Background History of the California Hindu Textbook Controversy

Christian, Jewish (led by ICS, the Institute for Curriculum Services), Islamic (led by businessman Shabir Mansuri and founding Director of the Council on Islamic Education) and Hindu groups submitted their edits in autumn 2005. Some textbooks were objected by Jewish groups and were rejected in September 2005. Over 500 changes proposed by Jewish groups and 100 changes proposed by Muslims were accepted by the CDE and SBE. The changes proposed by Christian groups were also accepted. Only the Hindu edits, which were submitted for the first time, were opposed by the Witzel-Wolpert-Heitzman group. The Christian, Muslim and Jewish groups didn't submit their edits to the textbooks for the first time in 2005.

The Jewish group (ICS) objected "to the use of the word "story" in reference to the Hebrew Bible, as they allege it conveys the idea that the events described are fictitious." Some of the edits by Jewish groups were also objected by Shabir Mansuri, the founding Director of the Council on Islamic Education.

The Californian Standards for Evaluating Instructional Materials for Social Content contain the guiding principles for the textbooks.

They say: "The standards will be achieved by depicting, when appropriate, the diversity of religious beliefs held in the United States and California, as well as in other societies, without displaying bias toward or prejudice against any of those beliefs or religious beliefs in general."

They also say: "No religious belief or practice may be held up to ridicule and no religious group may be portrayed as inferior.", and "Any explanation or description of a religious belief or practice should be presented in a manner that does not encourage or discourage belief or indoctrinate the student in any particular religious belief."