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07/22/2022 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – The Catholic Bishop’s National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) in Pakistan held a press conference on Wednesday, during which they petitioned the Pakistani government to cease its Islamization of the curriculum used in schools. Pakistan’s revisionary Single National Curriculum (SNC) significantly integrates Islamic teaching into a variety of required subjects, including languages and social sciences. In the midst of the SNC’s ongoing development and implementation process, the Catholic bishops of the NCJP who gathered together this week argued that “religious minorities demand textbooks devoid of hate material” and that “the education policy and curriculum should be in line with national and international human rights framework.

In addition to criticism over the SNC’s Islamization of education, opponents have pointed out a number of ways that the SNC may violate Pakistani law. Pakistan’s constitution, for example, requires that the teaching of any religion only be given to students who ascribe to that religion. Under the new system, non-Muslim students will be required to take religious education courses incorporating seven minority religions: Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, Baha’I, and Kalasha. Further, the constitution of Pakistan’s 18th amendment also makes education a provincial-level issue, prompting accusations that the SNC violates Pakistani federalism.

These educational concerns only add to the long list of troubles facing Christians in Pakistan. These Christians, threatened by harsh blasphemy laws, the kidnapping and forced conversion of their young girls, and outright attacks and harassment, are also forced to contend with these concerns about the education of their children. Christians in Pakistan, who are generally poor, have no choice but to study in the government schools implementing the SNC. We pray that the government of Pakistan will hear the voices of critics and bring greater justice and equity would the nation’s education system.

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