nevertheless to this day dominates all areas of life for Muslims, oc-cur particularly frequently. Such a lack of differentiation and portrayals ofMuslims as a collective could foster a form of "cultural racism" that under-stands religious difference as unalterable. The focus of these polarizingdistinctions does not lie primarily in the presentation of Muslims as reli-gious foes in violent conflicts however—as, for example, is the case in nar-ratives about the Crusades—but rather in a presentation of Muslims aspre-modern, and therefore as "others" who are out of place in Europe.Even historical representations that appreciate and valorize the Arab-Islamic Middle Ages do not shake this polarizing perception, but insteadsupport the perspective of stagnant cultural development in the case ofMuslim societies.1The textbook study presented here was carried out at the Georg Eckert Instituteby Melanie Kamp, Susanne Kröhnert-Othman, and Constantin Wagner, assistedby Johanna Ahlrichs, between July and December 2010. 3
  4. 4. CONTEXTThe current debate surrounding the integration of Muslims in Germanyand other European countries served as the point of departure for thestudy on Current Depictions of Islam and Muslims in Textbooks of Euro-pean Countries, which was carried out by the Georg Eckert Institute forInternational Textbook Research between July and December 2010. Thestudys goal was to examine whether and how perceptions of Islam andMuslims that might inspire Islamophobia are conveyed and handed downvia, amongst other media, the mass medium of the textbook in Germanyand other West European immigration societies.As the school remains the central location for the transfer of societalknowledge to this day, state-approved schoolbooks have a significant in-fluence on what knowledge is relayed in this institution. It can thus be as-sumed that the "knowledge" presented in textbooks substantially repre-sents and simultaneously forms dominant societal attitudes. In view of thefact that textbooks aim to convey objectified world knowledge beyond cur-rent public opinion, they have a lasting effect, being targeted as they aretowards the broad audience of a generation of students. In this respectthey are also, by comparison, resistant to fundamental changes. Mindful ofthe specific power of interpretation that textbooks are attributed with, pol-icy makers increasingly consider themselves responsible for ensuring thatnuanced representations and constructions—including those on the topicof Muslims and Islam—gain currency. There is therefore an application-oriented interest in the scholarly examination of textbooks.The study at hand addresses the question as to whether current Europeantextbook representations impart knowledge about Islam and Muslims tostudents in such a way as to avoid strengthening undifferentiated negativemindsets. Its key question thus investigates to what extent generalized orpolarizing images of Islam and Muslims are conveyed and stereotypical ornegative representations of a threatening scenario are intensified. At thesame time, the study sought out positive examples and approaches in text-books, examining them with regard to what extent textbook representa-tions fulfill the current demands of intercultural education: 4
  5. 5. Do they contribute towards inspiring a sophisticated understanding of re-ligion and culture within history and society among adolescents with andwithout an Islamic background that does not lead to the exclusion or self-exclusion of Muslims as a religiously-labeled group?The study reflects upon its findings within the context of the current po-litical debates about integration and in the light of surveys on Islamopho-bia or the stereotyping of Islam and Muslims in the public sphere.QUESTIONS AND METHODSIn contrast to the majority of textbook analyses so far, which have primar-ily followed a national orientation, the explorative study presented herefocused on comparatively examining textbooks from several Europeancountries for two different subjects—history and political/civic education.For the first time, current German, English, French, Austrian, and Spanishtextbooks were analyzed according to uniform criteria. 2 The central ques-tion was whether Islam is construed as being uniform and Muslims as ahomogenous group, or whether the diversity of Islam is taken into consid-eration or at least suggested. The temporal dimension and the extent towhich Islam is embedded within a perspective of historical change werethe main focus. Are Islamic societies and their histories given a more staticportrayal or do textbooks also refer to the multifaceted developments thathave continued into the present?The study also investigated whether Islam and Muslims are portrayed—historically as well as currently—as being present and belonging inEurope. To what extent do descriptions of conflict dominate, and do theseinspire threatening scenarios? The analysis guidelines additionally tooksome curriculum requirements into consideration with regard to intercul-tural pedagogy as well as the criteria for "good" history and political edu-cation, including the following questions:Is the depiction the result of a one-sided perspective or do learners havethe opportunity to get to know and assess different perceptions and inter-pretations? To what extent do the textbooks convey an understanding of2Following a preliminary selection, 27 lower and upper secondary school text-books published between 2005 and 2010 were examined in this study. 5
