Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Al-Habib Al-Malki argued that the move came to fight extremism.
RABAT — The Ministry of Education in Morocco has omitted from preparatory school curricula a Qur'anic verse, hadith and a photo of a hijab-clad girl, claiming that it moved to nip extremism in the bud.
"They omitted verse no. 31 of surat An-Nur, which reads: "And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms…..," Abdul Kareem Al-Howeshri, the head of the non-governmental Islamic Education Association, told IslamOnline.net Tuesday, October 3.
He said they also erased a hadith narrated by Abu Dawood that Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) cursed men dressing up in women's clothes and women putting on men's clothes.
"The Revival of Islamic Education textbook has been withdrawn from schools and distributed after the omissions," Howeshri said.
The ministry has further removed a photo of a girl wearing hijab and kissing her mother's hands from Al-Waha textbook, which also has to do with Islamic education.
Admitting the omissions at a recent parliamentary interpellation, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Al-Habib Al-Malki argued that the move came to fight hardliners.
Howeshri blasted the minister's justification as unacceptable and implausible.
"The minister wants to impose a fait accompli though such a move negates the very sense of Islamic identity and the Constitution, which says that Islam is the official religion of the state and all laws should be in harmony with Shari`ah," he fumed.
Howeshri, also the chairman of the Moroccan committee for Islamic subject teachers, said the government must have come under pressure to omit subjects from curricula already approved by specialized ministerial committees.
"Pressures exercised by women organizations known for their secular and liberal trend have apparently paid off," he said.
Women organizations have launched a fierce campaign against the hijab-clad girl photo and pressed for removing it from the textbook, IOL's correspondent says.
They said hijab is a poignant symbol of women's subordination to men.
Howeshri also said the move is part of a government policy to reform curricula in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.
"Unfortunately some Moroccan officials, mostly leftists, toed the American line," he said.
The ministry's drive, in effect, is not unprecedented.
Last year, the ministry pressed for abolishing the Islamic studies subjects from the science section of high school syllabus.
It further proposed removing any references to "jihad" in the Islamic subjects