Saudi Arabia revamping curricula to combat ‘extremist ideologies’

March 21, 2018

Dr. Ahmed Al-Issa
Dr. Ahmed Al-Issa

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia is revamping its education curricula to eradicate any trace of Muslim Brotherhood influence and will dismiss anyone working in the sector who sympathizes with the banned group, Education Minister Dr. Ahmed Al-Issa said.

Promoting a more moderate form of Islam is one of the promises made by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense.

The Education Ministry is working to “combat extremist ideologies by reviewing school curricula and books to ensure they do not reflect the banned Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda,” Al-Issa said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

It would “ban such books from schools and universities and remove those who sympathize with the group or its ideology from their posts,” he added.

Earlier this month, Crown Prince Muhammad told CBS in an interview that Saudi schools have been “invaded” by elements of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been designated by Saudi Arabia as a terrorist organization along with other militant groups such as Al-Qaeda and Daesh.

According to Al-Issa, Brotherhood symbols who fled Egypt in the 1960’s and 1970’s went to Saudi Arabia where they got involved in teaching at public schools and universities thus influencing some officials, supervisors and teachers leading to the reformulating of religious curricula.

They also organized students’ activities according to the Brotherhood’s “deviant” approach.

Al-Issa added that it wasn’t until later that they realized the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood and this is when they launched their efforts to rid the educational system of the flaws resulting from its approach.

Efforts to fight extremist ideology include reformulating educational curricula, developing school textbooks to make sure they do not include any of the Brotherhood’s ideas, ban books that are affiliated with the Brotherhood in schools and universities, expel anyone who sympathizes with the Brotherhood, its ideas and symbols from supervising or teaching positions and holding activities to raise awareness about the Brotherhood’s threats.

The minister noted that eradicating the Brotherhood’s ideology requires continuous efforts and the ministry’s vigilance, adding that the ministry’s officials, university principals and education officials are aware that they must not be lenient when combating this ideology. — Agencies

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