Afghanistan, Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sudan, Somalia, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Syria, UAE, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Comoros, Iraq, Maldives, Djibouti, Benin, Brunei, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Albania, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Mozambique, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Suriname, Togo, Guyana and Côte d’Ivoire are all Muslim-majority states. Can you name the one — and the only — Muslim-majority state where Muslims blew up the Danish embassy killing at least eight other Muslims?
Why, why Pakistan? I don’t have all the answers, and I am sure no one does. But, please have a look at what the Punjab Textbook Board is teaching eleven-year old Pakistanis. Here is a paragraph from the Social Studies textbook for Class 7, page 43 (written by Professor Dr M H Bokhari and Syed Hassan Tahir):
“European nations have been working during the past three centuries, through conspiracies on naked aggression to subjugate the countries of the Muslim world.”
Here is a paragraph that was not part of the previous year’s Pakistan Studies but has been inserted in the textbook for the current academic year. This text was written by Muhammad Hussain Chaudhry, Ali Iqtadar Mirza, Sheikh Anees, Rai Faiz Ahmad Kharal, Syed Abbas Haidar and Dr Qais. This is for students of Class 9 and appears on page 3:
“The economic system of (the) west was creating unsolvable problems and had failed to do justice with the people.”
Thirteen- and fourteen-year-old students of Pakistan Studies are being taught that
“one of the reasons of the downfall of the Muslims in the sub-continent was the lack of the spirit of jihad (Class 9-10; Pakistan Studies, page 7).”
Imagine; thirteen-year-old Pakistanis are being taught that
“In Islam jihad is very important…..The person who offers his life never dies….All the prayers nurture one’s passion of jihad (Class 9-10; Pakistan Studies, page 10).”
Look at what Dr Sultan Khan, Muhammad Farooq Malik, Rai Faiz Ahmad Kharal, Muhammad Hussain Chaudhry and Khadim Ali Khan are teaching sixteen-year-old Pakistanis:
“Always keep oneself ready to sacrifice one’s life and property is jihad…..The basic purpose of all submissions and jihad is to keep oneself follower of the good will of Allah Almighty (Class 12; Pakistan Studies, page 4).”
At the tender age of 10, Pakistani students are discovering what the British had done to them. “The British sent rare books from these libraries to England. Thus the British ruined the Muslim schools. They did not want that Islam should spread (Class 6; Social Studies, page 99).” This text was scripted and translated by Professor Mian Muhammed Aslam, Professor Muhammed Farooq Malik and Qazi Sajjad Ahmed.
Look at the remarkable breakthrough achieved by of our learned Professor Dr M H Bokhari and Syed Hassan Tahir. In a total of 36 words, the duo has managed to capture the cause of the crusades:
“History has no parallel to the extremely kind treatment of the Christians by the Muslims. Still the Christian kingdoms of Europe were constantly trying to gain control of Jerusalem. This was the cause of the crusades (Class 7; Social Studies, page 25).”
It seems as if our ministry of education is grooming our children for death rather than for life. The examples quoted above are all out of our federal ministry of education’s curriculum designed by the curriculum wing. I agree that nine-, ten- and eleven-year-old students after reading these textbooks are not going to go and blow themselves up but the federal ministry of education is certainly creating a thoroughly militarized society. In that sense, our curriculum appears to have been deliberately designed to facilitate the usurpation of genuine educational space by forces of hate, violence and that of extremism. What we have is a primary and secondary school environment consciously manufactured to nurture terror, promote prejudice and breed extremism.
Our ‘Curriculum of hate’ is, hopefully, not producing suicide bombers but it is definitely breeding closet bombers who wholeheartedly support the ideals of suicide bombers being produced elsewhere. In essence, the two — suicide bombers and closet bombers — have a strange symbiotic relationship whereby the parasite cannot survive without a receptive host. And, the receptive host is all around us — courtesy the ministry of education, government of Pakistan. Why is our ministry of education so bent upon preparing our kids for death and not for life?
The writer is an Islamabad-based freelance columnist. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org