The Islamic State (ISIS) has started a programme of school closures and has wiped all subjects except the Koran from the Syllabus as it works to remove all traces of Western “blasphemous” education from young minds.
Teachers will be sent to a month long “religious instructional course” to prepare them for the new regime while senior figures in ISIS draw up a new curriculum, reports the Daily Mail newspaper. The sciences had already been expunged from schools when the new academic year began in September, but now all subjects except one are being cancelled, as learning is not the proper domain of mortal men. Justifying the move, the Islamic State said “all knowledge belongs to the creator”.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group which has been monitoring the conflict has revealed the new policy, limited resistance teachers and students put up to this change. The observatory quoted a local source who said: “ teachers must undergo Sharia course in al- Rawda Mosque in al- Mayadin until the completion of the preparation of a new educational curriculum instead of the blasphemous current curriculum”. The edict affects schools in the east of Syria, an area that is now all but controlled by the Islamic State. They continue to fight for control of the West, which is the stronghold of the rump Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad.
The observatory reports “some students with some of their relatives and teachers demonstrated in an IS held- neighborhood in Deir Ezzor demanding for re-opening the schools and allowing the teachers and students to continue teaching and studying”, but this appears to have been limited and had no effect. Protesting against the Islamic State, or expressing any dissent is a dangerous game. Rejecting their rulings is a capital offence, with offenders routinely dispatched execution-style, beheaded, or even crucified.
For the young girls attending what remains of the Islamic States’ schools, in many cases an grim future awaits, indeed even dressing against the wishes of the state can incur punishment. Women-only brigades patrol the streets, fulfilling the duties associated with a morality police. Any woman they meet in the street not dressed in a full burka is liable to be whipped. One member, who had defected to Turkey said: “We’d patrol the streets. If we saw a woman who was not wearing the correct sharia clothing, we would grab her. Sometimes, they would be lashed”.
The same office which controls the women’s brigades also sets up arranged marriages between young girls in conquered territories and jihadist fighters. The same woman said of the unhappy relationships: “the foreign fighters are very brutal with women, even the ones they marry. There were cases where the wife had to be taken to the emergency ward because of the sexual violence”.