MUSLIM SCHOOLS TEACH HATE
Every child left behind in the Islamic State’s new elementary schools
AMMAN: The Islamic State opened elementary schools in the eastern Deir e-Zor countryside on Monday, imposing strict regulations dictating what students wear, how teachers teach and to what grade girls are permitted to study, local teachers and opposition media reported.
Under penalty of fines or arrests, parents in the east Deir e-Zor town of Mayadin, for example, must send their children to IS-run schools in a “Pakistani style” uniform of long-sleeved shirts and trousers, reported the local media campaign Deir e-Zor is Being Slaughtered Silently on Monday.
Mayadin teachers are supposed to be paid a monthly wage of 35 IS dinars, made of silver, and girls are only taught to the fourth grade, according to the Deir e-Zor is Being Slaughtered Silently report.
“I’m not quite sure what 35 IS silver dinars will get you, but I’ll tell you nobody’s laid eyes on one of those coins as of yet,” Abu Mujahid a-Shami, the head of the Deir e-Zor is Being Slaughtered Silently Campaign told Syria Direct on Tuesday.
Classes are segregated by gender, beginning in the first grade, reported pro-opposition Step News Agency Monday.
One former elementary teacher from A-Raqqa tells of a colleague who earned 30 lashes for deviating from the Islamic State narrative. “He had drawn a map of Syria and written on it the names of neighboring states,” said Abu Abdullah. “According to the Islamic State, there are no other states besides theirs,” he said.
In early 2014, the Islamic State shut down schools in Deir e-Zor and A-Raqqa, including private schools, citing the corrupting influence of Baathist curricula.
Math, music, philosophy, history, French and geography were all banned.
The schools were reopened briefly, but quickly closed again for a redesign of the curricula. “The main reason given was that the education they were giving in Syrian governmental schools was incompatible with Islam and inspired apostasy,” said Abu Abdullah.
Children who grow up knowing only indoctrination and violence represent a lost generation, Abu Abdullah says.
“The worst possible fate for them is that they’ll be an uneducated generation; children have grown accustomed to the sight of guns, and some of them have probably witnessed public executions,” the former teacher says.
“Their fate is up in the air.”
Palestinians 'Brainwashed With Hate'
ambassador to the UN claims Palestinian children are being "taught to
hate" as violent clashes continue in the West Bank.
Saturday 17 October 2015
Palestinian children are being "brainwashed" with "incitement and hate", according to an Israeli spokesman.
Danon, Israel's new ambassador to the United Nations, is urging the
Security Council to make a statement against what he described as "the
incitement that fuels terror".
his speech, Mr Danon held up a piece of card with a diagram of a human
body entitled "How to Stab a Jew", which he said was "an example of
what Palestinian children are being exposed to day in and day out, in
school, after school".
News has been unable to verify Mr Danon's claims, in which he said:
"When a Palestinian child returns from school and opens (sic) the
television, he doesn't see Barney or Donald Duck, he sees murderers
portrayed as heroes.
"When he opens a textbook, he doesn't learn about math and science, he's being taught to hate."
Mr Danon's speech came amid an increase in violence in which 41 Palestinians and seven Israelis have died.
Holding up the card, Mr Danon continued: "The picture is being taught in middle schools, in high schools, in elementary schools.
"Instead of educating about peace and tolerance, the Palestinian leadership is brainwashing children with incitement and hate.
"Palestinian leaders have established an incubator to raise children as terrorists."
Danon accused Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas of leading the
"dangerous incitement" and of "spreading lies" saying Israel is trying
to change the delicate status quo at Jerusalem's holiest site the al
mosque has been at the root of recent tensions - it is revered by Jews
as the Temple Mount and it is also Islam's third-holiest site.
Danon said Israel would not agree to any international presence at the
compound, adding that "any such intervention would violate the
decades-long status quo".
emergency council meeting - called by Arab states amid increasing
violence in the region - highlighted the deepening bitterness and
distrust between the two sides after decades of conflict.
Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, told the council the
issue of protection "has become more urgent than any time before"
because of what he called Israeli aggression "against our defenceless
Palestinian people", including at the al Aqsa.
Islamic University Dean Supports Stoning
Netherlands News Service
HAGUE, 18/10/13 - The rector of the Islamic University of
Rotterdam (IUR) values stoning as an appropriate punishment, NRC
Handelsblad newspaper reported Thursday. The Lower House is demanding
clarification from Integration Minister Lodewijk Asscher.
The rector, Ahmet Akgündüz, has written a pamphlet on the demonstrations this summer in Turkey. He calls opponents of Turkish Premier Erdogan “enemies of Islam.” The demonstrations were the work of “people with a Western lifestyle.” In addition, he is said to characterise stoning as “one of the prescribed punishments within Islam.”
The conservatives (VVD), Labour (PvdA) and the Christian democrats (CDA) are among parties calling for a reaction from the government. They are all the more concerned about the statements because the IUR is recognised by the government as a training institute for Imams.
IUR started Imams with a HBO course this year. A spokesman said the school fully supports the publication.
The parties want to know what action the minister will take against the university. “With this, you will get Imams with hostile views and anti-western values,” said PvdA MP Keklik Yücel.
