Is UK aid funding fundamentalism?

Is UK aid funding fundamentalism?

Buried in a recent Reuter’s report that a province in Pakistan is turning back the educational clock by systematically Islamicising and censoring school books is the startling revelation that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa “is  getting $29 million (£18.42 million) from the British Government this year” to … help educate children.

Muhammad Atif Khan, above left, the provincial Education Minister, sought to play down the regressive changes, saying they are merely reverting to an earlier curriculum. He explained:

The previous  government in 2006-7 had made some changes in the curriculum and removed some sections from syllabus. Those changes didn’t suit our Islamic society.

So, to put things wrong, the current administration is rewriting school books to make them more Islamic, inserting verses on jihad, removing pictures of unveiled women and changing material on recent history.

Education official Bashir Hussain Shah told Reuters that the changes include reintroducing religious verses on jihad, a word that means holy struggle but is also often used by insurgents. That had been removed from the curriculum for 13 and 14 year olds, he said, but was being restored.

Inayatullah Khan, the leader of religious political party, Jamaat-e-Islami, said the verses on jihad were not intended to promote violence but to inform students when jihad was lawful.

It doesn’t allow Muslims to fight against those non-Muslims with whom you have diplomatic ties or an agreement.

Changes were also made to history books and science books, Khan said. They would reverse changes that had replaced content about Muslims with material about non-Muslims, including American Helen Keller and Hindu ruler Raja Dahir.

Shah said all pictures of girls without a head scarf would be removed and replaced with pictures where they were wearing a head scarf.

Another official said a physics book for teenagers would include Koranic verses regarding the creation of universe and ecosystem.

The previous provincial government was headed by the more secular Awami National Party. When they came to power in 2008, they rewrote textbooks to remove some religious references.

The current government, which took power after May 2013 elections, is a coalition led by the party of former famed cricketer Imran Khan. It includes religiously conservative parties like Khan’s.

Pervez Hoodbhoy, a physics professor campaigning for education reforms, said that textbooks were an important cultural battleground for religious conservatives.

These changes will result in a further hardening of attitudes. Their whole strategy is to influence the younger generation.

We have no idea where Reuters got the figure of $29,000, but we did discover here that the Department for International Development had given the province over £8-million in 2010/11 to:

Improve access to, retention and the quality of educaton (sic) for all children in primary and secondary schools of Phyber (sic) Pakhtunkhwa Province in Pakistan.


Here, a July 2013 Department for International Development report said:

Education is one of the most important factors which can transform Pakistan’s future. It boosts the economy, broadens outlooks, and offers a brighter future for poor children who may otherwise be on the streets.

That’s why education is the UK’s top priority for Pakistan.

Over the last few years the UK has helped millions of poor children go to school in Pakistan, provided them with textbooks, and built political and social pressure for change.

By the end of 2015, UK development investment will benefit some four million children in school; recruit and train an additional 45,000 teachers in Punjab province alone; improve test results in core subjects including maths and English; and work with the Government and civil society to sustain commitment to reform the education system in Pakistan.

The UK will work with the Government of Pakistan at provincial level to deliver better quality and more widely available schools, and to improve management and accountability in the education sector. Existing support in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces is being expanded, and innovative new approaches are being developed in partnership with the private sector to get more children in to school in Sindh.

17 responses to “Is UK aid funding fundamentalism?”

  1. AgentCormac says:

    At least the UK government is finally cracking down on Islamic extremists now. If anyone has left these shores to go fight for the IS terrorists who want to destroy everything we hold dear, then we’ll really think hard about not letting them back in again. Maybe.

  2. L.Long says:

    Nothing says ‘Stay stupid sheeple” like religion!!

  3. 1859 says:

    When the money is handed over by, presumably, the click of a mouse, can anyone really tell where in Pakistan the money ends up?

  4. R Pilotte says:

    Stop the flow of money from the UK to Pakistan. Just turn off the tap. It’s an islamic country that harbours the taliban, a tribe of lawless murdering bandits that shoot schoolgirls. The mass murdering and all round trouble maker bin laden was harboured within pakistan, and it is inconceivable that some of those in its military and its government did not know about it. They even cheat at Cricket. Time to stop funding islamofacism, the poisoning of childrens minds, the abuse of women, criminality and global terrorism. Stop the money and chop pakistan out of the commonwealth. Even abolish the commonwealth.

