'Institutional radicalisation of public schools'

VIEW: Institutional radicalisation of public schools
Ali K Chishti, Daily Times, August 25, 2010

There are millions of ‘non-state actors’ whose handlers could prod them into doing anything by evoking emotions through misquoting Quranic verses

“Hindu pundits were jealous of Al-Beruni” (Social Studies, Class VIII, Punjab Textbook Board, page 82). Another textbook reads, “The Hindus who had always been opportunists” (Social Studies, Class VI, Punjab Textbook Board, page 141). Still another reads, “The Hindus had always been an enemy of Islam.” (Urdu, Class V, Punjab Textbook Board, page 108). An e-mail I got from a Pakistani Hindu friend asked me what did they do to deserve this treatment. I had no answers. It is probably a classical example of our state’s deterioration because of its relentless pursuit of a destructive foreign policy agenda, and also abdicating its role in education to the jihadi organisations. Worse, whatever little education the state provides is not much better than what is being provided by the madrassas or by a school system like Al-Dawa (run by Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT)) in terms of producing enlightened citizens. One, therefore, does not need a very active imagination to figure out the direction in which the country is headed. In fact, schools like those run by Jamaat-ud-Dawa (a new name for LeT), which received Punjab government’s funding of Rs 30million, systematically replaced the mainstream curriculum. Now Allah instead of anar (pomegranate) is used to teach the sound of the Urdu alphabet letter alif; bandooq (gun) instead of bakri (goat) for bey and jihad instead of jahaz (ship) for jeem. These jehadi public schools manufacturing Kasabs and Shezad Tanvirs who, when asked about their identity, class themselves as Muslims first and Pakistani afterwards. There are millions of ‘non-state actors’ whose handlers could prod them into doing anything by evoking emotions through misquoting Quranic verses.

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