The textbook “Kithabu Thouheed” was withdrawn after protests by the Sunni Students Federation (SSF).

Calicut varsity withdraws textbook with extremist Salafi ideology for a second time
news Education Friday, November 04, 2016 - 17:02

Kerala’s Calicut University withdrew a textbook from its syllabus on Thursday because it allegedly contained extremist content promoting Salafism.

The 40-page textbook, “Kithabu Thouheed” was withdrawn from the syllabus of the Bachelor of Arts in Afzal-Ul-Ulama (Language Studies) course, after the Sunni Students Federation (SSF) launched protests three months after the book was re-introduced in the syllabus.

The book was first withdrawn in 2007 after a month-long protest by the group. According to the State Secretary of SSF, Muhammad Ali Kinaloor, the book written by Saudi-based Salafi preacher Muhammed ibn Salih al Hussaini promotes violence and extremism.  

“For instance, one portion in the book says that people who worship Khabr (a grave at a shrine) and who worship anyone other than Allah are Khafirs (anti-Muslim), and that war should be waged against them. The words in the textbook are wrongly interpreted to indicate that such people should be killed, and their wealth and wives taken away. The idea of killing somebody is problematic and cannot be allowed to be propagated in a democratic country like ours,” Ali Kinaloor said.

He opined that re-introducing a textbook that had already been withdrawn over protests was a deliberate attempt at propagating extremism. 

“This time, we informed the Vice-Chancellor about our disagreement and went on to protest against it. We chose not to go through any official channel, and say file a complaint with the university, because re-introducing the textbook had already toppled the earlier agreement,” Ali Kinaloor said. 

Responding to the matter, Vice-Chancellor of the university Dr Muhammad Basheer said that the book was immediately withdrawn once the matter was brought to his notice. 

“The university cannot itself look into all the syllabus of every department. It is the Board of Studies that decides what books are taught. We have given instruction to withdraw this concerned textbook and replace it with the one that had been taught till the last academic year,” he said. 

Dr Muhammad Basheer said that the reintroduction of a textbook that had been withdrawn was “a negligent mistake by the Board of Studies”.

"The decision to include this textbook was taken at a meeting by the VC and Chairman of Board of Studies last year. This was before I took charge as the VC in November and I cannot speak about the circumstances of re-introducing a textbook that was previously withdrawn," he said. 

However, the student federation has decided to go ahead with a protest on Saturday on the grounds that there are more textbooks suspected to have similar content. 

“One such book is an Arabic language textbook taught in the post-graduate course titled “Kithabu Thafseer”. We have received complaints from students with regard to this textbook. We are in the process of studying it to ascertain the validity of the complaints,” Ali Kinaloor said.

 

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