CHRISTIANITY DAILY

Pakistan: School Textbooks Promoting Intolerance of Non-Muslims, Says Study

Pakistan prayer vigil persecuted Christians
(Photo : Courtesy of World Watch Monitor) A prayer vigil that had been set up after the church bombing incident in Peshawar, Pakistan.

A new study by a Pakistan-based NGO said that textbooks in Pakistan have material that promotes hostility towards non-Muslims religions.

The 52-page report examined 78 textbooks from grades five through 10, and found about 70 new additions of bias to the previously existing misrepresentations in the texts highlighted by a previous 2011 study.

The research was conducted by an NGO Peace and Education Foundation, and was funded by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

A Punjab textbook for sixth grade Islamic studies says, "Christians learned tolerance and kind heartedness from Muslims. The fair treatment and good governance of Muslims improved the living standard of the region. They started to live prosperous and peaceful lives under the patronage of Muslims."

A history book (Page 85) used in Peshawar schools, reads: "The English took power from Muslims, so they considered Muslims as their true enemies. They closed all doors of development to Muslims. So Muslims had no choice but to fight the English . . . Christian pastors were forcefully converting locals to Christianity."

Apart from citing historical instances which are not real, the material comprises of fundamentalist teachings encouraging individual Muslims to take steps against those who are not living virtuous lives.

Asma Bukhari, a Muslim lawmaker, expressed her concern that such education is breeding hatred and lack of love for humanity.

"Beards are getting longer," said Bukhari, a Muslim lawmaker. "Humanity is disappearing. Both women and Islam are being manipulated."

"Our textbooks are full of personal opinions, which have nothing to do with Islam. It is embarrassing that extremists shout 'Allah is great' (God is greatest) when they blow themselves up."

"Pakistan's public school textbooks contain deeply troubling content that portrays non-Muslim citizens as outsiders, unpatriotic, and inferior; are filled with errors; and present widely-disputed historical 'facts' as settled history," USCIRF Chairman Robert P. George said in a statement on the report's release. "Missing from these textbooks are any references to the rights of religious minorities and their positive contributions to Pakistan's development."

"These textbooks sadly reflect the alarming state today of religious freedom in Pakistan," he said. "A country's education system, including its textbooks, should promote religious tolerance, not close the door to cooperation and coexistence."

Tags Pakistan school curriculum, Islamic Fundamentalism

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