School textbooks teach hostility towards Christians and Hindus

May 4, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Pakistan, April 21, 2016: A major report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom has concluded that the textbooks all state schools in Pakistan are required to use portray non-Muslim Pakistanis as inferior, untrustworthy and sympathetic towards the county’s enemies. Christians are portrayed as being the equivalent of colonial oppressors, while Hindus are treated as being loyal to India, who the country has fought three wars against.

When Pakistan became independent in 1947 it was created as a land for both Muslims and non-Muslims. In fact, Pakistan’s flag consists of a green background with a large white stripe representing its Muslim and non-Muslim populations respectively. However, for several decades intolerance of non-Muslims has been steadily growing. It has been claimed that one of the reasons for this is the school curriculum.

There is a long running issue of school textbooks both presenting historically inaccurate material and being biased against non-Muslims. It began during the reign of Pakistan’s dictator, General Zia al Haq (1977-88) who changed the curriculum to further his Islamisation agenda, including rewriting history to only include the history of Muslims. Where textbooks have referred to non-Muslims at all, they have done so in entirely negative terms.

There has been some minor progress recently and as we reported a year ago year the Pakistan government responded to international pressure by agreeing to include in history textbooks the contributions made by non-Muslims to the country since its independence in 1947. However, as this latest report shows, there are still real issues of school textbooks teaching intolerance and even hatred towards Pakistani Christians and Hindus.

– barnabas

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