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November 2, 2012 1:21 pm

Religious Studies Textbook that Confused Muslim and Jewish Culture Withdrawn

avatar by Zach Pontz

JFS logo. Photo:

A religious studies textbook that egregiously confused Muslim and Jewish culture has been withdrawn from use at the Jewish Free School in Kenton, North West London and a new corrected copy will be reissued, the Telegraph reports.

The textbook is the AQA GCSE Religious Studies A: Judaism textbook, produced for the examination board by the educational publishers, Nelson Thornes.

Religious studies GCSE is a compulsory examination at JFS. Around 300 pupils are estimated to take the exam each year. The exam board and JFS have had rows before over the inclusion of sensitive material.

Such gross misinformation as depicting a Muslim kneeling in prayer as being a Jew, led some teachers to tell their students to simply ignore the book. The Telegraph report quotes one student as saying he teacher told the class, “don’t listen to this, ignore this, half of this is wrong.”

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The Telegraph report quotes a parent telling the Jewish Chronicle that “The textbook contains countless errors and general, confused assertions about Judaism. The factual errors are laughably bad.”

Eventually the school issued a four page leaflet full of corrections to the students.

One parent of a student at the school claimed that JFS had to reach agreement with the AQA that if students used the correct information about Judaism it would not be marked incorrect by examiners.

A spokesperson for AQA told the Telegraph that “AQA doesn’t publish text books. We do liaise with publishers to try to ensure references to our syllabus are accurate; however the publisher is responsible for the content of the book and, therefore, any errors.

Steven Mintz, who is the head of Jewish studies at Manchester’s King David High School, confirmed that he had co-written the textbook, but when reached by the Telegraph declined to comment further.

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