Teaching Comparative Religion: Lahore Grammar School did the right thing

Published: September 19, 2013

It’s high time that we tackled extremism head-on and help make Pakistan a safer, freer place for its citizens.

Is it really wrong for our children to learn about other religions?

A branch of Lahore Grammar School (LGS-55 Main), has introduced a subject titled ‘Comparative Religion’, which aims to “educate about Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and Hinduism”.

The course received considerable backlash, gaining mainstream attention following an episode of a talk show aired on ARY News, Khara Sach on September 16, 2013. In the episode, hosted by anchor Mubasher Luqman, the school was falsely accused of attempting to convert students to other religions, as well as ridding Islamiat from the curriculum following the sixth grade.

Following this episode of Khara Sach, considerable outrage was visible on social media, condemning the school.

Clarifying the schools stance on the subject following the backlash, Mrs Shah, the principal of LGS-55 Main, posted a message on the official Facebook page of the school:

“Our institution believes in inculcating values such as tolerance and empathy in all our students. ‘Comparative religion’ is essentially a ‘history of religion’. It is NOT merely comparing religions; we aim to educate about Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and Hinduism – and their fundamental teachings. Doing so, we believe, will enlighten our students about the importance of ‘peaceful coexistence”

Ignoring the necessary need for a subject like comparative religion, Luqman’s highly biased coverage has stirred up a storm; the internet is awash with posts and tweets claiming that the school is trying to rid Islam from its curriculum in an attempt to indoctrinate its students. One viral image from a website with over 100,000 Facebook fans equates Hinduism and Sikhism with satanic beliefs.

Had Luqman done his research before spouting his bigoted untruths on national television, he would have learnt that Lahore Grammar School-55 has not, and has no intention of removing pure Islamiat Studies from the curriculum. As part of Mrs Shah’s message on the Facebook page stated,

“We must also clarify that we have NOT abandoned teaching pure Islamiat”

Comparative Religion is simply a supplementary course, which aims to teach children tolerance, broad-mindedness and compassion. And considering the increasing amounts of intolerance and sectarianism in the country, it is a step for the better.

In Pakistan today, militants are being harboured in prominent universities, anti-Ahmadi conferences are taking place in densely populated urban cities, and targeted killings and assassination of minorities are rampant.

Furthermore, textbooks in Pakistan have, in the last few decades, been filled with bigotry and hatred towards minorities, which inculcates fanaticism in our children. As Raza Rumi states in his article,

“They [textbooks] have constructed most non-Muslims, especially Hindus, as evil and primordial enemies… It is time to correct these wrongs.”

Following these unsettling facts, it is surprising that so many Pakistanis have issues with Comparative Religion. Does studying the history of other religions, many of which preach some of the very same values of Islam (goodness of heart, generosity, kindness and the likes) automatically make you a bad Muslim? Is our faith so fragile that simply gaining knowledge puts it at risk? Does teaching our children that other religions, and their followers, aren’t “bad” put our nation at risk?

I believe it is quite the contrary.

Pakistan’s own founders envisioned a pluralistic, diverse nation where minorities would be free to practice their religion in peace. As part of Article-20 of the Constitution of Pakistan clearly states,

“Every citizen shall have the right to profess, practice and propagate his religion”.

Considering the plight of religious minorities today, I personally applaud Lahore Grammar School for taking a bold step towards encouraging and fostering plurality, inclusiveness and tolerance for the children of this nation and would like to see other schools follow suit, and allow for similar subjects to undo some of the damage that has been wreaking havoc on our nation. I truly believe, and hope that there are many others too who feel the same way, that this will set a great example for other schools in the nation. Why would any parent have a problem with allowing their children to respect the faiths of other members of our society?

It’s high time that we tackled extremism head-on and help make Pakistan a safer, freer place for its citizens. Our schools should be bastions of learning and uninhibited enquiry, and comparative religion classes are a positive step and should be treated as such.

As an anchor with over 300, 000 followers on Twitter, Luqman has a responsibility to air educated opinions as opposed to populist rhetoric that panders to his audience’s prejudices.

Our greatest hope of combating extremism is education and our schools should be bastions of learning. I applaud the decision made by Lahore Grammar School to teach Comparative Religion and believe that it is indeed a very bold step in the right direction. I wish them the very best of luck and hope that may be some other schools will be brave enough to learn from LGS.

Do you approve or disapprove of students being taught about other religions in school?