  5. Paul Cook says:

    We have to be careful to simply stop paying.
    IF we can divert monetary resources into properly run schools and balanced education that is a humane, decent non religious education that has to be positive. We should support that. Not simply deny it just because Pakistan are muslim. That is a quite dumb stance.
    We have to stop simply writing hate speech about all and sundry in the islamic world. It doesn’t help. It makes them no less than them And it is not them and us, it really ought to be WE. This is OUR planet.
    IF we pay to educate and can direct and control these funds then that has to benefit the children, prevent the extremists getting into the minds of these children and indoctrinating them. If the funds are misused yes, stop and try to recover or prosecute. Simply Pakistan is a totally corrupt country, just look at any international report on corruption.
    BUT, do not think that Saudi Arabi will not fill the funding gap, do not think for one minute that maybe even Qatar would step in with funds. It is those types of hard line Saudi wahhibism and hardline Qatari sunni support, for example for IS/ISIS, that we need to combat. And we must combat that. education is the key. Solid education. And I for one would like to see a counter-balance to their very real, and very dangerous funding for extreme religious schools.

    Does anyone on this site not see the benefit of open honest education? After all is that not why none of us believe in a sky fairy?

  6. 1859 says:

    Of course an open-minded, secular education would make an enormous improvement in such places like Pakistan, but the problem is how can you really monitor what the money is used for once it gets there? Who has access to the bank accounts? Do they really buys books and if so are they educational and open-minded books? Can they be trusted to do with our money what they say they will do?
    Access to mass education has enhanced western societies beyond all description – that’s true. But if education is a smoke screen for religious indoctrination then that is truly a serious matter – especially in countries with an ongoing history of religious and political violence…but then there are now ‘faith’ schools being set up in a so-called open-minded society with a long, long tradition of mass education -the UK!

  7. Newspaniard says:

    I say it again. Pakistan built its nuclear capability instead of paying for education etc. We filled that gap by sending aid. Therefore, we paid for their nuclear devices. Stop all aid to muslim countries. They accept the money and then use it against us with their anti-western propaganda.

  8. Paul Cook says:

    @ 1859
    I know the British Council tries its best with education.
    But, it really can’t be that difficult to follow the money in a sensible system from start to finish. Ensure proper recording, invoicing and payment systems, audit etc.

    @ Newspaniard.
    that is an unbelievably narrow comment and it makes no sense.
    Did we pay for India’s too? Or the french/ Or the US?
    For the US we did most definitely and I am not sure that a total basket case moron like GW Bush could ever be trusted with holding the fire button keys.Unbelievable.
    As to the Pakistani’s their top military men were educated in Britain – at Sandhurst. As did many of the military men in Islamic Middle Eastern countries you have so much hatred for.

  9. AgentCormac says:

    OT, but the BBC has, for once, published an article on its website that questions religious thinking. In this case, how can there be a god when there is so much evil in the world, both manmade and natural? Very nice bit of animation too.

  10. Brian Jordan says:

    “Of course an open-minded, secular education would make an enormous improvement in such places like Pakistan”
    Difficult to enforce, when an open-minded secular education isn’t universal even in the UK. With our government funding religious schools, and insisting on “worship” in all others here, can we throw stones? Time to lead by example.

  11. Clive says:

    The UK government is not “cracking down on Islamic extremists”. UK ‘special forces’ (SAS) have trained and helped islamic extremists to invade Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia, Libya and Syria. ISIS has been funded by US taxpayers, (who paid for the Toyota trucks that they use) and by Qatar, and Saudi Arabia (allies of the UK government). Islamic extremists pillaging Syria have been trained by SAS regiment of the British army in Jordan. They have also been given safe haven in Turkey, Jordan and the Golan Heights (Israeli, illegally occupied Syria).

