Pakistani Bishops Decry Discrimination in Textbooks

Curriculums Continue Despite Ongoing Appeals to Foster Peace

Rome, (Zenit.org) Staff | 818 hits

The Pakistani bishops are reiterating an appeal to their government to form young people in a mentality of justice and peace and remove religious discrimination from textbooks.

According to the Fides agency, the episcopal conference's Justice and Peace Commission submitted a report on discrimination in textbooks to the new prime minister.

According to a study by the commission, 55 chapters in 22 textbooks used in Sindh and Punjab contain false, offensive and discriminatory statements against religious minorities.

Peter Jacob, executive director of the commission, stated in a note to Fides that paradoxically, the dilemma is between "education or spreading hatred," given that the texts report distorted historical facts and create prejudice in boys and girls and feed 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 noted that discriminatory comments have increased over the years: in 2009, there were 45 cases reported in textbooks, while the number rose to 122 in 2013.