Scholarly article on topic 'Identity, Religion and New Definition of Inclusiveness in Iranian High School EFL Textbooks'

Identity, Religion and New Definition of Inclusiveness in Iranian High School EFL Textbooks Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Biook Behnam, Mohammad Amin Mozaheb

Abstract The aim of this study is to investigate the link between religion and EFL textbooks in Iran. The goal of the researchers for carrying out this study is to show the interrelatedness of religion and education in EFL settings. To gain the afore-mentioned goal, there were two phases. In the first phase, a series of Iranian EFL high school textbooks, published under the direct authority of the Iranian Ministry of Education, were analysed (in the form of linear and non-linear) to find out religious notions. The second phase involved the analysis of content in terms of inclusiveness of religion and culture. Another important notion was the analysis of the content of these textbooks to see whether the promotion of religion was hidden or not. Finally, identity and the concept of nationhood were discussed regarding religious content in EFL high school textbooks of Iran.

Academic research paper on topic "Identity, Religion and New Definition of Inclusiveness in Iranian High School EFL Textbooks"

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Procedía - Social and Behavioral Sciences 70 (2013) 1099 - 1108

Akdeniz Language Studies Conference 2012

Identity, religion and new definition of inclusiveness in Iranian high school EFL textbooks

Biook Behnama, Mohammad Amin Mozahebb*

aDepartment of English Language, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, 51575-5311, Iran bMember of Scientific Association of English Language, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

Abstract

The aim of this study is to investigate the link between religion and EFL textbooks in Iran. The goal of the researchers for carrying out this study is to show the interrelatedness of religion and education in EFL settings. To gain the afore-mentioned goal, there were two phases. In the first phase, a series of Iranian EFL high school textbooks, published under the direct authority of the Iranian Ministry of Education, were analysed (in the form of linear and non-linear) to find out religious notions. The second phase involved the analysis of content in terms of inclusiveness of religion and culture. Another important notion was the analysis of the content of these textbooks to see whether the promotion of religion was hidden or not. Finally, identity and the concept of nationhood were discussed regarding religious content in EFL high school textbooks of Iran.

© 2012 The Authors. Published b y Elsevier Ltd. Selection and peer-review under responsibility of ALSC 2012

Keywords: Religion; ESL/EFL textbooks; Identity; Inclusiveness; Islam; Education

1. Introduction

Identity is a "socially constructed self that people continually co-construct and reconstruct in their interactions" (Partridge, 2006, p.38). There are a number of crucial elements in the process of constructing one's identity e.g., a shared set of values and beliefs, religion, an agreed upon cultural understanding and ideologies (Paltridge, 2006). The main aim of this study is to investigate the relationship between religion and education in Iranian EFL textbooks. Religion is a set of shared beliefs and values which carry certain ideological orientations (Wodak, 2011). Religion is mainly introduced to the students by educational and academic settings like schools, institutes and universities. In order to achieve the above goal, curriculum designers do their best in providing the textbooks with religious

Corresponding author. Tel.:+98-21-66483602; fax: +98-21-66483608. E-mail address: mozaheb.ma@gmail.com

1877-0428 © 2012 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and peer-review under responsibility of ALSC 2012 doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.01.164

issues. As Rodriguez (2011, p.l) stated "We must look at the ways in which religion can benefit our educational system and textbooks, not harm them."

Having reviewed the related literature on education and religion, it was found that the topic has not been sufficiently touched by many professionals in ELT to date i.e., (Canagarajah, 2004 & 2005; Cheng &Beigi, 2012; Edge, 1996 & 2003; Kubota, 2009 & 2011; Kubota & Lin, 2009 and Wong &Canagarajah, 2009). In other words, the above mentioned research studies were mostly related to Christianity and other religions were not examined. In order to fill the mentioned gap, this paper aims to increase the awareness among teachers and students in Iranian settings, in addition to EFL/ESL community members. In this study, we set out to meticulously analyse the inclusiveness of English as Foreign Language textbooks. The corpus of the present study includes a number of Iranian EFL textbooks which are controlled by the Iranian Ministry of Education in terms of content and illustration.

