In a very rare case, the Qur’an and Bible will now go hand in hand in serving as a tool for education in Egypt’s new curriculum.
Last month, the Ministry of Education made an announcement that the country’s secondary schools will now implement a new educational curriculum that will include civics lessons of the Abrahamic faiths with verses from the holy books.
The said curriculum will start with the second year students of secondary schools in which lessons will tackle principles of human rights as viewed in the Christian religion, Egyptian al-Shorfa Friday reported.
A verse from the Bible such as “Do not exploit the poor because they are poor, and do not crush the needy in court," will be quoted and taught in classes, reported the news site.
Aside from human rights, the curriculum will also add in Bible texts on freedom of will and self-determination.
The new curriculum will also cover third year students of the secondary school, this time, focusing on Islam’s teachings on the rights of non-Muslims. The third year curriculum will mainly tackle protection of honor, freedom to choose one’s religion among other Islamic teachings.
Dr. Kamal Mogheeth, of the National Center for Educational Research, told the al-Shorfa webste that he believes the move to use the holy texts in secondary schools will bring out positive results in the promotion to create interaction among different religions.
“This is a step towards eliminating the tension and intolerance between Muslims and Copts that from time to time appear in isolated incidents in Egypt,” said Mogheeth as quoted by al-Shorfa.
However, Mogheeth adds that the holy texts should be dealt with “very carefully” so as not to create confusion that may lead to controversial disputes.
Dr. Ilham Abdel Hamid, a professor at Cairo University, said the move “may defuse the sectarian tension that recently began to increase in Egypt, and instill the cohesion of national unity into students’ hearts.”
Parents in Egypt, however, have different views on the new curriculum move.
Some find the new addition to the curriculum unnecessary and pointed that the government should focus in adding Egyptian laws into textbooks, said a mother as interviewed by al-Shorfa.
Another believed that it is right to educate children on the differences of religions so that they may know how to respect others’ religions, morals and freedom.
Recently, a series of furious protests erupted as a viral anti-Islam film produced in the U.S. spread in the web. The film entitled “Innocence of Muslims” has led to the deaths of people from around the globe, including a U.S. ambassador in Libya.