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This medieval Saudi education system must be reformed

King Solomon

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This medieval Saudi education system must be reformed



This week, BBC1's Panorama reported on the Saudi school textbooks used in over 40 Saudi schools in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The investigation found that the books contained messages of hatred, incitement of violence and other reprehensible teachings that are commonly found in the Saudi official religious discourse. I had the pleasure of participating in the programme, providing commentary on the findings.


In my years of work dedicated to promoting modernity and reform in my homeland, I have always given special attention to education as it is the foundation of social values and a major predictor of the direction in which a country is headed. Unfortunately, the Saudi government realised the same thing and has used the education system to shape societal attitudes towards the country's government and the world at large. The primary goal of Saudi education is to maintain the rule of absolute monarchy by casting it as the ordained protector of the faith, and that Islam is at war with other faiths and cultures. That's what the Saudi monarchy calls "intellectual security," maintained yet further by a ban on liberal arts education, philosophy, drama, and music.


Since January 2001, I have been writing about how Saudi religious education is dividing our country's population over the interpretation of Islam, and turning classmates into enemies because some of them view our religion in a different way. Since then, I have reviewed all the religious textbooks used in Saudi schools several times and found them to be comprised of medieval ideological indoctrination instead of offering a modern education that would prepare the student for the workplace.


The current textbooks do not spare most Muslims from the accusations of polytheism, deviance, hypocrisy, and outright apostasy. For example, the 12th grade book on "monotheism" claims that many in the Muslim world community have returned to polytheism. That could be ignored until you know what the texts teach about polytheists. In the classical Takfiri (declaring others to be outside of religion's bounds) style, the text allows for the killing of apostates and polytheists, and it does not take much to qualify as one or the other. Membership in capitalist, communist or secular groups makes you an apostate, and disagreeing with the Wahhabi/Salafi anthropomorphic characterisation of God makes you a polytheist.


The textbooks take a very aggressive stance against Jews and Christians whom it views as unbelievers and eternal enemies of Islam. And if you do not believe, or even doubt, that Christians and Jews are unbelievers, you are an infidel yourself.


The texts offer a chilling definition of murder as the intentional killing of "protected souls." You won't object very much until you know who meets the definition of a "protected soul". Let us see if you are among those who are protected. The text explains that "protected souls" include free Muslims, free (non-slave) non-Muslim citizens of Muslim countries, and non-Muslims who travel to Muslim countries by invitation of Muslim hosts. The rest are not deserving of the status of a "protected soul". If this is not license to kill the majority of the world's population, I am not sure what is.


One of that most disturbing messages offered by the textbooks is that slavery is legitimate, and that young children can be married by their fathers to adults or other children. Child marriage is legal in Saudi Arabia and girls as young as four have been married in Saudi courts. To understand the mentality of these texts' authors, you need to wonder why there is not a single photo of a living being throughout the entire 12 years of educational text that I have reviewed. The authors believe that photography is polytheistic, and they make that clear in several lessons dedicated to such teachings.


Last June, we asked the Obama administration to implement US law by banning the entry into the US of the Saudi minister of education Faisal bin Abdullah, King Abdullah's nephew and son-in-law. The US law provides for a way to ban foreign officials from entering the country for their involvement in human rights and security violations. The administration chose not to follow our advice, despite the fact that this minister is directly responsible for the content of the textbooks that both incite violence and violate the rights of million of children in Saudi Arabia who are forced to study such material.


What Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East need is a modern and objective national curriculum that respects all Muslims inside and outside these countries, and portrays other religions, and civilisations with objectivity and respect. Otherwise, it's not difficult to imagine the chilling consequences 20 years down the line, of filling the minds of millions of children with messages of hate. That is what I am now trying to answer during my year-long fellowship in the congressional US commission on international religious freedom in Washington.


The kingdom's educational system is gripped by a severe crisis that the monarchy is not willing to address. The west, especially the US, would be well advised to engage its Saudi ally and other Middle Eastern countries in a joint effort aimed at modernising their education systems by making them more open to the rest of the world. The region needs the west's expertise in modern education a lot more than its modern weapons.


Instead of forcing Americans through humiliating body scans and invasive pat-downs, US officials should focus their efforts on reforming the education system that produced the Saudi bombmaker responsible for the explosive packages sent from Yemen last month.


This medieval Saudi education system must be reformed | Ali al-Ahmed | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk
 

Sinnerman108

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So,
they are going to play the same game they played with Pakistan.
On the pretext of improving education they will remove any Islamic roots in the education system.
They will remove all references to jihad, and alter history.

