Comparative Religion studies banned in Punjab


Taking notice of an electronic and social media campaign against one of the most prominent private schools in Lahore for introducing ‘Comparative Religion’ as a subject in its syllabus, the Punjab government on Friday ordered authorities to seize and eliminate all reading material related to the course.

The provincial government also constituted a committee to review ‘objectionable material’ in the syllabi of all private educational institutions across the province.

The committee is headed by Secretary Education (Schools) Abdul Jabbar Shaheen and comprises Punjab Textbook Board Chairman Nawazish Ali and Punjab Curriculum Authority Chairman Saleem Akhtar Kiani.

Addressing a press conference, Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood Ahmad Khan said the committee would propose necessary modification in the current syllabus being taught in different institutions at school level.

“No one would be allowed to change the basic ideology of the education system of Pakistan and stern action would be initiated against the people behind such a conspiracy,” said the minister.


The controversy started when a branch of the prestigious Lahore Grammar School (LGS-55 Main), 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 in a local TV channel’s talk show on September 16.

The school was accused of attempting to convert students to other religions, as well as ridding Islamiat from the curriculum following the sixth grade.

Clarifying the school’s stance on the subject following the backlash, Mrs Nasreen 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.”


    • so if u thing that u son or should learm hindism or other religion then they should be at specific age not from the chield hood and one more thing why schoold eliminate islamiat. it means that they wand to confuse the chil;der about islam from the childhood

        • .
          You know nothing about US education …
          All religions are studied n public school system from 4th thru 12th grade as part of 'world civilization' …

      • I would suggest to Sarah_yz to declare her religion so we could understand her comment better. Do you have any children?

        • In USA, students are not taught christianity as a compulsory subject. Teachers are also strictly not allowed to show favoritism towards any one religion or teach discriminatory content towards other religions. They dont need a comparative relgion subject at 6th grade. Their students are allowed to develop their own opinions for the most part. So. Really. Your comment shows your complete ignorance towards USA. If you are currently living in USA, you really need to get to know more about your kid's school and correct your views.

        • Who are you the 'thekeydar' of all religions who judges everyone based on their faith? Learn to be a human first!

        • I was born and bred in Pakistan to a Muslim family. When I started using my head, I understood what BS Islam I dumped it!

        • I was born and bred in Pakistan to a Muslim country where I studied Islam tthroughout my academic career. When I started using my head, I understood what BS Islam I dumped it!

          Yes, I do have children…and I am trying all my best to make them think critically rather than threatening them with hell.

          • The world need more mothers like you. Your children are lucky. Sadly many are not, especially in Pakistan.

          • Thanks for your reply.
            Looks like you are very angry in your comment.
            Let us know thirty yrs from now , how you and your children's are doing.
            I wish you best of luck.

          • At least my children will be tolerant human beings…who can fit in with any culture. i'm sure your kind would be lost if they step out of The Land of The Pure 🙂

            I was not angry, only surprised at your insolence. It's not your fault really, Islam does that to you…

          • Well, time will tell who is right and wrong. Whenever we make any decision, we think it is the right decision but later on, say ,after few years , we realize it was wrong or right.
            As for living outside the land of pure, following is my answer.
            So far I have survived for more than 40 yrs but I do not know about the future. May be you are right or you could be wrong. It is just one of your opinion. I respect it as an opinion. It is just like going to see the doctors. One say you will not survive more than 6 months and second one give you one yr. And you are alive even after two years proving both of them wrong.

            I do not blame my religion for my faults and mistakes. I take responsibility for my faults. Religion has nothing to do with that. Period

            As for children are considered, you can give them your best care and education as well as guidance , then one day you have to cut the cord and let them go on their own and hope for the best as a parent.

            I have been living out of the land of pure for about forty years. So far I have not lost myself and I am very well fit into this culture. I was born and educated in Pakistan. For that I am always grateful for that.I could not ask for more than that. Once I was on my own, I was able to find my ways.
            I hope this will answer your points which you raised in your comment.
            Thanks for reading my comment. I will be still waiting for your input 30 yrs from now.

          • What happened today in Peshawar is a perfect example of how intolerant Muslims can be (I am to the countless tweets by our youngster, blaming the 'Kuffar Christians'). We've managed to dehumanize our minorities. I think it's time that we introduce courses like 'Comparative studies' in our curriculum.

