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Muslim Or Kafir
post 11/06/07 12:11 AM
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"Muslim or Kafer": Too Little to Understand
Yemen Times Staff

Last week, I was trying to review with my little child Maha some of her school courses. When we were going through some of contents of the Islamic religion course, she started telling me that Islam teaches people to be clean and tidy. This is fine. However, the 6-year girl in her first year in a private school started telling me her teacher taught her that the devil likes the Kafer or infidel because he is dirty and that the devil does not approach the Muslim because he is clean. Wow. This is horrific.

She is so small to understand the meaning of words like "Kafer", "devil" and the like. I found it difficult to explain and make her figure out such stereotypical phrases. My child picked up the lesson quickly and now, whenever she sees a man or a woman on TV at home, she starts asking: is he/she Muslim or Kafer? This is really too much for a little child. Why should our schoolteachers squeeze our kids' minds with such heavy stuff and create this gap between the world and us? It is the job of the education ministry to check what sort of education our kids are given.

I understand it is fine our kids learn Islamic teachings from their elementary school. Yet, they should not be confused with such hard and debatable questions. It is very dangerous to teach little children that one party is holding the absolute truth and the other is completely wrong and is the beloved of the devil. They grow with such stereotypes that really broaden the scope for hatred and intolerance. They listen to such discourse in school, mosques and even at university. Some helpless and distracted people due to unemployment or other sorts of reasons find in such a discourse a good resort to diffuse their depression. They grow fanatic. The "other" here or there turns into a symbol of evil they have to crack down. The result is the fire and terrorist blasts we see across the region. I understand absence of democracy and repression of authoritarian regimes is one of the key reasons of this situation. However, such one-sided opinion culture that does not recognize individualism and the freedom of thought provides the basis and the best environment for such extremist ideology to grow.

Last week, I went to the book fair running these days in Sana'a. I parked my car at Algeria's street, crowded with many cars. I went in and started searching for interesting books to pick up. I noticed that the fair is pregnant with many religious books and that heavily bearded Salafis were hovering the area, collecting books here and there. The books mostly are about the horror of hell, magic, jugglery and other superstitious stuff. The other sorts of books were limited.

I do not mean the Salafi books must be prohibited or banned. But, at least other sorts of books that cherish life, logical thinking and reasoning, computer and technology at large should be boosted and made available on the same scale. Young people should learn well to have hope and be positive about life and tolerant with the world.

Some of my foreign friends and even readers have expressed concern over the consequences of my vocal articles and my open views about several political and social issues like the article on the chaos of mosque preachers and the use of loudspeakers. I do thank them for their concern. It seems their worry has hit the nil on the head. As I said earlier, when I went out of the book fair premises, I found my car's spare tire and other decorative stuff were stolen during the day and in one of the crowded streets. Two days later, I received three emails from someone I do know in which he implicitly gives warning lessons on why some are defending the rights of the people in the southern governorates. Frankly speaking, I do not blame anybody for the theft but the loose security situation. I did not care to inform the police about it because there will be no fruit out of that as usual. However, if such are alarming messages, does it mean we should tone down our rhetoric and make up with wrongdoings? I do not think so. If we soften and make peace with injustice, mistakes will exacerbate and good governance will never be attained. Do not you think so?!
Mohammed Al-Qadhi (mhalqadhi@hotmail.com) is a Yemeni journalist and columnist.

Teaching little kids this kind of bullshitt is totally disgusting! I guess one has to be thankful that she's not being taught how glorious it is to strap a bomb on her body and kill the dirty devil infidels. icon_evil.gif
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