Last month when schools started in Jordan, it became apparent that changes were made to the curriculum and textbooks. Along with the images of women wearing head scarves were a few who went without them. Cleanshaven men appeared alongside drawings of devout, bearded ones. And references to Islam, once sprinkled liberally throughout textbooks and other class materials, were scaled back.
Many Jordanians feel that these changes to their children’s curriculum is a direct attack on Islam and are actively protesting. The curriculum changes are part of an effort by Jordan’s monarchy to appease its conservative citizens, the United States, its secular elite, and its influential Christian minority. Another hope is that the changes will help decrease the possibility of Jordanian youth to become radicalized, and increase the opportunities for them to enter the workforce.
‘Obama and Clinton’s schools are not for us!’ shouted Mahmoud Abu Rakhiya, an Islamist in Maan, a desert town in southern Jordan, at a rally on a recent Friday in late September.
With regards to stopping ISIS and its influence, I am glad that individuals are experimenting with other solutions besides going in guns blazing, or taking out radical leaders. While often noble, those efforts don’t seem to be addressing the real issues. And while it doesn’t seem that this educational reform is the correct solution, I am glad there is divergent thinking going into solving the issues we are seeing with ISIS.