          • She is right, what happened at 10weeks ago is bad, but I think she didn't read about other areas of world where millions of muslims are killing or to be killed in the name of f* justice and racism, I think she might have strong view about that too. Just in case to deny the facts 🙂
            ALHAMDULILLAH we are muslims and we will remain muslims. By reading your comments above Miss Sarah_YZ I am surprisingly shocked how moderate you are and how much humble you become 😀 funny….lolz

    • Why not?? They learn about suicide attacks, 70 (or is it 80) virgins, killing minorities, and all the wrongs that goes on in the Pakistani society today! Why can’t the study what other religions are saying. Afraid they will see that their elders are practicing their religion absolutely contradictory to what Allah SWT has ordained us. I guess!

    • Well, they are immature while learning comparative religion, but mature enough to get married and have sex…!

  1. Now the seculars will cry foul, point to be noted it was introduced as replacement of Islamic Studies as compulsory subject!
    There is no harm in knowing other religions but that can be covered as one single chapter in social studies, there is no need to introduce this as subject!

    • 1) That's a lie…launched by a concerned parent and used by Mubashir L.
      2) Even if it were true the solution would be to reinstate Islamiat and not ban Comparative Religion.
      3) Developing an appreciation for other religions – each with its own historical specificity, theological framework and popular parables – cannot be achieved over one chapter. To suggest that it can is itself disrespectful towards the complexities and intricacies of any religion. But I suppose that is the point, isn't it Mr. Shakil? To cast the spiritual epicentre of peoples different from us in a childish, simplistic light…one that doesn't dare cast any shadows on the pure white flame of Islam. Of course now we don't even have to worry about that. Best hai. Cha gai hain saray. well done.

      • Pure white flame of Islam will stay no matter how hard the whole world is trying. Having said that I am talking about 5th grade child and one chapter or couple of chapters can very well teach basic understanding of other religions. a 6th grader is not doing a PhD in world religion. If later in life one opt to do research on one or all religions, its their choice.
        My son who is in second grade already know about basic concepts of Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam. All from his school, and there is no separate subject for that. Its taught to them by teacher to have understanding of kids of other faiths! What we need is basic understanding that all humans are equal and having a different faith is absolutely normal.

        at the end every parent has the right to educate their children according to their own believes.

        • I only wish people in Europe, N. America where people like you are dying to go develop the same mindset as yours. God save this world from you and your son who being is second grade knows about other religion. I wonder what he knows other religions other than that they are all 'kufar', and not true religions.

        • "at the end every parent has the right to educate their children according to their own believes."

          That's only true if their belief's are in line with the generally accepted values and laws of society, otherwise we can't allow them raise criminals.

    • No it is totalty Islamic. Once Hazrat Umar was reading Taurah in present of Hazrat Muhammad SAWW, ho asked Umar why are you reading Taurah? You have any doubt about Islam. Hazarat Umar asked forgiveness and never touched those again. We are becoming champion without a proper knowledge. Jews and Hindus are using us. May Allah protect us Aameen.

  2. So pathetic! If Islam is threatened by just a mere school course about toleration and coexistence then it's time to re-evaluate Islam itself. Clearly this religion can't protect itself ideologically.

  3. Islam is growingly insecure of other religious ideas. Does it know it is standing fragile grounds on most issues.?

  4. Shameful and make us all wonder ..what next is on the horizon for our children and society in the 21st century – a world where we cannot acknowledge the other – a world without friends and diversity.. life without a soul. – a curriculum that is afraid.. and knowledge with limits

  5. Another opportunity lost.Another confused,intolerant generation to be
    nurtured .The so called adults should be sent back to school to be educated.
    Lgs 55main can hold their head high they tried to make a difference.

  6. Now our student will study the subject of comparative religion instead of Islamiat. The syllabus of this course asks question like who is GOD, why is HE? Purpose and all that.. The problem is not with comparative religion.. Sooner or later, people read it these days but the problem is the necessity of this course in just CLASS-6. Where you are forcing children to study this comparative religion and you are forcing them to study about intercourse and what is the need of abortion in this society.. I am not taking high moral ground but this is really a bad, rather a worst step in building their opinion about religion. I am sure that the teacher, who is teaching this course, can not address the questions of ATHEISM.

    Comparative religion with no conclusion = leave them with confusion!!!

    and in 6th grade. This is the high definition cultural imperialism. LGS-55 SHAME ON YOU!! I hope this will be reverted in a week.

