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Muslim NGOs Rally In Support Of Ministry of Education’s Gaza Solidarity Directive, Advocating For Children’s Sensitization

Muslim NGOs Rally In Support Of Ministry of Education’s Gaza Solidarity Directive, Advocating For Children’s Sensitization

The NGOs firmly believe that educating children about justice, respect, and rights for all human beings is a fundamental aspect of their learning process.

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A coalition of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) has come forward in support of the Ministry of Education’s recent directive, which calls for schools to initiate activities expressing solidarity with Palestinians amidst the ongoing situation in Gaza.

The Malaysia Consultative Council of Islamic Organisations (Mapim) argue that sensitizing school children to the atrocities and injustices taking place in Gaza is an essential component of their education.

In response to opposing NGOs and activists, the coalition issued a statement asserting that shielding children from the realities of the world, both positive and negative, hinders their understanding of complex societal issues.

Mapim president Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid said that children must comprehend the historical context of the Palestinian struggle, including the Nakba and its consequences, such as cruelty, dispossession, and injustice.

The coalition questions the basis of the opposing group’s concerns, particularly their opposition to the government’s initiative to support the rights of Palestinians and encourage institutions to express solidarity with Palestine’s struggle for self-determination and freedom.

They emphasize that parliamentary consent has been obtained for this cause, further underscoring its importance.

While some groups argue for keeping international conflicts out of schools, we believe that it is essential for school children to express their support for oppressed people worldwide.

Mapim president Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid on teaching children about apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and the ongoing aggression in Gaza.
Mapim president Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid (right) speaking at a Palestinian event in Kuala Lumpur. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

Mohd Azmi said it aligns with the principles outlined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which emphasizes the development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The issue started when social media postings depicted young primary school students wielding toy guns resembling M-16s and dressing up as militants.

The photo and video were reportedly taken during the preparations for the Ministry of Education’s Palestine Solidarity Week.

Critics said it would be more appropriate to use the platform provided by the government to educate children about the history of Palestine, instead of engaging in frivolous activities that do not benefit the oppressed Palestinian people.

They also urged the government to provide clear guidelines to ensure that the education provided is effective and meaningful.

READ MORE: [Watch] Palestine Solidarity Week Gone Wrong, Netizens Criticise Schools For Roleplaying With Toy Guns

Taking a Stand: Coalition Rejects Accusations, Advocates for Education on Palestinian Struggle

Addressing concerns about potential reprisals from supporters of Israel, the coalition highlights the widespread international condemnation of Israel’s actions and asserts that Malaysians should not remain silent spectators.

They firmly reject accusations of taking sides or practising anti-Semitism, emphasizing that supporting the oppressed is a moral imperative.

The coalition argues that in this critical stage of Israel’s ongoing aggression, it is crucial to instil in young minds values such as respect for human dignity and rejection of oppression.

They advocate for a curriculum that includes Palestinian history and their struggle, believing that exposing children to the shocking images of Israel’s actions will ignite outrage and foster a rejection of all forms of occupation.

There have also been boycott campaigns against companies linked to Israel by Malaysian NGOs.

These campaigns were reinvigorated after the latest military offensive by Israel in Gaza, which resulted in hundreds of deaths and destroyed buildings.

Instead of constantly advocating for boycotts without proper understanding, some said it is important to acknowledge that Muslims own the brands in Malaysia and employ local workers.

READ MORE: McDonald’s Israel Donate Meals To Israeli Soldiers Amidst Conflict, Triggers Boycott

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