British research center criticizes sectarianism in Egyptian schools

The British-based Impact-SE Research Center has criticized school curricula in Egypt and called on authorities to update them in order to help achieve true democracy.

The center’s study was discussed in the British House of Lords at the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, the highest religious authority in the Anglican Church.

The study said no real democracy could be achieved in Egypt without instilling principles of citizenship and equality between religions, and bringing an end to the practice of calling non-Muslims "infidels".

Results of the study, which was conducted in Egypt after the revolution in 2011, revealed that school curricula failed to deliver a message of integration, despite efforts in this regard.

The study also criticized the condemnation of Christianity and Judaism by Muslims, a fact that has led many generations of Egyptians to hate foreigners and minorities.

It added that Egyptian curricula consider the Torah and the Bible as "holy" books, but teach that they were forged by Jews and Christians. The curricula also contain anti-Semitic ideas, it said.

The study went on to say that former Education Minister Ahmed Zaki Badr and Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa pledged last year that curricula would be stripped of items that foment violence and extremism, particularly Quranic verses that incite jihad and the killing of pagans and infidels. However, that reform never took place.

The study found that the curricula praise Coptic Christians for their role in liberating Egypt from British occupation, but label them infidels nonetheless.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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