Teaching the good guys

Back in mid February, Murdoch’s Australian engaged in some modern-day McCarthyism by “outing” an academic who allegedly supported terrorism. The paper’s ongoing struggle continued last Saturday:

A Radical Muslim thinker who inspired al-Qa’ida is being served up as subject matter for high school students in NSW.

Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian militant hanged in 1966 but still a powerful influence on violent Islamists, and the Pakistani fundamentalist Sayyid Maududi are the only two modern Muslim thinkers on a revised syllabus for studies of religion.

Experts this week condemned the prominence of political Islam in the new syllabus, and especially the inclusion of Qutb.

“I am surprised and dismayed that the NSW religion syllabus narrows modern Islamic thinkers to its totalitarians,” said Daniel Pipes, whose US-based Middle East Forum agitates against Islamic extremism.

“Islam has a rich intellectual tradition. To pick these two writers is like representing modern German culture with Marx and Hitler.”

Is the paper seriously suggesting that only so-called moderate Muslims should be studied? Is the paper seriously suggesting that Western war criminals such as Henry Kissinger shouldn’t be taught in school because they were involved in the deaths of millions? Clearly there is one rule for Muslims and one rule for benign Westerners. Why is the paper asking Daniel Pipes, of all people, for his opinion? This “expert” would criticise the teaching of the Koran. The tendency to condemn any educational program that doesn’t subscribe to a “moderate” interpretation of world history – and conviently ignoring Western crimes against any number of nations – is both laughable and racist. But then, the Australian is a serious paper, we’re told, dedicated to “serious, sober and intelligent assessment.” No polemics there.