Pakistan plan to teach children jihad as part of Islamic Studies could affect UK

In Pakistan the government is currently in the process of creating a curriculum for compulsory Qur’anic studies which all schools would have to offer. However, their proposed curriculum has come under fire from Pakistan’s powerful Council on Islamic ideology, which consists of senior Islamic clerics. The Council has raised strong objections to the fact that the Ministry of Education has focused the syllabus on sections of the Qur’an relating to the lives of the prophets and ignored Qur’anic verses relating to jihad. Zahid Mehmood Qasmi, a member of the council told Pakistan daily newspaper The Express Tribune “Some 484 verses related to jihad are mentioned in the Holy Book but not a single verse has been mentioned in the syllabi that showed mala fide intention of the government.”

The issue is potentially of some importance not just in Pakistan, but also in western countries such as the UK because textbooks from countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have sometimes been used to teach Islamic Studies in Muslim schools and supplementary schools in the West. It also illustrates the major problem of countering Islamic extremism – which is that the concept of jihad, including violent jihad against non-Muslims such as Christians is deeply rooted in the Qur’an itself.

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