BY ALAMIN ADAM (aka WEDI HAJI)
Once again, Eritrean Muslims witnessed an avalanche of coordinated lies and misinformation by disgruntled claimant of the religion to propagate wide spread mistrust and confusion in a country known for its stability and tranquility.
This isn’t the first time, and will not be the last for Eritrean Muslims to witness their religion of peace, tolerance and benevolence be used for a smear campaign and ugly politics against the Eritrean people, their state, and government.
It is not my intent here to pontificate Islam or preach the merits of it (Islam) for political purposes. However, and for merely clarification purposes, I find it essential to cite the fundamental teaching of the prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon Him) is for every Muslim to adhere to the practice of peace, tolerance, and harmony among Muslims and to reach out to faiths of different religions to coexist.
Nowhere in the world, other than Eritrea: this core and fundamental teaching of the prophet Mohammed (PBUH), in conjunction with Christian teachings and its denominations is unequivocally practiced for centuries until this day.
This long incredible history of tolerance among the peoples of Eritrea is organically interwoven in the social fabric of the country and because of that the Eritrean people unified and in unison are able to withstand the test of time of external interference of dominations (European colonialism, successive Ethiopian hegemony, super powers, and internal reactionary sellouts) to cement and develop a uniquely unified struggle against the forces of division and create a resilient nation which is an envy to adversaries and foes alike.
Eritrean Muslims and their Christian brethren paid a tremendous human sacrifice to free Eritrea from a brutal successive colonial regime without help from any entity in the world. Eritreans relied on their internal synergy to achieve victory against a much bigger and resourceful enemy hell bent on destroy the identity of the Eritrean people for a maligned geopolitical gain. It is against this backdrop in history present-day Eritrea functions and governs: always placing eternal glory to its revered martyrs to achieve a just and prosperous country.
After independence, the people of Eritrea and their government put the task of reconstructing the country and have been preoccupied with the task, with boundless energy and dedication, of rebuilding their country, which was literally decimated during the 30 years of armed struggle for independence.
The challenges Eritreans have faced since independence are tremendous, yet much has been achieved despite a continuous and relentless interference by forces outside the country with the goal of undermining and reversing the results of the war of Independence.
Frankly speaking, the coordinated smear campaign that was ensued by the incident in Al-Daai school is no different from the thousands of malicious campaigns that came before it. If there is anything different in this incident, it is the introduction of new actors brought to the scene to give the incident credence in hopes of masking sinister motives. However, as Eritreans say (ወጮ እንተገልበጥካዮ ወጮ) which means a single threaded cover or blanket looks the same on either of its sides regardless.
In an ironic fashion of perverseness and melodrama, what we witnessed in this unfortunate incident at Al-Daai school is just that: the buzzing of adversaries fanning/whiffing lies from Addis Ababa, Khartoum, London, Washington DC and other places of the world.
It all began with the unfortunate video clip by a clergy admittingly violating and defying laws pertaining to the educational system of the country, immediately followed by antagonizing rhetoric by the Sudanese Sheik Abdul Hay against Eritrea, a make-believe individual propagating the spread of anti-government mass protest to other Eritrean cities (Keren, Assab etc..), and fake news reports by the ardent mercenary Martin Plaut, Aljazeera’s Anealla Safdar, and AP’s Ethiopian reporter Elias Meseret of blood on the streets of Asmara at the hands of Eritrean security forces. Make no mistake Eritreans know well who is behind the frenzy and are not fooled at all by the shenanigans.
How it is then a matter of jurisprudence regarding education in Eritrea was span on its head to reverberate false accusation of religious prosecution by the state of Eritrea against Muslims?
The false accusations, as mentioned in the above, were not only preposterous but deliberately orchestrated to destabilize a country dedicated to improving the living standards of its population across the country. From the beginning, the government of Eritrea recognized education to be pivotal and a corner stone of every human development capacity of the nation. So far much has been achieved in the education sector of Eritrea [UNDP Millennium Development Goals report 2015] thanks to the hundreds of millions spent on educational development throughout the country and the continues pragmatic review and overhauling of educational policies contingent to the realities of Eritrea to foster competitive Eritrean students in the 21st century [Eritrean national educational Policy 2003].
Oversights of secular education in Eritrea falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Education (MoE). The Ministry of Education (MoE) also has the mandate to intermittently make the necessary recommendation to better and improve the educational needs of the country.
It is important to mention, however, that religious private schools and religious entities are free to teach religious education without any interference by the state of Eritrea [Proclamation No. 73/1995 of 1995]. The ministry of education in Eritrea doesn’t interfere in religious teaching of private religious schools, yet educational curriculum isn’t something that is left to any religious educational institute and that must be clearly understood for a good reason.
Inherently, religious private schools are found on dogmatic principles of teaching that only serve a narrow segment of the population that follow that religion. Historically, religious schools and institutions, are known to stifle innovation and progress because of the inherently dogmatic nature of the institution goals and principles.
It is not hard to imagine where our civilization would be if the heretic accusation by the catholic church against Copernicus and Galileo would have succeeded in the 16th and 17th centuries. This doesn’t mean that there is no place for religious entities in Eritrea (Muslims and Christians, and other denominations) to play a positive role in unifying and solidifying the unity of the diverse population of Eritrea. They must double their efforts to speed up the rebuilding process of the country so ravaged by external forces of destruction.
In conclusion, the future of Eritrea is very bright, and the diversity of its people is something we must all cherish. That been said, Eritreans must renew their pledge to their martyrs and exercise the highest level of consciousness to reject divisionary religious narratives and ethnocentric overtones perpetuated by treasonous and shameless elements colluding with the Ethiopian regime to bring Eritrea to its knees.