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Pakistan plans curriculum for Friday sermons to counter extremism

Tuesday, Sep 19, 2017,12:49 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Islamabad | Concerned over the rise of extremism among the university students, Pakistan’s government plans to introduce a “curriculum” for weekly Friday sermons to address the threat of educated lot becoming militants.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that under the new format the Friday sermons would educate people about practical life in the light of the Quran and the Hadith – the words or actions of the prophet, The Express Tribune reported.
During a meeting on implementation of the anti-terror National Action Plan (NAP) on Friday, he expressed deep concerns that university students were found affiliated with extremist organisations, the paper said.
As many as 70 vice chancellors of national universities participated in the meeting at the Higher Education Commission through live video conference.
Iqbal said this was the age of information revolution and that a battle of ideologies was under way on social media.
“It is our duty to undertake collective efforts to prevent our youth from accessing the material based on extremist ideologies. We have to ensure that our youth use social media only for educational and healthy activities,” he said.
“We have to formulate a national narrative to counter the extremist agenda,” he said, adding that the students must be prepared to tolerate the difference of opinion among peers and within society.
About student politics, he said they must be given opportunities to express their thoughts and asked faculties in the universities to play their due role in this regard.
“In every university, career counselling mechanism must be formulated to evaluate the potential of students for better avenues in future,” he said.
The minister said that the upcoming International Peace Day on Thursday must be celebrated in every university “with the resolve to spread the message of peace among our youth and apprise them of the counter-narrative against extremism”.
A probe last month found that some students of Karachi University were running a militant organisation.
In April, a 20-year-old second-year student of the Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences in Jamshoro, Sindh, was arrested after her husband was killed in an encounter in Lahore during a failed terror attack. She had travelled to Syria to receive weapons training.