Over the centuries people from different cultures & regions have always given more importance to the prevalent religion in that particular region at that particular time.
Christianity which has its roots in the Middle-East and South Asia was peacefully preached & practiced in Europe while Islam which too has its origins in the Middle-East found a permanent foothold in Asia & Africa. To openly claim that ones religion is superior to the other is in itself an act of blasphemy.
Muslims live in North America, Europe, Australia and other non-Muslim countries, but never have the education system in these countries ever tried to impose an alien religious subject on their children, nor have the Muslim children ever been brainwashed into believing that their religion is inferior to those of other religions. As a matter of fact all children in non-muslim countries are taught the importance of national unity, patriotism, love for humanity & economic development of their respective countries.
In Pakistan, since the last 67 years special emphasis is given to Islamayat (Islamic studies) in all educational institutions from primary to under-graduate level. Diverse subject such as Mathematics, Science, Geography, History and even language subjects such as Urdu, Punjabi and Sindhi have Islamic concoction in them. Alternative subjects such as Civics & Ethics are given little or no importance and even in these subjects, 75% teaching of Islam is present. This is well and okay if all the students in Pakistan come from Islamic backgrounds – What happens to children from Christian backgrounds? What alternative subjects are taught to them that do not include Islam? I am afraid the answer to the above two questions is not positively reassuring.
Islamic Studies is taught to Christian children from Kindergarten level and when these children reach the upper primary level, they are reasonably brainwashed by then into believing that Islam is the only superior religion and that their belief in Christ or Christianity is wrong-the Holy Bible unlike the Holy Quran has been amended and due to this fact it is no longer accurate and an inferior religion. Teachers also coax these Christian children (05 years old and above) to renounce Christianity & embrace Islam to redeem themselves from sin and promises of a place in paradise. Our Christian children when at home pose serious & misinterpreted questions to their parents about the activities that took place in their respective school and begin to question their faith creating an atmosphere or uncertainty, alienation & inferiority complex which later in life causes entrenched doubts about their religious convictions and even a switch to Islam, based on the earlier misinterpreted version imparted by their Islamic Studies teachers. It is no secret that these Islamic Studies teachers are in fact aggressively promoting Islam with the tacit approval of their respective educational hierarchy, which is turn are taking their instructions from the Government. Is this approach correct?
Let’s take another example. There was a hue & cry in France about the issue of Muslim female students not allowed to wear the scarf while in School. The Government of France made it amply clear that all students in France must follow rules & regulations and that the dress code did not include religious insignia or restrictions. The point is that Muslim prefers to adhere to their religious values in non-muslim countries but force Islamic value to non-Muslims in their own countries. Why the double standard? Can Pakistani Government justifiably prove that Islam is in fact more superior to other religion? Pakistani print and electronic media always claim that the Holy Quran explicitly forbids Muslims from discriminating against other religions. Why then the unnecessary discrimination? Pakistani Government boast about the rising number of converts to Islam but in reality, other religions are not allowed to flourish, instead other religions are demonized here. Pakistani government never provides a level playing field and usually resorts to unethical & provocative methods to inflict physiological torture on Christians.
Religion can never be forced onto others, Christians in Pakistan are guaranteed religious freedom both by the Constitution of Pakistan as well as the United Nations (Pakistan is a veteran member of the United Nations) but this guarantee only exists on paper – the reverse is actually applicable.
To compound problems Islamic studies is taught in the Arabic language – once again an alien and irrelevant language both for Muslim & Christian students alike, whom face extreme difficulty in comprehending this language. Then there are a few schools that teach Civics or Ethics instead of Islamic Studies but it becomes difficult for children whom are studying these particular subjects to successfully pass their examinations. This is another hand twisting methods adopted by the educators into compelling students from opting out of Civics/Ethics in favor of Islamic Studies.
Interestingly enough Christian students, who complete Islamic Studies examinations, are given good grades, even though they may not have made a serious attempt to pass.
I strongly urge the Government of Pakistan both at Federal & Provincial level to cease teaching Islamic Studies to Christians; instead appoint teachers from Christian background to teach Holy Bible to Christian students. This will improve the unemployment situation for the Christians, create an atmosphere of tolerance & brotherhood and will give Christians a sense of security- sorely missing in Pakistan.
Pakistani Christians applaud the Government into allowing Aga Khan Board to be established; similarly I recommend that a Christian Board too be created to facilitate children from Christian background.
Forcibly eradicating other religious values & beliefs will only create an atmosphere of distrust, contempt, intolerance, discrimination & loss of self-esteem, a situation currently in existence in Pakistan. Wake up Government of Pakistan before it is too late.