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Malcolm Forbes once said “Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.” Open minds are not allowed, however, in some Islamic societies.  While most civil societies value teachers, Islamists in Pakistan are slaughtering theirs.

As reported by Human Rights Watch at least 22 teachers have been murdered in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province during the past 30 months. The reason they have been targeted is they are teaching classes that have both boys and girls in them.

Militant groups in Pakistan’s Balochistan province should immediately stop killing, threatening, and harassing teachers and other educators, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Attacks and bombings by various nationalist, sectarian, and Islamist armed groups have damaged schools and universities, killing and wounding students, and severely harming education in Balochistan.

The 40-page report, “‘Their Future is at Stake’: Attacks on Teachers and Schools in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province,” documents the killing of at least 22 teachers and other education personnel by suspected militants between January 2008 and October 2010. The report – based on interviews with teachers, students, victims’ families and friends, and government officials in Balochistan – describes these attacks and their consequences for the quality of education in the province.

“Militant groups’ grievances against the Pakistani state are no excuse for shooting teachers dead,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, senior South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “By killing teachers, harming students, and targeting schools, militants only increase Balochistan’s problems and deprive its youth of the benefits of education.”

Making things worse is the fact that Pakistan’s Baluchistan province is the country’s poorest Provence.  Education is probably their best hope of improving their lives. Now teachers are doing their best to “git the hell outta Dodge.”

Fearing for their safety, many teachers have sought transfers, further burdening what is already the worst educational system in Pakistan in terms of education opportunities and outcomes. Since 2008, more than 200 teachers and professors have transferred from their schools to the relatively more secure provincial capital, Quetta, or have moved out of the province entirely. Nearly 200 others are in the process of making such transfers. New teachers are hard to find, and replacements are often less qualified than their predecessors. In ethnic Baloch areas of the province, schools are often understaffed, so any further loss of teachers severely jeopardizes children’s opportunities to receive an education. Many teachers who persevere at their posts say they are so preoccupied with security that their teaching has been adversely affected.

“To educate or to seek education in Balochistan today means risking your life and your family’s,” Hasan said. “By perpetrating such atrocities, Baloch nationalists are harming Balochistan’s development instead of advancing it.”

This is life in the Islamist’s version of the “Religion of Peace.” Strangely in ancient Islam, education is promoted, Mohammad’s son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib, is quoted as saying, Verily, you have more need of a good education than to win silver and gold. But today’s Islamists say a good education is worth death.

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