CONCERNS have been raised over a new law that makes the teaching of the Qur’an compulsory in schools in a province of Pakistan.
The legislation, the Compulsory Teaching of the Holy Qur’an Bill, was passed by the Punjab Assembly last Friday. It makes it mandatory for children to learn the Muslim religious text in schools.
The director of CLAAS-UK, Nasir Saeed, said: “It is sad that for minorities, especially Christians who are living in large numbers in Punjab, their religious and fundamental rights are totally ignored.
“No alternative programme has been announced for non-Muslim students of Punjab.”
The Bill says: “Being an Islamic country, the free and the compulsory teaching of Holy Qur’an will definitely be a source of the establishment of a society based on the teachings of Islam.”
It seeks to make Islam more widely understood; encourage peace; and promote truth, integrity, and honesty.
Mr Saeed continued: “Forcing compulsory teaching of Holy Qur’an against the will of the non-Muslim students and their parents will have a negative impact on the non-Muslim students.
“It will promote bigotry and hatred against non-Muslims in Pakistani society, something which is already on the rise.”