Akbar claimed that the Peace School was using books that were in the market, and said the publisher should be blamed for objectionable content.

Islamic preacher MM Akbar denies Peace School teaching religious hatred
news Peace School Kerala Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 20:58

It’s been four days since the police registered an FIR against the Peace International School, Kochi, for promoting enmity among different groups on the basis of religion. The case was registered after police found that many of the text books taught in the school had objectionable content.

Portions of some of the textbooks taught in the school leaked by parents and others to the media reveal that the textbooks promoted Islamic orthodoxy and nudged students towards the same.

However, Islamic preacher MM Akbar, who heads the school, has denied any allegations of promoting religious division or enmity. Akbar, who is known as Kerala's equivalent of Zakir Naik, operates 13 Peace schools under his banner in different districts in the state.

In a video that is being widely shared on social media, Akbar asserts that none of the textbooks have been published by the Peace foundation, and the schools use books available in the market. He also says that for all other subjects, the schools use text books prescribed by the NCERT, while they use another publisher’s books for religious studies.

“For religious studies we use publications by ‘Burooj Realisation’. The portion of the text that is being criticised was noticed by us earlier. We don’t think the portion is malicious, but it is inappropriate to teach that to 2nd standard students. So we had given clear instructions to omit that portion while teaching,” he says.

The offending portion Akbar refers to is a question that asks, “Suppose your friend Adam/Suzanne has decided to become a Muslim, among the choices what advice will you give?"

The choices given are:

“a. he/she has to change her name to Ahmed/Sara immediately

b. he/she is wearing a chain and will need to remove it 

c. learn the shahada

d. runaway from home as parents are not Muslims 

e. eat halal chicken”

“It was just a portion that taught that only through reciting the Shaharath (declaration that Allah is the only true god) can one become Muslim,” Akbar claims.

Akbar also adds that if there is some problem with the text book the publishers should be charged first, and not the school which uses their publication. “These textbooks are easily available in the market and they were being used by schools here even before Peace was established,” he says. He also stresses that religious studies is only an optional subject for the students.

MM Akbar’s video was published on a Facebook page in the name of Najmudheen C, and the page also features other videos of school teachers and parents who also deny all the allegations against the school.

Geetha Santhosh, an English teacher at the Peace School, says in a video that everything people hear about the school is false, and that the institution has a secular approach and a secular curriculum. She also points that teachers and students enjoy full freedom in the school campus, and no orthodoxy been forced upon them.

In another video, a parent named Surjeet who claims that three of his children are studying in the school, says that religious studies is an optional subject, and there no unsecular subjects taught in the school.

Institutions affiliated with the Peace Foundation have come under public scrutiny since around 20 people went missing from various parts of Kerala, and were later revealed to have gone to join the Islamic State.

One of them, called Rashid, who had been actively involved in the conversions of many of the others to Islam, was a faculty member at a Peace International School. Three others in this group also had links to the school.

 

 

 

 

Show us some love and support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.