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Islamicising Iran's Universities with Help from Young Officers

By Bahram Rafiee, Rooz Online

Following ayatollah Khamenei's criticism that universities were not Islamic and the condemnation of the large number of students in the humanities, remarks by some lawmakers and the newly-appointed science minister herald the implementation of the a plan to Islamicise universities in the coming academic year.

Noting that "the expansion of an Islamic, spiritual and ethical atmosphere in universities is a necessity," Ahmadinejad administration's new science minister, Kamran Daneshjoo, said on Monday, "establishing value-oriented universities does not conflict in any way with achieving the latest scientific and technological breakthroughs; it only gives direction and purpose to educational and research curricula." 

Daneshjoo added, "If university professors engage in further discussions with students about ethical and religious behavior, in addition to teaching, they can reform the university's cultural aura."

Meanwhile, vice-chairman of the Majlis education and research committee, Tayebeh Safaei, announced in similar remarks on Monday, "The Islamification of universities will not be achieved by words alone; university professors and textbook content must be examined to reveal whether we are progressing in accordance with Islamic principles and the Islamification plan or not." 

Tayebeh Safaei added that Iran's parliament, the Majlis, had been closely examining the plan for Islamification of universities: "The Majlis education and research committee has been seriously examining this plan, during both the ninth and tenth administrations, and one of the one questions we posed to the proposed science ministers was about their plans in this regard." 

Such remarks are not confined to administration officials and lawmakers.  The former head of the Islamic Passdaran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Yahya Rahim Safavi too has made similar remarks, which indicate that the first steps to Islamicise universities have already been taken.

Islamification with a Military View

Although discussions of Islamicising universities have always existed in the Islamic republic, formal plans for this have seriously emerged only since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to office, and have gained momentum following ayatollah Khamenei's recent criticism. 

During his meeting with a group of university students and professors, ayatollah Khamenei described university professors as the "generals of the soft war front" and students as "young commanders fighting against the soft war," formally injecting the militaristic discourse into university education.

At a speech marking the beginning of the new academic year, the new science minister used similar terms to address university students and professors.  He said, "University professors and students must enter the soft war zone as generals and young commanders and lead the fight to defend their country's integrity and national interests with their knowledge and wisdom." 

Daneshjoo, however, recited the following verse from the Quran: "While knowledge and wisdom has clear value on its own merit, it can stir fire and trouble in satanic hearts."

... Payvand News - 09/24/09 ... --

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