Taif University vows to root out extremism from campus

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Time: April 18, 2018

TAIF – Taif University is determined to confront extremist thoughts and ideologies promoted by Al-Ikhwan and other groups in the campus, said its president Dr. Hussam Bin Abdulwahab Zaman. “We’ll promote moderate Islamic views and patriotism among our staff and students,” he added.

Speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette, Zaman emphasized his university’s resolve to root out extremism, adding that extremism has negatively affected Saudi society over the past 40 years. “We’ll redesign our curricular and co-curricular programs for this purpose.”

Dr. Zaman said the university would foil efforts by extremist groups to recruit young men and women. He was reiterating a recent comment made by Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, during an interview with The Times magazine.

He spoke about different phases of how ordinary people are transformed into extremists. “An ordinary person becomes conservative before subscribing extremism little by little until he becomes a full-scale terrorist,” he said citing Al-Ikhwan as an example.

He said the university faced opposition from some quarters within the Kingdom when it decided to change its Islamic textbooks as part of the national transformation program. “We have been able to overcome that opposition through determination,” he added.

“As the Crown Prince pointed out we don’t have more time to waste discussing such objections,” the president said while commending the support received from Makkah Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and Education Minister Ahmed Al-Isa to change the curricula.

“We have decided to review the academic program for the Shariah College in consultation with experts at the Justice Ministry. We also wanted to strengthen the national identity of our students by making the Kingdom’s history and culture a mandatory subject for them to learn,” he said.

Zaman said the new textbooks for Islamic culture and sciences would promote qualities such as truthfulness, trustworthiness, cooperation, dedication and positive spirit as well as the ability to take responsibility and do their work with perfection.

“It will also encourage students to take initiatives, take part in social welfare programs, deal with others with respect and learn new knowledge and sciences,” he added. The new textbooks are designed to explain the real Islam as stated by the Crown Prince.

The revised curricula, he said, aims to produce students with vast capabilities while upholding trustworthiness and other moral values. “We want to produce model graduates who will be upholding Islamic values and moderate views not only in their personal lives but also while dealing with other members of society,” he pointed out.

He said the Taif University had organized a number of conferences and seminars this year to promote moderate Islamic values and teachings among its students and highlight the stand of Islam on extremism, new media and deviant thoughts.

Dr. Zaman said the university was successful in recruiting a substantial number of student leaders including women who are capable of enlightening their colleagues about the danger posed by extremism and the need to confront such dangerous ideologies.

He said the university would make use of cultural programs such as dramas to disseminate moderate values among students and encourage them to work for national unity.

This article was first published in Saudi Gazette

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