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World News

New Pakistani bill mandates Qur'an teaching for all students

by Tola Mbakwe

The education minister tabled The Holy Quran bill 2017 last Friday which was unanimously approved.

According to Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS) a Christian organisation that works for persecuted Christians, Senator Maulana Attaur Rehman said: "Being a Muslim it is necessary for us to convey Islamic teachings to our children."

The National Assembly had already passed this bill on 19th April that made it mandatory for Muslim students in all educational institutions to be taught the Qur'an.

According to the objectives of the bill, the law "will make the divine message understood, ensure the response of society, encourage peace and tranquillity, promote the supreme human values of truth, honesty, integrity, character building, tolerance, understanding others' point of view and way of life".

Additionally, the bill claims it will help the state to discharge its constitutional responsibility as article 31(2) of the Constitution states that the "State shall endeavour to make the teachings of the Holy Qur'an and Islamiyat compulsory".

However, Nasir Saeed Director CLAAS-UK said that although this is compulsory for Muslim students, no alternative programme has been announced for non-Muslim students.

He added: "Also, it will have a negative impact on the non-Muslim students and many will be forced to take it as subject, if there is no other choice.

"It will promote bigotry and hatred against non-Muslims in Pakistani society, something which is already on the rise."

He said it is sad that instead of promoting freedom of religion and belief, the government is forcing children to study religion.

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