“Originally we wanted to know how Islam is represented in our school books. But we quickly expanded the topics to include Christianity, gender, family and other things, ”explains Eleonore Witt-Dörring from CSPI Austria to the eXXpress. According to the analysis, there are blatant differences in the presentation of individual religious groups, according to which Islam tends to be presented positively, while Christianity, on the other hand, tends to be presented negatively in current school books.
These representations run through all subjects such as German, geography, or history. In this context, the development of the content of schoolbooks in the past decades is very interesting: While around 30 years ago a lot of running text and factual, objective presentation of history were common, “today we find books with lots of pictures, memo texts, objectivity and objectivity are becoming more and more common replaced by opinion-forming propaganda, ”said the Islam expert.
Specifically, the experts criticize, for example, the depiction of historical events. For example, the crusades are presented very critically in the books, the recapture of Mecca by the prophet Mohammed as a purely peaceful act. “In addition, the teachings of Islam are sometimes misrepresented,” emphasizes the expert. She is also critical of the portrayal of the headscarf. For example, one textbook says that many Muslim girls and women wear a headscarf for religious reasons, which is why they “are mobbed by some people”. Although this is not fundamentally wrong, it is one-sided: “The reality is also that girls without headscarves are bullied in Austrian schools.”
The flowery description of the Ottoman siege of Vienna in a school book is also problematic. There it says, among other things, “2500 colorful tents (…) oxen, people with turbans ……. They perceive strange smells. The Orient with its splendor lay before them like in a shop window. “