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The state-approved textbooks and curricula portray non-Muslim citizens as “outsiders, unpatriotic, and inferior.”
According to a study released by the National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of Pakistan, state-approved textbooks and curricula are full of references that incite hatred and intolerance against non-Muslims, including Christians.
"This is not only about religious minorities but a national issue", NCJP Executive Director Cecil Shane Chaudhry told Asia News. "It is a red flag for the government, which must ask the Church to promote the role of minorities in creating and defending the country."
The 40-page study concluded that children are taught religious fanaticism and extremism. NCJP also alleged that school textbooks omit historical facts in an attempt to encourage negative perception of non-Muslims.
"This is more than an academic effort. The cited references from the syllabus are normal for many parliamentarians. We produce Muslim fighters because we have chosen weapon wielding warriors as our heroes instead of poets or Sufi saints", Mohammad Tahseen founding director of the South Asia Partnership Pakistan.
Earlier this year, the Pakistan Minorities Teacher's Association wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of Pakistan to look into the victimization of non-Muslim students, Christians in Pakistan reported.
The letter revealed that some Christian students have had Islam forced upon them, with one student claiming that he was forced to recite an Islamic prayer made for abandoning one's previous religion and embracing Islam.
"They are not ready to accept the religious identity of non-Muslim students at any cost. They are forced to study Islamic beliefs and practices in the subjects of languages, social sciences, pure sciences and Islamic studies from school education to higher education", the letter stated.
“NON-MUSLIMS, UNPATRIOTIC AND INFERIOR”
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has also warned that Pakistan's textbooks negatively impact over 41 million children.
"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", former USCIRF Chairman Robert P. George wrote back in April.
"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. A country's education system, including its textbooks, should promote religious tolerance, not close the door to cooperation and coexistence", he added.