Ideology and Education: A Deadly Combination

Ahmed al-Ghamdi

Ahmed al-Ghamdi is no unbeliever. He is not even a liberal. The conservative Muslim lead the mutaween in Mecca. One day, he was devotedly studying Qur’an and Sunnah when he discovered something that surprised him:

“I wanted to go to their underpinnings, so I began collecting all the texts relating to [gender mixing] from the Quran and the Sunna. My conclusion was that not a single text or verse in the Quran and Sunna specifically says that mixing is haram. The word ‘mixing’ is not even in the Quran.”

When Al-Ghamdi reported his discovery, he was fired from his position with the religious police. He was fired not due to his being wrong, but because his discovery had challenged the ruling power structure. In this instance, education and critical thinking were seen as a threat to the status quo and were therefore punished. In Pakistan, we are experiencing a similar backlash against critical thinking and education, but the stakes are much higher than merely losing ones’s job.

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TTP, Malala, and Pakistan’s Self Destruction

Malala Yousafzai made history when she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Only the second Pakistani to be awarded a Nobel Prize, she is also the youngest person in the world to be recognised with the prestigious award. Congratulatory messages were forthcoming from the highest offices in Pakistan, but not everyone was celebrating.

The Taliban rejected the award, terming the youngest Nobel Laureate as ‘agent of kuffar’. However, this was to be expected. What is more troubling is that this Taliban narrative has so permeated our society that it is being repeated ad nauseum by common people across the nation.

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