The Problem Of Pakistan: Teaching Intolerance And Violence
The U.S. may have no more difficult relationship than the one it has with Pakistan. This supposed ally plays a double game in Afghanistan, mixes an unstable political system and weak civilian government with nuclear weapons, and acts as an incubator for religious intolerance. Obviously, Islamabad has its own, sometimes well-founded complaints against America. But there may be no more dangerous nation today than Pakistan.
An important cause of conflict in that divided society is the educational system. All too often, both public schools and private madrassas promote intolerance and extremism. These attitudes have encouraged increasing violence which threatens to consume the entire country with deadly effect.
In November the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom published a report written by Ashar Hussain (International Center for Religion and Diplomacy), Ahmad Salim (Sustainable Development Policy Institute), and Arif Naveed (also SDPI).
Pakistan’s birth was bloody, featuring violent conflict between and mass movement of Hindus and Muslims within the areas which became India and Pakistan. Although Pakistan’s Islamic character was clear, founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah declared: “Minorities, to whichever community they may belong, will be safeguarded. Their religion or faith of any kind will be secure. There will be no interference of any kind with their freedom of worship.”
Pakistan would be a much better place if these sentiments continued to reflect that nation’s reality. However, much has changed over the last six decades. For instance, General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq promoted Muslim fundamentalism to win public support for his military rule. Rising Islamic currents around the world created greater receptivity to extremism. Most recently, American military operations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan generated widespread antagonism.
These factors alone would have created a tough environment in which to protect the human life and dignity of religious, ethnic, and political minorities. However, the education system for a growing youth population has created an equally serious barrier. As the Commission observed: “education plays a critical role in the fabric of Pakistani life, with the potential of bringing the society together or tearing it apart.” Today, unfortunately, education, so-called, is far too often doing the latter.
For years schooling in Pakistan was largely secular, but the public system failed to educate most students. Gen. Zia increased the money going to education, but simultaneously “infused the education system with rigid Islamic content,” explained the USCIRF. Before dying in a suspicious plane crash in 1988, the dictatorial Zia changed curriculum and textbooks for the worse.
His government stated that “The highest priority would be given to the revision of the curricula with a view to reorganizing the entire content around Islamic thought and giving education an ideological orientation so that Islamic ideology permeates the thinking of the young generation.” The problem was not that the system emphasized Islam, but instead promoted intolerant fundamentalism. Dr. Nasim Ashraf of the Middle East Institute said the Zia years were “the turning point for Pakistan’s educational system,” creating “the bedrock on which militant extremism was founded.”
The most obvious impact is that many religious minorities suffer through an education which directly attacks their faith. Noted the Commission, minority students “are forced to study from textbooks and curricula that are biased against them and routinely face discrimination and intimidation from Muslim students and teachers.” So much for Article 22 of the 1973 Pakistani constitution, which states that “No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or attend religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own.”
worse, though, warned the Commission, the educational system “presents
a challenge to the full implementation of protections for religious
minorities, and in some cases has even been linked to physical violence
against them.” And not just against non-Muslims. In effect,
the Pakistani government now is training those who are determined to
kill even Muslims to get their way. Last year Islamic extremists
murdered a liberal Muslim governor as well as a Christian government
minister. The killers came from the generation which studied
under the Zia educational “reforms.”
Inflammatory textbooks are an important problem. Noted the Commission, “The portrayal of religious minorities in textbooks is generally either derogatory or omitted entirely.” Indeed, non-Muslims “are often portrayed as inferior or second-class citizens who have been granted limited rights and privileges by generous Pakistani Muslims, for which they should be grateful.” The harshest attacks are on Hindus, though Christians, Jews, and Sikhs do not receive a fair description.
In 2006 Islamabad revised its curricula guidelines for the better. However, nearly six years later, reported the USCIRF, “textbooks incorporating these revisions in line with the 2006 guidelines have not been created.” Unfortunately, the authorities have backtracked some over that time. Moreover, in the intervening years English language textbooks were changed for the worse, actually eliminating accurate descriptions of religious minorities.
More worrisome is the situation in private madrassas. They operate with minimal government oversight and choose their own educational materials. In general, Pakistani researchers (who conducted the Commission study) found that the most recent books, used for astronomy, grammar, and mathematics, date from the 14th century. Other texts are even older.
It should surprise no one that such materials present non-Muslims in a less than positive light. Noted the USCIRF: “Non-Muslims are generally portrayed in the madrassa textbooks reviewed in one of three ways: (1) kafirs (infidels) or mushrakeen (pagans), (2) dhimmis (non-Muslims living under Islamic rule), or (3) murtids (apostates, i.e., people who have turned away from Islam). Non-Muslims are never described as citizens with the constitutionally-protected rights which accompany citizenship.”
Over the last decade Islamabad has initiated some limited madrassa reform efforts, including spending more money, creating an oversight board, and prohibiting extremist indoctrination. However, in practice the government has spent most of its time attempting to convince madrassas to teach more modern and secular subjects and has not enforced its ban on hate-mongering, whether intentional or incidental. In this case Islamabad is allowing others to actively undermine the foundational principles of the nation.
In both public schools and private madrassas the problems caused by dubious curriculums and textbooks are compounded by profoundly disturbing teacher attitudes. In general public school teachers knew little about religious minorities and “expressed a strong sense of self-righteousness regarding sectarian issues.”