In the first stage of the study, the mentioned EFL textbooks were scanned by the researchers to see if their writers included religious values / beliefs or concepts in linear and/or non-linear content of those textbooks. Kress (2003, p.21) believes that "linear content refers to the narrative text of EFL/ESL textbooks and non-linear content refers to the non-textual representation, i.e., pictures, illustrations". The next stage in the study is content analysis of the textbooks to find out the level of inclusiveness of the textbooks. Additionally, the religious contents were analysed in order to see whether the reproduction of religious content was overt or covert. It is important to note that the religious and cultural values of Iran were considered in this study by the researchers. In other words, factors such as men or women's dress codes and garments were also discussed. Lastly, the effect of religious content on an Iranian identity is delineated.

2. Iran, as the context of the study

To comprehend the concepts of education and religion in Iran, it is necessary to have some information about Iran and its demographic profile i.e., socio-political aspects, cultural values. Iran is a country located in Asia. It is a Middle Eastern country south of the Caspian Sea and north of the Persian Gulf. It shares borders with Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Armenia and Pakistan. The land area is 1,648,173 km and the population is 77,891,220 as estimated in July 2011 (World Factbook, 2011).

The official religion in Iran is Islam and the majority of people are Muslims (98 %) (World Factbook, 2011), however, there are two main groups within the community of Muslims in Iran, that is, Shi'ite Muslims (96%) and Sunni Muslims (2%) (Daniel & Mahdi, 2006). As mentioned, the official religion in Iran is Islam and due to the large amount of Shi'ite Muslims, Shi'ite Islam can be considered as the official religion (Ansari, 2002; World Factbook, 2011). The split between these two groups of Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims dates back to the time of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), the leader of Islam or as Higgins (2006, p.38) states, "the split between Sunni and Shi'ite came very early in Islamic history". During his lifetime, Muhammad was the leader of the Muslim community, but with his death in 632 A.D the debate on the successor of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was started. The Shi'ite believed that Ali Ibn Abu Talib, the cousin and son in law of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is the right caliph and could succeed him, as Shi'ia Muslims hold that it was delineated in the GhadirKhumm (A place near the Holy city of Mecca) in 63IAD (a year before Prophet Muhammad's death in the Haj -which is an annual spiritual pilgrimage to Mecca for all Muslims-) by Prophet Muhammad (Hussain, 1982). However, the Sunni (or followers of the Sunna - 'tradition', 'path' - of Muhammad) believed that a close follower of the Prophet would be the most suitable choice and Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman are the right caliphs and Ali Ibn Abu Talib is the fourth caliph (Buckles and Toropov, 2004 ; Higgins, 2006).

The Shi'ite regards "Muhammad's Descendants as the only rightful leaders of the Muslim community" Higgins (2006, p.38). In other words, Descendants or Imams can gain inspiration from Prophet Muhammad for leading and teaching the Muslim community, because of their close relationship with the Prophet. Since the 16th century the dominant Muslim sect in Iran is Shi'ite (Higgins, 2006). After Prophet Muhammad there have been twelve Imams. Al-Qa'm was the twelfth Imam (the son of the eleventh Imam al-Askari) and he went missing when he was a child (Hussain, 1982). The Shi'ite sect believed that "God removed him from public life and the Imam entered a state of 'occultation'. The Imam will return on Judgement Day and establish the perfect Islamic society" (Higgins, 2006). It is also worth mentioning that based on Islamic Philosophy both Sunni Muslims and Shi'ite Muslims are brothers and they make the Islamic community "ummah" (Rakel, 2007).

There are a number of ethnic groups living in Iran such as Persian (51%), Azeri (24%), Gilaki and Mazandarani (8%), Kurd (7%), Arab (3%), Lur (2%), Baloch (2%) Turkmen (2%), and other (1%) (World Factbook, 2011). Among the above ethnic groups, Sunni Muslims are related to Kurds and Belouch (Denny, 1987; Noss&Noss, 1990). The ethnic groups stressed earlier have their own culture, dress codes for both males and females and their own values (Francoeur, 2004). It is also important to note that there are some other religions in Iran such as Christians, Zoroastrians and Jews who live in isolated communities and are considered as non-Muslim minority groups who can have a member in Iran's parliament (Paivandi, 2008).