  6. 6. history, Europe, and also of Islam as social and cultural constructions? Towhat extent does the text noticeably address Muslim and non-Muslim stu-dents and/or teachers? In order to answer these questions, the study in-vestigated not only the linguistic-rhetorical devices used in each of thetexts analyzed, but also their graphic design and exercises.FINDINGSThe Heterogeneity of the Teaching MaterialsThe history of the Islamic world and contemporary Islam are rarely cov-ered consistently in textbooks from European countries. Not only thestudy at hand has come to this finding; earlier textbook studies, within thecontext of individual countries and predominately referring to historytextbooks, also arrived at a similar assessment. 3 These studies consistentlyshow that Islam and Muslims are only sporadically addressed in Europeantextbooks, whereby the most detailed depictions of Islamic history andculture occur within the context of the Middle Ages. The history of theArab-Islamic world seems to end with the close of the 15th century how-ever; its historical development into the 19th century is only rarely men-tioned. It is only in the context of the crises and conflicts at the end of the19th and particularly in the 20th/21st centuries that the region re-appears.The teaching materials examined proved to be most heterogeneous inmany ways with regard to their integration in subject areas, syllabi, anddidactic preparation. It should therefore be emphasized that the state-ments made in the explorative study (must) tend to generalize and there-fore cannot in all cases do justice to the entirety of textbooks within a sub-ject are and/or a national context. While examples of positive, nuancedrepresentations of Islam were found in every country, the majority of theportrayals in current textbooks tended to over-simplify. An overview re-veals that the patterns of generalization followed are similar in all coun-tries included in the study.3Cf. Falaturi 1986-1990; Ihtiyar, Jalil, Zumbrink 2004; Heine, Pratl 2009; Cajani2008; Baquès, Tutiaux-Guillon 2008; Estivalèzes 2011; Foster, Karayianni 2008;Thobani 2010; Valls 2008; Jonker/Thobani 2010. 6
  7. 7. National CharacteristicsThe structural analysis of the books shows that, as has already been statedin earlier studies, Islam and Muslims are primarily covered within thecontext of the Middle Ages. The Spanish books deal in detail with the vari-ous Muslim regencies in Andalusia as a part of the history of Spain—a per-spective that also appears in textbooks from the 1960s. All other historybooks include entries addressing the contributions of Arab-Islamic cul-tures to transfer and advancement in science subsequent to Greco-Romanantiquity. In this respect, the German and Austrian textbooks constitutean exception in that they also provide information on the history of the Ot-toman Empire. Otherwise, Islam and Muslims are not mentioned againuntil the subject-matter turns to the political and social crises and conflictsof the 20th and 21st centuries. The predominant topics are decolonization,the Middle East conflict, international terrorism, Islamism, the "newworld order," and the "clash of civilizations." In the German social studiesbooks, topics like migration or the headscarf and mosque debates refer toIslam. A striking aspect of more recent English history books is thatIslamist-inspired terrorism is placed within a new framework, grouped to-gether with terrorist acts carried out by the Provisional IRA and PLO in aspecial chapter on terrorism. The Iraq War also appears here as a newtopic. While in portrayals of the Middle Ages Islam is conceived and pre-sented in terms of the history of its emergence and thus as a civilization, areligion, or a political empire, depictions from the present rather focus onMuslims as a specific group. Islam emerges here as an ethnic-religiousidentity. Islam is also often used as a circumscription for a certain regionhowever. This occurs primarily in connection with the description of con-flicts, in which the terms “Muslim” and “Arab World” are in part used assynonyms.Similarities in Patterns of InterpretationAll studies revealed that, to date, representations of Islam in the variouscountries follow highly similar patterns of interpretation, beyond nationalcharacteristics with regard to core topics. 7
  8. 8. That Islam—aside from the few exceptions already mentioned —appearsas the counterpart to the construction of European identity, is acommonality across the board (Challand 2009; 2010).The narratives on Islam ignore the historical coexistence of the religions inthe Balkans and do not represent Muslims as a genuine part of Europe(Jonker 2007; Jonker 2009). Islam also appears as non-European insofaras the textbook ignore both the scientific contributions by Muslims stillrelevant in the European present, and the post-colonial intercultural de-bates about democracy, culture, and religion. Students are not given anunderstanding of historical relationships between neighboring regions orof mutual projections in identity projects, as described by the Orientalismparadigm (Said 1979). Moreover, in current textbook representationsthere are three distinguishing characteristics—already ascertained by ear-lier studies—which can be summed up with the terms atemporality, ho-mogenization, and essentialization. These will be explained below bymeans of selected examples.Patterns of Interpretation for the History of the Emergence andExpansion of Islam – Islam as a Religion of LawIn the representations of its early emergence and expansion history, Islamoften appears as materializing directly and overnight in the sense of a re-ligion with political authority. Presentations of its "inception narrative"concentrate on the representation of the Koranic commandments and thefive pillars of Muslim religious duty. This portrayal not only introduces thereligious literature as the basis for all cultural and political relinquishmentin Muslim societies; it also inspires the impression that these religiousrules (alone) determine the actions of all Muslims past and present. Thereis only little information provided about discrepancies regarding the timeof the revelation, the oral tradition and written records, and ultimately thenuanced legal codification of religious commandments. There is no discus-sion of differences between religious commands, their interpretations andapplications . 8