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Ameer Gilani

Ameer Gilani

A sociology major, activist, and aspiring journalist working on educational reform who tweets @Ameeratron (twitter.com/Ameeratron)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Sameera Rashid

    My daughter goes to LGS 55 Main branch and I have found that studying comparative religions has taught her to appreciate religious diversity. Kudos to school principal for taking a different approach to teaching of religion.Recommend

  • Jack

    Luqman is the worst Journalist on TV right now. He presents his own views instead of using the facts to describe a situation.Recommend

  • Moeed Ali

    just
    because they named the book like this …. doesnt mean u accept it
    blindly u fools …. now this is another way to remind all those nimrods
    “NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER”Recommend

  • Moeed Ali

    i
    think u havent seen the show …. here is a glimpse of few questions
    that are in that so called subject name “Comparative Religion” …

    THE FOLLOWING ARE FOR 6TH CLASS STUDENTS

    DOES GOD EXIST?
    IS ABORTION LEGAL OR NOT ?
    WHAT IS EUTHANASIA?

    TOPICS

    PATH OF SPERM
    SEXUAL REPRODUCTION
    ABORTION METHOD

    Now
    tell us …. is it something that a 6th grade student shud study ….
    he didnt say that it shudnt be studied at all … ut theres an age
    limit for everything …Recommend

  • haroun rashid

    LGS and its Principal deserve our appreciation and gratitude for seeking to open our children’s minds and teaching religion the way Jinnah always envisioned it.Recommend

  • Waqar Qureshi

    The time for comparative study is never a school time but a much later time during UniversityRecommend

  • Nadeem Akram

    With all due respect to the writer and Mrs. Shah, can they please direct us to a school in US where 6th graders are taught Comparative Religion? I reproduce here excerpts from a blog that appeared in WP written by a educator ” Contemporary classrooms, workplaces, and the very “public square” of American social and political dialogue are as religiously diverse as they have ever been, and growing more so.

    However, this increasing diversity has not been matched by the education needed to appreciate it or to interact effectively with others. Instead, we are stymied by misinformation about the tenets of other religions.” (Khyati Y. Joshi, an associate professor of education at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey)

    If America does not have it, why in the God’s name Mrs. Shah decided to have one? Reading my impressions are as follows:

    1) It has become fashionable and to certain extent desirable to move up the career ladder by posing to be ‘enlightened’ at religion’s expense with no regard to popular sentiments.

    2) ML never said all the things that you state he did, he spoke about Islamyat and Comparative Religion in passing, his main objection was about sex education being imparted to sixth graders.

    My question to both of you is, “Is sex education being taught at LGS 55 to sixth graders?” Please answer in yes or no and no ifs and buts!Recommend

  • Ataaz

    Did you found same thing in any other country ? lolRecommend

  • Chughtai

    You can teach all this stuff but there is a time for everything…
    teaching all these things at the age of 10 or 11, even when the minds are not completely developed you are confusing the kids…
    You want to teach such subjects, start them from High School when children can differentiate between whether it is a study or they should adopt to it…Recommend

  • BlackJack

    I think Comparative Religion is an incendiary subject for a country as insecure as Pakistan. Further, I don’t think that you will be able to do justice to any of the other religions, since you will be too afraid to point out any element of such faiths that adherents to the majority religion may find missing in theirs. At the end of the day, ignorance is bliss.Recommend

  • Rahema Hasan

    studying about other religions makes u more passionate about ur own religion and makes u learn the importance of ur own beliefs, that is Islam. but never the less i would say class six is too early a class to teach the fundamentals of other religions although teaching basics isnt an issue. in addition, the issue luqman raised was the content of the subject. you need to monitor what is being taught in the name of comparative religion.Recommend

  • Tanzeel

    What about those Non Muslim children who forcefully have to study Islamiat in primary and secondary classes.Recommend

  • MSharaf

    I am glad someone took an initiative. My son studies Islamist and so do all Christians students across the country. In Missionaries schools, Muslims study Islamiyat only while Christian students study Scripture. The Question is when Muslim students can study Islamiyat in a Christian school then why can’t our Children have their own religious study too.Recommend

  • Saleha

    Yes because any education board in their right mind would be writing about methods for aborting babies in a textbook meant for 6th graders. Please cite your information from resources other than one anchor already known to be biased and unresearched. Maybe pick up this horrendous book yourself.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    No religion should be taught in school, its the Parents job to teach their children about religion as they see fit not the schoold and definitely not the govt…Recommend

