Published On: Fri, Dec 18th, 2015

Student’s Mobilization and Revision of Educational Curriculum Against Extremism at National Level

Extremisim-TerrorismBy Faiza Khan

Vision of our Quaid “Youth as nation builders” faded once again on 13 May 2015, when three young students of a renowned university have been arrested for indiscriminately killing 45 people in a bus of Ismaili Community near Safoora Chowrangi area of Karachi. Terrorist attacks plotted by all three students Saad Aziz, Mohammad Azfar Ishrat and Haafiz Nasir’s has sent shockwaves across the country and left their family and friends in dismay and disbelief. Haafiz Nasir alias Yasir, who completed master degree in Islamic Studies from Karachi University, is a trained terrorist and was involved in propagating toxics religious creeds for brainwashing the youth and motivating them for ‘Jihadi’ activities.

The countdown of exploiting educationalists does not end here, it is growing exponentially with the rising propaganda of implanting hatred among youth. In its continuation, recently Police Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) has arrested a man, Ghalib Ata belonging to finest and most prestigious profession (teaching) for assisting the banned outfit Hizbut Tahrir (HuT) group in its activities. As scepticism grows over the assertions made by anti-Pakistan forces on instigating our youth, US officials reported that US-based Pakistani national Tashfeen, a qualified pharmacist and her husband Syed Rizwan Farook were suspected to be involved in killing of 14 people in California. They were also found to have an apparent pledge of allegiance to Daish leader, Al-Baghdadi.

It is the gravest threat that terrorists are preying on students of mainstream educational institutions for embodiment of evil in youth. Some of the recent arrests made by the law enforcement agencies have reinforced this view while many doctors and engineers have been found involved in major terrorist attacks. In the series of evidences Ayman al Zawahiri, who is an eye surgeon, current leader of Al-Qaeda and involved in orchestrating international terrorists attacks.

Educationalists being trustee of prosperity for a nation are forced to become fundamentalists. After political, social and sectarian propaganda now terrorists have adopted the strategy of playing with moral values. In Pakistan, the rise of fundamentalism is bent on Islamising the society with wrong interpretation of Islamic ideology and moulding Islamic concepts for supporting indoctrinate radical ideologies. These attempts by a beleaguered religious majority were to reclaim what they believed was lost by the secularisation of the state, first under British rule and then by ’brown’ rulers.

As a counter strategy for prevention of our youth from terrorist recruitment, besides madrassa reforms, a careful screening of course curriculum of all the educational institutions is essential. Country’s top academicians and intelligentsia should come forward for this national cause. Report commissioned by US Institute of Peace claims that textbooks used in Government schools of Pakistan distort students’ perceptions by limiting their critical thinking skills and obscures the real causes of violence and terrorism in the country.

According to a report by Madiha Afzal, Pakistan’s current educational system does not equip students to counter the prevailing problematic narrative in society and the media. Instead, she claimed that the system creates and propagates narratives of its own. The syllabus of all the madrassas, educational boards, schools, colleges and universities should be reviewed to remove the narrative that promotes religious and sectarian hatred in the society. The lessons/contents should be added in the curriculum to highlight tolerant and peaceful teachings of Islam. Concept on types of Jihad should be revitalized with the concept of humanity.

Moreover, the extra-curricular activities such as book fairs, walks, seminars debates and essay-writing competitions should be organized for the students of schools, colleges and universities to familiarize them with the peaceful teachings of Islam. Extremism and bigotry should have no place in the scheme of studies. Students should be taught to become moderate, peaceful and enlightened Muslims so that their deeds convince non-Muslim to develop penchant for Islam.

Pakistan’s strength lies in its youth but this time a worrisome trend in this reversal towards fundamentalism has been observed. To rectify this harmful trend, vigorous efforts are needed on the part of university Vice Chancellors, college and school principals and officials of educational boards to materialize revision of curriculum and extra-curricular activities to rid our society of extremist mindset in national interest.

As the Quaid said Pakistan is proud of its youth, particularly the students, who are nation builders of tomorrow. They must fully equip themselves by discipline education and training for the arduous tasks lying ahead of them. Youth being a pillar of nation should extend actual vision of Islam which globally, encompasses on avoidance of every difference in colour and race of humanity. Also, the grandson of Allama Iqbal, Khalid Nazeer Sufi said that in current circumstances the teachings of Iqbal are no doubt the beacon of light for our dear country. Iqbal’s vision of Islamic society was universal that transcended beyond limits of territorial boundaries and barriers of nationhood.

National Action Plan (NAP) envisages a Pakistan free of religious hate and violent extremism. In pursuance of this goal, there is a need to revise educational curriculum at national level to promote religious harmony. Moreover, the students of schools, colleges and universities should be mobilized to foster peaceful mindset in the society, which is essential for long term gains in war against terrorism.

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