NIDDERAU, GERMANY: Your editorial “The threat lies within, not across the border” (May 24) is to the point and unless society changes, conditions will only get worse. Your words echo the truth when you say: “We all need to understand and realise that the biggest threat to our national security and, in fact, to our existence and way of life comes from these people, and they are very much within us.”
Sympathy for these killers has a basis in what is taught to children not only in madrassas but also in our mainstream schools, where hatred towards ‘infidels’ is an essential part of the curriculum. The ideology of jihad is also part of the syllabus and taught to students from a very early age. This is unfortunate because instead of focusing on telling our children to respect others and try and live as part of a world that is fast becoming a global village, we teach them to find fault in the faiths/beliefs of others.
For example, the social studies textbook for class six prescribed by the Punjab Textbook Board has material like: “The Hindus… had always been opportunists.” Another one, for Urdu, for class five, and also prescribed by the same textbook board says: “The Hindus have always been enemies of Islam.”
What message are we trying to convey to children? That all Hindus are enemies of Islam? How about Hindu children sitting in the class next to Muslim ones? How would they feel about reading this? In madrassas, of course, the situation is far worse. No wonder that some pupils take these as part of their faith and grow up hating everything and everyone non-Muslim.
The battles of Pakistan will not be fought on our borders but within. Unless we change our attitudes and not consider everything in term of Muslims and non-Muslims, Pakistan will remain where it is. Pakistan is more distrusted and disliked today by its friends and foes than at any time in its history. A nation cannot be at peace with itself when it is fighting a war from within and outside.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 25th, 2011.