Islamic Textbooks

Mar 8th, 2007, in News, by

The Padang government wants school religious textbooks to be more Islamically correct.

The Padang city administration in West Sumatra has ordered three school textbook publishers to revise their Islamic books for elementary schools, claiming the texts are misleading about Muslim life, according to the Jakarta Post.

The order was made on the recommendation of an evaluation team set up by the Padang administration. The team found parts of the religious education books, which were published in 2005 for second graders, were incorrect or misleading, such as illustrations of girls not wearing headscarves or Muslim clothing.

M. Nur Amin, the head of the city's education office, said the administration had already sent letters to the three publishers, they being Padang-based Giat Insani and Jakarta-based Erlangga and Yudistira.

Books from the three publishers are used in 416 elementary schools in Padang city, so we hope the publishers immediately withdraw the books and revise them according to the team's recommendations.

He said the evaluation team was set up after complaints from a parent to the city and provincial legislative councils, as well as related government agencies.

The team has been working for four months and we hope it will continue its work by checking Islamic textbooks for other grades.

The team is made up of representatives from the Padang branch of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), the Indonesian Mosque Council, Imam Bonjol State Islamic Institute, the Padang Language Council and the local religious affairs office. Padang has a number of Islamic laws on the statute books.

Team head Syamsul Bahri Khatib, who heads the MUI in Padang, said the group analyzed the textbooks' illustrations and writings from the perspective of Islamic moral values and history, religious service and the Koran.

It turns out much of the books' contents are misleading, for instance, by showing a girl who is not covering her body.

Of the three textbooks, the team said the one published by Giat Insani was in the most dire state. The book was written by Dasni Yusri and other writers, including religious teachers and an Islamic education working group in Padang city.

Erlangga's textbook, which was prepared by a team of educators, was cited by the team as posing the risk of creating an incorrect understanding of Islam among students.

The team found Yudistira's textbook, written by Achmad Farichi and others, confusing.

The use of the Latin alphabet over Arabic, which it says discourages students from learning to read the Koran in the proper language, was also criticised.

When contacted for comment, Yudistira's marketing manager in Padang, Jelvi Amri, said his office had received a letter from the administration and had forwarded it to its Jakarta office. He said the publisher would study the matter before making any comment.

However, he questioned the validity of some of the evaluation team's criticisms. As an example, he pointed to a criticized illustration of a young girl without a headscarf stepping into a bathroom in her home. Also pictured in the bathroom is a shirtless boy. The illustration is meant to show students how to perform wudu, the ritual ablution before prayers.

This illustration, based on the situation, is not a problem since the girl is in her home, where women rarely wear a headscarf, especially on their way to the bathroom for wudu. And it's the same with the boy. But the team says it does not teach children to wear Muslim dress early.

And added:

Yudistra's book on Islamic teaching is distributed across the country, and unlike in Padang city many regions don't obligate elementary school students to wear Muslim dress. So the illustration has not caused any problem and is acceptable.


7 Comments on “Islamic Textbooks”

  1. avatar Chris says:

    I have seen similar style textbooks in Jakarta at SD Al Azhar. All the examples in the e.g. English textbook used sentences centred on Muslim moral rules, rather than just normal daily life.

    I thought the point of school was to educate and open children’s minds, not close them.

  2. avatar Dimp says:

    I think the best thing is to abolish the teaching of religion in public school. If you want your kids to be taught religion then enrol them to religious school. Indonesian need to separate what is public and private issues. Religion is clearly private issue so they should not be taken into public facilities, so in this case also cease the Departemen Agama. They are so corrupt anyway, it is embarassing to link the two up (corruption – religion).

  3. avatar Bas says:

    Stop teaching religion in public school, close the department of religion, stop asking for religion in all legal and public forms. Absolutely must do things that have not been done yet.

  4. avatar Hassan says:

    therighteousdude: Err, but I thought Al Azhar is an Islamic-based school. Of course they taught religion and Islamic moral values.

    Just enrol your children in some International school if you don’t want them to be taught religion.

    “I thought the point of school was to educate and open children’s minds, not close them.”

    It’s unfair to say that religion (any religion) closes the minds of children, why would God want to do that in establishing His religion(s)?

  5. avatar Oigal says:

    “It’s unfair to say that religion (any religion) closes the minds of children, why would God want to do that in establishing His religion”

    Not it’s not they all do! And why would God do that, maybe she is just being mean or perhaps just a figment of our imagination. Opiate of the Masses.

  6. avatar Hassan says:

    oigal: Well that depends on how skeptical you are towards God.

    “Figment of our imagination”? Oh let me guess, the big bang is a fluke? All those particles and masses just randomly coordinates with each other to create nebulas, stars and planets? And another fluke that cells seemed to be able to coordinate themselves to create your head, your heart, and your blood? 😉

  7. avatar Fanglong says:

    Hi Patung and other friends !

    The makanan Padang restaurants in Bali are held by beautiful young girls wearing jilbab, tight jeans and SENYUM. They’re the best texts God and the Prophets have shown me until now.
    Reality, words, ideas — just a matter of bakso…

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