Arab News reports that Saudi Arabia’s government is now teaching the ‘proper’ concept of jihad to middle schoolers. This is an attempt to head off erroneous information about the concept before it has a chance to settle and grow within young minds. Given that teens are active on the Internet, that they seek out ‘exciting’ things, and that the government’s efforts to block websites is full of holes, this is a good move.
The effort has been shifted to middle schools because the government believes it is too late to do it in secondary schools, which was norm.
The curriculum, the report says, will emphasize “that jihad is only permissible when defending against aggressors, and with the approval of the country’s ruler and parents.”
Concept of jihad to be made clear to younger students
JEDDAH: Khadija Habib
In a move likely to be welcomed by parents and educationists, the Ministry of Education has decided to introduce the concept of jihad in Islamic jurisprudence textbooks at the intermediate school level.
Abdullah Al-Dukhaini, a spokesman for the Education Ministry, told Arab News that the ministry decided to move the teaching of jihad from the high school level to intermediate school because intermediate students are prepared to learn the “correct concept of jihad” before “erroneous concepts” reach them.
“Textbooks will include all relevant information on jihad including a definition when it becomes a duty, and the role of women,” Al-Dukhaini said.
“The information on jihad was developed by the Ministry’s Curriculum Development Project for intermediate-grade fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) textbooks.”
He said the government decided to introduce the subject for intermediate-level students earlier this year because it was important for young students to understand what is allowed under Islamic law.