Berlin - European school books present a distorted image of Islam and Muslims, using stereotypes that breed mistrust of the faith and its people, a five-country study published on Thursday showed.
This slanted view reflects “cultural racism”, concluded Germany's Georg Eckert Institute for textbook research, which analysed 27 volumes used in classrooms in Britain, France, Austria, Spain and Germany.
The report, which was presented at the foreign ministry in Berlin, was billed as the first of its kind in Europe.
“Islam is always presented as an outdated system of rules which has not changed since its golden age,” Susan Krohnert-Othman, the institute's project director, told reporters.
The researchers concluded that Islam is frequently presented as a homogenous entity without reflecting its diversity in different parts of the world. The report did not find major differences between the five countries studied.