  7. No surprises here. Not tolerating study of other religions and still claiming Islam is the most tolerant religion in the world. These double standards have been the part of social DNA of Pakistan in particular and whole of Muslim world in general.

    • No doubt Islam is the most tolerant religion in the world. What we have to teach to a Muslim kid is what we think is the best and not some one Jew or Hindu who so ever you are reach us that this must be tought. How intolerance arise in this case?

  8. It made no sense to introduce comparative in place of islamiyat keeping in mind the majority of students are muslims. This sort of decision would have been welcome in a multicultural society which ours is not. It makes sense however to have introduced it as an optional subject because knowledge of other religions only helps validate islam.

  9. We must understand that there is only 1 single religion… sent by Allah Almighty. Same was sent with Adam and Eve to the earth; and was completed with Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Rest all are deviations from the 'Original Religion'. Prohets have been coming to correct the deviations.
    Was Christ a Cristian or Moses a Jew… No, but why their followers are so. All prophets were Muslims and belived in One Allah.
    Therefore, its the funniest concept to compare other religions with Islam.
    The correct study would be to study the 'History of Deviations' from true religion Islam.

    • one true religion?
      A muslim believes Islam is the one true religion and others are mere deviations.
      A christian believes Christianity is one true religion and others are mere deviations.
      A hindu believes Hinduism is one true religion and others are mere deviations.
      When "true" becomes subjective, its not truth. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why they dismiss yours.

    • My question is do "we" practice the religion "Islam" the way Muslims are supposed to? If you can answer this, talk further!

  10. Shame on the Punjab government…have u forgotten one of the major teaching of Islam is tolerance ….since when has Islam become so insecure??? And all of u listened to such an anchor whose credibility was witnessed on air not so long ago …… this what u r teaching our children !!!for general information islamiyat is compulsory in LGS 55 so there was no reason for this hue and cry ……

    • Bibi Hina before becoming the chmpion on Comenting Tolerence of Islam, first study Islam. 2ndly how on earth if you want to teach a Muslim kid Islam become intolrable and only if you teach a kid intercourse then that is tolerence. You might be plesed if some kid ask you Anti how can I do intoercourse now a days?

  11. I think that the reality has been distorted by media and some parents. Islam is the religion which all Muslims practice in Pakistan. My daughter is in grade 7 in the same school studying both Islamyat and Comperative religion. Its very important for us and for our children to have information about other religion so they are tolerant and have respect for other peoples believes. no body has tried to convert my children from Islam to some other religion. I am very happy that my children offer namaz , read Quran and know about other religions. I wish people could find the truth before passing judgments and banning.

  12. We are guided by Allah Almighty through his messenger prophet Muhammad (PBUH),The Quran and the teachings of Prophet.
    He(PBUH) says “Every childr is born on Fitrat(Islam) then it is his parents who guide him and make him Jew,Christian or Zoroastrian”Sahi Al Bukhari Chapter 92,Hades 1385.My dear fellows who can guide us better than the Creature Himself? No doubt He is The Only One. He clarifies in Quran “If anyone brings any other religion other than Islam it will not be accepted”
    My humble request is that if we do read Quran with understanding our problem of True guidance will be solved. All these religions are discussed in Quran by Allah AllMighty.

    • Please try not to look at Islam and Punjab Government with one perspective.It was an action of Punjab Government and not Islam. Does Islam bans the study of other religions? Not really. Had this been the case, then all Muslims doing preaching to non-Muslims are going against the teachings of Islam according to what you have said.

      • This is a common problem all organised religions around the world but the difference is that other religions do not make claims as being the most tolerant and peaceful religions and at least Muslims do claim about their religion. From academic sphere to its physical manifestations Muslims do appear to be more intolerant towards people of other faiths.

  13. Prohibitions & Bans come when, you are finished with the agreements. This Height of incompetency. High-jackers of Islam are really threatened, to have taken this action. This is a positive sign, that bad guys are loosing their strength and taking desperate steps. They have no idea of what they are doing. You will hear good news in the times to come. Patience.

  14. A country in which murderers are showered with petals and teachers are vilified is inevitably going to self destruct. I'm glad it will, atleast it will stop exporting poison to the rest of the world.

