Rights group files complaint against religiously-biased art exam

Essam Fadl
2 Min Read

CAIRO: The Egyptian Union for Human Rights (EUHR) submitted a complaint Saturday to Minister of Education Ahmed Zaki Badr after some Christian parents objected to what they deemed a religiously biased preparatory school art exam in Beheira.

The question in the art exam asked students to depict the Hajj ritual of standing atop Mount Arafat where Muslim pilgrims hold their hands up in supplication in their white Hajj robes.

According to the complaint, the assignment was drafted on a religious basis rather than examining the subject of art, favoring Muslim students over their Christian counterparts.

Parents of students in the Abu Hummus provincial educational administration in Beheira were shocked that the questions on the art education mid-year exam were more suited for an Islamic studies exam rather than an art education exam, the statement read.

They also complained that the Innovative Design question asked students to design a 25 cm × 25 cm image of the Kaaba (the holy building in the center of Islam’s holy site in the Great Mosque in Mecca), embossed with the phrase La ilah ila Allah, Muhammad Rasoul Allah (There is No Go But Allah, and Muhammad is his Prophet.).

The complaint questioned what the reaction of Muslim students would have been if the exam assignment pertained to drawings of the Virgin Mary or designing a church with a minaret embossed with the words In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

According to Naguib Gobraeil, board member of EUHR, if the tables were turned, Muslims would have objected and defended the rights of their children.

Including any such questions is absurd, he added.

This is an art exam that has nothing to do with the Kaaba or a church. How can we force a Christian student to draw the Kaaba or a Muslim one to draw a church? he told Daily News Egypt.

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