Saturday, April 16, 2005

Jihad Comes to Nebraska?

The headline in the local paper is alarming: "Group: UNO textbooks distributed in Afghanistan contributed to terrorism." Have jihadists taken over the University of Nebraska at Omaha? Not quite.
Lincoln Journal Star Online: By SCOTT BAUER (AP) - "Textbooks promoting violence and jihad that were created under the guidance of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and distributed in Afghanistan contributed to the terroristic culture that led to the Sept. 11 attacks, a peace group told the university's Board of Regents Friday.

Nebraskans for Peace asked the university to study the work of UNO's Center for Afghan Studies and to strengthen ethics policies that would govern work of the center.

Paul Olson, a member of the statewide peace organization and also an English professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, told the regents that evidence he has collected indicates that actions of the Afghan Studies program appear to violate written and unwritten principles of the university, such as violating human rights.

Textbooks created and distributed by the center in the 1980s and 1990s were adopted by the Taliban for widespread use in Afghan schools, Olson said. Those textbooks promoted violence and jihad, Olson said, in apparent violation of regents policy that prohibits departments from providing educational materials violating recognized human rights protections.

'We provided the violence-laden propaganda to the Taliban-era Afghan children,' Olson said. 'The 9/11 terrorists emerged from this context.'"
You don't have to live in Nebraska to suspect that a group calling itself "Nebraskans for Peace" might have a few screws loose, but if you lived here you'd know they do. Recently, the organization ran a campaign to repeal a law granting tax benefits to companies that create jobs in the state. While one can argue whether such a law is justified or effective, the connection of that law to "peace" remains a mystery.

The whole premise of the group is that the world would be a peaceful place if only we could just restrain the warmongering USA. Blaming the US for the emergence of the Taliban "explains" why we "deserved" to be attacked on 9/11: The "justice of roosting moonbats."

The Center for Afghan Studies at UNO was established (before the Taliban) as a bridge between the US and Afghanistan. As the article points out, the American universities participating in the creation of the text books were not involved in creating content for the books. Content was determined entirely by Afghans, as mandated by the Congress and the State Department. All these books were created before 1990, and current books are created by President Karzai's administration.

If an organization with some credibility in opposing terrorism, such as Jihad Watch, were making such charges against the UNO center or the program, one would have to take them seriously. Nebraskans for Peace has no credibility on this topic, or any other for that matter.

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