  9. 9. This genesis narrative of the emergence and expansion of Islam is tied tothe construction of an imagined collective of Muslims who—such is themessage—in "the Muslim world" live by these rule still today. Many text-books paint a picture of a more or less homogeneous Islamic civilization orculture. The terms "Islamic" and "Arabic" are often fused into a single en-tity through the regional focus on the Middle East and the Maghreb, aswell as the use of religious symbols such as the color green or mosqueicons to identify Muslim countries. Inner-Islamic heterogeneity is at bestshown with regard to the distinction between Sunnis and Shiites.In textbooks in Austria as well as in France and Spain, Islam is depicted asa religion of submission with rigid rules or a patriarchal culture. It is oftensuggested that the everyday behavior of all Muslims is a result of religionand determined by certain guidelines: "The Koran is the book of faith andcode of law used for co-existence and daily conduct for Muhammads fol-lowers, the Muslims (ÖBV 2007)." These depictions rarely allow room fornuance, as is also clear in the following example from Spain: The Koran is very important in the lives of Muslims, because in addition to representing the foundation of the religion, it is also the source of Islamic law and judges therefore make decisions based on the Koran. (Vicens Vives 2006a)The connection between such phenomena with the origins and expansionof Islam is predominantly inspired through the use of images and tense.Recent photographs in connection with historical themes (i.e. images ofMecca or of people riding camels in the desert) can thus be found in depic-tions from all of the countries examined. These suggest an invariability ofIslam and create a link with the Bedouin lifestyle. Differences betweenthen and today are blurred, as are different regional or local develop-ments. Ties to current debates are drawn on this basis, as in the followingsummary from a Spanish textbook: The religion of Islam, with its authoritarian and patriarchal structures, is suited for a civilization of herdsmen and farmers. It seems to have problems adapting to the structures of the western and technologically more advanced civilization. (Vicens Vives 2006a) 9
  10. 10. Using references to jihad and the early expansion of the Islamic empire inthe Middle Ages, Islam is also characterized as having expanded throughviolence.Connecting the past with current problems like terror and migration, astakes place for example in several Austrian textbooks, appears particularlyproblematic in this context. In one instance the suicide bombers of thepresent are related with the historical spread of Islam in the Middle Ages;elsewhere, in connection with the "Ottoman Wars," students are promptedto discuss the construction of a new mosque with a minaret on their schoolpremises. Muslims living in Austria today are thus associated with armedconflicts from the past and present, and such warlike expansion is tied tothe "expansion" of the religious liberties of Muslim migrants in the publicsphere (Dorner 2010).Patterns of Interpretation for Mediaeval Islam – Homogeneous,Culturally Superior, StagnatingThe presentation of achievements by mediaeval "Muslim" societies ischaracteristic of the depictions of Islam in the Middle Ages and establishesa counterweight for the image of continuous violent confrontation be-tween Europe and "the Muslim world," as was typical of Crusade narra-tives for a long time.4 Current textbooks still lack, however, an approachanchored in historical nuance, introducing first and foremost a perspectiveof diversity in Islam.The alleged uniformity of a Muslim "other" is constructed in demarcationfrom Christendom, which in most textbooks can only be defined as an en-tity as a counterpart to a Muslim "other." This applies in particular to thecurrent depictions of the Crusades and to the representation of Andalusia,in which various groups are thoroughly differentiated from one another on4 Such depictions are in accordance with recommendations from relevant interna-tional networks for textbook revision: UNESCO Initiative for European-Arabic Dia-logue "Learning to Live Together" or the Council of Europe (cf. "The Image of theOther in History teaching", as well as the concept paper by theNorth-South Centre; Alsoforthcoming in 2011: Al-Ashmawi, Fawzia / Dougi, Noureddine / Idrissi, Mostafa Has-san / Reiss, Wolfram / Riley, Michael / Thurfjell, David: On a Common Path. NewApproaches to Writing History Textbooks in Europe and the Arab-Islamic World, UNESCO and the League of the Arab States, Cairo. 10
  11. 11. the Christian side, while "the Muslims" are rendered as a collective. Theyappear as one player. In the context of al-Andalus, for example, we read:"The Muslims Fought against the Franks" (Vicens Vives 2006b), or, inconnection with the Crusades: "The Muslims Conquer Jerusalem" (VicensVives 2006a).The positive emphasis and differentiated depiction of Islam as a sophisti-cated advanced culture in mediaeval Baghdad and Andalusia stands instark contrast to the generalizing characterization of Islam which reducesit to a religion and culture of "herdsmen and farmers." This contradictionis not explained. The resulting ambivalence of statements about Islam isparticularly typical of the Spanish textbooks, which on the one hand em-phasize the scientific achievements during the periods of Muslim rule inAndalusia and a multi-religious urban society, but which at the same timerepeatedly refer to the alleged stagnation of Islam and its problems adapt-ing to modernity.Simplifications of Islam with regard to Andalusia and the Abbasid Empirehave explicitly positive connotations. The historical narratives consistentlystress the scientific and cultural achievements of the Arab-Islamic worldduring the Middle Ages. For example, an English history book sends stu-dents on an imaginary journey through time from mediaeval England tomediaeval Baghdad and invites them to record their comparative observa-tions on the "Miracle of Baghdad" in a travel journal (Hodder Education2008). The necessity of multi-perspectivity is also referred to in the samehistory book, The Schools History Project, when it asks in a chapter on the"Crusade Heroes": "Why would it be dangerous to only show an interestin either Richard or Saladin when dealing with the Crusades, rather thanfinding something out about both of them?"The importance of Islamic influence for the cultural development ofEurope is also referenced in connection with Andalusia in several books,and al-Andalus is occasionally described as an "Islamic Europe" (Olden-bourg 2008). Value is also attached to cultural transfer as a positive side-effect in connection with the depiction of the Crusades. The transfer of an-cient knowledge in particular is highlighted in many books: 11
