In his May 16, 2023 column in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabas, liberal Kuwaiti journalist Ahmad Al-Sarraf harshly criticized the curricula taught in Kuwaiti schools, which, he said, are replete with hostility for Jews and present them as enemies of Islam and the Muslims who must be eliminated. He decried the fact that the curricula focus on cursing the other instead of teaching critical thinking and promoting values of tolerance and freedom. The Arabs, he added, fail to realize that one of the reasons for the Jews' advantage over them is that the Jews focus on education and the acquisition of knowledge, rather than on cursing others, whereas the Arabs are their own worst enemies.
Ahmad Al-Sarraf (Image: dasmannews.com, January 18, 2023)
The following are translated excerpts from his column:
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"Reading some passages in one of the textbooks taught in our schools… I was reminded of the saying 'we showered [our enemies] with curses and they showered us with blows!' These passages show clearly that whoever writes [the Kuwaiti] curricula is completely out of touch with reality, or lives in an idealized world and is full of unlikely ambitions.
"Reading three of four pages of the textbook at random, we discover that, according to the educators who wrote it, the nation's major concern, which should be focused on, is hostility towards the Jews and the desire to eliminate them. But this is in fact rather embarrassing, for there are 400 million Arabs and a billion Muslims, and it is inconceivable that all of them should focus their energy and aspirations… on eliminating a state of six or seven million people.
"This is clearly a problem. Had the Education Ministry allowed to teach the subject of critical thinking in our schools, the students would have understood on their own how foolish this text is… In our present state of weakness, division and backwardness – medical, social, moral, industrial and financial -- our entire [Muslim] nation [together] would not be able to eliminate the state of Israel. [In fact,] some of the texts in our schoolbooks clarify [exactly] how our mentality differs from the mentality of those we wish to see as our enemies. Yet despite this, throughout the century they have spent in our midst, we have not managed to understand why they continue to beat us in every military and moral campaign!
"The texts our children learn in school teach them how to deal with the plots of the Jews, but we have forgotten that [we Arabs] plot against one another more than they [the Jews] plot against us. Our preoccupation with internal disputes is the greatest factor that strengthens them and weakens us, especially given that [our] curricula do not even address the issue of putting a stop to our disputes, accepting one another and ending our internal division and rifts… Without liberalism and freedoms we have no hope!
"Our curricula focus on the fact that the Jews' hostility towards Islam and the Muslims is ancient and deep-rooted, which is clearly a fallacy. And even if it is true, I do not believe for a moment that they devote as much attention as we do to this hostility, to thinking about it and teaching it in their curricula. Being wise, they devote their curricula to teaching progress in every domain, not to cursing the other…
"Our curricula focus on the narrative that the Jews are violators of treaties, which automatically implies that we are not. [But] that too is a lie that half our clever schoolboys and schoolgirls will find difficult to buy. The curricula also say that one of the Muslims' greatest duties is to defend Islam by observing its laws and boycotting the products of the enemy. That is the greatest irony and foolishness of all, as even a mediocre mind will realize. In short, we are our own enemies, far more than anyone else is our enemy…"
 Al-Qabas (Kuwait), May 16, 2023.