Yemen's Houthis 'indoctrinating children with violence and anti-Semitism'

Teachers' union lambasts Iran-backed group for installing supporters as school principals

Yemeni children sit outside a school used by Houthi rebels. AFP 
Powered by automated translation

Yemeni children are being indoctrinated with violent and anti-Semitic propaganda in areas controlled by the Iran-backed Houthis, a teachers' union said.

Yahya Al-Yinai, a spokesman for the Yemeni Teachers Syndicate, told the Daily Telegraph that the rebel group had overhauled the teaching curriculum and installed its supporters as principals in nearly 90 per cent of the schools it controls.

He accused Iran of orchestrating the changes in a policy of “cultural colonialism” to spread its revolutionary ideology into Yemen.

The Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (Impact-se) recently produced a report which said the Houthis’ textbooks sought to indoctrinate children to sacrifice their lives.

Marcus Sheff, the chief executive of Impact-se, told the Telegraph that the Houthis appeared to have "no red lines" in their education drive.

“The closest we have seen to being this extreme is ISIS materials,” he said.

Houthi textbooks included graphic images of dead children and glorified violence as “the only solution for resolving conflicts”, the Impact-se report said.

The United States was described as the “Greater Satan” and as the enemy of all Arabs and Muslims, it said.

The American flag was used in images as a symbol of “oppression, colonialism or simply the enemy”, researchers found.

Children were taught a Houthi slogan including the words “Death to America, Death to Israel” as part of an exercise on learning Arabic, the report said.

Meanwhile, the 1979 Iranian revolution was “awarded much praise”.

UN calls for Yemen ceasefire

A UN expert group in Yemen previously raised concern about the “military use of schools” depriving children of their right to education.

The experts warned of the “manipulation of education, and targeting of educators”, while there were also reports of the Houthis using schools for weapons storage.

The UN's Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths is calling for a nationwide ceasefire and urged warring parties to commit to talks aimed at ending the six-year conflict.

A meeting of Yemen envoys in Berlin this week heard of the devastating effects of a recent Houthi offensive around the city of Marib.

The offensive is set to heighten the “disastrous humanitarian situation” in the country, Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.

Mr Maas said that “fighting on the ground continues in all intensity and brutality”, despite political efforts to bring peace.