Libya Grand Mufti: Remove References to Democracy and Religious Freedom From School Textbooks

Penny Starr | October 19, 2012 | 5:05pm EDT
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Libya's Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ghariani. (AP)

( – The Libya Herald reported on Thursday that the “Fatwa Office” has asked the Ministry of Education in Libya to remove passages related to democracy and freedom of religion from school textbooks.

“Libya’s Dar Al-Ifta’ (the Fatwa office), presided by Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ghariani, has called on the Ministry of Education to remove passages relating to democracy and freedom of religion from school textbooks,” the article states.

The article also reports that the religious official asked for “clarification” as to why extracts of the Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah had been deleted. The Sunnah is the second book for Islam jurisprudence after the Quran, according to scholars.

The article cited reporting from LANA, the state-approved news outlet.

Page from an Arabic textbook. (AP)

“According to official news agency LANA, the Fatwa office issued a statement on Tuesday saying that the Grand Mufti had published an article entitled The Curriculum and the Instilling of Values in which he highlighted a number of criticisms of the new school syllabus textbooks for the current academic year,” the report states.

“The first was about the deletion of some of the Prophet’s Sunnah within the Islamic education syllabus, and the second addressed the two paragraphs included in the basic education textbooks about religious freedom and democracy,” stated the Libya Herald.

“The statement said, according to LANA, that the Ministry of Education had responded positively to the remarks made by the Grand Mufti and had promised to investigate the reasons behind the absence of the Sunnah texts from the Islamic education curriculum,” said the newspaper.

The statement claimed the information in the textbooks about Greek democracy might be “too detailed” for students to comprehend and that references to freedom of belief and religion should be removed because “it suggests to younger students that they could choose any religion they wanted,” according to the article.

The article said the Fatwa office warned that because of the public’s religious values the textbooks “could spark public anger.”

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