Counter terrorism: ‘Arabic to be a compulsory subject’

Published: January 5, 2014
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Country’s biggest law and order challenge is to eliminate sectarianism, says minister. PHOTO: FILE

Country’s biggest law and order challenge is to eliminate sectarianism, says minister. PHOTO: FILE

MULTAN: 

“The federal government is planning to introduce Arabic as a compulsory subject in primary schools,” Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousuf said on Saturday.

Speaking at a press conference at the Jamia Khairul Madaris, he said this could help fight sectarianism and terrorism.

“There is a proposal of teaching Arabic books to children from primary to matric so they can learn the Quran,” he said.

The minister said facility in Arabic could promote religious tolerance.

“The matter will be discussed with the provinces soon,” he said.

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“The country’s biggest law and order challenge today is to eliminate sectarianism which is the main cause of terrorism,” he said.

“We are consulting religious scholars of all sects in the country about this.”

The federal minister said there were 25,000 religious seminaries registered in Pakistan.

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“All of them are under complete observation… they have no relations with any terrorist outfit… We are encouraging them to improve academic standards,” he said.

In reply to a question, Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousuf said there would be one category in Hajj policy this year. He said the government was also making efforts to improve Hajj arrangements in 2014.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (48)

  • Kaleem
    Jan 5, 2014 - 3:12PM

    While standing behind Imaam, whatever he recites is not understood by us. That’s the reason Imaams having much lesser education have become our leaders and they can now direct us in any direction. Whatever they quote in arabic as hadith or anything, We believe it blindly! It will be an awesome move, Please implement it.

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  • powvow
    Jan 5, 2014 - 4:10PM

    Appears Pakistanis are on their way to become linguist geeks, learning Arabic, Chinese, English, Urdu and Punjabi/Sindhi/Pushto etc…

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  • TUNG
    Jan 5, 2014 - 4:28PM

    sectarianism can also be curbed by providing with the right translation to arabic texts!our students rarely get to study urdu and english properly yet you want to start a new language!Recommend

  • Priyank
    Jan 5, 2014 - 5:08PM

    Bible is written in Hebrew or Aramaic. Vedas and other Hindu texts are written in Sanskrit. Budhist texts also mostly written in Sanskrit. These languages are not spoken now. Very few people know Hebrew, Aramaic or Sanskrit. So the logic that sectarianism is caused by bad translation dies out.

    Its just one of Pakistan’s many tact to align itself with Arabian culture and run away from its Indian past.

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  • Jim
    Jan 5, 2014 - 5:30PM

    This is horrible.

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  • Babloo
    Jan 5, 2014 - 6:18PM

    Arabization. A day may come when local languages will be banned.

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  • Jan 5, 2014 - 6:51PM

    Arabic is Pakistan’s spiritual tongue. Urdu/Hindi was and always will be India’s language.

    This will allow Pakistanis to erase India’s memories and embrace their Arabic heritage.

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  • optimist
    Jan 5, 2014 - 6:54PM

    Teaching Arabic won’t help (teach them ‘spoken’ for better job prospects). There is enough sectarian Arabic literature to make things worse.
    .
    There is enough hateful material even in English.

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  • Andaleeb
    Jan 5, 2014 - 6:55PM

    Since Pakistanis are Arabic by origin, this is the right thing to do. In fact it should be made the national language

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  • Ahmed
    Jan 5, 2014 - 7:08PM

    Good idea.

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  • Jan 5, 2014 - 7:22PM

    Ban all Pakistani languages and introduce Chinese, Arabic, Persian and Turkish. The decision during the visit of KSA Foreign Minister is very coinciding to beg for alms. The government want linguistic murders apart from sectarian killings.

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  • Indianhatewatch
    Jan 5, 2014 - 7:25PM

    @powvow:
    Why are cyber endians so bothered with pakistan??? Why dont you go and worry about your caste system which is taught to indians from an early age

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  • Babar Mumtaz
    Jan 5, 2014 - 7:32PM

    Its not the language – it is what is said (and heard) that makes terrorists.

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  • Bilal
    Jan 5, 2014 - 8:29PM

    A thousand years ago this would have been a great idea, because Arabic was then the language of knowledge and learning. Unfortunately since the Arab world now makes virtually zero contribution to science and human endeavor, we no are now officially moving backwards into a dark age. Without secular knowledge and learning, there is no future for this country.

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  • Sajida
    Jan 5, 2014 - 8:59PM

    Why are they teaching them Arabic when terrorism’s godfathers are Arabic speaking Gulf countries? There are other languages these students need to learn to improve their work prospects. Please do not dumb down education further. Without oil these Arabic speaking countries do not have much of an economy.

    http://viewsweek.com/world/chechen-war-games-the-politics-of-sochi-olympics/
    Chechen War Games: The Politics of Sochi Olympics
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/saudi-arabia-is-biggest-funder-of-terrorists-2152327.html
    Saudi Arabia is ‘biggest funder of terrorists’
    http://articles.latimes.com/2008/apr/02/nation/na-terror2
    Saudis faulted for funding terror

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  • genesis
    Jan 5, 2014 - 9:32PM

    @powvow:
    Actually it was Persian which was the court language and many of the books of those times are all in Persian.It will make sense if Persian is taught and not Arabic.

