Printing of catechisms for school children
Speaking to ACN about the situation of the Christians in Pakistan, one priest summarised it in these words: “The Christians are socially discriminated against, politically oppressed and religiously persecuted”. In short, they are treated as second-class citizens and are often threatened, abused, pushed aside and for the most part kept on the bottom rung of society. In the state schools, and very often in the workplace too, Christians are put under pressure to convert to Islam. Often enough a Christian name is sufficient to ensure that a candidate will not be accepted for a course of studies.
Another major problem is the school textbooks, in which the religious minorities are generally either completely ignored or presented in a negative light. In almost every subject there is a built-in bias towards Islam. Thus pupils may be required to write an essay entitled: “Write to your friend and invite him to convert to Islam.” Again and again the idea is pushed that Pakistan is a country for Muslims alone and that other religions are, at best, merely to be tolerated.
In such a difficult environment it is vital that Christian children are strongly rooted in their faith. The catechetical committee of the Pakistani Catholic Bishops’ Conference has therefore drawn up a new catechism for schoolchildren which aims to help provide young Christian boys and girls throughout Pakistan with a strong grounding in their faith, so that they can confront the difficulties.
ACN is helping with a contribution of 10,000 Eurosfor the printing of these catechisms.