Large numbers believed that sectarian differences were wide and that religious minorities were not citizens. The vast majority believed that violent jihad was mandatory for Muslims. Many teachers were critical of the behavior of religious minorities and proselytized in class. Overall, reported the Commission, “As many as 80% of the respondents considered non-Muslims to be enemies of Islam.”
No surprise, madrassa teachers were even more negative towards religious minorities. After all, observed the religious panel, “As opposed to public school teachers, madrassa teachers teach (and often live) in an environment without religious diversity.”
The result? “Madrassa teachers expressed hostility for the followers of most religions.” They believed the sectarian divide was large and in jihad which was “sometimes to be directed violently against religious minorities.” While accepting religious minorities as citizens, madrassa teachers believed they should not have political power. The instructors were prone to believe in conspiracies.
Overall, the Commission found that many teachers were personally intolerant and publicly insensitive toward students of minority faiths. Teachers often reinforced discriminatory stereotypes while offering little encouragement to non-Muslim children, sending “covert and overt messages to non-Muslim students to convert to Islam.”
Thus, the problem of extremism in Pakistan has become self-perpetuating. The educational system teaches intolerance to those who will become instructors, who in turn will shape the next generation, transmitting the same intolerance. Even if the central government changes the curriculum and textbooks, the teachers will perpetuate today’s abuses.
one would expect, given both texts and instructors, public school
students were unfriendly to religious minorities. The children
tended to see Pakistan as Islamic, often by sect. Although
nominally respectful of religious minorities, reported the Commission,
“when probed on other issues, the respect in many instances seemed
vacant. Students often expressed negative views of followers of
other religions.” Kids generally perceived jihad in narrow,
violent terms, and many did not consider religious minorities to be
citizens. Perhaps more ominously, “the majority of students
simply identified non-Muslims as the enemies of Islam.”
Madrassa students had less contact with non-Muslims but, paradoxically, were more likely to view the latter as citizens with basic rights. However, the principal reason these students wanted to promote good relations was to advance proselytism. And at the same time “a majority of them considered non-Muslims as enemies of Islam, with some considering members of other Muslims sects to be enemies.”
Hostility toward Jews, Hindus, Ahmadis, and Shias was particularly noteworthy. The USCIRF added: “madrassa students indicated that Jews and Hindus, and to some extent Christians, were considered as the biggest enemies of Islam.” America, India, and Israel also were singled out as “as enemies of Islam.”
The direct victims of intolerance in the Pakistani educational system are non-Muslim students. The Commission detailed several cases. For instance, a Christian fourth-grader was singled out for the dirtiest janitorial duties and corporal punishment, and his father was threatened with loss of his job for filing a complaint. All the Christian girls at one school were failed; a protest forced the administration to regrade the annual exam. A 13-year-old girl wrote of pressure to convert and social isolation, when “teachers and my fellow students refused to eat and drink with me.” Another was insulted and beaten by his teacher and called a “dirty Christian.”
Of greater concern to Americans is the collective impact on the Pakistani people. Reported the Commission, a number of educational experts shared “a sense that discrimination is pervasive throughout Pakistani society, influencing and being influenced by the formal educational system.” They pointed to misrepresentation of the tenets of other faiths, treatment of non-Muslims as outsiders, view of religious minorities as threats to Islam and Pakistan, and insistence that Islam is the norm for Pakistanis.
Shah Jahan Baloch of Save the Children warned: “Biases created in schools at the early age have an effect in the long run and we can see them.” Dr. Khalil Masood, former Chairman of the Council of Islamic Ideology, said religious differences were “also about culture and caste.” Although religious minorities helped create Pakistan, “this political representation of non-Muslims was systematically brought to an end.” Peter Jacob of the National Commission for Peace and Justice observed: “These biases create a big chain of discrimination in all walks of life.”
Although causation is never easy to prove, those who study Pakistan’s educational system linked “biases in the education and the incidences of extremism, hatred, and violence in the country.” For instance, Jahan concluded that “it has a huge effect on religious harmony because it promotes misperceptions about sectarian diversity.” Some of the scholars saw educational intolerance encouraging the violence that has become so common against religious minorities. Yet, complained Dr. Tariz Rahman of Qaid-e-Azam University, policymakers “haven’t taken initiatives to solve these problems.”
America’s educational system obviously is far from perfect, and many problems afflict Pakistani society. However, violence threatens not only religious minorities, who face sometimes deadly persecution, but increasingly any Pakistani who eschews extremism. If those in power do not want to be consumed by the fires of Islamic extremism, they must transform an educational system which is stoking the flames.
There is nothing the U.S. can do directly. And, given the state of bilateral relations, even Washington’s indirect influence is limited. However, American officials should raise the issue, since what happens in Pakistan matters well beyond its own borders. Should Islamabad’s fragile political superstructure collapse, the consequences would be enormous, and reverberate outward throughout the region and beyond.
Pakistan began with great promise. But it increasingly looks like a failed state with nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, many of that nation’s problems are self-inflicted, starting with an educational system that helps normalize intolerance and violence.
A Madrassah in Bridgeview, Illinois
by Daniel Pipes
June 20, 2005
Islamic schools constitute perhaps the least known area of Muslim institutional life in the United States, acting largely out of public view but with many signs suggesting their radicalization. When a reporter has the rare chance to interview faculty and students, especially with a photographer in tow, it's an important opportunity.
