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EGYPT: School curricula inciting extremism to be changed

April 27, 2010 |  7:39 am


Egyptian Education Minister Ahmed Zaki Badr has announced that certain Islamic religious teachings, which in some schools have inspired extremism, will be modified in the 2010-2011 school year.

"We have taken this step after we received complaints of deficiencies in religious curriculum taught in schools, as some of them incited extremism and violence," Minister Badr told reporters Monday. "Islam is a religion of forgiveness and love, and its curriculum should not include anything that could be misinterpreted to hate or violence."

In a press conference joined by Egypt's Grand Mufti, Ali Gomaa, the minister said that all changes will be approved and submitted in accordance between the Ministry of Education and Dar Al Ifta. Badr added that Christian Coptic curricula will by reviewed by Pope Shenouda III of the Coptic Church of Alexandria, who will add his recommendations if they require similar altercations.

Grand Mufti Gomaa said it was necessary to occasionally amend religious courses to better speak to the prevailing needs and conditions in society: "Modifying the curriculums doesn’t necessarily mean that the existing ones had malfunctions, but the changes will avoid any possible misunderstandings," Gomaa said.

"Islam is a flexible religion and it permits us to carry out adjustments in order to allow certain modules fulfill their religious role in a modern society," he added.

Islamic and Coptic modules are compulsory for all students in Egypt according to their religious orientation. However, religious minorities, including Copts, who form nearly 10% of the country's population, have long criticized Islamic modules for calling them infidels and preaching hatred toward non-Muslims.

--Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Egypt's Grand Mufti, Ali Gomaa. Credit: Agence France-Presse