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Gaza’s Hamas authorities have blocked a UN refugee agency from introducing textbooks promoting human rights into local schools, saying it ignores Palestinian cultural mores and focuses too heavily on “peaceful” means of conflict resolution. Motesem al-Minawi, spokesman for the Hamas-run Education Ministry, said Thursday that the government believes the curriculum does not match the “ideology and philosophy” of the local population. He said the textbooks, used in grades 7 through 9, did not sufficiently address Palestinian suffering and did not acknowledge the right to battle Israel. “There is a tremendous focus on the peaceful resistance as the only tool to achieve freedom and independence,” he said. [Ibrahim Barzak, Associated Press, February 13, 2014 3:55 PM ET]Al-Minawi, who fronts for the educational actions of the Islamist terrorists, clarifies the Hamas objections by pointing to the unacceptable (to them) mention in their school textbooks of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, the milestone UDHR recognizes "the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family." You can immediately see their problem with that. AP says Hamas views the declaration as violating Islamic law by advocating for "the right of people of different faiths to marry and the right to change one's religion".
So the UN agency, ever ready to accommodate Hamas, met with people from Al-Minawi's office and
"offered to form a joint committee to revise the book. Adnan Abu Hassna, a local UNRWA spokesman, confirmed that the curriculum had been suspended while the sides work out their differences." [AP]Incidentally, who makes this pusillanimous mode of conduct possible? You, and the people living around you - assuming you pay taxes to the governments of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, the UK, the Netherlands, the United States, the European Union, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium, France, Italy or Spain. It's your money that makes this kind of thing possible. Nearly everyone else can relax. Oh, and if you happen to live in an Arab country, the good news is you are completely off the hook since Arab governments have historically contributed close to nothing to the education and welfare work of UNRWA, that extremely odd special-purpose body that is supposed to benefit the Palestinian Arabs. You can see the list of payers at "20-Nov-13: It's Wednesday. Time for yet another UNRWA funding crisis".
(As an aside, if you read our blog, we assume you're not that happy about your hard-earned income tax money being used in this hideous way. So listen up: it's happening anyway and it will keep happening. Only your political leaders and you and your neighbours can change that.)
AP's article fails, oddly, to make any mention of the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam. It's highly relevant in this context. The CDHRI is
a declaration of the member states of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference adopted in Cairo, Egypt, in 1990 which provides an overview on the Islamic perspective on human rights, and affirms Islamic Shari'ah as its sole source. CDHRI declares its purpose to be "general guidance for Member States [of the OIC] in the field of human rights". [Wikipedia]Article 24 of the Cairo Declaration says "All the rights and freedoms stipulated in this Declaration are subject to the Islamic Sharia." Article 19 says "There shall be no crime or punishment except as provided for in the Sharia." This not-so-universal approach has attracted a certain degree of criticism from serious multilateral bodies, but that's not our focus here. CDHRI a major document reflecting a major political/legal push that gets major respect in major parts of the world. It's their response to the UDHR, and their idea of what has to replace it.
Its author and inspiration for the Cairo Declaration is the OIC. Now renamed the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (in 2011), it is far from being some minor marginal body, speaking in the name of 57 member states as "the collective voice of the Muslim world". Its mission is to "safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony". The OIC has Permanent Observer Mission status at the UN and is often described as the largest international organisation outside the United Nations. Iran's representative to the UN explained his side's view of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1981, explaining that it was
a secular understanding of the Judeo-Christian tradition", which could not be implemented by Muslims without trespassing Islamic law.It's not just Hamas, in other words.
Down there in darkest Gaza, Hamas is expressing in its typically ham-fisted and savagely violent - but heart-felt - way a view that has support throughout the world. Our children don't need to know about the global struggle for human rights, they are saying. Our children's cultural mores, ideology and philosophy are best respected by focusing on their victimhood and on the need for them to wage war against a hated "other", the Israelis. Pizza shops, school buses, hospitals - these and skillful practice of the tools of death are the correct and proper targets for the energies of our children.
So while we and other large part of the world's communities focus on educating our children about the need to prevent incitement to religious and race-based hatred and the other values embedded in the UDHR, proponents of the Cairo Declaration, including but by no means limited to Hamas are driving in the opposite direction.
And in Gaza they don't just say it. They clearly mean it, as frequent reports about Hamas regime programs for instilling the values of jihad in their school-age children make clear to all but the most ideologically colour-blind observers. We have offered background to this in our blog posts here - for instance "15-Jan-14: When a society praises itself for turning its children into human bombs, whose problem is that?"
As with that post, we end this one with the question that everyone ought to be asking.
The real story is not the military-style training and the pledges by children to die for the values of those hideous, terror-addicted Hamas insiders. It's this: where in Heaven's name is the outrage of the civilized world? Where are the voices of the people whose tax money pays for this? Where are the politicians who speak up for human rights at cocktail gatherings but lose their courage when human rights are actually being trampled - and by means of their funding?And another question. Are UNICEF, Defence for Children International, UNESCO, Child Rights International Network, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Washington-based Jerusalem Fund, the Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Save the Children Sweden, Arab Council for Childhood Development and so many other child-focused NGOs silent about the disaster in Gaza for a reason? If there is a reason, let them say it. It's inconceivable that they are unaware of the horrors perpetrated every day on innocent children by the vile "educators" of Gaza and their willing co-conspirators.