Marguerite Michaels of Time Magazine got "an unusual degree of access" to the inside of the Universal School in Bridgeview, Illinois, sixteen miles southwest of downtown Chicago, with 638 students in pre-K through 12th grades. She wrote up her impressions at "The Model School, Islamic Style" and Robert A. Davis took some striking pictures.
Unfortunately, Michaels proved clueless about the real nature of the Universal School. She portrays it as a moderate institution, but the information she herself provides points to its being a school imparting an extreme version of Islam.
Several examples concern sexuality:
· "Casual conversation between girls and boys is discouraged at all times," she reports. "They can't socialize," so any communication between the sexes is limited to writing.
"Older girls must wear the hijab (light blue for middle schoolers, gray or white for high schoolers) and a calf-length navy top that resembles a raincoat." The astonishing photograph of eight covered girls playing basketball brings to mind the female Islamist revolutionaries who rose against the shah of Iran in the late 1970s. Students realize how off-putting most Americans find this apparel; a freshman, Gulrana Syed, points out how "It's kind of impossible to blend in wearing a head scarf."
· When a high school senior, Ali Fadhli, tells about his "problems" dealing with America outside the school environment, he mostly means sexual temptation. This 18-year-old male will likely have difficulties adjusting to the mainstream of American life; he could end up isolated and perhaps violently rejecting the society around him.
Other attitudes concern the place of Muslims in the United States:
· Until 9/11, says Safaa Zarzour, vice chairman of the school's board and its former principal, Muslims, like other immigrants, experienced a "little discrimination." Since 9/11, however, "people don't think there is any such thing as a good Muslim." One school family actually fled the United States after 9/11 for the United Arab Emirates, saying it did not feel "welcome here as Muslims." This siege mentality furthers the Islamist agenda of grievance and demanding special privileges.
· So too does a comment of Universal's principal, Farhat Siddiqui. "We're telling our kids they're American. But the doors of opportunity have been shut since 9/11. What's the password to open them?" This is nonsense, for all evidence indicates that Muslims are flourishing socio-economically in the United States, no less after 9/11 than before it.
· The high school senior quoted above also believes that "America" sees Muslims as the "new enemy." A student named Ryan Ahmad observes that "Americans seem to have more fun. Muslims try to be American, but we don't know how. The cultures are so different." Seeing Americans and Muslims, or more accurately, non-Muslims and Muslims, as separate populations is a key component of the Islamist project.
A preoccupation with foreign policy rounds out the picture:
· "They are obsessed with foreign politics," says Steve Landek, the mayor of Bridgeview. "I come to talk to them about better sidewalks. They want to know how to run for Congress so they can change America's Israeli policy."
· Assigned in English class to write about his American Dream, a 15-year-old wrote that the territories under Israeli control should be returned to the Palestinians and "the Jews should be left to suffer."
I finished Marguerite Michaels's article doubly dismayed. First, that a veteran Time journalist cannot see an American madrassah before her very eyes, replete with the alienation, resentment, supremacism, and isolation that feed the Islamist temperament. Secondly, that this "model school" quietly and openly churns out graduates hoping they will create an Islamic States of America.
From www.danielpipes.org | Original article available at:
Islamic schools under abuse scrutiny
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- The accounts are disturbing: beatings, forced sex and imprisonment with shackles and leg irons. Abuse accusations from hundreds of children sent to study at Islamic schools are prompting growing calls from parents and rights groups for a full-scale investigation.
But officials have moved slowly and cautiously in probing the charges of mistreatment in Quranic schools, or madrassas -- pointing to a paradox across much of the Muslim world. It's often easier to tackle Islamic militants than to confront the cultural taboo on publicly airing alleged sex crimes and challenging influential clerics.
Still, if Islamic institutions ever face a reckoning over sexual abuse -- such as the Roman Catholic upheavals in recent years -- it could begin in Pakistan where institutions already are under unprecedented scrutiny by anti-terrorism agents.
"We are forcing people to look this problem in the eye," said Zia Ahmed Awan, whose group Madadgaar, or Helper, compiles reports of sexual abuse of children in Pakistan. "It is not anti-Muslim. It is not anti-cleric. We are looking out for the most vulnerable in society."
Last year, a Pakistani official stunned his nation by officially disclosing more than 500 complaints of sexual assaults against young boys studying in madrassas. Children's rights advocates were elated, feeling their long-standing claims had been validated. They also hoped Pakistan's actions would open related inquiries in other Muslim nations -- similar to the domino effect through parishes after the Catholic abuse scandals broke in the 1980s.
But there's been little progress since.
There have been no significant arrests or prosecutions involving alleged sex abuse in madrassas. Also, the official who made the revelations -- Amir Liaquat Hussain, the deputy minister for religious affairs -- now refuses to discuss the issue after reported death threats and harsh criticism from Islamic leaders. He turned down repeated interview requests by The Associated Press.
Every discussion about Pakistan's madrassas leads eventually in an uncomfortable direction for authorities: the potential problems of leaning too hard on Islamic schools.
The madrassas have ties to influential religious and political groups. The core of madrassa funding is a tour of powerful networks: government aid, Saudi donations and zakat, the traditional Islamic practice of giving alms.
