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The Impact of Religious Education on Intolerance in Pakistani Classrooms

A recent discussion in class related to secularism caught my interest especially in relation to teaching religion in schools. All religions, by dint of being exclusive, deem themselves to be superior to others- which then leads to intolerance for others. This is something that is especially relevant in terms of hardening sectarian differences and identities in classrooms in Pakistan. For example, a journalist in Karachi doing research on this subject found that a well-known Islamic school in Karachi which offers O level education (according to the British education system), does not teach the GCE approved Islamiyat textbook. This it does so supposedly because of the fact that the official book is deemed as condoning Shiism. The fact that students at such a young age are already being molded to learn that there is only one version even of their religion, with others considered inaccurate, can be said to further exacerbate the religious intolerance in the country.

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Very true! It is tragic how even as an Islamic republic, we cannot make space for diversities within the Islamic religion, let alone other religions. I remember being taught such misinformation about other religions that were used to prove the 'rightness' of Islam, and most terrifyingly the most radical views came from my Urdu teachers! Any talk of religious tolerance or of doing the bare minimum of treating the other person as human was impossible for most of them to comprehend. This truly then becomes a testament to the radical ideas that recent generations have more frequently been leaning towards.

Curtir

Religious exclusivity and the way it is weaponized to sideline minority groups in favor of a singular narrative is something so common in Pakistan. I remember in school myself that there was very little, if any, space to question the one narrative being taught, I had Shia, Hindu and Christian friends who were all made to study Sunni Islam as it was deemed compulsory. We never had to learn about their religions the same way. Not only does this remove them from their own religious identity, but it pushes certain beliefs about the supremacy of one religion over the other onto your general student body as well. Thank you for questioning this concept.

Curtir

In class, when we were watching an interview with professor, we also learned how the reason we follow a religion is because we consider it to be better than other religions, in this way there is in us an in built biasness towards one religion. Professor also mentioned how religion should be excluded from our curriculum altogether which makes sense because religion is something we feel very close to and it becomes a basis for and of our biases. One of the phenomena in psychology is the self concept, self concept is how we identify ourselves. I think a lot of people tie their identity to their religion. Another reason why religion should not be taught in schools is that…

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Saghaam Fatima
Saghaam Fatima
25 de nov. de 2023

This point of view offers an insightful examination of the intricate relationships that exist in Pakistani educational settings. The Islamiyat book serves as an example of how sectarian biases are often incorporated into educational curricula. It also brings to light a worrying possibility that young children may be indoctrinated to promote religious intolerance and sectarianism from a young age, thereby sustaining divisions in society. It reminds me of something that Fatima mentioned in one of her blogs. In her blog post on sectarian differences, Fatima provided some excellent instances, relating the stories of three young girls, Arooj Ali, Kulsoom Bano, and Marzia Saleh, that not only illustrated the pervasiveness of religious intolerance but also showed a lack of regard for…


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Shamsa Kanwal
Shamsa Kanwal
23 de nov. de 2023

Absolutely, as we discussed in the class in Dena Burdy Talk that we always feel that we are the only one (Muslims) who is on the right path. But this is something that is inherently implant on us. Whenever we try to ask question about the religion especially WHY question. In reply from our elders we always get the Silence; or something like Islam mai itnye sawal nhi pooctye. And because of that we always feel that our own religion is superior. The seeds of religious exclusivity are often sown early in life.

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