  15. There was a time when Islam was more tolerant than other religions. At that time (during the Middle Ages), the Muslim world was also more advanced scientifically and technologically. At that time, by comparison, Christian Europe was a filthy stew of bigotry and ignorance. The Muslim world preserved the learning of ancient Greece and Rome while Christian Europe rejected it all as blasphemous. In order to have the Renaissance later, Europeans translated the writings of the ancients, not from Greek or Latin, but from Arabic, in which they had been preserved. It took a lot of catching up for Europe to become as advanced as the Muslim world, all because Christians had been intolerant and rigidly orthodox while Muslims were more accepting and willing to allow free thought. Sadly, today, things are reversed in every way. Today, the Muslim world has become intolerant of free thought, and, no accident, backwards by comparison to the West. The lesson in that is obvious for those willing to learn it.

  16. Unfortunately, as usual, we are witnessing the liberals and hardliners debating and passing hateful comments for one another. If only we as parents fulfill our responsibilities of raising and educating our children, there will be no need to teach them about the religion in so much detail at school.Pakistani or other muslims who reside abroad, educate their children about their religion and culture themselves, who turn out to be much better than the wanna bes' living in Pakistan. And the ones who dont, will be the ones complaining of how their children have turned out to be since they were surrounded by kafirs. There are several sects among muslims as well and at one point their history and beliefs differ but if we as parents provide them with basic knowledge of Islam and at school as well then i feel we will be in a position to avoid raising confused humans. Also while i agree to the point that 6th graders should not be taught so much information that might confuse them i also believe that when we feed them with false history about our country and islamic heros who were actually war criminals, we are nothing but hypocrites. What about the hindus, christians who are citizens of this country? why should their children not have the liberty of not studying islamiyat but their own religion? my suggestion: there should be an option for students and parents to decide what faith their child wants to study. Rather looking at the recent events in the country my suggestion would be to teach them humanity as a subject so that once we become humans we are in a better position to learn faith and religion.

  17. It seems the message of the so-called course is that all religions are equal, and Islam is no better than Christianity, Budhism or Hinduism, something quite contrary to Islamic teaching.
    It seems correct to interpret the course as an attack on Islam. Phrases like "tolerance" and "peaceful co-existence" are meant to throw dust in our eyes.

  18. Isn’t Quran all about comparative religion? One of our biggest problems is that we do not know our own religion ‘Islam’. I guess the reason for the ban is that first learn Islam than compare it with other religion. If we do any comparison with the “current form of Islam” that we see being practiced… We may find out youngsters move to the “dark side”. [I am being sarcastic here] There is something definetly wrong with us!

  19. Learning the ways of thought of others will increase tolerance, however no form of religious education whether of one or multiple religions will ever be of value if forced, so religious studies should be optional.

  20. Dobbel morality of high standard. We cry foul when Pakistanis/muslims living in other western countries do not provide comparative religious studies to children in schools. It is definitely a shameful act on the part of the Punjab Government. We are afraid that our children can find out that all reliogions of the world have very many common values. We do not need to worry about that because a good muslim is a good human being too. Let Pakistani children compare it and find this out by themselves.

  21. Children, who are being taught in LGS are mostly muslims, but unfortunately that upper part of our society is Practically far away from our religion. In this Situation, teaching them about other religions, would be harmful to their own religion.
    Because,6th level Student don’t have Maturity to choose the select option on his own, the way, you will show him, he will follow that.
    (Kindly, reply if you have something better…)

  22. So the Fundos win again. Pakistan proves once more that it has a severe crisis of confidence, in its self, its people and its direction

  23. The more we learn about other religions the better for us! We will soon find to our benefit
    what unites us and what divides us. By concentrating on the first one the second one will be diluted. This is all what interfaith dialogue is about through knowledge about each other at an early age.The bombing of mosques, churches, statues and synagoges etc. will become a thing of the past. The world is a global village now and so is religion.Am i looking for a pie in the sky?

  24. No wonder we're a nation that's bound to doom.
    Shame on you, Mubasher Lucman for, firstly, fabricating facts i.e ridding islamiat, and giving this jahil nation another reason to hate.
    This is extremely sad. The governor has clearly reflected on his own limited minds.
    I hope everyone's happy now. Ye nai k bachoun ko aik sense of direction do, magar ye samjho k aik problem exist he nai karti.
    Height of intolerance and jahalat.

