05/24/2021 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team are preparing to implement a new national curriculum in Pakistan that will Islamize the education system through an emphasis on the Quran and Islamic teaching. The new curriculum will force students to read the entire Quran and memorize a number of prayers and hadith. Schools must also employ a pair of Hafiz, or individuals who have memorized the Quran.
Critics believe that the move will create deeper fault lines within an already-divided population. Religious communities in Pakistan have deep distrust of each other as it is. Pakistan’s religious minorities are regularly persecuted, including by the country’s blasphemy law which is one of the severest in the world. Punishments for blasphemy range from life in prison to the death penalty.
Current Pakistani curriculum already contains bigoted and hateful material and makes derogatory references to various religious minority communities in Pakistan. Critics also claim that the recent move to radicalize the education system will only further embolden radicals to oppress Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and other religious minorities.
The Prime Minister’s ill-conceived move comes at a time when Pakistan is facing increasing scrutiny of their dismal human rights record. Pakistan was again recommended as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, a designation that will likely be adopted by the State Department.
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