In Syria and Iraq, the militant group Daesh (also known as ISIS) may use crosses to conduct public crucifixions of people it believes to be spies. But in the schools it runs in its so-called “caliphate,” showing the cross—in any form—is a big no-no.
A report by a Syrian citizen journalist says that Daesh has forbidden the use of the “plus” symbol to signify addition in math classes.
“The Islamic State’s reasoning is that the (+) sign indicates the cross, which is used worldwide as a symbol for Christians,” Hosam al-Jablawi, wrote in a blogpost on the website of Washington D.C-based organization The Atlantic Council in April, adding that the group replaced the plus sign with a symbol represented by the letter "z."
“Using a plus sign would be imitating infidels, and is thus forbidden,” he wrote.
Jablawi added that in math courses, Daesh had removed all examples that related to “moneylending, democracy, or voting.”
There’s little doubt that children in Daesh-held territory are not getting the education they should be.
The UN said last year that nearly 700,000 Syrian children had been prevented from attending classes after Daesh closed schools while rewriting curriculums in accordance with Islamic Sharia laws.
Meanwhile, in Anbar Province in western Iraq, education officials told local media in January of last year that Daesh had seized over 1,500 schools and turned them into military barracks.
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