3. The Impact of the Islamic Republic of Iran's revolution in 1979

In 1979, Iranian people overthrew the King of Iran (Shah). In February 1979, the revolutionaries overthrew the secular, authoritarian regime of Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi and brought Iran's 2500 year old monarchy to an end (Higgins, 2006). The major actors in the revolution were the Islamic sectors under the leadership of the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Rohollah Khomeini. The major effect of the revolution was to Islamize many sectors in Iran which were all secular fractions in the time of Shah (Rakel, 2007). In other words, "Reforming the education system to reflect and promote the Islamic values of the revolution was one of the key priorities and in 1980 the Cultural Revolution Headquarters (later the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution) was formed" (Higgins, 2006, p.40). As it was posited by Paivandi (2008, p.7), "following the 1979 Revolution, the newly-installed Islamic power quickly perused its main objective of establishing an Islamic state by reforming major institutions such as the judicial and education system". Additionally, universities were also closed in 1980 to 1983 to implement the mentioned changes. Considering different ethnic groups and cultures in Iran, the Islamic Revolution can be regarded as the most influential factor in the inclusiveness of legislation and policies (Cheng &Beigi, 2012).

After the Islamic Revolution, Iran's culture was homogenized as the Islamic traditions and ideologies were practiced by the new Islamic government (Daniel & Mahdi, 2006). The Holy Quran and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad and His Descendants (Hadith) were the most important sources for establishing an Islamic and non-secular society (Rakel, 2007).

There are different sets of Hadith collections for Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims (Banchard, 2006). Banchard (2006, p. 14) states that the Shi'ite Hadith differs from Sunni "mainly in that they include the sayings of the Shi'ite Imams who are considered to have been divinely inspired". To gain the Islamic laws from the Holy Quran and Hadith, Muslims need mujtahid (the highest learned clergy) (Akkari, 2004). A mujtahid is a high ranking religious man, he uses his own reasoning and the knowledge he gained from the Holy Quran and Hadith to arrive to a decision in finding the Islamic laws (Paidar, 1995). It is important to note that in case of ambiguity in the Islamic laws, Muslims ask the mujtahid to answer their questions. The decisions which are made by the mujtahids are technically called Fatwa and these

rules are practiced by Iranian authorities mainly in the post revolution era (Francoeur, 2004), because one of the main rules in the revolution was to Islamize all aspects of life in Iran (Higgins, 2006 ;Rakel, 2007).

4. Beliefs, culture, religion and education

Culture is a sophisticated system of concepts, beliefs, values, attitudes, conventions, behaviours, practices, rituals and lifestyles (Kohler, 2003). Language and culture are intertwined (Mitchell & Myles, 2004). As mentioned earlier, religion is a set of shared beliefs and values which carry certain ideological orientations (Wodak, 2011). These beliefs and values are part of the culture of each individual; hence culture and religion are interrelated and should go hand in hand (Byram, 2006). Regarding the relationship between beliefs (religion) and culture, it is pivotal to note that education can play an important role for gaining culture and religious topics in a society. As Rodriquez (2011, p.1) states "educational goals are no different than the goals of discipleship in a religious context". In theocratic countries religion is an important issue which affects all aspects of education; however, in secular countries we see no effect of religious ideologies on education (Cheng &Beigi, 2012). Education is a means for expressing religious ideologies through textbooks and education is inherently theological in nature (Rodriquez, 2011). The inclusion of religion in textbooks can be done by experts in an overt or covert manner. As stressed by Cheng &Beigi (2012), freedom of religion is important in secular societies while indoctrination of religious issues in textbooks is important for theocratic societies.

Iran is one of the theocratic countries of the world which is located in Asia, thus investigation of the differences between this country and the West can be regarded as an important topic for study, in particular the relationship between religion and education. This can pave the way for understanding different concepts like freedom and individual rights in Iran.

