Pakistan is, of course, an Islamic Republic, but why is it that “there is no compulsion in religion” (2:256) seems only to be invoked by Islamic apologists in the West, and never where it could actually do some good for non-Muslims in an Islamic state? Hmmm, now why might that be?
Islamic Tolerance Alert from the Land of the Pure: “All students in Pakistan’s schools required to study Islam,” from AsiaNews, September 26 (thanks to C. Cantoni):
Islamabad (AsiaNews) – The new guidelines for school students in Pakistan requires non-Muslims to study Islam and ignore other religious traditions in the country.
The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) of the Church of Pakistan is critical of the National Education Policy 2009, launched September 9 by the government in Islamabad. Mgr. John Saldanha, Archbishop of Lahore and chairman of the NCJP, and Peter Jacob, secretary of the Commission are concerned about the often implicit discriminatory and coercive aspects of the new guidelines content.
In a press release issued on 25 September, the two leaders of NCJP point the finger at Chapter 4 of the document, dedicated to Islamic Education. They claim that “If government thinks public education is not possible without a compulsory subject of Islamic Studies and Arabic, then we are forced to demand religious education for Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Parsi, etc. in their respective religions”.
The program drawn up by the Government contemplates that Islamiyat (Islamic studies) become compulsory until the 12th class (15 and 16 years). For students that from then on will not want to follow the lessons of Islam attendance of alternative courses of public ethics is permitted, but the Commission notes also on this front the discrimination, though latent, is clear….