11/05/2010, 00.00
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Iranian schools to encourage "culture of martyrdom"

The decision was announced by the head of the Basij paramilitary group and was taken in concert with the Ministry of Education which announces ten thousand Quran schools. The Basij also want more involvement in scholastic formation.

Teheran (AsiaNews) - The expansion of the culture of martyrdom is the "decision" of General Mohammad-Reza Naghdi, head of the Basij paramilitary group - which operates under the command of the Revolutionary Guard and has distinguished itself in the violent repression of opposition demonstrations - taken together with the Ministry of Education.

The general added that he was pursuing the goal adding “values of divine defence of the Iranian nation” into the classrooms and books. The "Divine defense” (defae moghadas) is a term coined to refer to the 8-year war Iran had with Iraq for most of the 1980s, when tens of thousands of children and young people, used as the first wave of attacks, lost their lives.

The "demand" made by Naghdi, reports Rooz, the voice of Iranian exiles, is to confront what he called the “soft war” and promote “the expansion of the culture of selflessness and martyrdom". Moreover, he expects this in educational programs, particularly from the “research and educational planning organization.”

Previously, the education minister had spoken of the intention to add "selflessness and martyrdom" as a topic in school books and had mentioned the creation of "ten thousand Quran schools, termed "autobahns for martyrdom and humanity " .

Naghdi General has also expressed the intention of the Basij to have a "more direct involvement" in the publishing of scholastic texts. Ideological changes in the textbooks entered the program of the Ministry of Education since Ahmadinejad became president, particularly since the start of his second term.

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