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  • Enum
    Jan 5, 2014 - 9:33PM

    Unlikely to happen. Trust me.

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  • genesis
    Jan 5, 2014 - 9:33PM

    @Andaleeb:
    correction..Trying to become Arabic but the Arabs seem to have a different view.Get the Arabs to subscribe to this idea first!

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  • genesis
    Jan 5, 2014 - 9:36PM

    @Indianhatewatch:

    Since all the languages of Pakistan have an Indian origin and are part of India’s cultural legacy..hence the interest.Love for Arabic is only recent..not ancient.Even during Islamic rule it was Persian which was the court language..not arabic.

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  • shah
    Jan 5, 2014 - 10:15PM

    what a bunch of jokers. Only last year they were going to start teaching children Chinese…lol.

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  • Babar Shameem
    Jan 5, 2014 - 10:41PM

    How asinine! Now, at least, one can tell differentiate between the devilish foreigners and natives … distinction will be lost and further opportunity to the extremists will be provided who are funded by Saudis, Qataris and UAE …

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  • Muhammed Usama Aziz
    Jan 5, 2014 - 11:33PM

    @Kaleem:
    Its not Imam that is less educated but You. If you cannot understand what he says, then it is your fault that you learned English language to gain wordly knowledge but ignored the language of Quan to gain deep knowledge about the Religion.

    If we have given much importance to learn our Religion, then we would not be in such a mess

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  • LuvPak!
    Jan 6, 2014 - 12:09AM

    Their is no use of Arabic language in Pakistan, period. Neither we have Arab tourists or visitors nor any tv/radio shows, books or business done in Arabic. It was tried before decades ago… with Persian and Arabic in middle and secondary school but failed.

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  • Imran
    Jan 6, 2014 - 12:11AM

    I think it is the rite step and also in rite direction … English , Arabic and local provincial languages shud b made compulsory and rest including Urdu shud b optional….

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  • Khalid Rahman
    Jan 6, 2014 - 12:16AM

    One must not forget that Pakistan’s population is mostly Muslim. The first voice that a newborn hears is that of the call of prayer (azaan) in Arabic. Every Muslim knows the proverbial kalima which is in Arabic. All five prayers (if someone cares to offer prayers, being Muslim) are recited in Arabic. So anyone who believes the Muslims in Pakistan, or anywhere for that matter, do not need to understand Arabic lives in a fool’s world. Arabic is the only language that is common in the entire Muslim world. Skip Arabic and you get yourself cut off from the Muslim Ummah — the Muslim nation that is spread all over the world, not just the Muslim countries from the west coast of Africa to eastern limits Asia.
    It is stupid and ignorant to say that all languages in Pakistan are of India origin. Watch Hindi and Punjabi movies and television programmes and you come across so many Arabic words that make an essential and integral part. Guru Nanak was a scholar of Persian and Arabic, if you care to know.

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  • Jan 6, 2014 - 1:05AM

    No issue with learning another language – but the concentration needs to be on challenging the ‘mindset’ that leads to extremism – if teaching Arabic can challenge this – great, but who will be the teachers? The same Mullahs who produce these extremists?Recommend

  • Alam Sher
    Jan 6, 2014 - 3:34AM

    Teach children in their mother tongue instead to get rid of sectarianism. Make Punjabi, Sindhi, Baluchi, and Pushto medium of education!

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  • unbelievable
    Jan 6, 2014 - 4:52AM

    What does Arabic have to do with tolerance?

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  • smbfhs
    Jan 6, 2014 - 5:01AM

    We can make one language compulsory beside Urdu and the student’s mother tongue, leaving that choice on student to pick. This way we can have a shot at the racial or lingual intolerance and an important step toward appreciation & acceptance of other Pakistani cultures.
    “Benefit of learning Arabic will only end by the graduation. Educating historic Islamic Scriptures has nothing to do with modern Arabic from Arabia…no one speak Arabic that students will socialize later with another race inside Pakistan. But still If you are getting size able funding from abroad for book printing and teacher salary, that’s still won’t make a dent at racial intolerance or terrorism.

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  • Rafi Ka Deewana
    Jan 6, 2014 - 6:34AM

    Arabic – you don’t understand, but love it. Bollywood song – you understand, but hate it. No wonder you guys are so confused.

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  • rasgullah
    Jan 6, 2014 - 7:06AM

    Now Indians and Pakistanis are truly two different states. Pakistanis are now part of the Arabic mainstream. So in a few more years, no more elections, no western influences and Pakistan can start looking for oil in its land.