  12. 12. In the Christian Middle Ages, the geographical knowledge of Antiq- uity was lost to a large extent and was not deliberately pursued. The Jewish and Islamic cultures endeavored to safeguard and ad- vance the "world knowledge" of Antiquity. (Oldenbourg 2008)All the examples named maintain the simplified portrayal of a single Is-lam, with only few approaches toward differentiation or observations frommultiple perspectives. One of the few examples of the latter is the Germantextbook, Mosaik (Oldenbourg 2008), which uses the term "Islamic Em-pires" in the plural, mentions the heterogeneity of "the Islamic world",and, within the context of the Crusades, depicts the lack of uniformityamong both Christians and Muslims. The Ottoman Empire comes acrossas a multi-religious state. Multiple perspectives are inspired by Crusadedepictions by both a "Christian" and an "Arab" historian, and Islam is alsoportrayed as a construct: There are few traces of the Crusades in Arab history writing be- cause they were not perceived as a unified movement against Islam. (Oldenbourg 2008)Distinctions can also be found in the most recent textbook from Spain thatwas examined (Vicens Vives 2010). Here, the history of Andalusia is inte-grated into Spanish history, and a large amount of space is dedicated tothe historical existence of an Islamic society on the Iberian Peninsula. Incomparison to the other Spanish textbooks analyzed, the description of al-Andalus is highly comprehensive and nuanced. It is especially noteworthythat the emergence of al-Andalus is not, as in other books, presented as ahostile takeover by a foreign, Muslim power, but rather as one populationmovement among many. The causes for the invasion are discussed in de-tail. For instance, rather than speaking generally about Muslims duringvarious phases of the conquest, various conquerors from North Africa arealso mentioned. The aspects of multiculturalism and ethnic-religious di-versity are also emphasized in the depiction of the Andalusian society thatfollowed later. In doing so, Slavic soldiers among the military ranks andVisigoth converts are also discussed. On the whole, explicit constructionsregarding identity and alterity are thus avoided and a nuanced perceptionof a succession of different periods of Muslim political reign(s) is madepossible. 12
  13. 13. Patterns of Interpretation for Contemporary Islam – Political,Threatening, and "Other""Conflict" is the overarching theme that almost exclusively characterizesassociations with Islam and Muslims in our present day: in textbooks Is-lam and Muslims appear overwhelmingly (only) in connection with politi-cal and social conflicts, wars, terrorism, and fundamentalism within thecontext of international policy and migration.The spectrum of references range from single references to certain termslike "Islamic fundamentalists" or "the Islamic world" to information boxesthat define religious terms, through to the detailed discussion of the ques-tion as to what role religion plays in terrorism. Regardless of whether theschoolbook texts explicitly formulate a causal connection between the re-spective conflict and Islam, Muslims and Islam are continuously tied—through the thematic framework alone—to the concept of a violent threat.Even depictions that explicitly attempt to separate the religion of Islamfrom the political ideology of Islamism fail to provide examples of endeav-ors to democratize and secularize, or of critiques of fundamentalismwithin Muslim societies.The terminology presented additionally constructs the impression of ahomogenous Islamic collective. Terms such as "Muslim world" or "Islamicconflicts" appear in almost all representations. In many books these termsare also equated with the "Arab world," thus blending religious and geopo-litical classifications and fostering over-simplified images of an allegedunity that can later be construed as threatening. While references to "theMuslims" occur only seldom—unlike in depictions of the Middle Ages—continued standardization can be seen in the demarcation from the"West," which appears as the antipode to the "Muslim world." Islam is im-plicitly presented as "premodern" in contrast to the "modern" Westernworld. In doing so, differences between various states or religious persua-sions, as well as between Muslims and non-Muslims, are mostly ignored. Apassage from a Spanish depiction of the Iranian Revolution and the GulfWars claims: "The Islamic world has difficulties adapting to todaysworld" (Vicens Vives 2006a). 13
  14. 14. A similar example can be found in the book Historia del Mundo Contem-poráneo (Vicens Vives 2006b), which explores Islam in a chapter aboutfundamentalism. The introduction to the section on Islamic fundamental-ism states: "The separation between sacred and secular, which is nowa-days characteristic of Western culture, is somewhat foreign for a Mus-lim." Two substantial dimensions of a biased perception of Muslims cometogether here: the collectivization of Muslims joins the positioning of Is-lam as external to the Western world through its characterization as pre-modern, unenlightened, and non-secularized. The depiction additionallytakes on a threatening dimension in the following section, which describesnot only the unity of politics and religion as a trait of fundamentalism;rather all Muslims are characterized as potential fundamentalists.Islam is also associated with problems or conflicts within the topic area ofmigration. This becomes particularly clear in the German book Politikentdecken. Band 2 NRW (Cornelsen 2009). Islam is displayed here as acharacteristic of immigrants and exclusively as an aspect of conflict in thechapter "Germany - An Immigration Country." Questions about how manymosques there are, how many young Turkish women wear headscarves, orabout how many Turkish women live in