Christians are speaking out against a controversial bill passed by the Pakistani government last week that makes the teaching of the Quran, the Islamic holy book, mandatory in all schools and colleges in the country.
“It is sad that for minorities, especially Christians who are living in large numbers in Punjab, their religious and fundamental rights are totally ignored,” Nasir Saeed, director of CLAAS-UK, a Christian legal advocacy group, told Premier on Wednesday.
“No alternative program has been announced for non-Muslim students of Punjab. It will promote bigotry and hatred against non-Muslims in Pakistani society, something which is already on the rise,” he warned.
FirstPost reported in April that the bill, which still needs President Mamnoon Hussain’s signature to become law, had already been passed by the National Assembly and the Senate in 2017.
Balighur Rehman, the state minister for Federal Education and Professional Training, has insisted that it would only apply to Muslim students.
“It will lead toward spreading goodness and auspiciousness and toward ending chaos and uncertainty,” the bill claims.
The objectives behind the legislation are described as making “the divine message understood, ensure the response of society, encourage peace and tranquility, promote the supreme human values of truth, honesty, integrity, character building, tolerance, understanding others’ point of view and way of life.”
Despite arguments from the government otherwise, numerous persecution watchdog groups and human rights activists have noted that Christians and other religious minority groups in Pakistan face severe persecution.
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Source: Christian Post