Peddling hate in Iran's classrooms

Jeff Kuhner

Iran's students are being taught the virtues of Islamic world supremacy and jihadism. This is the conclusion of a major new study on Iranian textbooks by Freedom House (read the full story here). The study, entitled "Discrimination and Intolerance in Iran's Textbooks," is a somber reminder that Iran's theocratic regime is teaching its children to embrace anti-Americanism and prepare for a holy war against the West.

Saeed Paivandi, a sociologist at Paris-8 University and one of the West's few experts on Iran's post-revolutionary education system, looked at 95 compulsory textbooks taught in grades one to eleven. His conclusion: Iranian students are repeatedly told that humans don't all enjoy the same rights; rather, we are classified into a distinct hierarchy--with Muslim men at the top, and women and non-Muslims occupying the lower rungs of the social ladder.

The textbooks assert that "some individuals are born first-class citizens, due to their identity, gender, and way of thinking, while others become second- and third-class citizens. Those who are excluded from the inside are victims of this discriminatory system."

In fact, following the 1979 Islamic revolution that brought Ayatollah Khomeini and his mullah thugs to power, Iran has systematically imposed a series of discriminatory laws that deny non-Muslims access to senior government posts, sanction the murder of homosexuals, enforce a strict quota system for Christians and Jews in universities, and insist that all Jewish- or Christian-owned businesses be publicly designated as non-Muslim.

Iran is one of the world's most dangerous rogue states. It seeks to acquire nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Its leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, vows to "wipe Israel off the map" and create "a world without America." Tehran supports al Qaeda and Shiite terrorists in Iraq; through its proxy, Syria, orders political assassinations against democratically elected, pro-Western members of Lebanon's parliament; and sponsors radical Islamist terror groups, such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

In other words, Iran is on the march, and it is using its classrooms to indoctrinate students in hate and jihad. For example, the study reveals that the Islamic culture religious studies textbook for eighth-graders has this to say about jihad: "Defensive jihad is incumbent upon every one, the young and the old, men and women, everyone, absolutely everyone, must take part in this sacred battle, fight to the best of his or her abilities or assist our fighters."

Another textbook, this one for seventh-graders, says this about the glories of holy war: "By taking note of the guidance and instructions provided by Islam, every Muslim youth must strike fear in the hearts of the enemies of God and their people through combat-readiness and skillful target shooting."

These kinds of textbooks obviously disgust many practicing, devout Muslims all over the world, who rightly see them as profound distortions of their faith and a twisted perversion of the educational mission of Iran's schools. Yet the Freedom House study also shows that Iranian classrooms are becoming breeding grounds for future Islamist terrorists.

This is just one more reason why the United States, as well as all civilized countries, needs to keep the pressure on Tehran's oppressive regime. Education should be about opening minds in the pursuit of truth and beauty, not closing them in the service of moral darkness and human destruction.

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