    The UK government has been promoting extremist Islamism since (at least) the 1950s, when they used the Muslim Brotherhood to try to destabilise the secular pan-arab nationalist government of President Nasser of Egypt (see – Mark Curtis – ‘Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam’).

    Recently, an Iranian Press-TV reporter was killed in car ‘accident’ after her life was threatened by ‘Turkish Intelligence’ because she reported the fact that ISIS fighters and supplies were crossing the Turkish, borders, into Syria, in trucks with “World Food Organisation” markings. Turkey is a member of NATO. They have also prevented Kurds from crossing the border to defend the Kurdish city of Kobani from ISIS.

    In Syria, the US-UK government are still supporting ISIS, and other Islamic extremists. They are aiming to create a “buffer zone” along the Turkey/Syria border, from which Islamic extremists could attack the secular government of Syria, and Syrian people of many different religions and cultures, with impunity. The US airforce claims to be “bombing ISIS”, while they mostly seem to be actually bombing oil pipelines controlled by the Syrian government and grain silos intended to feed the Syrian people.

    In Iraq they may be temporarily “cracking down” on ISIS, to some extent, but only to prevent ‘blowback’ against Saudi Arabia. The Saudi monarchy (and the Qataris) are the main funders of Sunni extremism. The Salafi extremism of ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra etc is very similar to the Wahabism of the Saudis. But the Salafis don’t believe in monarchy and they believe (not entirely unreasonably) that the Saudi monarchy is corrupt. The British government is very close to the Saudis (so close that Prince Bandar even owns a country estate in Oxfordshire – not far from Chequers) .

  12. David Anderson says:

    Paul Cook;
    “Does anyone on this site not see the benefit of open honest education?”

    I certainly do Paul but the first requirement is open and honest teachers. Too many, it seems, are more interested in teaching their religious bent on the facts or changing them entirely. Also, how many times have we read about students walking out on teachers because the subject didn’t meet their religious belief.

    As one of my teachers used to say, “I can teach you but I can’t make you learn”.

  13. dennis says:

    the old confederacy in America is headed down this sky fairy private school idea as are the muslins so they might teach this cancer to our kids of the world. Religious people only you can stop this infiltration of your young children minds. I forgot you believe that the world is only 6000 years old. I can say this no better than the report did “education is one of the most important factors which can transform Pakistan’s future, it boosts the economy, broadens outlooks, and offers a brighter future for poor children who may otherwise be on the streets” this is true for England and America.

  14. Philip Smeeton says:

    Cameron has not gone far enough, an islamist that travels abroad to commit acts of terror should never be allowed back into Britain. And his friends and family should also be sent on permanent vacation back to the land of their fathers.

  15. Clive says:

    If gullible young Muslims who have been lured, by false pretences, and false promises, to fight for Salafi Islamism, organised by Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, are to be deported, should not Prince Bandar, who owns a country estate in Oxfordshire, also be deported for organising the whole thing?

    And should not US Senator John McCain, who has been photographed shaking hands with listed islamist terrorists in Syria, be prosecuted for war crimes? along with President Obama, John Kerry, Hilary Clinton, David Cameron, William Hague, Tony Blair, Jack Straw, Netanyanu, and other politicians who have supported and aided the islamist proxy-invasions of Libya and Syria?

  16. John C says:

    There is only one winner from the whole isis/radical situation, the arms industries, people are irrelevant to them, they sell weapons and seed conflict, any conflict anywhere is good for business, religion just keeps the orders flowing in.The arms industry bigwigs all say one prayer at night, “Please Lord,don’t let peace break out.”

  17. Newspaniard says:

    Today’s desktop from Bing (16 Nov) is a picture of an Historic Indian Street from an historic city, it doesn’t matter which, sufficient to say that there is a plethora of exciting places to visit in India which have not been destroyed by followers of “the religion of peace”. Curiosity drove me to ask for images of places of interest for visitors to Pakistan. Guess what, a plethora of mosques and a few untended ruins from before partition other than that, zilch. No wonder that the tourist trade is almost non existent and that Pakistanis are leaving the country as quickly as they can afford it. “What a slum”, to paraphrase a very famous travel writer. These people could have it so much better without their terrible death cult.