Skip to main content

Curb Religious Extremism through Knowledge

For much of his lif e Charlemagne (800814), also known as Charles the Great was illiterate, but he was an enthusiastic promoter of literacy in others.

Throughout his empire, he used the church and the well-organised clergy to undertake the task of spreading literacy. Realising the importance of education, the authorities of the church extended him full support and cathedral schools were founded in church buildings where the curriculum was designed to make the young students devout Christians.

Later, the famous theologian Thomas Aquinas (d.1274) integrated Aristotelian philosophy with Christian beliefs, which became known as Aristotelian scholasticism. The curriculum emphasised knowledge of the absolute truth by revclation and not by any other means and methods while the association between Aristotle and Christianity became quite profound.

The curriculum was based on the belief that only tradition and past values could stabilise the society as these are tried and tested. Aristotelian scholasticism endorsed traditional ideas and that these should be respected, honoured and observed without any endeavour to change or challenge them with innovation.

Throughout Europe, this curriculum was enforced in all universities and the CambridgeUniversity charter stated that students should not deviate from, criticise or reject it. Reading any other literature which contradicted the prescribed curriculum was prohibited. As a result, the students blindly f`ollowed existing traditions and customs without creating new ideals and thoughts. The main objective of` the education system was to strengthen the Christian faith and prevent any kind of`questioning or rebellion.

For the many years that this system prevailed, students remained occupied with religious activity and were not allowed to investigate, probe and research for new venues of knowledge.

Consequently, the universities failed to respond to the challenges of time.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, the European society went through a radical change due to political, social and economic development.

Although new ideas, scientific inventions and technological innovation were needed to meet modern day challenges, yet the universities continued to follow the outdated and obsolete educational system and the dogmatic church authorities ref`used to alter the curriculum.

To meet the demands of their time, scholars and philosophers decided to establish their own research institutions and societies under royal patronage. In 1660, the Royal Society of` London was established and committees of scientists andscholars from the fields of physics, chemistry, agriculture, engineering and architecture were constituted. The members of these committees undertook respective research projects, presented their papers in discussions and research journals were published in order to disseminate scientific knowledge to the general public.

These scholars and scientists challenged outdated ideas and a new vision emerged paving the way f`or intellectuals, scientific and technological revolution which transformed the European society.

Considering the above as a case study, there is a lesson for us to learn. Our public universities have f`ailed to produce new ideas, thoughts and concepts required to understand the ongoing problems in our society. Instead ol` producing creators of knowledge, they have produced consumers. Our universities continue to l`ollow old and rusted curricula which have no relevance to our society.

On the other hand, private universities, like tuition centres, are commercial set-ups which have no concept of training young minds to undertake social responsibility, nor to equip them with new ideas. Since social sciences and humanities are not included in their curricula, they produce robots without thinking minds. Students are educated according to the needs of the market and after completing their education, they only want to pursue material interests and have no desire to enlighten the society or to change their environment. Sadly, private universities are producing an incompetent, educated class empowered with only self-interest and materialistic values.

There is a need to establish independent research institutions in order to understand our problems and transform the society. Unless the society supports independent research institutions that will provide relevant knowledge to reconstruct and reshape political, social and economic structure, there is not much hope of` survival in the competitive world of knowledge.
by Mubarak Ali :
  1. Tribulation and Discord in Muslim World & Future
  2. Learning & Science
  3. Islamic Society & Culture

Peace-Forum Video Channel:

Popular posts from this blog

A historic moment in the Arab world

لحظة تاريخية في العالم العربي
As a democratic revolution led by tech-empowered young people sweeps the Arab world, Wadah Khanfar, Al Jazeera's director-general, shares a profoundly optimistic view of what's happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and beyond. In the first talk posted online from the TED 2011 conference in California, Khanfar describes the powerful moment when people realised they could step out of their homes and ask for change. "كما ثورة ديمقراطية بقيادة الشباب التكنولوجيا ذات صلاحيات تجتاح العالم العربي ، وضاح خنفر ، الجزيرة المدير العام والأسهم وجهة نظر متفائلة بشكل كبير ما يحدث في مصر وتونس وليبيا وخارجها. وفي اول حديث له نشر على الانترنت من مؤتمر تيد 2011 في ولاية كاليفورنيا ، خنفر يصف لحظة قوية عند الناس أدركت أنها لا يمكن الخروج من منازلهم ونطلب من أجل التغيير." This talk was given on March 1, 2011 in Long Beach, California. TED 2011 is taking place between March 1 and Mar…

Kashmir Jihad - Analysis & Options


Kashmir is an incomplete agenda of partition of India. Since 1947, India and Pakistan have fought three wars on this issue. According to UN resolutions, Kashmiris have to decide their accession to Pakistan or India through impartial plebiscite, which could not take place due to Indian reluctance. Recently, India revoked Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted special autonomous status to Kashmir, it was done to unilaterally integrate occupied Kashmir. This is a violation of the UN resolutions and the Simla bilateral agreement, which demands to maintain status quo until the final settlement. The US and world powers are emphasizing that Kashmir should be resolved bilaterally, though India has refused to hold talks with Pakistan. In the present scenario, while India has turned Kashmir into the largest prison of 9 million people, denying basic human rights and oppressing the Kashmiris' who want freedom from India, Pakistan cannot watch as a silent spec…

Our Captured, Wounded Hearts: Arundhati Roy On Balakot, Kashmir And India

With his reckless “pre-emptive” airstrike on Balakot in Pakistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inadvertently undone what previous Indian governments almost miraculously, succeeded in doing for decades. Since 1947 the Indian Government has bristled at any suggestion that the conflict in Kashmir could be resolved by international arbitration, insisting that it is an “internal matter.” By goading Pakistan into a counter-strike, and so making India and Pakistan the only two nuclear powers in history to have bombed each other, Modi has internationalised the Kashmir dispute. He has demonstrated to the world that Kashmir is potentially the most dangerous place on earth, the flash-point for nuclear war. Every person, country, and organisation that worries about the prospect of nuclear war has the right to intervene and do everything in its power to prevent it.  Keep reading  >>>>

India has built around itself an aura of a global power whose time has come. For at least the last t…