10 years, 3 months ago
One common element we see in our war against radical, Islamic facism is schools and academics being caught in the cross hairs of the enemy. The targeting of education by the enemy is not restricted to elementary schools, but extends itself to higher education. In fact, it is fair to say that targeting education is a tactic being used by Islamic facism throughout the Middle East.
Now there is a concerted – armed – campaign to keep such children away from school. Education – particularly that of girls – is associated with the often-hated government and the occupying Western forces. Their opponents – including the Taliban – burn schools and attack teachers. The Ministry of Education said 267 schools had been forced to stop classes – a third of them in the south where five years after 9/11, fighting is intensifying as the Nato-led troops confront a resurgent opposition.
One reason proferred for this war on education is pragmatic, and has to do with potential future jihadist fighters. According to Zuhoor Afghan, the top adviser to Afghanistan’s education minister, “Once they destroy a child’s chance for education, there is nothing else for the young generation to do and it becomes very easy to encourage them to join their forces.”
There is another pragmatic reason for the attacks on schools. According to Ahmad Nader Nadery of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), “the extremists want to show the people that the government and the international community cannot keep their promises.”
Directly east in Iran, February of this year saw the first consequences of the nationwide plan to purge university professors and other academics:
Advaar News, the news source from the office of Fostering Unity (Tahkim Vahdat) reported that a professor of Communications Sciences of Tehran’s Allaameh Tabatabaie University is the first to be terminated in the new nationwide plan to purge all professors and academics, specifically teaching Liberal Arts and Social Sciences in universities across Iran. It is also rumored that several other of the professors in other fields of study such as Political Science and Law, will also be terminated soon. It is important to mention that a while ago Dr. Mohammad Gorgani who was a faculty member of the School of Law at this very university was sentenced to 10 months in prison and before serving his prison term was flogged.
Further east in Iraq, true to form, the radical Islamic facists have targeted both elementary schools and higher education. Regarding the ongoing battle for Saba’ al-Bour, the Iraqi government noted that teachers and their families had been expelled from the city, and promised to increase teacher salaries for returning. And similar to the approach in Iran to higher education, at least 156 university professors have been killed since the war began, and possibly thousands more are believed to have fled to neighboring countries.
Surveying this redacted and abbreviated list of recent attacks on education, it seems that perhaps there is another reason for this tactic. Without the presupposition that your world view cannot win in the marketplace of ideas, promulgating your world view by using force to attack education makes little sense.
Whether it is the ease of recruitment of jihadists, the embarrassment of a fragile regime, or the belief in the inherent theoretical weakness of Islamic facism, as we move forward into the future and consider strategy and the consequent tactics of our enemy, one thing is clear. If history is any indication, we should expect war on education to be a point of doctrine with the jihadists. This war on education will not be an internal jihad or a “striving” for anything. History shows us that the jihad on education will be violent.