The introduction of such material into the textbooks is being promoted by members of the Islamic party, Jamaat-e-Islami. Yet in the West it is an official dogma that violent jihad has nothing to do with Islam, and anyone who believes otherwise is a racist, bigoted Islamophobe. How is it that Jamaat-e-Islami has succumbed to “Islamophobia”?
PESHAWAR: As teenage education activist Malala Yousafzai prepares to receive her Nobel Peace Prize, the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — her hometown — is pushing for Islamic content in school textbooks that critics claim promotes violent jihad….
But the biggest debate surrounding education in KP is not how to improve attendance, hire more teachers or repair dilapidated infrastructure: instead, the regional government is attempting to determine how best to reclaim the curriculum in the name of Islam.
The move is being led by Jamaat-e-Islami, the junior member of the coalition led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI).
“There are errors in current text books which go against our values,” Inayatullah Khan, local governance minister, told AFP.
The project foresees, for example, reintroducing verses of the Koran that deal with jihad (holy war), and adding passages on the divine creation of the universe into science textbooks.
It also envisages rolling back changes made during the last period of reform, 2006, when authorities “removed religious chapters on social science texts” to replace them with “chapters on Nelson Mandela, Karl Marx, Marco Polo, Vasco de Gama and Neil Armstrong,” according to the minister.
They also want to pull primary school textbooks that depict girls without veils.
“We live in an Islamic society, women don’t wear skirts here,” said Khan.
The project, confirmed by provincial education minister Atif Khan, pertains to public schools as well as those private schools which do not have the means to procure their own texts — covering the vast majority of students in the province.
Emphasis on Islam in non-religion related school texts began as early as the 1960s, but increased in the 1980s under the rule of hardline military dictator Zia-ul-Haq. The PPP and the PML-N, project a more moderate vision….
Sardar Hussain Babak, a spokesman for the Awami National Party that sits in opposition in KP, blamed PTI for striking a deal with the Jamaat-i-Islami to ensure its fragile ruling coalition survived.
“There is a compromise between Tehreek-i-Insaaf and Jamaat-i-Islami. Now Jamaat-i-Islami points will be part of curriculum,” he said.
“Jamaat-i-Islami is a radical religious party which is provoking jihad, definitely now jihadi elements will be part of curriculum.”
A recent US study of 100 Pakistani school texts found that minorities — especially Hindus — were depicted as “second-class” citizens and “enemies of Islam”.…
Even the country’s Western donors, who give millions of dollars in education aid, are privately worried about the “re-Islamisation trend”.
Others see it as simply a populist move with little chance of succeeding in the short term. After the last set of reforms in 2006, authorities took seven years to print new editions, according to one Western diplomat.