Ahmad Abdou Maher, an Egyptian researcher of Islamic studies, criticized the Egyptian school curricula in a December 21 interview on Al-Hayat TV. Maher complained that Egyptian history books glorify Islamic heritage and are “full of wars, blood, and slaughter.” Maher stated that “ISIS is a loyal and bona fide implementation of our Islamic heritage, which is taught by Al-Azhar.”
Following are excerpts:
Ahmad Abdou Maher: What is the pedagogical goal of the Education Ministry in its teaching of history? Does it try to infuse our children with fighting spirit, as if they are about to join a military academy? Or perhaps they are trying to infuse them with something else? What's the purpose?
Do we want to have a country of fighters, and this is why we use, for example, this book about 'Abd Al-Tahman ibn 'Awf, or this book about Uqba ibn Nafi? You can see him on the cover, wielding his sword. We also use this book about Usama ibn Zayd, who is also seen mounted on his horse, with a shield and a sword. What are we trying to do here? All these books are, of course, full of wars, blood, and slaughter. There is not a single book without slaughter.
These books never mention Al-Khawarizmi, who introduced algebra into the world. He should be studied in history lessons. We want a modern country, which promotes knowledge, industry, agriculture, science, education, and moral values, rather than promoting blood, spears, and rolling or flying heads.
Ahmad Abdou Maher: Investment in education is the most important investment – more important than investing in oil. There are countries rich in oil, but with ignorant people. People make jokes about them, because they are uneducated. Even we do.
ISIS is a loyal and bona fide implementation of our Islamic heritage, which is taught by Al-Azhar.