LN: New project will explain the Quran, burkas and jihad to students
Prague, April 7 (ČTK) — A new project launched by the Muslims In Czech Schoolchildren’s Eyes group and approved by the Education Ministry, offers free seminars and lectures that would acquaint pupils with Islam and the life and habits of Muslims, daily Lidové noviny (LN) writes today.
The lecturers want to explain to Czech children what a burka is and why some Muslim women wear it, and also what the Quran says about jihad, LN writes, citing the Muslimove.cz web page.
The seminars, including games, are to provide information to Czech kids and dismiss certain prejudices and stereotypes linked to Islam, the paper writes.
“School lessons do not pay sufficient attention to Islam. Pupils want to learn more about it,” the project’s co-author Shadi Shannah is quoted as saying.
The Muslim community in the Czech Republic is very small, but still it raises strong emotions. Muslim-related issues appear almost daily in TV news, newspapers and Internet debates. However, regular school lessons touch on them only marginally, as a result of which most pupils are unable to critically assess the media information,” the authors write on Muslimove.cz.
The Education Ministry has granted its auspices to the project. It did so based on a previous expert assessment of whether the offered workshops and lectures are objective, LN writes.
The project’s sponsors include the U.S. Embassy in Prague and the Anna Lindh Foundation, an intergovernmental organization.
The EU mission in Prague and the Prague Municipal Library also cooperate in it.
The project reacts to a survey its authors had made in 2013 and in which pupils showed interest in learning more about Islam.
“Most pupils said they would like to learn more. They said they drew information about religion mainly from the media that are often very critical of Islam,” one of the co-authors, Klára Popovová, told LN.
She said the project has raised protests from the group called We Don’t Want Islam in the Czech Republic.
“They sent me a few offending emails along with the demand that we should not promote Islam at schools. However, our project is no propaganda. Our only goal is to provoke a discussion and refute the media stereotypes,” Popovová said.
She said the initiators are going to address schools to see whether they are interested in the project.