Pak non-Muslims urge to revise textbooks

November 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Education, newsletter-asia, Services

Pak non-Muslims urge to revise textbooksPakistan, November 11, 2011: Catholics urging education reform have hailed yesterday’s US commission report on religious intolerance in schools in Pakistan.

“We totally agree with the findings of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. Our surveys have also pointed the prejudices and biased in textbooks; a major factor in prevalent wave of terrorism”, said Anjum James Paul, chairman of the Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association PMTA based in Samundri, Faisalabad diocese.

The study states that text books in Pakistani schools foster prejudice and intolerance of Hindus and other religious minorities, while most teachers view non-Muslims as “enemies of Islam.

Researchers this year visited 37 public schools and and 19 madrassas (Islamic seminaries) to interview pupils and teachers.

The PMTA has been struggling for the rights of non Muslims students for seven years and has sent numerous recommendations to government officials for a balanced syllabus.

Paul referred to “maximum emphasis on Islamic way of life” in compulsory subjects taught from first to tenth grade. “There is disinformation, disrespect and propagation against religions other than Islam in the textbooks of Pakistan”, he added.

Although non-Muslim students can opt for ethics instead of compulsory Islamic studies in pre-high school examinations, Catholic institutes prefer to teach Islam for better scores and competent teachers.

Heads of Catholic, Church of Pakistan and United Presbyterian Churches and the Salvation Army have already submitted a unanimous catechism syllabus for Christian students to the government last year. The Catholic Bishop’s National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) is following up the education policy.

“We had to revise our strategy when the government refused to meet our demand for exclusion

of religious education. Non-Muslim students should be given an opportunity to learn their respective faiths”, said Yousaf Benjamin, coordinator of NCJP.

– ucan

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