forced marriages, convey that Is-lam as a religion is the central problem regarding questions of migrationand the difficulties surrounding integration.Illustrations of "foreigners" (Ausländer) are also typical of the connectionbetween immigration and Islam, which is displayed as coming from "out-side." Thus only images of women in headscarves are shown, and none ofMuslim Europeans following different lifestyles. The illustrations entitled"Living Conditions for Foreigners" and "Bad Odds for Migrants" focus onproblems; the same is true of the photograph of two women, one of whomis wearing a headscarf. The image caption is quite clear: "Foreigners inGermany." With the use of the "headscarf motif" and its correlation tophenomenon like "foreigner" and "foreignness" it is as though the topicsIslam, foreignness, and the status as a foreigner are inextricably con-nected.Three of the four examples in this book that deal with conflicts owing toimmigration refer explicitly to Islam. Foreigners, among whom Muslims 14
  15. 15. are collectively subsumed (as Turks), appear as a problem group, occa-sionally embedded within a decidedly victim-oriented discourse. Whetherintended or not, symbolic boundaries are drawn through terms such as"foreign citizens" or "Turkish citizens" as well as with wording like "whatwe know about them." Two homogeneous collectives are thus construed,clearly distinguishable from each other: "mainstream society" and "for-eigners." A new generation of German or European Muslims is simply notpresent in such a dichotomous perception.Nevertheless, some of the material analyzed includes descriptions that in-dicate efforts towards a nuanced viewpoint and depiction, and towardsdissolving the common problem- and conflict-oriented narrative. Theseespecially include attempts to differentiate between Islam and Islamismand to avoid a causal connection between terrorism and Islam. An exam-ple of this can be found in the Austrian book Geschichte. Aktuell 2. Is-lamic terrorism and its implications are covered within the framework ofthe subject "The Threat to Democratic Societies" in the subchapter "Ter-rorism as a Global Danger." However, the alleged culturally- and relig-iously-based opposition between the West and Islam is discussed in thesubchapter "Caricature Controversy - A Clash of Civilizations?" In thelight of this standpoint, the text explains: There are no simple answers. A distinction must be made between the Islamic religion, whose followers primarily want to practice their re- ligion, and those who for various reasons proclaim a fundamentalist Islamism. The latter demands a return to the Koran as an unaltered source of faith and the creation of a community, in which the Sharia govern all areas of societal life. Iran, for example, has been such an Is- lamic state since 1979. But radical Islamists are a minority in the Arab world. They include a number of terrorist groups, of which Al Qaeda is probably the best known today. (Veritas 2006)The text continues to oppose explicitly the amalgamation of terrorism andIslam. Another example can be found in a Spanish book, which states:"Despite the radical nature of a number of religious groups, not all cul-tural manifestations of Islam are related to religious fundamentalism(Edebé 2008)."While such attempts at differentiation are to be welcomed, they must nev-ertheless be considered paradoxical interventions. Objections of this sort 15
  16. 16. can be read as exceptions to a general rule that is nonetheless still valid,and they suggest that here a statement “must” be made on a matter gener-ally considered self-evident for Christianity.CONCLUSIONIn the light of current public debate on the alleged underdeveloped andlacking adaptability to modern European societies, the dimension ofatemporality currently appears to be the central construction mecha-nism employed. It integrates other elements of simplification such as ho-mogenization and essentialization. We detect aspects of atemporalitywhere representations of Islam primarily refer to the Middle Ages and to abelief system. By ignoring subsequent developments, the impression isgiven that Islamic culture and Islamic thought lack development and dy-namics. The selection of images often reinforces the idea of atemporality,in that current photographs are used to illustrate the origins and expan-sion of Islam, or conversely that mediaeval miniatures illustrate the con-temporary situation.5 Atemporality thus emerges in part through thesegaps in the narrative regarding the development of Islam from the MiddleAges through to the present. The essentialized depictions of Islam ascer-tained in descriptions of its development history is based on the consistentlack of distinction between religion, culture, and politics.As a result of this, students do not learn to differentiate between culturaland political pasts on the one hand and laws laid down by religious scrip-tures on the other.This basic structure of Islam representations together with a gap in the de-scriptions of the Middle Ages and modernity occurs—in a variety of ways—in the textbooks from every country examined. We may therefore be justi-fied in our reference to a European construction of history.Positive depictions of mediaeval Islam do indeed detract from the image ofIslam as an enemy, they do not, however, destablize the idea of Islam notfitting in with Europe, as Islam is only positioned in a place of "progress"5Cf. for these aspects particularly: Bouayed o.J., Baquès, Tutiaux-Guillon 2008;Serrat et al. 2010, Foster/Karayianni 2009, Thobani 2010; Estivalèz 2011, Twor-uschka, M. 1986, cf. also El Halougi 2002; El Halougi o.J. 16