5. Basic facts about the education system in Iran

After the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the authorities decided to change the education system in Iran. The new "education system enabled the consolidation of a national unity and a new Iranian identity" (Paivandi, 2008, p.8). According to authorities, Islamic education is the salvation for the new generation (Paivandi, 2008). The school's curriculum was changed and religious perspective was given to the content of the textbooks. Pre-primary education for children at the age of 5 is the starting point of education in Iran. It lasts for about 1 year (WDE, 2006). When children are at the age of six, they should start primary education which lasts about 5 years and it is compulsory for all Iranian children to pass this stage of education. The next step is the secondary education which has two cycles, the first one is lower secondary education which lasts 3 years (age group 11-13) and the second cycle is the higher secondary education for students graduating from Junior high schools, it also lasts for three years (WDE, 2006).

English Language starts at lower secondary school when students are about 11 years old. It is also important to note that all of the textbooks are published under the strict supervision of Iran's Ministry of Education. It can be assumed that the official religion can be indoctrinated through these textbooks. As Cheng &Beigi (2012) stressed that "while a secular society does not sponsor any religious belief, a theocratic state may indoctrinate its citizens in its official religion".

6. Iranian EFL textbooks and the concept of religion

Since the beginning of English language teaching, there have been controversies over the content of EFL textbooks (Turkan&Celik, 2007). In other words, because of the embedded Western culture in the

textbooks, different countries were against the content of EFL textbooks, in particular Islamic countries. The relationship between language and culture leads to the viewpoint of acculturation (Ellis, 1985; Puente, 1997; Gieve, 1999) where learners of a foreign language assimilate the new culture, beliefs and values. To put it simply, "new codes of expression, new values, and new forms of conduct" are introduced to the learners. (Puente, 1997, p.12). According to Cortazzi and Jin (1999, p.14 ), the textbook "can be a teacher, a map, a resource, a trainer, an authority, a de-skiller and an ideology." An important factor in the content of EFL text books is the concept of religion, especially for theocratic countries. EFL textbooks in Iran are not an exception. The target culture is limited in Iranian Higher Secondary Schools textbooks and only vocabulary and a grammatical point of the target culture were introduced in Iranian EFL textbooks (Cheng &Beigi, 2012). The Higher Secondary School's textbooks are all prescribed by Iran's Ministry of Education and this can be the reason for the limited cultural concepts of the target language in the textbooks. Given this preliminary information about the contents of EFL textbooks and religious issues, this can show the importance of the topic for the Iranian EFL community. Turkan&Celik (2007) stressed that the EFL textbooks which are published under the authorities' supervision of the theocratic countries mirror the students' local culture, rather than the English-speaking cultures. However, the representation of this "culture is not neutral, but rather controlled by administrative powers as a tool to build the sense of nationhood" (Cheng &Beigi, 2012).

7. Methodology

In this study, three Iranian EFL textbooks entitled "English Book 1, 2 and 3" which are written by Iranian authors for the Higher Secondary School level (Dabirestan), were investigated by utilizing content analysis. All of the mentioned books were written under the supervision of Iran's Ministry of Education. Content analysis is a technique used for analysing the content of textbooks in both qualitative and quantitative approaches. In a qualitative approach, the analysis of the embedded meaning is important while the analysis of target images, words and vocabularies is done in the quantitative approach (Kress, 2003).

The pictures of the mentioned textbooks were scanned to find any reference to Islamic religious concepts and ceremonies. It is crucial to point out that the ambiguous situations caused us to do qualitative and quantitative analyses simultaneously. First, the number of pictures that show Islamic religious concepts was counted and tallied. Second, the narrative text of each picture was examined for the purpose of finding religious concepts in the textbooks. Third, lexical items and sentences were analysed to determine linear religious content in the Iranian EFL textbooks of Dabirestan (High school). Finally, the number of pictures, vocabulary items and sentences showing Islamic Religious codes (Sunni & Shi'ite sects) was tallied and the obtained data was organized based on the major themes gained after the first scanning of the pictures and sentences.

8. Pictures in Iranian EFL high school textbooks

As it was mentioned earlier, this study consisted of two types of analyses. The first is the non-linear and the second is the linear analysis. In the following section the non-linear analysis of the religious content of the textbooks will be discussed. The data was organized based on the major religious themes of the textbooks.

