'Egyptian curricula states Jews, Christians are infidels'

Israeli think tank says drastic reforms are needed in Egyptian schools in order to comply with UNESCO standards.

By OREN KESSLER
June 28, 2011 05:19
3 minute read.
Cairo mosques

Cairo mosques_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Egypt’s school curriculum, laden with anti-Semitic and anti-Christian sentiment, must undergo drastic reform to comply with international standards, according to a new report to be presented this week at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“Egypt has to conduct fundamental reforms in its curricula, which present a national identity based solely on the Islamic religion,” said Yohanan Manor, chairman and co-founder of the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE), the Jerusalembased think-tank that compiled the report.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
'Arab uprisings may pave way for extremism'
Egypt’s interim rulers learn the democracy game

“Egypt’s schools present Islam as the ‘only true faith,’ and believers in other religions – including Coptic Christians – as infidels,” he said.

Manor and his colleagues will present the report at the conference, “School Textbooks in the Greater Middle East: National Identity and Images of Self and Other,” to be held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Hebrew University’s Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace.

A year before the ousting of president Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s government announced plans for comprehensive reforms to “purge school curricula of erroneous views and material that incites extreme violence.”

The government’s first step was to remove references to “jihad in God’s name.” These changes, the report found, have fallen far short of the comprehensive reform Cairo had pledged.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Anti-Coptic violence in Egypt reached a crescendo over the past six months. A bomb in an Alexandria church on Christmas Day last year killed 21 people, and anti-Christian attacks have grown in scope and frequency since Mubarak’s resignation in February. The new report by IMPACT-SE, formerly the Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace, found that internecine violence is fueled largely by education.

But contradictory messages also run deeply through Egypt’s education system. In many textbooks Copts are denigrated as infidels, yet in those same works are praised for participating in Egypt’s independence campaigns throughout history. Students are taught that the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament are holy books, but also taught that those same texts were “forgeries” penned by non-Muslims.

“Egyptian textbooks define Christians and Jews as infidels,” Manor said. “A year ago, Egyptian authorities admitted as much in a joint conference by Education Minister Dr. Ahmed Zaki Badreldin and the grand mufti of Egypt, Dr. Ali Gomaa.”

In April of last year, he said, the two officials announced reforms to purge the curricula of Quranic verses “encouraging jihad and the murder of polytheists and infidels.”

The press conference sparked an uproar in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood flatly rejected any talk of education reform, while several news outlets took positions in favor.

The state-owned Al-Ahram daily called for an end to “teaching our children to denigrate the Christian religion and even Judaism...
They must stop describing believers in other religions as infidels, as that is a dangerous designation that effectively grants permission to kill.”

IMPACT-SE is an independent, non-partisan and nonprofit think tank founded in 1998 that seeks to examine school curricula worldwide, with a focus on the Middle East. Its methodology is based on the international standards determined by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

The institute is based at Hebrew University’s Givat Ram campus.

This week’s conference brings leading scholars from Israel, the US and Europe to examine prevailing trends in international education. On Wednesday, IMPACT-SE researchers will present country-specific research on school curricula in five Middle Eastern states – Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and Iran.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
October 16, 2018
The curious case of ‘woke’ Ahmadinejad

By LAHAV HARKOV