For Pakistani kids, ‘j’ stands for jihad, ‘b’ for bandook
Islamabad: Thousands of Pakistani schoolchildren are growing up learning that the Urdu equivalent of the letter ‘a’ stands for Allah, ‘b’ for ‘bandook’ (gun) and ‘j’ for ‘jihad’.
Though not officially prescribed for pre-schoolers, books printed by Iqra Publishers are being used in several regular schools and madrasas across Pakistan. The three examples of Allah, bandook and jihad are not the only ones which sound like a “blueprint for a religious fascist state”.
The Urdu letter for the ‘t’ sound stands for takrao (collision), ‘k’ for khunjar (dagger), ‘h’ for hijab (veil) and ‘z’ for zunoob (sins), which includes watching television, playing musical instruments and flying kites.
According to the National Bureau of Curriculum and Textbooks, class 5 children are expected to acknowledge and identify forces that may be working against Pakistan, make speeches on jihad and shahadat, understand Hindu-Muslim differences and the resultant need for Pakistan, India’s evil designs about Pakistan and demonstrate by actions a belief in the fear of Allah, said a report in a magazine.
In an article titled The Saudiisation of Pakistan, renowned physicist Pervez Hoodbhoy argued that “a stern, unyielding version of Islam is replacing the kinder, gentler Islam of the sufis of Pakistan”.
“Pakistan’s self-inflicted suffering comes from an education system that, like Saudi Arabia’s system, provides an ideological foundation for violence and future jihadists,” he wrote.
“It demands that Islam be understood as a complete code of life, and creates in the mind of a school-going child a sense of siege and embattlement by stressing that Islam is under threat everywhere,” Hoodbhoy said.
Hoodbhoy was appalled at the syllabus which expects class 5 students to make speeches about jihad. “This is the basic roadmap for transmitting values and knowledge to the young. It was prepared by the curriculum wing of the federal ministry of education, government of Pakistan. It sounds like a blueprint for a religious fascist state,” he wrote.
He wrote that according to national education census, which the ministry of education released in 2006, 1.5 million students are acquiring religious education in 13,000 madrassas. Commonly quoted figures range between 18,000 and 22,000 madrassas. The number of students could be correspondingly larger.
“Free boarding and lodging, plus provision of books, is a key part of their appeal. Additionally, parents desire that their children be ‘disciplined’ and given a Islamic education. Madrassas serve this purpose, too, exceedingly well,” he concluded. AGENCIES
Source:The Times of India dated 16|Jan|2009