8.1 Females' Clothing

In order to analyse the data, a correlation was made between the total number of female characters represented in non-linear forms depicted in the clothing they were wearing. The number of female characters wearing Islamic Hijab in Book 1, 2 and 3 was 44, 26 and 41. In the analysed pictures all female characters were wearing Islamic Hijab, except a girl of 3 or 4 years who does not wear any scarf. In Islam, Hijab is compulsory for women after the age of nine, so this single picture cannot flout Islamic rules. Additionally, in Book 1 there is a reading passage accompanying a picture about the boy who made steam work. This boy is James Watt who sat near his grandmother. Interestingly, his grandmother wears Hijab and his hair is covered with a scarf. By depicting female characters in Islamic Hijab, EFL textbooks try to promote that the women should be covered.

8.2 Revealing garments for male and female characters

In Islam both men and women should obey the rules of Hijab (Blanchard, 2009). Bigger (2006, p.5) reports that 'both females and males need to be modest and dress modesty, to cover their bodies and even body shapes with loose garments". The analysis of the pictures about the use of revealing garments by male and female characters was negative, even men were depicted in long sleeved shirts, the only exception is in Book 2 where two men were depicted in T-shirt or short sleeved shirts while playing Ping-Pong.

8.3 The use of make-up by female characters

There is not any picture in which a female character was wearing make-up in the three books. Based on Islamic law women belong to their husbands and men also belong to their wife. Both of them should avoid unwanted sexual attention from other genders (Cheng &Beigi, 2012). In Islam, women are permitted to wear make up for their families and especially for their husbands.

8.4. Physical closeness /Male and Female characters sitting together

The pictures of all three textbooks were scanned to find physical proximity for both males and females. The result was negative and there was not any picture in this regard, however, there were a number of pictures with the second theme introduced in this part, i.e., Male and Female characters sitting together. In Book 1, 2 and 3, there were 2 instances for this situation which is banned in Islam. As Abaza (2002, p.3) pointed out that "men and women who are not related by marriage or blood are not allowed to be in a place together without chaperone". In order to solve this ambiguity, a qualitative scanning of the textbooks was done based on what was said by Esen (2007). It was depicted that in all of the mentioned situations the men and women were father / daughter, or brother and sister, which is acceptable in Islam.

8.5 Male and female characters and driving

There were a number of pictures in the books with regard to driving. In book 1 and 3 there were no pictures but in book 2 there were four pictures. Although, in Iran women can drive and even today we have women's taxi, all of the drivers in the book were male characters.

9. Linear religious content

In the second step of this study, the researchers performed linear content analysis in order to determine any reference to Islamic religious concepts in dialogues, readings, lexical items and texts.

The initial scan of the linear content demonstrated that there was only two explicit mentioning of word 'Islam' in book one. A more meticulous examination showed that, in many dialogues, lexical items and reading of these textbooks, religious issues have been imbedded implicitly. There were a number of Islamic words which used in these textbooks such as worship (6 times), God (3 times), Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) (9 times) and mosque (2 times).

The analysis of the narrative texts showed that although the word 'Islam' was used in only two parts of the textbooks in a direct way, some other Islamic notions were used indirectly in the content of the analysed textbooks like mosque (a holy place for worshiping God), Medina (a holy city for all Muslims (both Shi'ite and Sunny) where the tomb of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was located, in addition to a number of Imams. These lexical items are all related to Islamic notions indirectly.

Considering the above points, a scan of the dialogues showed that the participants engaged in the dialogues were mostly from the same sex. There were only 9 dialogues which were participated by both male and female characters. A closer look at the mentioned dialogues showed that in all of the instances both males and females were either father and daughter or brother and sister.

To have a better understanding of hidden religious content in Iranian High school EFL textbooks, the following excerpt, drawn from the textbooks, are analysed below.

9.1. Excerpt 1

1. "We worship God. Do Muslims worship God?" (Birjandi et al., 2006, English Book I, p.193).

The best way of worshiping God in Islam is (Salat) which is the backbone of these sentences. This

shows that Muslims worship God and saying prayer is an important factor of Islam. This can be regarded as implicit teaching for the religious Muslims to do Salat each and every day.

2. "Our Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was the last of the prophets. He was born in 571 A.D in Mecca. The people of Mecca liked him. They highly admired his truthfulness, honesty and sense of duty. They gave him the title of "Al-Amin" which means "the trustworthy".... (Birjandi et al., 2006, English Book I, p. 104).

