U.S. Commission: Pakistani Schools Teaching Religious Intolerance

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U.S. Commission: Pakistani Schools Teaching Religious Intolerance

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released a study showing that textbooks in Pakistani schools foster prejudice and intolerance of religious minorities and that most teachers view non-Muslims as "enemies of Islam," the Washington Post reports. The study reviewed more than 100 textbooks from grades 1-10 in Pakistan's four provinces, and involved visits to more than 50 schools and interviews with nearly 500 students. Researchers found systematic negative portrayals of religious minorities, specifically Hindus and Christians (which make up 1 and 2 percent, respectively, of the Muslim-majority population), as "inferior or second-class citizens," as well as instances of historic revisionism designed to denigrate non-Muslims and foster the sense that Pakistan's Islamic identity was consistently under threat. Leonard Leo, chairman of USCIRF, said: "Teaching discrimination increases the likelihood that violent religious extremism in Pakistan will continue to grow, weakening religious freedom, national and regional stability and global security."

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