The schools also serve as a social safety net in a nation with a galloping birth rate and nearly one-third of the population under the poverty line -- meaning they cannot afford basic necessities.
Poor families often count on the nation's more than 10,000 madrassas to take one or more young sons to ease financial strains at home. The boys typically receive little more than Quranic studies for an education. But the big dividend for families is the housing, clothes and meals offered the boys. The schools, which have up to 1 million students, operate with almost no official oversight.
"The mullahs think they are above the law," said Asma Jehanghir, chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a nongovernment agency. "We have to break this wall of silence."
An Interior Ministry official confirmed that police are investigating some cases of alleged sex abuse by madrassa instructors. He declined to give further details or to be identified by name because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Hanif Jalandhri, the head of the Federation of Madrassas, the main overseeing agency in Pakistan, acknowledged that abuses could occur, but disagreed it is a widespread problem.
"I cannot rule out isolated incidents of sex abuse at madrassas, but I reject reports that hundreds of students are being subjected to sexual attacks at madrassas," he told AP. "It is wrong."
Pakistani rights groups are encouraging parents and children to speak out and document abuse. Dozens of allegations of abuse in madrassas are being compiled -- part of a wider campaign to draw attention to child abuse in a culture where domestic violence is common but rarely reaches the public's attention.
"The difference now is that no one can deny (abuse) is happening," said Manizeh Sano, executive director of Sahil, a group assisting child victims of sexual abuse. "The leaders of madrassas cannot turn their back on this problem anymore. That's a first step."
A madrassa teacher and two others are jailed awaiting trial in the port city of Karachi for an acid attack on a 14-year-old boy in 2002 after he allegedly refused to have sex with a cleric. The boy was blinded and badly disfigured. The suspects deny the charges.
In December, in another part of Karachi, Muhammad Askoroni's mother noticed a bite on the 10-year-old boy's neck. The child started crying and vomiting when asked what happened, said his mother, Dil Jauher. The boy's claim: a cleric at his madrassa sodomized him after evening Quran classes, according to a complaint filed with police and the rights group Madadgaar.
Jauher claims a madrassa official and village elders offered her a bribe to keep the incident quiet. "But I want justice for my son," she told AP.
There have been no arrests yet in the case.
The files of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan include the affidavit of Atif Rehman, who was 11 when he was admitted to the Lahore Children's Hospital in April 2004 with head injuries and extensive bruises. He told investigators he was routinely beaten with iron rods at a madrassa in the northern city of Faisalabad and was chained when he tried to escape.
"The boy was bleeding from the mouth and nostrils," said his father, Muhammad Aashiq, according to the commission report.
A madrassa teacher, Qari Mahboob Aalam, denied the torture allegations, but admitted "it is a practice to chain students," the report said.
The maximum penalty in Pakistan for sexually attacking a child is life imprisonment, according to Karma Cauchy, a senior Pakistani lawyer. But tribal justice and Islamic law dominate in some parts of the country and could bring calls for violent punishment.
"When you start talking about it, then you start to think that things can change," said Fazila Gulrez, spokeswoman for the Islamabad-based Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child. "That is what's happening here in Pakistan. People are starting to talk about it."
The problem goes beyond Pakistan, according to scattered references to alleged sex abuse and other rights violations in madrassas noted in recent international reports.
A 2003 survey by the Thailand-based group ECPAT -- or End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes -- raised concerns about madrassa teachers in Mauritania forcing students to beg on the streets and hand over the money.
In Bangladesh, rights groups have increased calls for madrassa investigations after a teacher was arrested in March and charged with raping girl students, who are allowed to attend the schools that in many other countries are male-only.
In the Middle East, few activists have demanded investigations into conditions in Islamic schools, but that could change as groups increasingly challenge traditional centers of influence.
"Pakistan is now a center of the showdown between modernizing Islam and forces resisting change," said Irfan Khawaja, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York who follows Islamic affairs. "The madrassa issue is part of this. It will spread around the Islamic world."
Amnesty International and the Human Rights Council of Pakistan have recounted cases in Pakistan of students shackled to prevent escape and noted growing allegations of sex abuse.
"Leaders of religious parties resent official probing into the functioning of the madrassas and threaten retaliation if they are more closely controlled," Amnesty wrote.
The London bombings in July, meanwhile, could hasten the end to the madrassas' traditions of secrecy and autonomy in Pakistan.
At least one of the attackers visited a Pakistani madrassa. Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has vowed to stamp out "extremism and militancy" in madrassas and has threatened to close schools that refuse to register with authorities by the end of the year.
Copyright 2005 The Associated Press.
Pakistan struggles with Islam in schools
By Paul Watson
Los Angeles Times
Lahore, Pakistan -- Each year, thousands of Pakistani children learn from history books that Jews are tightfisted moneylenders and Christians vengeful conquerors. One textbook tells children they should be willing to die as martyrs for Islam.
These aren't students being indoctrinated by extremist mullahs in madrassas, the private Islamic seminaries often blamed for stoking militancy in Pakistan. These are pupils in public schools learning from textbooks approved by the administration of President Pervez Musharraf.
Since joining the United States as an ally in its "war on terror" four years ago, Musharraf has urged Pakistanis to shun radical Islam and pursue "enlightened moderation."
