Egyptian writers cited need for Islam to leave the 'Dark Ages'

Two influential Egyptian writers commenting on the violence imposed by Islamic terrorists on the world have announced that children should be taught tolerance and that Islam itself needs to leave the “Dark Ages.”

“There is no choice but to create a new brand of religion, friendly to the [entire] human race, patriotic, and based on humane values that are suitable to the current age, not to the Dark Ages,” wrote Egyptian intellectual Ahmed Sa’ad Al-Zayed in the daily Al-Dustour.”

His comments, along with those from Egyptian journalist Khaled Montasser in the daily Al-Ahram, were documented by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

The writers called for officials to expunge “fundamentalist Islam?” ideals of terror from classrooms.

“The articles called to essentially reform the Egyptian school curricula, which they said teach children, staring in kindergarten, values of exclusion, hatred and violence. Instead, they called to develop new curricula focusing on science, humanism, religious tolerance and critical thinking that match the modern age, rather than the Dark Ages,” MEMRI reported.

Montasser explained the goal of schools should not be to usher children “into paradise but to usher them into the halls of knowledge.”

He warned that Egyptian children are brainwashed from an early age with violent stories about war and conquest that can sow the seeds of an ISIS-like ideology.

“Teaching a child about the exclusion [of others] in kindergarten means planting the seeds of ISIS deep in his mind and his spirit, because the extremist terrorist ideology begins with excluding the ideas [of the other], then excluding him with weapons and finally exterminating him. Religious exclusion is the worst and cruelest kind of exclusion, and has the greatest impact. [Ideas of] exclusion begin in kindergarten… and grow in elementary and middle school,” he wrote.

“The main goal of teaching, beyond imparting knowledge, is creating a collective conscience, because good citizenship begins in kindergarten. Egypt aims to raise children with a humane Egyptian conscience. The function of school is not to usher [children] into Paradise but to usher them into the halls of knowledge, good citizenship, creativity, liberty and free imagination.”

He said there had been plan to teach kids the “shared moral principles” of all faiths, “but so far this hasn’t happened.”

He charged, “Filling children’s minds with religious polemics and with contempt for the other is one of the gates to hell and harms the homeland.”

He continued, “Why are children taught stories… full of blood, murder, wars and conquests, and full of terms of exclusion, such as ‘infidels,’ ‘enemies of Allah,’ ‘jizya [poll tax],’ and ‘beheading,’ which the mind of a small child or a teenager cannot comprehend?” he wondered.

He said he would not exclude religion, but “avoiding reverence for science and instead playing Islamic hymns at morning assembly is tantamount to religious persecution and a rejection of the music of public harmony because music is forbidden [in extremist Islam] and is regarded as educational and national treason…”

Al-Zayed said Islamic fundamentalism “disgraces Islam.”

“Before we start to ponder how to eliminate the roots of terror, we must strengthen ourselves, our people and our army, with its brave men who are killed defending our Egypt, its assets and its people from the evil of this criminal and loathsome religious zealotry that practices takfir [i.e., accuses others of heresy], and which Egypt, the region and all of mankind have been suffering from for several decades,” he explained.

“The terrorists and their criminal brand of religiosity ascribe no importance to human life, except the lives of their own clansmen and tribesmen who share their criminal and satanic takfiri ideology that despises anyone who thinks differently. They harbor a hidden hatred for all of mankind, except for their own criminal gang…,” he said.

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