05/24/2021 Pakistan (International Christian Concern) – Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team are preparing to implement a new national program in Pakistan that will Islamize the education system with an emphasis on the Quran and Islamic teaching. The new curriculum will require students to read the entire Quran and memorize a number of prayers and hadiths. Schools should also employ a pair of Hafiz, or individuals who have memorized the Quran.
Critics believe the move will create deeper rifts in an already divided population. Religious communities in Pakistan are deeply suspicious of each other. Pakistan’s religious minorities are regularly persecuted, including under the country’s blasphemy law, which is one of the most severe in the world. The penalties for blasphemy range from life imprisonment to the death penalty.
The current Pakistani program already contains sectarian and hateful material and makes derogatory references to various minority religious communities in Pakistan. Critics also say the recent move to radicalize the education system will only further encourage radicals to oppress Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and other religious minorities.
The prime minister’s ill-conceived move comes at a time when Pakistan faces increasingly scrutiny of its 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 likely to be adopted by the State Department.
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