The American Interest in Islamic Schooling: A Misplaced Emphasis?

UNCC Author/Contributor (non-UNCC co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Gregory Starrett, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC )
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Abstract: Since 2001, many American intellectuals and policymakers have blamed terrorism and conflict on Middle Eastern educational systems, which they claim do little but indoctrinate students with anti-American sentiment. Pressure has been put on many countries in the region to rewrite their curricula as a cure for violence and xenophobia. This article discusses some historical parallels to current concerns about inadequate schooling, but argues that solving political problems through curricular reform is misguided. "Rewriting books," it argues, "is easier than changing fundamental social, economic and political institutions with powerful constituencies. . . .Curriculum reform without the reform of infrastructure, political participation and economic opportunity will do nothing to stem internal and external conflicts that do far more than schools to create violent motivations. The doomed economy of petroleum, the patriarchal authority structures of rural villages, the brutality of the Saudi religious police, the legal persecution of Egyptian homosexuals, the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers, targeted assassinations by Algerian paramilitaries or by Israeli pilots in American helicopters. . .have far more influence over the political consciousness of children and youth than does anything taught in school, religious or otherwise.”

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2006
Middle East, education, terrorism

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