Musharraf and U.S. officials say education reforms are crucial to defeating extremism in Pakistan, the only Islamic nation armed with nuclear weapons. Yet reformers who study the country's education system say public-school lessons still promote hatred against non-Muslims and urge jihad, or holy war.
"I have been arguing for the longest time that, in fact, our state system is the biggest madrassa," said Rubina Saigol, a U.S.-trained expert on education. "We keep blaming madrassas for everything and, of course, they are doing a lot of things I would disagree with.
"But the state ideologies of hate and a violent, negative nationalism are getting out there where madrassas cannot hope to reach."
The current social-studies curriculum for sixthand seventh-graders instructs textbook writers and teachers to "develop aspiration for jihad" and "develop a sense of respect for the struggle of (the) Muslim population for achieving independence."
Textbook teaches students to prepare for jihad
In North-West Frontier Province, governed by supporters of the ousted Taliban regime in neighboring Afghanistan, the federally approved Islamic-studies textbook for eighth grade teaches students they must be prepared "to sacrifice every precious thing, including life, for jihad."
"At present, jihad is continuing in different parts of the world," the chapter reads. "Numerous mujahedeen (holy warriors) of Islam are involved in defending their religion, and independence, and to help their oppressed brothers across the world."
The textbook for adolescent students says Muslims are allowed to "take up arms" and wage jihad in self-defense or if they are prevented from practicing their religion.
"When God's people are forced to become slaves of man-made laws, they are hindered from practicing the religion of their God," the textbook says. "When all the legal ways in this regard are closed, then power should be used to eliminate the evil.
"If Muslims are being oppressed," the book reads, "then jihad is necessary to free them from this cruel oppression."
"Jihad" can mean peaceful struggle as well as holy war. Jihad can be waged on several levels, from a peaceful, inner struggle for one's own soul to the killing of infidels.
Pakistani critics of the public school system maintain that jihad's softer sense is easily lost in lessons that emphasize the oppression of Muslims in many parts of the world and that encourage fellow Muslims to fight.
"Some people coming from the regular school system are volunteering for various kinds of jihad, which is not jihad in classical Islamic theory, but actually terrorism in the modern concept," said Husain Haqqani, a Pakistani author and professor of international relations at Boston University.
"All of that shows that somehow the schooling system has fed intolerance and bigotry."
Pakistan is an Islamic state, and 97 percent of its people are Muslims, so it's not surprising that its government promotes Islamic values in public schools.
But Pakistan's public education system goes beyond instilling pride in being Muslim and encourages bigotry that can foment violence against "the other," said Haqqani, who has written a new book on links between the military and radical Muslims.
Under Pakistan's federal government, a national curriculum department in Islamabad, the capital, sets criteria for provincial textbook boards, which commission textbooks for local public schools.
Javed Ashraf Qazi, a retired army general and former head of the military's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency, was named education minister last September to revive a stalled reform effort.
Study weighs in on public-school textbooks
In a nation with one of Asia's highest illiteracy rates, Qazi said he was determined to have specialists rewrite course guidelines and textbooks, from the first grade to the college level, so that "the curriculum will be in line with that of any other advanced country."
"We don't want to condemn any religion -- which we will not," he said.
A study of the public-school curriculum and textbooks by 29 Pakistani academics in 2002 concluded that public-school "textbooks tell lies, create hatred, inculcate militancy and much more."
The study by the independent Sustainable Development Policy Institute angered religious conservatives, and even a few liberals, who saw it as an attack on the country's Islamic values, or even a plot by Western governments and rival India to subvert Pakistan.
Qazi headed the ISI from 1993 to 1995, when the intelligence agency was recruiting students from Pakistan's madrassas to join the extremist Taliban militia. Under Qazi's watch, the Taliban won its first major victory, the seizure of Kandahar, with ISI training and weapons.
His critics say that makes Qazi the wrong man to take on hard-line Islamic parties and clerics who are blocking education reforms. But the education minister insists he will fight hard to correct a curriculum he calls lopsided.
It would be easier to end extremism in Pakistan if Western governments did more to resolve conflicts that anger Muslims worldwide, such as the war in Iraq, the dispute with India over the enclave of Kashmir, or the Palestinians' struggle against Israel, he said.
After it won independence from Britain in 1947, Pakistan had a secular public-school system. President Zia ul-Haq, a former military dictator, ordered Islamic education to be incorporated into the public-school curriculum in the 1980s as he consolidated power with the support of hard-line Islamic clerics.
Still grappling with 'Islamization' policy
Pakistan is still grappling with the lethal forces that Zia's "Islamization" policy unleashed.
Educationists pressing for deeper reforms say they suspect Musharraf, an army general who seized power in a 1999 coup, wants to maintain elements of Zia's strategy in order to preserve the military's dominant role in Pakistani society.
"Reforming education is not a part of Musharraf's agenda, because it will require squarely confronting the mullahs," said Pervez Hoodbhoy, a professor who specializes in high-energy and nuclear physics.
"Musharraf acts only upon pressure, and there must be relentless, sustained pressure from the outside world if meaningful reforms are ever to become reality," he said.
Punjab state's seventh-grade social-studies textbook, published in January, begins with a full-page message from Musharraf urging students to focus on modern disciplines such as information technology and computers.