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  • yajsingh
    Jan 6, 2014 - 8:49AM

    Whoaaaa! This is a world changing discovery. Language is the cause for terrorism!Recommend

  • mushriq
    Jan 6, 2014 - 12:09PM

    Do all Indonesians, Turks, Malaysians, Bengalis know Arabic?
    on the contrary all Syrians probably know Arabic but look what is happening there.

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  • IndianHatersWatch
    Jan 6, 2014 - 4:35PM

    The thing i enjoy the most in such articles is the hate spreading and racist comments of cyber indians meanwhile TOI and the hindu are not brave enough to publish a single comments against india and india is the biggest democracy they say

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  • HassanKB
    Jan 6, 2014 - 6:34PM

    An incredibly stupid initiative that smacks of Zia’s enforced islamization of the 80s. It is pure idiocy to think that an increased knowledge of arabic in any way is going to lead to a reduction in sectarian violence. The middle east is rife with sectarian tensions and their arabic is their FIRST LANGUAGE.
    And i also can’t beleive that the religious affairs minister has the gall to claim that none of the madrassas play a part in the spread of violence and sectarianism. I mean i understand politicians lie, but lie with such shamelessness.. it boggles the mindRecommend

  • SJG
    Jan 6, 2014 - 9:37PM

    All studies show that the best time to teach a student foreign language is at the secondary level. A Pakistani ( or Indian) student already has the burden of English and Urdu (or Hindi in some parts of India), now put more burden in terms of Chinese now Arabic, the child may not end up learning any language at all.Recommend

  • its ok
    Jan 6, 2014 - 10:26PM

    and “for innovation in the field of counter terrorism” nobel prize goes to pakistan.

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  • Wise Guy
    Jan 7, 2014 - 3:26AM

    If learning arabic was the cure for sectarianism, there would not be such strife in Iraq, Syria, Bahrain etc. In fact teaching arabic and over religiosity will make things worse.

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  • SM
    Jan 7, 2014 - 8:34AM

    Had Arabic been made the official language of Pakistan back then, there would have been no language problem and no 1971. Perhaps we would have been better Muslims and thus better Pakistanis.

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  • Lala Gee
    Jan 7, 2014 - 1:50PM

    We must make Arabic as our national language and chinese as one of our official language. Urdu must be gradually deprecated since its tainted with Hindi

    Imagine the benefits that we get if all pakistanis know arabic and chinese….No more bad bollywood Indian influence etc

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  • dilawar
    Jan 7, 2014 - 4:20PM

    Pathetic move by Nawaz government, harking back to Zia days. Arabic never was the language of the locals and never will be. Persian, Urdu and Punjabi is a wiser choice.

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  • Saad Zafar
    Jan 7, 2014 - 4:31PM

    Arabs are themselves sectarian. How naive is it to think that learning arabic will eliminate sectarianism and induce tolerance among people. We are being governed by bunch of jokers

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  • Moiz Omar
    Jan 7, 2014 - 6:06PM

    I think there are better ways of fighting terrorism. Pakistan is becoming an Arab state. I am a Pakistani not an Arab.

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  • powvow
    Jan 7, 2014 - 6:18PM

    @Lala Gee – “Imagine the benefits that we get if all pakistanis know arabic and chinese”

    So Pakistanis will now be able to swear at the world in Arabic and Chinese.

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  • LuvDat!
    Jan 7, 2014 - 10:59PM

    @IndianHatersWatch: Did you know that this “Largest” Democracy has put it in the constitution that No-One can Write, Say or bring Attention toward any flaw that reduce Mother India’s Image from a “Flaw-less” Supreme Nation.

    Recommend

  • Arun Rajagopalan
    Jan 7, 2014 - 11:45PM

    @LuvDat! : Keep luvin it, life must be wonderful under a rock. We live in a real world, where you are not even in our league.Recommend

  • Jan 9, 2014 - 4:31AM

    this should have been done decades back.a seed sown today will inshaALLAH grow into a full grown tree some day .we will not only be linked with the Arab world but most importantly as a nation be able to answer the world who categorically,and very emphatically embarrass us by saying that we read Qurran but cannot speak Arabic .it surprises the entire middle eastern countries and the world .
    no doubt we will be able to understand the HOLY QURRAN better why not ? we have no shame learning English or any other language of the world but the devil would never like us or our generation understand the manual . which speaks the language of the creator . not that HE CANNOT UNDERSTAND ANY OTHER LANGUAGE ..WHY WAS IT REVEALED IN ARABIC . ?
    those who have objection on the learning of Arabic as a compulsory language hardly get the opportunity of opening the qurran and studying it . let me openly say it was not just meant to be recited as a parrot without knowing what it meant . in simple words there is a very famous urdu verse in poetry ” aisay waisay kaisay kaisay ho gaye .kaisay kaisay aisay waisay ho gaye ” no amount of knowledge or expertise can exactly translate it if the message was to be given ..

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  • Abu alab
    Jan 23, 2014 - 11:57AM

    Yes implement it please. Soon Pakistan will become peaceful like middle east inshallah!Recommend

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