Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Government backed study has revealed.
It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.
At first it sounds like political correctness gone mad. But that's not what's really going on:
It found some teachers are dropping courses covering the Holocaust at the earliest opportunity over fears Muslim pupils might express anti-Semitic and anti-Israel reactions in class.
The researchers gave the example of a secondary school in an unnamed northern city, which dropped the Holocaust as a subject for GCSE coursework.
The report said teachers feared confronting 'anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils'.
It added: "In another department, the Holocaust was taught despite anti-Semitic sentiment among some pupils.
"But the same department deliberately avoided teaching the Crusades at Key Stage 3 (11- to 14-year-olds) because their balanced treatment of the topic would have challenged what was taught in some local mosques."
A third school found itself 'strongly challenged by some Christian parents for their treatment of the Arab-Israeli conflict-and the history of the state of Israel that did not accord with the teachings of their denomination'.
The report concluded: "In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship."
So there are really two things going on here. One is that teachers want to avoid antisemitic statements (or worse?) by their students. The other is that teachers are scared or reluctant to challenge what students have been taught by their parents or religious leaders.
The former is basically a discipline problem. Any reasonable teacher should be able to best a student in a debate about whether the holocaust happened. The way to defeat a bad argument is with a better argument, not with censorship. And any student who cannot refrain from hate speech (e.g. making anti-semitic slurs) should be disciplined or expelled.
The latter is similar, at first glance, to what's been going on in the U.S. regarding the teaching of evolution. Evolution has as much evidence for it as do the Crusades, but many schools do not teach it because of religious nuts. But it's not really the same thing. In America, the anti-evolution nuts are in the majority in many (if not most) school districts, while (presumably) holocaust deniers are still a small minority in Britain. It's bad enough to drop a subject when you have the truth on one side and a majority of people -- including many educators -- on the other. But when both the truth and the majority are on the same side, it's crazy to give in to the nuts.