Iraqi schools turn away from secular teachings: Not encouraging. "Many Iraqis are opting out of the public school system. Under Saddam, [4-year-old] Beytool's school was only allowed to teach the strict, state-approved curriculum. But now, it's a private school and they are free to teach whatever they like. And in a sign of the changing times here, the focus is now overwhelmingly on Islamic education. Instead of teaching the alphabet, the goal in Beytool's class is to memorize 28 basic verses from the Koran, and learn how to wash before prayers. The school's director says: "the most important thing for a child to know is religion." ..
At universities too, religious hard-liners are taking hold — at Baghdad's Mustansiriya, self-appointed morality police now guard the campus gate. They recently sent a grad student away because she was wearing pants. .. And the government has no control over hundreds of Shiite religious seminaries — known as the Howza — teaching Islamic theory and law once banned under Saddam." 5:47:43 PM