Description of tribe hostile to Prophet Mohamed in school book changed
Minister of Education Mahmoud Abou el-Nasr - YOUM7/Amr Moustafa

CAIRO: An official bulletin was distributed Wednesday to Egyptian schools to change the description of “Quraysh opposition leaders” to “Quraysh infidels,” in a primary school book, Mohamed Saad, general supervisor of public education, told Youm7.

The description of Quraysh, a powerful Arab Peninsula tribe that was an enemy to Prophet Mohamed in the sixth century, as “opposition leaders” in a primary school book has stirred controversy on social networks since Tuesday.

An image of a lesson in the book was circulated on Facebook and Twitter, and was criticized for not following the standard wording in Egyptian history and religious curricula as “Quraysh infidels.”

The book in question was modified in 2010 and has not been changed since, Saad said, adding that the book was approved for printing under the term of former Minister of Education Ibrahim Ghoneim, appointed by the then-Muslim Brotherhood government.

The Ministry of Education is working to draft new school books that meet international standards, head of the Center for Educational Curriculum and Documents Nawal Shalaby told Youm7.

The center issued 35 new books this year and also reviewed the school books that were amended by the Brotherhood during their one year in office, Shalaby said.

But educational expert Mohamed Abdel Zaher told The Cairo Post, “We cannot rely on those responsible in the Ministry of Education now, we need specialists.”  

There are committees tasked with reviewing curricula in the Ministry of Education, former undersecretary of the ministry Said Emara told ONtv Wednesday, criticizing how the government allowed the phrase “Quraysh opposition” to appear in books.

Several Egyptians who condemned the phrasing on social networks also noted that if any party was “the opposition” at the time of Prophet Mohamed, it would have been the Prophet and his followers, not the “ruling majority.”

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