Towards schools free from sleeper wolves

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Towards schools free from sleeper wolves

By Fr.Rif'at Bader

In 1999, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah launched an initiative titled, "Together, Towards a Safe schooling Environment," which aimed at "defusing violence" in schools. This initiative came on the heels of increased teachers' violence against children, which was accompanied by physical and psychological torture, as well as by disciplinary beatings and intimidation.

Undoubtedly, this initiative brought about a positive impact whereby the teacher who beats a student becomes guilty. Some used to publicly post shots of teachers beating students with the former receiving large-scale social rebuke. We, then, learned about the violent teacher. "It is hopeful that the Queen will get to know about this."

I do recall this initiative today as we tackle "together" the causes of delinquency of the youths of our homeland. These youths are few, yet they are capable--as has been the case a few days ago--to commit criminal acts aimed at people in the streets, in houses, in offices, or even in the mosque in which the culprit was located where he opened fire from a holy place.

So what makes a young man in the prime of his youth commit such a heinous crime, thus becoming a depiction of what Roman writer Plato (184 BC) said indicating that “Man is a wolf to his fellow man” instead of acting like loving partners, and cooperating with others on an equal footing of citizenship?

There are several reasons for extremism, fanaticism and terrorism whose different forms are condemned by all religious and humanitarian shades. However, we today address means of combat these phenomena at a time when His Majesty King Abdullah II Bin Al-Hussein focuses on them as well. This is a tripartite war, namely in the battlefields, in the security aspects, and in the ideological or rather intellectual fields. The shortest war is the one fought in the battlefields. With the security aspect taking a pretty longer time, the longest battle is the one fought at the intellectual level. This war makes it imperative to confront all those infected by the disease of extremism, and those who have followed the path of death, murder and destruction. It is our duty, as well, to "protect" the future generations so as not to have them one day infected by this disease.

In His Majesty King Abdullah's address at the Plenary Session of the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations on September 28, 2015, he suggested seven essential steps that would serve as a road-map designed to eliminate the evils of "mass murder, beheading, kidnapping and slavery." These suggestions include getting back to basics, ensuring the spiritual commonalities among religions, changing the tone of religious discourses, translating beliefs into deeds, amplifying the voice of moderation, recognizing deceit, taking a clear and public stand against intolerance of any kind, as well as activating hyper-connectivity and interaction in our work, in our communities, in our schools, and in our lives.

From this premise, the whole issue seems to be attributed to education par excellence. We thus inquire: In which school did these criminal youths receive their education? What kind of education did they receive? What role did the electronic social media play with regards to enlisting them in the foreign camps of death? We have to encourage, without delay, all pioneering educational initiatives, especially those initiated and led by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, as well as her social and humanitarian efforts in general. Among her educational initiatives, I hereby mention Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development, Edraak Programme which includes free courses to teach communication, My School - Madrasati- initiative which aims at improving the school environment, the Queen Rania Academy for Teacher Training, the Queen Rania Al Abdullah Award for Excellence in Education, the Jordan Education Initiative, and other initiatives that honor distinguished school directors, teachers and students.

Furthermore, we need an initiative to teach children altruism, love and mutual respect among various religious components of the society. We also need to make unlimited sacrifices without waiting for any reciprocation. I would rather set the Restaurant of Mercy as an example. This restaurant offers free daily to all those who knock on its door. This restaurant is supervised by Caritas Jordan. Those who serve food for their brethren are volunteers, who devote their time and their love to others. This is what they learned in their homes and schools. Yes, we need to activate educational initiatives, in order to have a safe school environment, not only free from traditional violence between teachers and students, but rather free from the communal violence where some people view humans as "wolves facing other humans and humanity," rather than regarding them as people who have the right to live in dignity.

Your Majesty Queen Rania, thank you for your efforts in the field of education...

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