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America wants Egypt westernised, says Salafist MP about USAID education grant

Salafist party spokesperson refers parliamentarian Mohamed El-Kurdi to investigation ‎after the Education Committee member said USAID funding of primary ‎school English language classes is an American plot to westernise Egyptians

Nada Hussein Rashwan, Tuesday 28 Feb 2012
Mohamed Elkurdi
Mohamed Elkurdi
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Salafist Nour Party Member of Parliament (MP) Mohamed El-Kurdi blasted a USAID grant to fund English language lessons to seven year olds in elementary school during Monday's parliament session.

"They now want to begin teaching English in 2nd grade primary schools instead of 4th grade primary," El-Kurdi said in his address to parliament, "We have to be aware that they want our children to be culturally westernised.”

El-Kurdi, a member of the parliamentary Education Committee, also strongly denounced teaching school subjects in English instead of Arabic.

His statement was part of a commentary speech made during a parliamentary discussion into the committee's report on education development.

 EL-Kurdi's statement sparked strong criticism across social media in Egypt.

Nader Bakar, the spokesperson of the Salafist Nour party, also announced on his Facebook page on Tuesday that El-Kurdi will be referred to investigation on account of his statement.

Bakar denounced EL-Kurdi's comments, saying they were "completely inappropriate as they were superficial and do not stem from any religious teachings."

"We definitely should not neglect our mother tongue but I would remind Mr Kurdi that learning foreign languages was advised by Prophet Mohamed," said Amina Nosseir, professor of Islamic Philosophy at Al-Azhar University, to Ahram Online. "Communication is essential, especially after the world became like one street. Such opinions [as Mr Kurdi's] are not supportive in building our nation."

"I hate the discourse that we're targeted by the West all the time. Are we [Egyptians] so naïve and dim-witted to be so easily manipulated or influenced?" Nosseir exclaimed.

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