Textbook in Qatar school withdrawn for 'Palestinian terrorism' segments

Textbook in Qatar school withdrawn for 'Palestinian terrorism' segments
A private school in Qatar was ordered to withdraw a textbook after parents complained it described Palestinian militants as "terrorists".
2 min read
05 Oct, 2016
The book was withdrawn after a ministry team visited the school [Photothek]

Qatar's education ministry has withdrawn a textbook from a private school in the capital Doha after parents complained it described Palestinian militants as "terrorists".

"The book's contents were found to contradict Qatar's foreign policy," the ministry said in a statement on Twitter after sending a team to the International School of Choueifat (ISC) to investigate the complaints.

All copies of the book were removed and students were reimbursed for its costs, the ministry said, adding that the school was warned to seek the ministry's approval before using any book.

The ministry's response came after photos of a paragraph from the Grade 9 English-language textbook were circulated on social media amid public outrage.

Under the title "What is terrorism?" the text defined and gave examples on terrorism and suicide bombings.

"Palestinian terrorists took over several airlines in 1970, including two American, one Swiss and one British," the text read.

"They targeted American planes because they felt the USA always helped out Israel, a country that occupies land that the Palestinians claim is their own. They wanted their own country - Palestine - and wanted land that Israel occupies. Terrorist acts continue to this day in the Middle East."

Another paragraph titled "How do terrorists attack?" described the different methods of carrying out acts of terrorism.

"Explosives are attached to the bomber's body. They approach their target and explode the bomb. Palestinian terrorists are well-known for this," it read.

In response, the school described the book as an "oversight" and said it was withdrawn "immediately upon identification of certain inappropriate content", according to local website Doha News.

"This oversight slipped through the net, in spite of our rigorous system of screening new books," said Joseph Salameh, the school's director.

He added that the school would scrutinise its screening system "in order to avoid such mistakes in the future".

This is not the first time that a private school in Qatar has gotten into trouble over the Israel-Palestine issue.

Last month, British school Doha College issued an apology for "error in judgment" after the Israeli flag was included in the world's flags that had been put up on campus.

Qatar does not currently have diplomatic relations with Israel and has publicly called for the end of Israel's illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories.