Then we wonder why Pakistan is such a shaky ally. “In Pakistan’s Public Schools, Jihad Still Part of Lesson Plan: The Muslim nation’s public school texts still promote hatred and jihad, reformers say,” from the LA Times, with thanks to Joseph:
LAHORE, Pakistan “” Each year, thousands of Pakistani children learn from history books that Jews are tightfisted moneylenders and Christians vengeful conquerors. One textbook tells kids they should be willing to die as martyrs for Islam.
They aren’t being indoctrinated by extremist mullahs in madrasas, the private Islamic seminaries often blamed for stoking militancy in Pakistan. They are pupils in public schools learning from textbooks approved by the administration of President Pervez Musharraf.
Since joining the U.S. 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….
The current social studies curriculum guidelines for grades 6 and 7 instruct 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.”
In North-West Frontier Province, which is 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 continues. “Numerous mujahedin [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 says, “then jihad is necessary to free them from this cruel oppression.”…
“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.
I respect Haqqani a great deal. I’d be interested to know how he distinguishes, and how he proposes to teach jihadists to distinguish, between “jihad in classical Islamic theory” and “terrorism in the modern concept.”
“All of that shows that somehow the schooling system has fed intolerance and bigotry.”…
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 into the new text.
“Before Islam, people lived in untold misery all over the world,” the textbook says. “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” here, 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.”