  17. 17. during the pre-modern period. A fair perception of a shared history and ashared present cannot take place if the gaps in the narrative through to thepresent are not filled. Non-simultaneity (modern vs. pre-modern) remainsan important pillar of othering (Fabian 1983). If varied images of hetero-geneity within a collective and images of cultural overlapping are not con-veyed, students are orientated towards a dichotomy between homogene-ous collectives.Eurocentrism as a Fundamental ComponentAttention has been drawn before to the phenomenon of Eurocentrism inother scholarly studies on European perceptions of history (Con-rad/Randeria 2002) and in textbook analyses (Schissler 2003)—a Euro-centrism that is characterized in particular by the exclusion of "the otherEurope" from modern history.The image of cultural stagnation among Muslim societies after the MiddleAges can be categorized here. According to Conrad and Randeria, Euro-centrism can be defined as the assumption that modern history is the ex-pansion of Western achievements in such a way that the future must beseen as a progressive Westernization. In the process, European develop-ment is seen as a sui generis experience, which can be explained entirelywithin Europes traditions and history. In this way the idea is construedthat modernity today is exclusively western (Conrad/Randeria 2002).In this sense, Eurocentric tendencies not only include relating of "worldhistory" from a European perspective, but also conveying a normative per-spective in which the project of European modernity is a success story ofautonomous development. Because the Middle Ages are not in fact per de-finitionem constitutively a part of (European) modernity, revaluation of"Islamic civilization" within the context of the Middle Ages does not ques-tion European identity either. Muslims are consistently absent in the nar-rative of modernity: in all examined textbooks that are written chronologi-cally, chapters covering the "European" modern era begin after dealingwith "Islamic civilization." 17
  18. 18. The effects of Eurocentric thought can also be found in depictions of thepresent. This especially includes the lack of attention paid to the topic ofcolonialism, which can be traced in an exemplary manner with the depic-tion of Algeria and the Algerian War in the French textbooks.In the material examined, we were able to observe that phenomena con-nected with Muslims or Islam are inadequately contextualized in that theyare only referred to when they become relevant for European societies.The effects of colonialism are generally ignored. It is thus not possible tosuccessfully explain the phenomenon "Islamism."This is primarily because the extensive cultural transformation due to co-lonialism and the ambivalent reactions between acceptance and rejectionof the West remain hidden behind the thematic approach to colonialism asformal political governance. The change to religion and religious represen-tations in global constellations of power cannot, therefore, be adequatelyaddressed. Islamism cannot be displayed as a protest movement, whichquotes the past but which is actually a modern phenomenon. Further-more, the conflict of opposing and intermediate positions regarding politi-cal Islam within Muslim societies and migration cannot be presented. Thecritique of Eurocentrism, however, requires that (European) history benewly recounted, that the contributions of "others" to European modernitybe made visible, and that current phenomena of global dimensions are in-terpreted as continuities within an interrelated history.OutlookThe textbook medium resists to a certain degree the analysis of Islamo-phobia, for a textbook analysis does not address the reconstruction of in-dividual attitudes regarding Muslims, as would an opinion poll, for in-stance. How current depictions of Islam and Muslims are negotiated andreceived in the classroom and which attitudes take shape among students,or teachers, both with and without a Muslim background at the intersec-tion of a variety of influential media, remain complex research questionsthat have as of yet to be authoritatively examined. These are questions thatthe Georg Eckert Institute hopes to address in future research projects.The analysis presented here, however, points out that over-simplifications 18
  19. 19. of Islam, together with the problematic gaps in narrative, are not suitablefor immunizing against an Islamophobic populism. Rather, the view oftenvisible in the subtext—that European modernity seamlessly developedautonomously and unlike "Islam" with increasing enlightenment for thebetter, converges with the politics of history and identity among Islamo-phobic populists.If the textbook study findings are applied to the debate surrounding theeducational inclusion of second and third generation Muslim immigrantsin contemporary European immigration societies, then conclusions can bedrawn that need to be examined in further empirically-oriented researchprojects about the reception of textbook content in classrooms. It can thus,in all probability, be assumed that generalizations about Islam have anegative impact on the chances of students of Muslim affiliation to identifythemselves as European and to be perceived by others as European.Be this the case, this symbolic exclusion also includes the risk that educa-tional inclusion and social cohesion in heterogeneous learning communi-ties, which by now have become routine for many schools, could be com-promised. It can then be presumed that students with Muslim back-grounds could be discouraged from participating in society through educa-tion.Conversely, students without a Muslim background would not be moti-vated to recognize similarities and commonalities with classmates whohave Muslim or other ethnic-religious affiliations. The representationsrarely encourage practicing tolerance, dealing with plurality or differenti-ating between religious models and various societal and individual Islamicpractices and secularism—an ability which with regard to Christianityshould be self-evident for most teachers or students. By referring to Islamin terms of absolutes, labeling it outmoded and culturally unsuitable, andby using collective terms to refer to Muslims solely by religious affiliation,current educational media still contribute to those of Muslim religious af-filiation remaining outsiders in Europe. At times of perceived crisis, theycan thus become a target of emotionally charged rejection and discrimina-tion. 19
