Bishop speaks out against 'hate material' in textbooks
Instances across Pakistan are growing fast
Researchers claim that Paksitani pupils like this group from Punjab are being exposed to hateful propaganda (file photo: Shutterstock)
Archbishop Joseph Coutts has urged Church members to highlight biases and hateful material found in Pakistan’s educational literature.
Addressing a conference in Karachi on July 10, entitled Education for Peace, he said: “I invite all people from our multi-religious, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-cultural society to take initiatives to reach out to people and spread the word about fanaticism in literature.”
Recent research by the conference organizer, the National Commission of Justice and Peace Commission (NCJP), cites numerous instances of school textbooks with material that could incite secular mistrust and hatred.
It also claims a significant rise in such references. In textbooks issued by the education authority in Punjab province, the researchers found 45 instances in 2009, increasing to 122 in 2012. In Sindh province, the number of hate references were found to have doubled in a similar period.
Peter Jacob, NCJP executive director, said: “We have noticed three books that were free of hate material in 2009 had chapters with hate material added in 2012.”
As an example, in a chapter on the United Nations, a Social Studies book approved by Punjab province states: “Most Non-Muslim nations of the world have always been against the Muslims.” And a book from Sindh province on the same subject says, as an aside: “As was their habit, Hindus deceived Muslims at every step”.
The researchers also contend that syllabus textbooks offer a very one-sided view of world events, dwelling only on wars, killings, discrimination and conspiracies against Muslims. Several nations are described as “enemies of Islam.”
Taj Haider, secretary general of People’s Party Pakistan in Sindh province, has endorsed the views of Archbishop Coutts and the NCJP. “It’s a really difficult task but we assure all our support to the NCJP to remove hateful material from textbooks,” he said.
“By spreading this material we are not just planning to destroy others; we are committng suicide and killing our own nation.”
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