"It is a historical fact that the Muslims ruled the world for hundreds of years," Musharraf writes. He acknowledges that in the past, Pakistan's school curriculum "was not in concert with the requirements of modern times." But he assures students that "textbooks have been developed, revised and updated accordingly."
The changes, if any, are hard to spot. Disparaging references to Christians, Jews and Hindus from previous editions are carried over to the new text.
"Before Islam, people lived in untold misery all over the world," the textbook reads. "Some Jewish tribes also lived in Arabia. They lent money to workers and peasants on high rates of interest and usurped their earnings. They held the whole society in their tight grip because of the ever increasing compound interest.
"In short, there was no sympathy for humanity," the passage continues. "People were selfish and cruel. The rich lived in luxury and nobody bothered about the needy or those in sufferings."
A section on the Crusades teaches that Europe's Christian rulers attacked Muslims in the Holy Land out of revenge even though "history has no parallel to the extremely kind treatment of the Christians by the Muslims."
"Some of the Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem fabricated many false stories of suffering," the passage continues. "If they were robbed on the way, they said it were the Muslims who robbed them."
Christians eventually realized they were inferior to Muslims, the chapter concludes.
Combined with lessons on armed jihad, such a view of history helps make young Pakistanis ripe for manipulation by Islamic militants, who have given jihad "a demonic meaning," said Saigol, the education expert.
"The word is so much more associated with violence, killing, death and blood," she said, "that I think it's difficult to reclaim it, as the modernists are trying to do, and turn it into a war against one's inner self."
Nineteen Muslim teachers held in restive Thai south
By Nopporn Wong-Anan
Tuesday, March 28, 2006; 5:51 AM
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Nineteen teachers at an Islamic school founded by a top fugitive insurgent in the Thai south have been held on suspicion of involvement in two years of bloody separatist violence, officials said on Tuesday.
The arrests would fuel more resentment among ethnic Malays in the mainly Muslim region, where more than 1,100 people have been killed in the violence, Muslim leaders and lawyers said.
Security officials in Bangkok said the 19 men were arrested under a controversial emergency decree which allows detention of suspects without charge for 30 days.
The teachers at Thamma Wittaya School in the city of Yala were arrested last week after they came back from a curriculum preparatory meeting on an island off nearby Satun province, said a Bangkok-based Muslim lawyer who is working on the case.
"Police and soldiers went to search their houses and arrested them after they came back from the island," Kitcha Ali-ishoh, who also works for a Justice Ministry-appointed agency to bring peace to the south, told Reuters.
"This mass arrest as a result of their meeting, which was not a secret, will affect students when classes resume," he said.
Thai schools are on holiday until in mid-May.
At least six teachers from the school -- founded by Sapaeing Bazo, the most wanted separatist leader with 10 million baht ($257,000) on his head -- have been killed since the latest unrest began in January 2004.
Security agencies have named Sapaeing as a leader of the BRN Coordinate, one of the groups behind the violence in the region, and say he is believed to be hiding in Malaysia.
Several teachers and students at Thamma Wittaya, a school of 6,000 students which teaches both Islam and general subjects, have been arrested previously on suspicion of involvement in the two-year insurgency, police said.
Security officials told Reuters the 19 teachers were arrested because other suspects had implicated them during police interrogations and some of these teachers were educated in Muslim countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
"They claimed to have a meeting about the school curriculum, but why did they have to have it on a remote unknown island hardly ever visited by tourists," a Satun security official said.
A leading Islamic scholar in the region said arresting people on flimsy excuses would only raise more anger in a region which has seen bouts of separatist violence since annexed by predominantly Buddhist Thailand a century ago.
"I've told senior officials so many times that if they suspect someone, they should invite them for questioning, not just detain them with no charges," Yala provincial Islamic council chief Abdullahmee Cheseh said.
The government has tried many ways to end the violence and win the hearts and minds of the 1.8 million people in the region bordering Malaysia, from brute force to bombing the region with millions of paper "peace" birds by Air Force warplanes. But the violence persists.
Saudi textbooks preach intolerance, hate
Despite post-9/11 policy change, children still taught to wage jihad
Lisa Myers & the NBC Investigative Unit
Updated: 2:02 a.m. PT July 11, 2006
WASHINGTON - In the classroom and across Saudi society, Saudi officials insist their message has changed dramatically. The land that produced 15 of the 9/11 hijackers now officially preaches religious tolerance and moderation.
In numerous statements, senior Saudi officials have specifically claimed that the kingdom has cleaned up all school textbooks.
"We eliminated what might be perceived as intolerance from old textbooks that were in our system," says Prince Turki al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.
There has been progress. However, a new study found examples of intolerance, even hate, in multiple Saudi textbooks now used in grades 1-12.
Nina Shea's group — the Center for Religious Freedom — examined textbooks used during the past school year, and found the following teachings, which were verified by NBC News:
· Jews and Christians are "enemies" of Muslims.
· Every religion other than Islam is "false."
· "The hour [of Judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them."
"It's taught that Christians and Jews are the enemy of the Muslim," says Shea. "And that the Muslim must wage jihad in order to spread the faith in battle against the infidel."
What's more, an eighth grade text equates Jews with "apes" and Christian infidels with "swine." A tenth grade text teaches that the life of a Muslim is worth twice that of a non-Muslim.
"This is the ideological foundation for building tomorrows' terrorists," says Shea.