  20. 20. LITERATUREList of Examined TextbooksGermanyCornelsen 2009. Politik entdecken. Band 2. NRW. Frankfurt am Main.Cornelsen 2010. Kursbuch Geschichte. Von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart. Berlin.Oldenbourg 2008. Mosaik. Der Geschichte auf der Spur. Vom Mittelalter bis zum Ersten Weltkrieg. Munich.Schroedel 2006. Mensch und Politik SII. Gesamtband NRW. Braun- schweig.Schroedel 2008. Politik und Wirtschaft verstehen. Nordrhein-Westfalen. Braunschweig.Westermann 2005. Horizonte 7. Geschichte Gymnasium Bayern. Braun- schweig.FranceBordas 2005. Historie Géographie 5e. Sejer.Bordas 2007. Historie Géographie 3e. Sejer.Hachette Éducation 2004. Histoire Terminales ES – L – S. Paris.Hatier 2006. Histoire 2de. Paris.Great BritainHeinemann 2009. OCR GCSE History B Modern World. Edinburgh Gate.Hodder Education 2008. The Schools History Project: History Year 7. London.AustriaDorner 2010. ZeitenBlicke 2. Vienna.Dorner 2010. ZeitenBlicke 3. Vienna.ÖBV 2007. Geschichte und Geschehen 2. Vienna.ÖBV 2008. Geschichte und Geschehen 3. Vienna.ÖBV 2009. Geschichte und Geschehen 4. Vienna.Veritas 2006. Geschichte aktuell 2 für die AHS-Oberstufe, 7./8. Klasse. Linz.SpainVicens Vives 2006a. Occidente. Historia de las civilizaciones y del arte. Barcelona.Vicens Vives 2006b. Historia del Mundo Contemporáneo. Bachillerato. Barcelona. 20
  21. 21. Vicens Vives 2006. Limes. Ciencias Sociales, Geografía e Historia. Barce- lona.Edebé 2008. Historia del Mundo Contemporáneo. Bachillerato. Barcelo- na.Vicens Vives 2009. Historia de España. 2do curso de Bachillerato. Barce- lona.Vicens Vives 2010. Hispania. Historia de España. Barcelona.Quoted Secondary LiteratureBaquès Marie-Christine & Tutiaux-Guillon Nicole. 2008. Los Arabes, el i- slam y los turcos en la enseñanza de la historia en el sistema educa- tivo francès contemporaneo: entre la tradicion educativa y el con- texto sensible. In Conociendo al otro. El Islam y Europa en sus manuales de historia, ed. Luigi Cajiani. Madri: Fundacion Atman y Santillana.Bouayed, Anissa. o.J. Le monde arabe: mots et images dans les manuels scolaires de la France laïque. arti- cle202.html (accessed 30.08.2010).Challand, Benoît. 2009. European Identity and Its External Others Seen from History Textbooks (1950-2005). Journal of Educational Me- dia, Memory, and Society Vol. 2/1, 60-96.Challand, Benoît. 2010. Intertwined Identities. A gender-based reading of the visual representations of contemporary Islam in European textbooks (1950-2008). In Narrating Islam. Interpretations of the Muslim World in European Texts, ed. Gerdien Jonker und Shiraz Thobani, 120-151. London: I.B. Tauris.Conrad, Sebastian und Shalini Randeria. 2002. Einleitung. Geteilte Ge- schichten – Europa in einer postkolonialen Welt. In Jenseits des Eurozentrismus. Postkoloniale Perspektiven in den Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften, ed. Sebastian Conrad und Shalini Randeria, 9-49. Frankfurt am Main, New York: Campus Verlag.El Halougi, Mostafa. 2002. La notion de Djihad dans les écoles françaises, accessible under: les (Teil 1), 336 (Teil 2) (accessed 02.09.2010).El Halougi, Mostafa. o.J. The image of the Arabo-Islamic Culture in the European History Textbooks. Se- lectImage/55984/ImageofArabo-IslamicCultureinEuropean Histo- ryTextbooks.pdf (accessed 02.09.2010).Estivalèzes, Mireille. 2011. Teaching about Islam in History Curriculum and Textbooks in France, in: Marie McAndrew, ed: Teaching about Islam and the Muslim World. Textbooks and Real Curriculum. Journal of Education, Memory, and Society (submitted). 21
  22. 22. Fabian, Johannes. 1983. Time and the Other. How Anthropology makes its Object. New York: Columbia University Press.Falaturi, Abdoljavad, ed. 1986-1990. Der Islam in den Schulbüchern der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Braunschweig: Georg Eckert Institu- te.Foster, Stuart and Eleni Karayianni. 2008. La imagen de los pueblos ára- be-islámicos en los libros de texto ingleses de historia. In Cono- ciendo al otro. El Islam y Europa en sus manuales de historia, ed. Luigi Cajani, 279–331. Madrid: Santillana [Foster, Stuart and Eleni Karayianni,: Portrayals of Arab-Islamic Peoples in English History Textbooks].Heine, Susanne und Marianne Pratl. 2009. Auf holprigen Wegen. Die Dar- stellung des Islams in österreichischen Schulbüchern, Subject History, Gradelevels 5-8. In Islamophobie in Österreich, ed. John Bunzl und Farid Hafez, 57–87. Innsbruck: Studien-Verlag.Ihtiyar, Neşe, Safiye Jalil and Pia Zumbrik. 2004. Der Islam in deutschen Schulbüchern (1995-2002). Internationale Schulbuchforschung (International Textbook Research) 26/3: 223-288.Jonker, Gerdien and Shiraz Thobani, ed. 2010. Narrating Islam. Interpre- tations of the Muslim World in European Texts. London: I.B. Tau- ris.Jonker, Gerdien. 2007. Zum Stand der Schulbuchforschung am Beispiel „Islam" in den deutschen Geschichts- und Geografiebuchern. In Religionen in der Schule. Bildung in Deutschland und Europa vor neuen Herausforderungen, ed. Herbert-Quandt-Stiftung, 34 -47. Bad Homburg v.d. Höhe: Herbert-Quandt-Stiftung.Jonker, Gerdien. 2009. Europäische Erzählmuster über den Islam. In Is- lamfeindlichkeit. Wenn die Grenzen der Kritik verschwimmen, ed. Thorsten Gerald Schneiders, 71-85. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozi- alwissenschaften.Said, Edward. 1979. Orientalismus. Frankfurt a.M.: Fischer Taschenbuch.Schissler, Hanna. 2003. Der eurozentrische Blick auf die Welt. Außereu- ropäische Geschichten und Regionen in deutschen Schulbüchern und Curricula. Gutachten des Georg-Eckert-Instituts für internati- onale Schulbuchforschung für das Bundespräsidialamt. In Interna- tionale Schulbuchforschung (International Textbook Research), 155-166. Hannover: Verlag Hahnsche Buchhandlung.Serrat, Mélanie, Béatrice Hugédé and Jaqueline Costa-Lascoux. 2010. Le monde arabo-musulman dans les manuels scolaires français. His- toire, géographie, éducation civique, français. Étude comparative des manuels scolaires dans le cadre du dialogue euro-arabe, coor- données conjointement par les commissions française et maro- caine pour l’Organisation des Nations unies pour l’éducation, la science et la culture (UNESCO). Étude entreprise à la demande de la Commission française pour l’UNESCO. Institut national de re- cherche pédagogique, Document de Travail, Mars 2010. 22