  • Queen

    I am against teaching children about other religions at a stage where their minds have not yet grasped the realities of the world. Subjects like comparative religion should be taught at the university level. I can’t understand what the LGS is trying to prove.Recommend

  • Concerned citizen

    No harm in teaching comparative religions. But there are certain other objectionable things going on at the same campus. Just look at the content of the science subjects! And by the way teaching other religions does not mean you teach lesser about your own religion. And that has been happening in our schools for quite some time now. Not to mention, programs like ChalParha are serving the same agenda which is really alarming, not apparently though but if one deeply ponders about such things, one can easily understand the connections.Recommend

  • huss

    Mubasher Luqman is our Bill O’Reilly. I wish we had a Jon Stewart too.Recommend

  • Moeed Ali

    for heaven’s sake …. when i was in 8th in 2002, cambridge system was being introduced in our school and we got all our books from singapore directly … and we used to get all “openly discussed” reproduction chapters removed and pages cut out from our book … THAT WAS IN 8TH CLASS …. even islam has a an age limit of being “AAQAL and BAALIGH” so how can u teach them these in class 6th when they dont even understand completely about their own puberty …Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Just one question? Shoudn’t we be studying religion in order to follow it? Or rather just to have alot of information about alot of things?

    First study your own then study others!Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Because you need the early years of a child all to yourself, so you may thoroughly indoctrinate him with your religious beliefs.

    We wouldn’t want them to start respecting other religions now, would we? It’s not like they get Islamic education at home from their Muslim parents.Recommend

  • Mj

    And why not? If children can be taught Islamiyat from Class 1, they can surely be taught comparative religion in middle school.Recommend

  • Mj

    Are you afraid that teaching kids about other religions would un-do the indoctrination they are subjected to from the start?Recommend

  • Maheen

    No, sex education is not being taught by LGS 55 Main to 6th graders and it is perverse to think that an institution such as it would. The problem was essentially a chapter on reproduction with in the course book that was not part of the class curriculum. Every science book has that chapter but it was not being discussed in school.
    These 6th and 7th graders are old enough to study the history of different religions within a classroom overlooked by a teacher to breed tolerance and acceptance at the grass root level. It is essential to teach them this in the earlier years, by university time they already have formed biases due to our already backward society and mindset. Mrs. Shah’s efforts are not only praiseworthy but it should be taken up all other institutions!Recommend

  • aamir

    Dude seriously which copy of our constitution do u have, the one they peint in islamabad or the one they print in tel aviv? Preachers of other religions can practice their religion in pakistan but not propagate it, that’s what the constitution oa Pakistan says,atleast the islamabad versionRecommend

  • someone

    Then do you think that children at the age of 10 or 11 should not be taught Islam at all in any kind of school including Madrassa?Recommend

  • Yosaf

    Yeah in London too students study various religionsRecommend

  • Ali

    Why to teach other religions ? when we are to be a Muslim ?. It is just another way to break out the Muslim Ummah. Such schools should be banned. Our children and generation need to know about Islam more and more than other religions.

    The word “Comparative” its self means comparing Islam with other religion. Islam does not need to be compared as it is the best religion. Such books are taught to Non Muslims in order to judge the worship of Muslims. Before that such schools has made children far away from Islam by teaching other cheap things. As a Muslim country and Muslims, they should have included a translated version of Quran to further extend the Islamic diversity. My comment will be itching to many people. But they will get to know in further 10 years when the root of their children will be vanished with religion sense.Recommend

  • Jahil

    Please don’t teach any religion except Talibanna or Jamaat Islamianna in the schools otherwise you will run out of Mujahedeen in the near future.Recommend

  • Sameera Rashid

    No such topics were taught in the comparative religion classes. The anchor has probably picked up questions from some sex education course to rally support to his cause. It is totally untrue.Recommend

  • Sameera Rashid

    The answer to your last question is emphatic NO.
    Comparative religion needs to be taught to let students empathise with diverse religious communities. Why in a country, where 98% of population is Muslim, we are so insecure about a small course on comparative religions?Recommend

  • http://buitems.net/ Luqman Khan

    “There is nothing wrong in teaching our children about other religion” OH wow you made a statement!! Do you know what you are talking about? At grade 6 it is ok? There is a university where PORN is being shown as study of pornography is that ok too? Just because it is for educational purposes?
    NO! Not by any means. Until children have sufficient knowledge of their own religion it is madness to teach them what they need know less and de-prioritize what they need to know most.
    Yes “there is nothing wrong in teaching our children about other religions” when they know their own.Recommend

  • Mj

    “My question to both of you is, “Is sex education being taught at LGS 55
    to sixth graders?” Please answer in yes or no and no ifs and buts!”

