Jihadi Public Schools

Posted on May 26, 2010 by


by Ali K Chishti

Published Daily Times

Ali K Chishti in his article on the flaws and misleading notions of  our education system has pointed out that unnecessary and often misplaced emphasis on religious education is nothing more than a clever ruse to deflect attention from the real issue: the general state of education in Pakistan

As he dicussed that roots of the problem lies in state policy of using violance as foreign policy tool, religious seminaries were corrupted by the bulks of petro dollar coming in the days of Soviet Afghan war as they are multiplied hundred times in Zia era. Their role in this regard is restrained to propagation of the state adopted policy through the mosques…apart from this this propagation is extended to the school and college youth by none other than the qutbian venom spitters IJT and JI through their dozens of magazines of vide variety for the school kids to the university students… The chain of schools established by them with different names and slogans have given them the opportunity to sing anthems like “bharat hei hamara hadaf” and “crush India and Crush America”. Indeed they have done all this in more sophisticated way. Why the hell state has allowed this maniacs to establish their own schools and colleges with Jihadi agenda and deviated interpretations….(Ali Arqam)

Here’s the article from dailytimes…

One of the misconceptions  about the jihad phenomenon is regarding the role played by the madrassa in propagating the jihadi culture inside Pakistan. While there is no doubt that madrassas sponsored by certain countries in the past have played an important role in inculcating hateful vehemence among their students, they were not alone in their endeavours. The public and private schools have been equally involved in the propagation of jihad as a concept. Shifting the blame onto the madrassas alone is politically convenient for the government, as madrassas also lend themselves to an intellectually easy analysis and explanation of the phenomenon. But this analysis ignores the social, economic and political dimensions of militant Islam and the role played by the state in promoting a militant culture and mindset in the country. Moreover, the use of jihad by the state for the achievement of foreign policy goals is also glossed over by giving undue attention to the proliferation of madrassas and focusing on them as nurseries of terror. It is a fact that for every militant thrown up by a madrassa, there are dozens who never got even close to religious education. Instead, they were just plain criminals before they chose to elevate themselves to the status of jihadis. Talking of a crackdown on madrassas may make eminent sense, but it offers very little in terms of actually getting to grips with the problem. In fact, unnecessary and often misplaced emphasis on religious education is nothing more than a clever ruse to deflect attention from the real issue: the general state of education in Pakistan.

There is no doubt about how a specific religious ideology is being propagated that explicitly promotes hatred, violence and prejudice towards various sects within Islam as well as non-Muslims and how the entire public and private school curricula are designed to promote, inculcate and incite the spirit of ‘jihad’ and hatred among children as young as five. In a recent report by the UN that helps us understand the jihadi indoctrination of three generations of Pakistani students, we are told how and why cosmetic measures like teaching liberal subjects and science in madrassas will hardly make any difference to the jihadi culture that has taken root in Pakistan.

The age-old analysis that madrassas alone breed the hate and irrationality that results in international jihad is itself a distorted worldview. The educational material in most secular and so-called ‘English-medium’ schools is, at times, equally hateful. Parts of their textbooks tell lies, craft hate, and incite readers for a new world order called pan-Islamism, hence ideologically confusing the students who already suffer from a serious identity crisis. Faisal Shahzad, the failed Times Square bomber, an upper middle-class English speaker, who never even attended a madrassa, was himself a product of these English medium schools in Pakistan.

Interestingly, the theme of hatred and militancy in the curriculum can be clearly distinguished between the pre- and post-1979 educational contexts. There was no mention of these in the pre-Islamisation period curricula, while the post-1979 curricula and textbooks openly eulogise war and militancy and urge students to become mujahideen and martyrs. But the target is not only India or Hindus. The curriculum targets all non-Muslims and countries and seeks to teach a particularly virulent version of radical and militant Islam to Pakistan’s children. The most significant problems with the current curriculum and textbooks are: i) insensitivity to the religious diversity of the nation; ii) incitement to militancy and violence; iii) perspectives that encourage prejudice, bigotry and discrimination towards fellow citizens, especially women and religious minorities and other nations; and iv) the glorification of war and the use of force.

All this hatred and indoctrination should also serve as a reality check for those who delude themselves into believing that, somehow, India and Pakistan can live together in peace. This is not possible until there is a complete overhaul of the educational curriculum in Pakistan and the process of reverse indoctrination is completed. Going by what is being done to the Pakistani children — not only in madrassas but also in schools runs by the Pakistani state — the entire educational curriculum needs to be seriously monitored and altered on a war-footing.

The writer is a political analyst who can be reached at akchishti@hotmail.com