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Pakistani Bishops urge new PM to remove religious discrimination from textbooks


ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani Bishops’ justice and peace commission has urged new prime minister to eliminate fake and discriminatory statements against Christianity and other non-Muslim religions from the textbooks of schools.


Pakistani Textbooks
Pakistani Textbooks

The education and development of the mentality of youth is one of the foremost points on which to arbitrate, in order to bring a change in Pakistan, to shrink religious intolerance whilst upholding accord and peace in Pakistan.


This approach is visibly discriminatory against non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan,” said the Commission’s Executive Director Peter Jacob. Additionally, the Commission also called upon the new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to halt the obligation for non-Muslim students to take courses in Islamic studies, but instead introduce courses of their respective religions for them.


Grounded on the postulation,” that development of healthy mentality in youth is the key to change,” the Commission “Justice and Peace” put forth its recommendations to the new Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif – who is currently, occupied with the formation of a new government. In a report to Fides, the Commission also viewed that non-Muslim students, enrolled in public schools, are indeed obliged to pursue Islamic studies and this is a defiance of their absolute rights.


The rundown of an analysis made available by the Commission “Justice for Peace”, sent to Fides Agency reveals, 55 chapters in 22 textbooks used in Sindh and Punjab include false, offensive and discriminatory statements against religious minorities. In the report, Peter Jacob, executive director of the Commission, stated that, ironically, the problem is between “education and spreading hatred”, given that the texts account vague historical facts which create prejudice in boys and girls and nurture intolerance towards religious minorities.


According to Jacob, “this approach is visibly discriminatory against non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan and in violation of Articles 18, 20, 22 and 25 of the Constitution.” The Commission comments that discriminatory interpretation has amplified over the past years: in 2009, there were 45 cases reported in the textbooks, even as the number swelled 122 in 2013.


The Commission proposes that the new government should evaluate the education policy and urges for action to get rid of “discriminatory lessons against minorities.” Moreover, an independent Commission of scholars and historians should be set up. Whereas, the non-Muslim students should be permitted to follow their respective religions or alternative studies.