It is about time, all the scholars got together and produced a single syllabus.
 

King Solomon

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So,
they are going to play the same game they played with Pakistan.
On the pretext of improving education they will remove any Islamic roots in the education system.
They will remove all references to jihad, and alter history.

It is about time, all the scholars got together and produced a single syllabus.
Rather get islam back to its roots (Quranic values and teachings) and promote the true values of Islam.
 
Sep 5, 2010
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So,
they are going to play the same game they played with Pakistan.
On the pretext of improving education they will remove any Islamic roots in the education system.
They will remove all references to jihad, and alter history.

It is about time, all the scholars got together and produced a single syllabus.
So u want their education system, in which people are taught to be killed, enslaved, child marriage, and hating other religion and cultures'?
 

Sinnerman108

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So u want their education system, in which people are taught to be killed, enslaved, child marriage, and hating other religion and cultures'?
Child marriages are common in INDIA than anywhere else in the world.

We will teach our children the way of our religion; others can go climb a pole.

Before you or others from Hindu-stan come to comment, remove Hindu programs from TV and Cartoon channels.
 

BLACKEAGLE

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So,
they are going to play the same game they played with Pakistan.
On the pretext of improving education they will remove any Islamic roots in the education system.
They will remove all references to jihad, and alter history.

It is about time, all the scholars got together and produced a single syllabus.
Thank you, no one could put it better than this. Ummah enemies and hypocrates will fight Islam to the end in the name of Islam. May God protect us.
 

Mosamania

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Our Education system do suck. There is no doubt about that. It should be reformed true and they are reforming it but not enough. However the info this guy gave as what is "Inside" there is completely false. This guy is a PressTV favorite so no doubt he is full of BS.
 

Solomon2

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Our Education system do suck. There is no doubt about that. It should be reformed true and they are reforming it but not enough.
I wonder if the barriers are more social and political than educational. I met a Saudi engineer once. Angry fellow. I think it was because he couldn't get a job at home. Isn't it true that for a Saudi employer the advantages of hiring foreigners is that they have few rights while Saudi employees have more, or at least have to be treated with more kindness?
 

somebozo

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Rather get islam back to its roots (Quranic values and teachings) and promote the true values of Islam.
In our quest to take islam back to its roots we have produced numerous sects and sub-sect at continuous war with each other. This is a failed path let us ignore this for a while and think of science and technology as a the gateway to salvation.
 

BLACKEAGLE

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Our Education system do suck. There is no doubt about that. It should be reformed true and they are reforming it but not enough. However the info this guy gave as what is "Inside" there is completely false. This guy is a PressTV favorite so no doubt he is full of BS.
Actually, the posted article is full of BS. But, I strongly agree that KSA educational system is in desperate need for reforms. For example, a high school student gets his marks from school rather than EM, which jeopardizes the whole ES since those marks are vulnerably exposed to manipulation and corruption.

Anyway, I like how this guy (s-19) live in his fictional world where he can tell countries what they must do and what mustn't. Anyway, let them live this life away from the harsh reality. After all, it's not us who take "the pills".
 

IbnAlwaled

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I wonder if the barriers are more social and political than educational. I met a Saudi engineer once. Angry fellow. I think it was because he couldn't get a job at home. Isn't it true that for a Saudi employer the advantages of hiring foreigners is that they have few rights while Saudi employees have more, or at least have to be treated with more kindness?
Sadly it depends on the nationality. If for example, he is American he gets a better salary than a Saudi, or at least that is what I heard. On the topic, as soon as I saw the picture of this loser I know the article is total BS. If he doesn't like it here he should move to his beloved Iran. No one is going to influence our education, specially not Christians who want to dilute our religion. BTW, slavery already exists al over the world today legally as the form of hard labour prisons, so what's wrong with it.
 

King Solomon

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In our quest to take islam back to its roots we have produced numerous sects and sub-sect at continuous war with each other. This is a failed path let us ignore this for a while and think of science and technology as a the gateway to salvation.
:tup:

The thing is, we are fighting amongst ourselves while not studying/following the Quran. In fact, the Quran explicitly encourages science, technology, democracy, development etc. Our present state is similar to medieval Europe whose conception of Christianity denounced material progress
 

BLACKEAGLE

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:tup:

The thing is, we are fighting amongst ourselves while not studying/following the Quran. In fact, the Quran explicitly encourages science, technology, democracy, development etc. Our present state is similar to medieval Europe whose conception of Christianity denounced material progress
The difference between us is that Russia (former USSR) is the one who made Kazakhstan's educational system according to communism ideology. While we make our own EDs that fits our needs and requirements.
 

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