Battle for the young minds in West Bank

11 June 2007 at 11:10 am | Posted in Hanan Ashrawi, News, Sydney Peace Prize | Leave a comment

Amidst the political troubles in the West Bank, a battle for young Palestinian minds is also raging.

According to an Associated Press report, Hamas has in the past year begun to take control of the curriculum and syllabus of Palestinian schools in the West Bank.

For Dr Hanan Ashrawi, an independent Palestinian lawmaker and 2003 Sydney Peace Prize recipient, this is a battle for the Palestinian soul, part of a wider Hamas campaign to expand its influence in all spheres of public life, also including newspapers to unions.

She said: “You are seeing the gradual transformation of a largely secular national … education system and curriculum into a more ideological, closed system.”

According to the AP report, there is increasingly Islamic content in school syllabus.

Dr Ashrawi, a former higher education minister, said she had asked Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to hand control of the curriculum to an independent commission of experts. However, she has not gotten any commitment.

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