As Islamic extremism and terrorism continue to be fomented in the Middle East, MBN is investigating the role that academic curriculum is playing in promoting or diminishing extremist ideologies. The coverage has highlighted fundamental principles such as pluralism, liberty, equality, justice, respect for universal human rights, and the central role of education in promoting security in the Middle East and fighting radicalism.
Both Alhurra and Radio Sawa and MBN’s digital media platforms covered, from various perspectives, the topics of religiously inspired violent extremism in educational curriculum, on one hand, and the role of school systems in resisting violent extremism, on the other hand. The programming examined the importance of preparing students to challenge the influence of violent extremism and ward against moral disengagement and radicalization.
Alhurra’s coverage included reports on:
- governments’ campaigns against early childhood educators accused of teaching extremist curricula to children
- educational reforms to further promote moderation and tolerance and curb radicalization and extremist tendencies among youth, and
- ISIL’s spreading of extremist narratives in which individuals justify violence, dehumanize victims, and disregard the harmful consequences of violence
Several discussion programs on the network hosted academics, moderate clerics, and education experts to address the need to review and amend religious education curricula built on a framework of distorted theological reference points that serve as scriptural justifications for extremism. Alhurra’s Al Youm, Arabic for “Today,” reported on Morocco’s decision to revise all religious education curricula to curb youth radicalization. Another report examined Saudi Arabia’s education initiatives to foster in students a strong sense of civic duty and to increase awareness of the threat of extremism. Alhurra’s Special Report investigated ISIL’s teachings of hatred and violence in the schools under the terror group’s control in Iraq and addressed the psychological and behavioral effects of these curricula on young children now and as they grow. Alhurra-Iraq’s Su’alak, Arabic for “Your Question,” took on the issue of terrorist groups’ efforts to recruit children to carry out suicide bombings, stressing the need to revise academic curricula to guard against such threats and positively develop children’s character.
Radio Sawa’s Sheno Rayek, Arabic for “What’s Your Opinion?” traced the influence of academic curriculum on Iraqi children and looked at behavioral trends, such as the rise of violent video games and aggressive attitudes in communities. The program also examined the rise of extremism among displaced people living in camps.
MBN’s Raise Your Voice, an initiative designed to encourage Iraqis to speak out and join the discussion about fighting extremism, posted discussion topics on its website http://www.irfaasawtak.com addressing educational curricula as a tool of national development and an instrument to disempower the extremists who hijack Islam and capitalize on illiteracy and ignorance. Discussions have ensued on topics such as:
- Tunisia’s unique religious education program that focuses on tolerance and acceptance
- Kurdistan’s dire need for curriculum reform
- Marginalization of Christians in Jordan
- Morocco’s religious education reform promoting moderate values in Islam
- Violence and discrimination espoused in curricula from al-Azhar in Egypt
- ISIL’s hardline teachings of violence and radicalism in Syria and Iraq
Alhurra and Radio Sawa are operated by the non-profit corporation MBN and is financed by the U.S. Government through a grant from the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an independent federal agency. The BBG serves oversight and as a firewall to protect the professional independence and integrity of the broadcasters.
Find out more
Contact Chams Eddin
Communications Specialist, Alhurra Television, Radio Sawa