  25. First I would like to condemn the incidence in Peshawar.
    Second I could give the example of burning and destruction of Mosques in my part of the world . Few yrs ago, main big mosque in Toledo ohio was burnt down. This was not the first time that this kind of incident happened in USA.
    Should I blame all the Christians living in that city or state?
    The answer is NO.
    There will always be some people who are going to differ with you and they believe in this kind of action. I am not against teaching Comparstive Religion.
    Then what could be the solution? I think there is no solution. You can teach them as much comparative Religion as you want but that will stop this kind of actions, I donot think so.
    One of the reasons is technology advancement. For example, if one person differs with rest of the 100,000 people and wants to do bad action , he can do it.
    Recently one guy in Naval yard in Washington DC was able to kill , nine people and injured more than fifty people , if I remember correctly. He was able to buy all these guns legally. So whom should we blame? By the way this is not the first incidence of Gun violence. Recently more than thirty children were killed in the school in Connecticut this yr. I can keep on giving you example after expletive .
    So I think there is no solution to this problem. I can just hope for the best for my peace of mind and I can not blame any religion, country or group of people. Looks like it is out fate.

  26. Just so pathetic from very insecure people. I am proud muslim who wants his children to learn about other religions because they will come across people of other faiths in his life and tolerance is what allows us to live with people of other faiths. It reflects the narrow mindedness of the Pakistanis that they see this as a threat. This in a country where all the talk is about Islam but every thing that goes on is un-Islamic.

  27. All of these claims of having diverse knowledge and broadened vision are absolutely true and Islam undoubtedly does not stop us from studying other religions but lets not forget we are talking about 6th graders here. At this age one does not have capability of critically analyze things. So one can expect every sort of illogical and unreasonable interpretation from these kids and since its an age of building the core values and faith, this action by the government is justified. I mean we can have all the courses and reading material later in life, if we really want to study other religions.

  28. It seems they are scared to compare Islam with other religions. In my view, this comparative study will give students more strength and believe in Islam.

  29. Why our Muslim brothers and sisters are so scared to garland much better things about other religions to the students of Punjab? I hope next will not be for students belonging to minorities to lean their faith and other related matters according to the beliefs of Punjabi Talibans.

  30. I totally support this decision of Punjab govt. Replacing Islamyat with comparative religion studies can not be supported in
    any case.

  31. This is definitely unfortunate. we should learn about all other religions. As we understand more and more about other religions and their origins, we will get closer to the Almighty Allah. Today, there is a false conception that to talk and think about religion is an act of religious fundamentalism. Inventive fresh minds of children (of all religions) will have some questions and doubts within them about their own religion or other religions, a comparative study would give them the best platform to clear their doubts and convince themselves to the purpose of their religions or in other words the very purpose of this life itself.

  32. So teaching "peace co-existence" means bringing out good things in other religions to develop affection for them …. And putting away the main reason for existence of this world and us "spread of Islam" … Why wud these kids then try to preach others Islam when they are satisfied by their ideology… In hate for extremism and love for western culture don't go that far that u forget who u r and what u r here for!!!!

  33. It’s amazing how backwards our society is. Thing one, your argument on ‘intercourse’ is extremely invalid; they don’t teach that stuff to sixth graders but if your a bio student in O levels, this is the kind thing your supposed to know. Secondly, I would advise you people to start broadening your minds and leave the caves your living in- you may pretend to be extremely pious, innocent people, but fact is, your not. Thirdly comparative religion does nothing but increase tolerance in a human being and strengthen their love for Islam. Hundreds of children have studied the subject, enjoyed it but I have never seen or heard of a single insistence where the student converted to some other faith or turned to atheism. I, myself, was once a student of the same subject and I can assure you; the subject did nothing to me but increase my general knowledge and my love and respect for my religion; Islam.
    Islam encourages learning and tolerance and if today, it can be abolished by the mere study of other religions then we are not fit to be called Muslims.

  34. All jay hind supporters, do you think India allow preaching of any other than Hinduism inside India? you will be surprised to know its a crime in India!

  35. Banning the study of comparative religions is an indicative of ethical and intellectual deterioration of our ruling coterie. Why the scholars of comparative religions like Dr. Naik shouldn't be banned on various channels?

  36. The ultimate aim of these type of subjects at such an initial stage is not to convert but to confuse them…and prepare them to abandon religion in their practical life. Since then the mind is half baked so at this level any seed of suspicion can become a tall and strong tree of confused mix generation which ultimately you can see in these types of schools. It is the duty of Government to abstain from the bribe at least at this level

  37. Punjab Govt ne bilkul theek kia kiun k Islamic Republic of Islam me education islam k mutabiq honi chahiye.

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