Hey, now, mass-murderers have feelings too. But it doesn’t mean young students should be encouraged to empathize or identify with them. At best, it’s creepy, and in horrendously poor taste. At worst, it could validate the supposed grievances of the 7/7 bombers in the eyes of students, thus inviting a more passive response to the jihad against Britain in its various forms, and reinforce and reward the feelings of Muslim students who might see themselves following in the bombers’ footsteps.
“UK withdraws controversial terrorism lesson plan,” by Raphael G. Satter for the Associated Press, February 19:
LONDON (AP) “” Britain’s government apologized Thursday for endorsing a lesson plan which asked students to think like suicide bombers.
Britain’s government-run Teachernet Web site pointed teachers to a lesson plan about the deadly attacks which suggested that students think about the bombings from the perspective of the people who carried them out.
A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families described the site as a “one-stop-shop” for British teachers looking for lesson plans and teaching aids. He acknowledged that the lesson about the bombings was inappropriate for schoolchildren and said it had been pulled from the site.
“We’ve apologized,” he said, speaking anonymously in line with official policy.
The lesson plan, called “Things Do Change,” examines life in multicultural Britain. The focus is on the “golden rule” “” treating others as you would want to be treated “” but it also touches on the London bombings, in which four British Muslims killed themselves and 52 others aboard subway cars and a double-decker bus.
Among the lessons’ suggested features was: “A brief presentation on the 7/7 bombings from the perspective of the bombers.”
The Times Educational Supplement identified the lesson plan’s author as Sail Suleman and quoted him as saying it was an attempt to get children to think about “” and challenge “” extremism.
“Why do young people go out and do what the bombers did?” Suleman was quoted as saying. “Was it pressure from individuals they were hanging out with? Hopefully, we’ll encourage pupils to stay away from those individuals.”
But the teaching material drew anger from those touched by London’s deadliest attack since World War II.
“I can’t see why anyone would think it is a valuable exercise to encourage children to put themselves in the position of men who treated people in such an inhuman way,” Jacqui Putnam, a survivor of the bombings, was quoted in The Daily Telegraph’s Friday edition.