In the second excerpt, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was mentioned in order to give a short introduction about his life and characteristics. His complete name was Mohammad Amin. As mentioned in the text, AL-Amin means trustworthy. This can be regarded as an important feature for all good Muslims. Additionally, he was cautious about his duties towards his nation and other people (both Muslims and non-Muslims). This sense of duty, honesty and trustworthy was implicitly shown in the text in order to teach other aspects of a good Muslim.

3. "What would happen if Parvin's Mother wasn't in the kitchen?" (Birjandi et al., 2005, English Book II, p.90)

4. "Had the clothes been washed by (Parvin) when she arrived?" (Birjandi et al., 2003, English Book III, p. 87)

Excerpts 3 and 4 foreshowed a patriarchal setting. Washing clothes and cooking are two important duties for female characters. This patriarchal system is related to both an Islamic viewpoint and at the same time it is an ancient Persian tradition (Fast, 2010). It is important to note that, although women take care of household chores in Islam, they are free to do them and if they accept to do the household chores, their husband should pay them. Regarding this point and contrary to the consideration of women to children and slave in ancient Greece, India and China "Islam acknowledged women's equality with men in a great many respects" (Women in Islam, 2012). Additionally, the Quran states:

"And among His signs is this: that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest and peace of mind in them, and He ordained between you love and mercy. Certainly, herein indeed are signs for people who reflect." [the Holy Quran 30:21]

Accordingly, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:

"The most perfect in faith amongst believers is he who is best in manners and kindest to his wife" (Women in Islam, 2012).

10. Conclusion

As mentioned earlier the majority of Iranians are Shi'ite Muslims (Shi'ite Muslims (96 %) and Sunni Muslims (2 %)) (Daniel and Mahdi, 2006). This study showed a dominance of the Shi'ite Muslims in Iranian high school EFL textbooks. It is worth mentioning that the presentation of religion was hidden. Different ethnic and religious groups in Iran have their own ceremonies and traditions (Daniel & Mahdi, 2006; Francoeur, 2004). In terms of Western's ideology, the Iranian high school textbooks are not considered to be successful in showing the religions and traditions of Iranian minority groups. Nevertheless, the researchers of the present study suggest that the Western viewpoint of inclusiveness would not be applicable to Iran which is a theocrat country. Considering the large number of Shi'ite Muslims in Iran, a sense of nationhood is the main concern of the Iranian government which is led to "safeguard of Iran against international threats and challenges" (Cheng &Beigi, 2012, p.321). Regarding the location of Iran in the Middle East, Iran is the centre for many kinds of threats from a number of imperialist countries.

Religious minorities in Iran are Zoroastrians, Judaism and Christianity (Paivandi, 2008). The linear and nonlinear analyses of the Iranian EFL textbooks showed no evidence for the inclusiveness of these minority groups. In a western viewpoint of equality among different religions, this can be regarded as a failure. However, for Iran as a theocratic country, this is not the case. The lack of the representation of other religious minority groups in Iran by Iran's government is "an effort for the government to develop unity among all Iranians, rather than an attempt to disregard Iranian religious minorities" (Cheng & Beigi, 2012 p.321). Because of the influence of Iran's government in curriculum planning of Iranian EFL textbooks and the concern of the government for unity among all Iranians, the overemphasis on Islam can be regarded as a good point of departure for increasing unity and the sense of nationhood among a theocratic country like Iran, contrary to secular countries and the definition of equality of religions in that country.

The findings of this study demonstrated that religion is an integral part of Iranian EFL textbooks, which is taught indirectly. Additionally, Iranian EFL textbooks promote the Islamic notions and ideology regarding theocratic countries. Moral implicature is not the concern of this study however, the main focus of this study is the change in the Western viewpoint of inclusiveness while looking at a theocratic setting i.e., Iran. Additionally, the researchers of the present study suggest that it is important to promote the sense of nationhood in EFL textbooks among members of theocratic countries. Needless to say that this promotion should not lead into the destruction and inferiority of other minority groups living in the same country. Last but not least is the fact that in theocratic countries, textbook writers and material developers should be cautious about overemphasis on religious minority groups which may endanger the sense of nationhood.

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