An Open Source Center Look at Iranian Schoolbooks

The textbooks that are used in Iranian elementary, middle and high schools “reveal a clear emphasis on Islam, as it has been interpreted by the leadership of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” according to a recent contractor study (pdf) performed for U.S. intelligence.

That rather banal observation is among “the most important conclusions” of the open source intelligence study.

The study culls tendentious statements from 85 Persian-language textbooks, and surveys them without much analytical insight or empathy.

Among its dubious verdicts: The schoolbooks “provide a distorted view of Shia Islam as the only true path in Islam, and among religions.”

The study, hosted by the DNI Open Source Center, was performed under government contract by Science Applications International Corporation.

Like most other finished intelligence from the Open Source Center, the study has not been approved for public release, but a copy was obtained by Secrecy News.

See “Iranian Textbooks: Content and Context,” SAIC Research Report, 31 December 2007.

No Responses to “An Open Source Center Look at Iranian Schoolbooks”

  1. Chris May 29, 2008 at 5:36 PM #

    Amazing. As if there is no bias in the textbooks here, which don’t allow for discussion around the theory of evolution vs intelligent design.

  2. Mike June 3, 2008 at 3:00 AM #

    @Chris – Sure there’s bias in textbooks here, but there’s also heated debate over the matter. Unlike in Iran, it would be pretty difficult to slip the following into a fifth grade textbook and get away with it:

    “There must be consultation in affairs. However,
    this is not always true. If there is a command of God in the Quran, or something is
    mentioned through the prophet or imams or the leader of the Islamic society, all
    of the people must obey without questioning.”

    Read through the study. No matter how simplistic it is, there are still some interesting bits of information in it.

  3. Camelia June 9, 2008 at 9:28 AM #

    Having lived in Iran, I can tell you that everyone knows school books are biased and looks at the whole education system as an apparatus of the regime. No is neither surprise nor up in arms about it because they know that school is not the place for the development of personal beliefs. Most development of personal thought, whether religious or not, is cultivated in the home, among family and friends. This type of analysis is sorely inaccurate in term of representing the complete education of an Iranian student. Now day most household have access the internet, satellite TV, and bootleg books and movies. I think this type of study underestimates the student’s ability to discern propaganda when they hear it.