    What is the purpose of school if not to educate students?Recommend

  • Murthy

    Teens may have a lot of questions on their minds and should be given the freedom to seek answers, not merely from their parents but by access to the relevant books. Quite often, what the parents deem fit may not be adequate.Recommend

  • Mj

    LGS should be commended for taking this bold and much needed initiative. Tolerance can only be promoted if we understand each other. LGS should also teach the history of irreligion, and the development of ideas behind rational skepticism.Recommend

  • Queen

    Please correct your facts. I have been a teaching in various schools and it has never happened that a non-Muslim student was forced to study Islamiat. During the Islamiat segment, the non-muslims students are taught optional subject like civics in a separate class room. And BTW, i am not talking about elite schools only, I have seen this happening in neighborhood schools as well.Recommend

  • Queen

    Kindly set your facts right. I have been teaching in schools and i have never seen any non-Muslim student being forced to study Islamiat. Infact During the Islamiat segment, the non-Muslims are taught optional subjects like civics in a separate class room. An I am not talking about elite schools I have seen this happening in local neighborhood schools as well.Recommend

  • Asad

    You are saying that if America does not teach comparative religion we should also not do it, well America does not teach Christian Studies to all students, so we should also delete Islamic studies from our school curriculum.Recommend

  • Muhammad Fahim Hassan

    I get surprised on the attempts of institutions/people etc. for ranking, ”which is mainly done by foreigners”‘. Religion is not a thing which needs a teacher, you can learn it by simple study, which means that parents should arrange teach their babies their own religion from the childhood and once he needs he can study any other religion. Schools have got a lot to concentrate instead comparing religions! I would have appreciated had they started religious freedom, that is Muslim children study Islam and non muslims are given right to study their own religion.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    Read the word ‘element’ as ‘positive element’ otherwise the comment may be unclear.Recommend

  • James

    Even after years of possibilities for the Pakistani nation to mature, I find such weak minded comments sad to read. When will Pakistanis stand up and defend their believes through educated debate and rigorous understanding of “the other” instead of promoting ignorance such as this person has just done.Recommend

  • Saman

    NO. it is not being taught the book simply has those chapters but they are NOT being taught.Recommend

  • Visibly

    Every educated and tolerant country teaches about various religions. Recommend

  • Visibly

    Agree in theory. But religion should be normal part of history and civic ed.Recommend

  • saad

    So you are afraid that if the kids start thinking they wouldn’t accept their parents’ religion!Recommend

  • waqqas iftikhar

    given we seem to have a national pastime of raping underage girls…maybe it is a good idea to impart sex education to sixth graders…..
    taboos are all bs…societies evolve and so will we…Recommend

  • Visibly

    Religion to forward belief should not be taught in school. That should be a private matter. However, teaching about religions, without favouring one, should be a natural part of the curriculum.Recommend

  • Queen

    Teaching children about religion is not indoctrination. A
    person can be indoctrinated at any age, we have example of Pakistani cricketer Muhammad Yousuf, who became a Muslim at a much later stage of his life. If Hinduparents teach their children about their religion, I will not call it indoctrination, The same goes for children of Muslim parents. What I meant tosay is that if children are taught comparative religion at the university
    level, then it will be easier for them to judge the pros and cons of any
    religion and make their choices.

    P.S. next time, please don’t try to take any comment as an attack on the Hindu
    religion.Recommend

  • Let’s All Love Islam

    UnIslamic religions should be taught in different schools that unIslamic students can attend after regular school. No need to confuse Islamic students about the truth.Recommend

  • amir

    I believe that education with understanding and that to in true perspective is not only important but extremely essential. I m not against teaching comparative religions but if do u think that kids of class six have d comprehension of such comparisons. Isn’t unfair even by standard s of nature. Even nature bless us with knowledge at an appropriate time. Eg puberty, Facial hair etc. It is for the people to decide that knowledge at right time is important or knowledge which make thwm more confused. Think and decide.Recommend

