Published On:24 December 2011
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Anti-minority education in Pakistan

By Ryszard Czarnecki

“As long as minorities are loyal to the State and owe true allegiance and as long as I have any power, they need have no apprehension of any kind.” These are the words of Quaid-e- Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The tragedy is that he left this world just a year after the establishment of Pakistan and since then, there has not been a single leader of his calibre or wit. One, who could make the minorities feel like they belonged and were valued just like the rest of the majority population.

The anti-minority sentiment is alive and kicking not only in the socio-economic and political spheres of Pakistan it is growing in leaps and bounds thanks to the very education system and books that create a nation’s character.

When a country has its citizens being brought up on a biased education system, then, it shouldn’t be surprising to find that they have grown up with a jaundiced outlook. After killing Salman Taseer (Governor of Punjab) the police guard who had killed him, clearly confessed to the crime and gave the reason as the Governor’s open support for amendment to the infamous ‘Blasphemy Law’ and for defending Asia Bibi (A Christian woman accused of blasphemy).

It was a heinous crime, but the buck didn’t stop there; the next in line was Shahbaz Bhatti the Christian Minorities minister who was killed for the same reasons.

The studies and reports that have come out after researching the Pakistani education system, have all laid bare, the partisan and biased anti minority education system of Pakistan. An independent study by US federal government commission came out with the findings that the Pakistani children are taught to differentiate between the mainstream Muslim majority and rest of the religious minorities.

US federal government commission, UIRF (US Commission on International Religious Freedom) has released a report that describes Pakistani education system and its handling of religious minorities. The report was culled out of a string of interviews with teachers and students as well as an extensive examination of textbooks, used in both the Muslim and secular schools of Pakistan.

According to spokesman Knox Thames: "There's a lot of negativity and discrimination in both systems in the textbooks. And what the ultimate consumers, the students, are learning is that minorities are less valuable, are not full citizens, and are generally not viewed as a part of the social fabric of Pakistan."

In the secular schools, Hindus are looked down upon and treated as sympathisers of India; doing India’s bidding in Pakistan. While, in Muslim schools "views of religious minorities, such as Christians and Jews and ... other faith groups, were negative, and they weren't taught that these human beings have inalienable human rights that people everywhere should enjoy".

The commission’s advice for Pakistan was to bring changes to the curriculum and educate the teachers to give better values to the students. Because, the students were simply saying whatever the teachers had told them about the minorities, who are often painted as the enemies of Islam.

The study, the title of which is Connecting the Dots: Education and Religious Discrimination in Pakistan, carried out an examination of Islamic studies Urdu text books, social studies and pedagogical methods used in Pakistan’s madrassas and public school system. It was a year-long study that explored the connection between the depiction of religious minorities and the biases that continue existing against the religious minorities and the violence and extremism that results from this anti minority education system.

Director of the Dominican Peace Center in Lahore, Dominican Father James Channan described the report as "completely correct", adding that there was a requirement for "urgent reform of the education system". According to Channan: "The teaching of religious intolerance in schools is at the root of the rise of violent religious extremism in Pakistan, the weak religious freedom and national instability."

The education system is crucial to a country’s character building and image. When a country happens to have a mix of religious, cultural and ethnic minorities the role of education should be to bring the various social elements together. The education system and educators should be respecting and accepting minorities rather than making them feel like aliens in their own homeland.

[Ryszard Czarnecki is a Polish European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) MEP.]

(Courtesy: NewEuropeOnline)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on December 24, 2011. Filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on December 24, 2011. Filed under , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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