Yemen’s Houthi movement, considered a proxy of Iran, is using the country’s education system to spread its influence and the “glorification of jihad” among children, a new study has found.
The report “constitutes one of the most concerning of IMPACT-se’s assessments of Middle Eastern curricula,” according to the institute, which monitors school textbooks and curriculums around the world.
IMPACT-se’s review refers to the situation in Yemen that began in 2015, when Houthi rebels took control of the capital of Sanaa. Until then, “Yemen was considered an exception to the disappointing developments of the Arab Spring,” the report states, noting that Yemen was relatively “stable and hopeful,” with regional specialists expecting it to become the first Arab nation that adopts the federal model.
However, things took an unexpected turn, when Iran, recognizing the opportunity to expand its influence, implemented its militia doctrine in Yemen. According to this doctrine, Iran aims to create loyal militias wherever possible in the region.
In that regard, the Houthis stood out, having established ties with Teheran decades earlier. Noting the opportunity of becoming an independent governing force in Yemen, the Houthis jumped on the opportunity and became Iran’s loyal proxy in the southern part of the Arabian Peninsula.
This is where education comes in. Recognizing the need to bestow Iranian values and culture among its distant proxies, “education became a focal point for Tehran’s empire builders,” according to IMPACT-se.
Today, IMPACT-se estimates that Iran is involved – through the Houthi movement – in both primary and higher education institutes in Yemen. On the other side of the coin, hundreds of Houthi students are currently studying in Iran.
The IMPACT-se report explains that the Iranian curriculum, spread among its proxies, teaches children the importance of “uniting the Muslims against Western
Examples include textbooks that describe the US as the “Greater Satan” and use the American flag as a symbol of oppression, which children must defend themselves from.
This blind hatred toward “Western forces” includes Israel as well, with textbooks openly calling for the destruction of Israel and describing it a “cancerous growth.”
Jews specifically are also a main focus of Houthi education, according to IMPACT-se, with learning materials accusing Jews for “nefarious conspiracies,” and presenting them as a “unique enemy of Islam and the people of Yemen.”
The Houthi slogan, which reflects this triangle of hate directed at the US, Israel and Jews everywhere, is taught in an Arabic numeral exercise. The slogan reads: “Allah is the greatest—Death to America—Death to Israel—Curse on the Jews—Victory to Islam.”
In math lessons, students are often instructed to “add rifles to solve problems.”
But perhaps the most disturbing of all, are the “educational Images” used in textbooks and visible to young children on a daily basis. These include, according to the report, images of graphic violence, such as dead children, which is part of the curriculum for pre-teens. Other images often used in classes are taken from the Holocaust and are used to teach students how to oppose the “Zionist-American hegemony.”
Alarming as it may be, this report by IMPACT-se may serve as a case-study into the Iranian threat as a whole.
Considering the fact that Teheran maintains part of its regional influence through education, the education model used by the Houthis in Yemen may offer further insights into “a problem that looms large in the Middle East and beyond,” the report noted.
These findings “are a worrying insight into the violent Houthi mindset and an extreme example of how education can be weaponized to perpetuate conflict,” concluded IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff.
IMPACT-se stands for Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, and is a “world leader in researching, translating and exposing intolerance in school textbooks from the Middle East and beyond, while advocating for positive change,” according to its website.
The institute has made headlines before for criticizing the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for continuously including hateful rhetoric in its curriculum despite claiming to have dropped such materials.
In another example, IMPACT-se called out Turkish school textbooks for inching away from UNESCO standards, especially since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rose to power in 2003.
Source » jpost