Feb. 19, 2019
Review Of Qatari Islamic Education
School Textbooks For The First Half Of
The 2018-2019 School Year
“…However, a review of these books, especially those for junior high and high school (grades 7-12), reveals that much of their content does not promote these goals, and in fact undermines them:
- The textbooks for grades 6, 8, 9 and 12 glorify jihad and self-sacrifice for the sake of Islam, presenting them as virtues and as divine commandments that earn Allah’s favor and rewards, chief among them admittance into the highest level of Paradise.
- The textbooks for junior high and high school repeatedly stress the difference between Muslims and non-Muslims, describing the latter as “unbelievers” who will suffer terrible tortures in Hell and whom the Muslims must renounce, based on the Islamic principle of al-wala wal-bara, namely loyalty toward fellow-Muslims and the disavowal of non-Muslims.
- The books stress the superiority of Islam over other religions, especially over Judaism and Christianity, which are presented as false and distorted religions, and also feature anti-Semitic motifs, presenting Jews as treacherous, dishonest and crafty, and at the same time as weak, wretched and cowardly. It should be noted that these anti-Semitic motifs, and the principle of disavowing the non-Muslims, are not presented only in the context of Islamic history, but are also associated with the modern era and with the students’ daily lives. One of the assignments at the end of the chapter requires the students to compare the Jews’ attitude toward the Muslims in the time of [Muhammad’s] prophecy and their attitude toward the Muslims today, in light of the material learned in the lesson. (The students are apparently expected to infer that the traits ascribed to the Jews in the chapter – treachery, cowardice, etc. – are also applicable to the Jews today.) Similarly, after learning about the principle of al-wala wal-bara, the students are asked how they would implement this principle today in their relations with non-Muslims in Qatar and abroad.
- Starting in grade 8, the books stress the importance of death in Islam, as well as the horrors of Hell and the pleasures of Paradise.
- The grade 11 textbook presents the West as a hostile force that introduced heretical ideas into the Islamic world, such as secularism and orientalism, with the aim of destroying Islam, casting doubts on the prophesy of Muhammad, distancing the Muslims from their faith and cultivating generations disconnected from Islam, and distorting Muslim history by disregarding its golden ages….”