1 IRNA (Islamic Republic News Agency), September 5, 200
2 Mehr News, February 2, 2008.
3 The first modern school (American Boy’s School) was founded in 1834 in Ouroumieh (Azerbaijan, northwestern province) by Justin Perkins, an American Presbyterian missionary. The first girl’s school opened in 1838, under the direction of Mrs. Grant.
4 Founded by Amir Kabir as a poly-technical school.
5 Jalal Al Ahmad’s essay called “Occidentosis: A Plague from the West” (Gharbzadegi), written in 1962, addresses the Islamists of that time period and their concern that the West is responsible for all that is evil in their country and the Third World. One chapter of this book is devoted to education and universities, perceived by the author as Westernized institutions, with the ultimate goal of “creating Westernized men.” (Al Ahmad, p. 131). Several Islamist intellectuals of this time, including Shariati, take Al Ahmad’s argument one step further by openly advocating the return of Islamic spirituality and traditional schools.
6 Private networks of Islamic schools have recently emerged in several secular countries in the region, including Turkey and Egypt.
7 In the English translation of the Iranian grading system, Grades 1 to 11 are used: Grades 1 to 5 are elementary school years; Grades 6 to 8 are middle school years; and Grades 9 to 11 are high school years.
8 The term “ideological” is used here within the context of alignments prevalent in the worldview, philosophy, and politics of Iran’s educational system. In social and political sciences, the term “ideology” is applied to a system of consistent beliefs and judgments used to explain, interpret, and justify a particular group’s existence and position. Ideology perceives and judges the world based on a set of unified principles and has a value system that explains the group’s historical alignments and important trends.
9 For sources available other than Farsi see: Nahid (1993-1994); Bartsch (2005); Yavari-d’Hellencourt (1988); Groiss, A. & Toobian (2007); Heydari (2002); Meyer (1984); Mohammadi (2004); Mohsenpour (1988); Monadi (1997); Paivandi (2006, 2005a, 2005b, 2003a, 2003b); Shorish (1988); Talegani, (1994).
10Djashn-e Taklif is a ceremony of worship held in primary school for girls who have reached the age of nine and who, therefore, are required to observe religious orders, e.g., hejab.
11 In images and paintings of religious personalities of the highest rank (prophets, imams, and their families), the subject’s face is covered by a halo. In certain depictions of sacred personalities, the subject is shown from his back or side.
12 For sources other than Farsi see: Heydari (2002); Mehran (1998), Meyer (1984); Nahid (1993-1994); Paivandi (2006, 2005a, 2005b, 2003a), and Taleghani, (1994).
13 Based on the latest data from the Statistical Center of Iran (publication on Statistics News, 2007), the annual growth rate of women’s participation in the labor market can be estimated at approximately 6 percent. This rate is twice that of the rate for men. In spite of this rapid growth, which is due to demand for female workers, and in spite of the unprecedented growth in the number of women with higher education, the rate of employment of Iranian women is low in comparison with that of similar countries in the region, such as Turkey. The Statistical Center of Iran has estimated the employment rate of Iranian women in 2006 at about 15 percent of the total population of active working age.
14 According to the statistics from the Iranian Ministry of Higher Education, between 1992 and 2005, the number of graduates from Iranian universities grew seven-fold, from 26,000 graduates per year to 180,000 graduates per year. (Statistical Center of Iran, Statistics Yearbook 2005).
15 This ceremony is held officially in Iranian schools for girls who have reached the age of 9, when they are required to observe religious orders. The main objective of this ceremony—which is mentioned in the textbooks—is to familiarize and assimilate adolescent girls with the concept of “takallof” or reaching the age when they are required to observe religious norms. The observance of hejab and the necessity of covering oneself from the eyes of the “namahram” are two angles presented in connection with the body for nine-year-old students.
16 G. Haddad Adel, currently the speaker of the Majles, headed the Office for Planning and Writing the Textbooks at the Ministry of Education.
17 The term ommat is a Koranic concept, which is applied to the Community of Muslims and which has been in use since the time of the Prophet Mohammad. The circumstances of formation of the Islamic empire in the Seventh Century AD, in the vast lands spanning the area from the borders of India to Spain, brought this term into use. Unlike the concept of nation, the term ommat is not concerned with geographic boundaries but is applied to the community of people whose religion is Islam. The Pan-Islamic and Islamist discourses of the 20th century discuss Islamic internationalism in reliance upon this concept.
18 Although people are asked about their religion in official Iranian censuses, there is no separation between Shi’a and Sunnis in terms of the statistics. According to the latest national census conducted in Iran (2006), the populations of the regions where Sunnis reside, is above 3.8 million. This number should not be considered as the Sunni part of religious statistics in Iran because it reflects only the demographic importance of the Sunnis provinces. Some residents of the said areas are Shi’ite and many Sunnis live in other Iranian provinces as well.
19 According to the latest national census conducted in Iran (2006), the number of Zoroastrians is estimated at approximately 19,800. This number is 29 percent less than the number of Zoroastrians according to the previous census (Iran Statistical Center, 2007).
20 According to the latest national census conducted in Iran (2006), the number of Christians in Iran is 109,500. In comparison with the results of the previous census, conducted in 1996, the number of Christians in Iran grew by 39 percent (Iran Statistical Center, 2007).
21 According to the latest national census conducted in Iran (2006), the number of Jews in Iran is approximately 9,250, which, in comparison with the results of the 1996 Census, shows a decline of 29 percent (Iran Statistical Center, 2007).
22 No official statistics exist on the exact number of the followers of the Baha’i religion in Iran. In 1998, the United Nations Human Rights Commission mentioned Baha’is as the largest religious minority in Iran and said that they number approximately 300,000 (the United Nations Economic, Social, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Human Rights Commission, Resolution E/CN.4/1998/NGO/13, dated February 23, 1998).
23 In the registration questionnaire for the entrance examination for the universities, there is a specific question about the religion of the candidates.
24 According to the 2006 national census, approximately 18 million of Iran’s population of 70 million lives in regions where ethnic and linguistic minorities constitute a large majority of the population. This number, which comprises 26 percent of Iran’s population, does not reflect all the ethnic realities in Iran. Widespread internal immigration in the last 25 years has led to the growth of ethnic mixing in Iran.
25 Please refer to I. Mohammadi’s (2004) work regarding the language and identity of Kurdish minorities.
26 According to the Twelver Shi’ite tradition, the 12th Imam—who “disappeared” and will reappear at an appropriate juncture to establish a world government and rescue humankind from evil—is the “hope” of the world’s Shi’ites. The concept of “Mahdaviya,” is used to refer to this important belief in the Shi’ite sect of Islam.
27 In the Farsi textbooks, there are references to the works of Western authors, André Malraux, André Gide, William Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Paul Elouard, Alexei Tolstoy, Leo Tolstoy, Bertolt Brecht, Somerset Maugham, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Jules Verne, and Alexandre Dumas.
28 The well-known seminary in Qom whose scholars played a prominent role in Iranian politics between 1963 to the 1979 Revolution.
29Muharram is the first month of the Islamic Calendar. Ashura, the tenth day of Muharram, is celebrated by the Shi’ite for the anniversary of Imam Hussein’s martyrdom. It is one of the most important Shi’ite celebrations.
30 According to the Twelver Shi’ite tradition, in 874 A.D., at the age of six, the 12th Imam [also known as Imam Zaman or His Holiness Mehdi] disappeared from view and will reappear at a more appropriate juncture to establish a world government. What is called—in Shi’ite thought and history—the “philosophy of waiting” is, in fact, a reference to this important belief in the Shi’ite sect of Islam.