  23. 23. Thobani, Shiraz. 2010. Peripheral vision in the national curriculum: Mus- lim history in the British educational context. In Narrating Islam. Interpretations of the Muslim World in European Texts, ed. Ger- dien Jonker und Shiraz Thobani, 234–256. London: I.B. Tauris.Tworuschka, Monika. 1986. Der Islam in den Schulbüchern der BRD. Analyse der Geschichtsbücher zum Thema Islam. Braunschweig: Georg Eckert Institute.Valls, Rafael. 2008. La imagen del islam en los actuales manuales escola- res españoles de historia. In Conociendo al otro. El Islam y Europa en sus manuales de historia, ed. Luigi Cajani, 73–122. Madrid: Santillana.Appendix – Recommendations for TextbooksThe findings presented clearly show that future measures for textbooksmust be focused on differentiation and against the essentialization of Mus-lims as "others" outside of Europe. This can be achieved through the de-piction of the Muslim dimension of Europe, a nuanced view of Muslim di-versity, and through raising the issue of secularization in Islamic societies.Islam and Europe – Inclusion rather than SegregationBelonging to Europe should not be interpreted as being in opposition toMuslim affiliation or to other religious affiliations. Instead, the contribu-tions of other cultures to modern Europe must be integrated into the his-torical narrative, thus allowing for trans-boundary processes of identifica-tion. Modern European development should be understood as a processthat has been significantly shaped by the contributions of non-European"others" as well as by a history of migration, confrontations with "others"in conflicts surrounding colonial rule, and further due to the history of la-bor migration as well as current debates about religious and ethnic diver-sity in Europe. We would therefore make the following recommendationsfor textbook revision: • Depictions of Islam in Europe, for example in the Balkans; • Clearer references to the relevance of contributions by Muslim civi- lizations to European development, for example through represen- tations of the presence of Arabic-Islamic heritage in science and everyday life through to the present day; 23
  24. 24. • Depictions of the participation of Jews, Christians, and other groups in the development of Muslim civilizations in the past and present that avoid the attribution of phenomena solely to Islam; • Descriptions of the colonial and post-colonial periods as times of simultaneous confrontation and mutual influence; • The presentation of historical and current personalities who repre- sent cultural hybridity or help to understand connections between history and the present, i.e. Frederick II, Moses Maimonides or Al- bert Memmi, Taha Hussein, and intellectuals and personalities of Muslim heritage in todays Europe or the USA.Islam as DiversityIt is recommended that textbook depictions be created in such a way so asto facilitate a nuanced perception of Muslim diversity. Islam should notappear as a homogeneous entity, but as a multifaceted and non-uniformconstruct. For example, in concrete terms this means: • Instead of describing the Crusades as a construction of two homo- geneous blocks, depicting it with reference to the various Muslim and Christian parties within their respective coalitions; • Differentiating between the various "Islams" worldwide, which are integrated into different political regimes and which are tied to various pre-Islamic social systems; • Depicting the many facets of Islam found in European immigration societies based on examples of religious and non-religious clubs and associations, and their role in the integration process; • The implementation of examples of political and religious practices that do not correspond to the rigid interpretations of holy texts, for example the presentation of historical female scholars or contem- porary Muslim female politicians.Muslims Today – Islam, Islamism, and SecularizationCurricula so far have not systematically allocated space to the politicalrelevance and appearance of religion in the public sphere of modern socie-ties. Connections between secularization and religiously connotated prac-tices are neither explained in relation to todays European societies, nor inreference to post-colonial Muslim societies. 24
  25. 25. Textbook entries on secularism and religion are urgently needed in thearea of political education. Recommendations include: • Teaching similarities in religious structuring and their political in- terlacing in the form of religious nationalisms against a backdrop of functional differentiation (i.e. according to politics, religion, the market) and globalization; • Pointing out the various phases of Islamism from anti-colonial re- sistance to political Islam to identity politics-based Islam and ter- rorism; • Also portraying secular voices and civil society in Muslim societies and migration; • Exploring the currently growing wealth of religious orientations on offer on a global scale, a tendency which promotes conversion and religious individualization. The Georg Eckert Institute provides internationally compared research and transfer services in the field of textbook- and school-related educational media research. It networks within this interdisciplinary field and acts as a real and virtual hub for scien- tists from around the world. The institutes research library contains a one-of-a-kind collection of international historical and current textbooks in the subjects of history, geography, and social studies/politics. The GEI provides its research findings for sci- ence, educational policy and pedagogy. The Institute has been a full member of the Leibniz Association (Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community (WGL)) since January 1, 2011. 80 Employees Total Budget: 4.3 Million Euro Institutional Budget: 2.5 Million Euro Third Party Funds (DFG, etc.): 1.8 Million Euro Legal Form: Public Agency [as of February 2011]Press Contact: V.i.S.d.P. Verena, Tel. +49 531 5909947Director: Prof. Dr. Simone Lä, Tel. +49 531 5909951Personal Assistant to the Director: Dr. Wibke, Tel. +49 531 5909949 25