  • Waqar Qureshi

    Let it be choice of parents whatever they want their kids to study :)Recommend

  • AKUite

    Prophet Muhamammad S.A.W times : there were muslims as well as jews living in madina, musim children were never taught about teachings of jews. We should follow the sunnah. If someone wants to study comparative religion it is highly important to first completely grasp islamic ideas so that ones faith is not jolted due to lack of islamic knowledge.Recommend

  • BlackJack

    The same people who are so indignant at the thought of comparing the “best” religion with one of the inferior ones would recoil in horror if this were applied in true earnest – possibly in the West, where they have the courage to critique themselves and others (not in India, where we don’t have the guts to call a spade a spade, unfortunately). I am sure we could provide a crash course here, but ET may not cooperate :).Recommend

  • Mj

    They still have to study plenty of hamds and naats in Urdu. I wouldn’t consider having to praise god and prophet of another religion to be a particularly satisfying experience for non-Muslim students.Recommend

  • Naveed Nadeem

    First, the youth should be educated about Islam (till an appropriate level).

    Once, their core concepts are clear, and there is zero per-cent chance of them being mentally confused on the topic of Islam, then they should be taught comparative religion.

    Teaching comparative religion from the start can cause secularism (a cancer for a Muslim society), or even a possibility of atheism (suicide with regards to the Hereafter).Recommend

  • Queen

    Teaching children about religion is not indoctrination. A
    person can be indoctrinated at any age, we have example of Pakistani cricketer Muhammad Yousf, who became a Muslim at a much later stage of his life. If Hinduparents teach their children about their religion, I will not call itindoctrination, The same goes for children of Muslim parents. What I meant to say is that if children are taught comparative religion at the university
    level, then it will be easier for them to judge the pros and cons of any
    religion and make their choices.Recommend

  • Queen

    I wonder why ET is not allowing my reply to be published .Recommend

  • boom

    Actually, Comparative Religion is taught at universities for students of philosophy in Pakistan. I think it is a wonderful thing that students are going to study it earlier than college. I really wish I had studied it more than just one semester at Kinnaird College.Recommend

  • aimen

    this could be done by teaching them the verses from Quran and taking references from ahadiths as how we shud deal wih non muslims, that is
    more direct nd most effenctive way of developing empathy for ppl relating to other religions. If u follow Islam in its true sense u wont have to devise other ways to acheive a certain goal, the clear path of which is already laid out crystal clear. but perhaps thats too “mainstream” for the lunatic enlightened moderationRecommend

  • AGoodMuslim

    Here is a thought and adding a bit of the philosopher in me: The reality for most of us is that we are Muslims because we were born in a Muslim society (Pakistan), not because we decided one day that Islam is the religion we choose. I think not only should they teach comparative religion but should give the children to chose the religion they best like afterwards …that way the one’s who have no desire to live a noble life as prescribed by Islam (like most of our politicians) can later on decide on more suitable religions like Athiesm or dollarworshipism. So far I’m trying to convince my wife that we should let our baby son do that, but she doesn’t agree with me…let’s see how far I go with that one!Recommend

  • Zahir

    In an Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Islamiat should be mandatory to all Muslim students, unless the parents ask to replace the subject.Recommend

  • Parvez

    From what I see children from the tender age of 6-7 are taught Islam mostly at home in a non specific manner but under supervision. Now if a recognised school decides to teach the child at a more advanced age about other religions including Islam, it will result in broadening the childs mind and prompt the child to ask questions which when sensibly answered can only be beneficial for the child.
    To put the fear of other religions into a childs mind is the worst disservice a parent can do to the child.Recommend

  • faiza khan

    well there iz no harm in teaching about other religion but important is that befor teaching them about other religion and their basics ,students must be taught about their own religion so that they dun mix it up with others .Recommend

  • Critical

    There are several comments asking why a 11 year old kid is made to learn other religions but it should be done when he/she has grown up and be mature…

    If thats the case,why every religion force their beliefs into children at a young age?? Why everyone drags their kids to their respective places of worship and made to worship at a young age???

    Why dont we allow the child to grow and let them choose their religion??? I know that no religion will allow this because indoctrination should be done at a young age for produce more sheeples….

    Do you know that most of the North Koreans believe that their great Leader Kim Jong Ill is an expert in every field of study and are ready to kill their own parents if they speak bad about their leader??? Yeah,indoctrination….