And it's not just textbooks. In Canada, moderate Muslims like Tarek Fatah charge that militant literature provided by the Saudis is radicalizing some young Muslims, like the 17 men arrested there last month for planning bombings in Canada.
"I see Saudi influence," says Fatah, the communications director of the Muslim Canadian Congress.
Fatah says a version of the Quran sent to Canada from Saudi Arabia in his possession includes added language encouraging jihad.
"The Quran does not ask people to conduct war against non-Muslims, but that's what the Saudis are distributing," says Fatah.
In one example, the word "Jews" is added to the translation, identifying "people" who have "strayed from God's laws."
"It's totally unethical, immoral and un-Islamic to do that, to play around with the words of God," says Fatah.
Middle Eastern sources tell NBC that the Saudi government has stopped distributing the Qurans in question. As for the textbooks, Saudi officials say they can only change as much and as fast as Saudi society allows, and that they are more concerned about how reforms are perceived at home than in the United States.
The problem with schools in Muslim countries
May 21, 2006
SPECIAL TO THE STAR
My name is Soroush. I was born in Iran 21 years ago and now reside in Toronto. I lived through the eight-year Iran-Iraq war. But this article is not about me. It is about a disturbing trend in education in Muslim countries.
I hope to draw a correlation between the education system in Iran and the recruitment of angry, young and easily manipulated individuals by terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda.
The ruins of Ground Zero are proof that we no longer live in an isolated box. The problems of people on one side of the world can bring destruction to people on the other. I say this only to reiterate former secretary of state Colin Powell's statement in 2004: "To eradicate terrorism, the United States must help... alleviate conditions in the world that enable terrorists to bring in new recruits."
It seems that conditions in the Middle East are not being "alleviated," as the U.S. administration had planned. Even Republican senators disagree with U.S. President George W. Bush on the war in Iraq.
Meanwhile, the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs' annual surveys consistently show a lack of freedom of expression, human rights, access to resources, economic stability and technological innovation in societies where most terrorists come from.
So perhaps there are more effective ways than military force to fight terrorism. The failure of American military intervention should prompt us to look at other dimensions of the conflict.
The school system of countries like Iran, where I was educated, is a good place to start.
To be a terrorist, it is not enough to be poor and angry. Otherwise, many more terrorists would originate from places like sub-Saharan Africa, where the rates of poverty are much worse than in Saudi Arabia, the homeland of 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists. Those terrorists were predominantly from middle-class families.
The more interesting issue is why these individuals were unable to think for themselves and find better ways of showing displeasure than through terrorism. My personal school experience in Iran offers a clue.
My education there was a military-like experience. The vice principal would stand in front of students lined up in formation and ask us to repeat pro-government propaganda, such as "Long Live Hezbollah" (a Middle Eastern paramilitary group with a strong presence in Iran and Lebanon). I was only 10 back then.
I remember that the teacher was similar to a God figure. We accepted his/her words without a grain of salt. Students were not encouraged to think for themselves or come up with our own solutions. On the contrary, we were spoon-fed information.
In religion and Qur'an classes (mandatory for all students), we learned the "correct" way of speaking, reading and acting. The incessant declaration of the importance of tradition helped students conform to what the authorities considered "Islamic." For example, it was blasphemous to dress in "feminine" colours, have a fancy haircut or, in general, think outside of the box. Such transgressions were often met with physical abuse.
I remember one of my close friends, Ali Esmaili, asked our Grade 5 teacher, "Miss, is it true that Ayatollah Khomeini only had an elementary school education?" The teacher immediately got up from her chair and her glare became fixed on Ali's eyes. She asked him to stand up. When he did, she hit him. After three blows, the teacher told Ali to go to the office and call his parents because he was going to be expelled from school.
Ali was not expelled in the end, but I learned never to question authority again. I can only assume that the other 41 students in that class continue to believe that very same message today: Never think for yourself.
When it came to mathematics and science, those subjects were no more than a struggle through theoretical concepts in books that we bought at the beginning of each school year. I never had to do research, look through dictionaries and encyclopedias, or go to the library to learn things on my own.
I remember that teachers constantly reviewed many of the political experiences of the nation in a certain framework. We were taught to accept some values and reject others. For one reason or another, the teachers, despite their own personal opinions, usually promoted the status quo.
In Grade 7, my teachers told me and other students to tell our parents to "vote for Nouri," the conservative opponent of the former Iranian president, Mohammad Khatami.
My experience in Canadian schools has been entirely different. I moved here in 1997 with my family and went into Grade 8 in the Toronto public school system. The teachers there taught me to understand things through various creative activities and to think for myself.
I sometimes wonder whether young Muslims who become terrorists are trapped by the limits of their education. Like me and my classmates in Iran, they don't question anything; they merely do what others tell them to do for no other reason than to simply obey orders.
To alleviate terrorism, it will be necessary to create educational systems in Muslim countries like Iran that allow the harvest of children's creative ideas. Allowing thought to grow will give these children the opportunity to imagine and be innovative as adults; they will find new ways to solve their problems. These solutions will stem from within and most likely match their culture, as well.
It is not possible to build a house without first laying the foundation. Hence, developed nations — instead of military intervention — have the responsibility to help lay the foundation and encourage education systems that foster creativity in Muslim nations.
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