    P.S. Lets see if the Mods have changed along with the comment format…Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)

    An arbitrary mind conditioning, which begins with the child´s birth, is certainly not education. Baby children are constantly compelled to memorize Kalma, till the age of 8 memorize namaz and finish reading Quran. Islamic education is memorizing Arabic texts and an unconditional obedience without any Ifs and Buts!Recommend

  • Muslim

    Ataaz, I was taught comparative religions here in the US. It was great. I feel enlightened and feel I know Islam better as compared to other religions.Recommend

  • Ali

    And in Germany too :PRecommend

  • Hasan

    Wow,
    an overwhelming majority is against, comparative religions being taught at Lahore Grammar School. But everyone is ALRIGHT with the double induction of Islamiat (from Islamiat textbooks and from normal URDU textbooks)??

    I understand Islamiyat textbooks contain text on Islam but why are there chapters of such kind in Urdu?

    What is the stance of such people on Islamiyat being taught to the children of non-Muslims?Recommend

  • gp65

    In California they do teach comparative religions.Recommend

  • Rabia

    Nadeem, are you serious when you say ‘If America does not hot have it, why in God’s name (has) Mrs Shah decided to have one?’ Why in God’s name do we have to follow what anyone else does? God gave us a brain or two, and we should use it before it rusts. I am really happy that LGS is teaching comparative religions. Only, this subject ought to be taught in an unemotional factual way because it is a study just as geography and sociology are. It has a direct impact on our lives because we do not live in a bubble and must interact with people of all religions, and at present our understanding of other religions and their adherents is extremely poor and intolerant. The danger of course is that this subject may be hijacked by vituperative content, in which case we have yet another monster to deal with. Properly dealt with though…good job, Ms Shah. I wish many other people would have the guts that you do. At least you’re trying.Recommend

  • gp65

    what@Saleeha was saying is that it is unlikely that the course on comparative religions has such instruction material in it and the anchor was not strictly honest. @sameera rashid confirms that no such thing was taught.Recommend

  • gp65

    In US they don’t teach Christianity from grade 1 either. If you can teach Oslamiat from grade 1 surely grade 6 is not too early to tech comparative religious studyRecommend

  • bob

    All over Europe,North America and the civilized world. There is no comulsion in religon and people must be allowed to read,understand and comapre other religons to their own.Recommend

  • bob

    Mubashar Luqman is an uneducated bigot who has been bought of by religous fanatics. Who cares what he has to say?Recommend

  • bob

    Do you beleive in propaganda? The questions are not from comaprative religous studies- Islam, Christanity, Judaism, etc. but from a sex education class. Do not mix the two!! Mubashar Lucman is deciving you!!!! Go to LGS and pick up the book and show me anything evenly remotley similar to what you or Lucqman are sayng!!!!Recommend

  • bob

    You have an inferiority complex about your religon!!! Why are you so scared that children should be prevented from learning other religons? Is the indocrtination from home and Maulvi so weak?Recommend

  • bob

    Then why are Pakistani Muslims allowed to go to Europe and North America to propagate their version of Islam ? They should only be aloowed topractise their religon and not propogate it!!!! Do you see the foolishnes in your satement and the constitution?Recommend

  • S.F.Ali

    I am not against this practice. Knowing other religions isn’t a bad thing at all. But my strong concern is whether we know our religion at the first place? First teach them whats ISLAM is, tell them whats in QURAN and HADITH, tell them about the Shariah of our Prophet MUHAMMAD (P.B.U.H.) and who were the SAHABEES and their practices. If our children know this stuff, then it will be more beneficial for them to know about other religions as well; and it will help them to know that what ISLAM says about minorities and their rights and why is ISLAM a Universal Religion.
    Want to add one more thing that teaching a course of Islamiat isn’t enough. I have been studying this course throughout my school life, but ISLAM is much more beyond the scope of our curriculum.Recommend

  • Nabeel Khan

    @nadeem – Sir could you please inform us who in a Madrassa or a Masjid would teach about “tolerant” Islam? Do you think that these people are equipped to hear alternate points of view other than

    You are not covering your head
    You are not covering your knees
    Your cartoon shirt won’t allow your namaz to be accepted by God
    Ahmadis et al (and others who disagree with me) are not allowed in this mosque…Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)

    It makes me laugh. They don’t know about their own Religion & we want to teach these young minds about other Religions. The end result will be “Na teter na batair”. Let me add that those who are sending all the Kudos have no knowledge about the pitfalls.To them, it is, teach them all and let them choose in the end.Recommend

  • Shaka

    The only way to knowing about other religions is Quran Shareef. Quran has all history about different religions…but our school systems will never allow Quran classes to be held in their schools…they think teaching and learning Quran is responsibility of Molvi only. But Quran is the best book for all mankind.

    Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)

    You goof, you are far away from reality. Way back in the 50′s I studied in the Convent & then on to the St.Gregory’s High School. They taught us Moral Ethics ,all about Christianity. The choice was ours. Likewise Non-Muslim children either study Islamiat or pack their books somewhere else.Recommend

  • Lt Col Imtiaz Alam(retd)

    First know your Religion yourself, then teach your children about Islam. You don’t need to know about other Religions because Islam is the Religion which Allah Subhan wa Tala has perfected for you. A scholar like Zakir Naik can be given all the kudos for his knowledge of Comparative Religions. Read the last sermon of the Holy Prophet SAWW.Recommend

  • Sameera Rashid

    Understanding of precepts, festivals and rites of different religions is taught in number of countries. And in some countries, children are exposed to religious diversity, not through a classroom course, but by holding cultural events.
    It is important to teach kids compassion and understanding and not judgement and bigotry.Recommend

  • Sanam

    The choice of books plays a big role in any education. I am hoping authentic books are being used which portray each religion in the right manner.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    The fact that you compared other religions of the world besides your own with porn, is enough reason for any reasonable person to instantly dismiss your argument.Recommend

  • Nayab.R

    Instead of teaching other religions, the school should first try to educate students about Islam. What’s the use of learning about these religions when we know nothing about our own?Recommend

  • eeenok

    apparently a lot of people don’t like asking the question “can your religion cope with members knowing about the outside world”Recommend

  • Parvez

    Those against the teaching of comparative religions in the school……….should think as to what Islam itself teaches. Things like – acquire knowledge even if you have to go to ends of the earth, things like tolerance, things like love for other humans, things like respect for other religions, things like killing in the name of religion is wrong etc……………so what is needed REALLY is not just rote learning of Islam but learning its essence and then IMPLEMENTING it in daily life. So it follows that learning about other religions is very much in conformity with what Islam teaches.Recommend

  • Pappu

    Religion is a powerful tool to control human mind through the fear of unknown. Also it is the oldest and easiest business.Recommend

  • zain

    Teaching comprative religion is not an issue . Issue is they replcaed it with IslamiatRecommend

  • zain

    oh! still their knowledge about Islam is very poorRecommend

  • Mj

    “Teaching children about religion is not indoctrination.”

    Teaching is not, but requiring them to believe whatever is being put in the heads of children is indoctrination and child abuse. After all, we would not require the child to support the political party we support, so why not give them the choice make up their own minds about religion as they grow older and, hopefully, more mature.

    “What I meant to say is that if children are taught comparative religion at the university level, then it will be easier for them to judge the pros and cons of any religion and make their choices.”

    If you are saying that a child is not mature to handle the topic of religions at pre-uni level, then are we not teaching them to uncritically follow whatever interpretation is being fed to them in grade school?Recommend

  • Mj

    I really appreciate the mature manner with which you deal with a sensitive topic. Although I’d like to make a small correction that atheism is not a religion, but rejection of all religions and the idea of a deity.Recommend

  • Mj

    “Once, their core concepts are clear, and there is zero per-cent chance
    of them being mentally confused on the topic of Islam, then they should
    be taught comparative religion.”

    Are you afraid that the youth would lose their religion as they learn more about the world, and the way to prevent it from happening is to keep them ignorant?Recommend

  • Rida Marriyam

    if they’re old enough to believe in Islam, they are old enough to know about the basics of everything else. if not then they should stay away from religion until they are mature and then they can decide for themselves. but you wouldn’t want that. i know.Recommend

  • Rida Marriyam

    ignorance is never a bliss. voluntary ignorance is the most vile thing there can be. a child can never learn if you keep them locked and close their sense. let them grow up, for once.Recommend

  • Kappa

    Almost all religions are based on “fear of unknown”. I don’t understand what is there to “compare”?Recommend

  • Rational

    “But my strong concern is whether we know our religion at the first place?”

    Just keep following. If you will try to understand religion you will become another sect ( already have 52 sects trying to understand).Recommend

  • Yousaf

    Well Obviously when they would be taught 10 religions then they will have little knowledge about each religion. (Similarly LGS students will acquire little knowledge about each religion).Recommend