Religious Influences: Tolerance and Inter-faith Relations

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InterfaithIn the 2007 International Religious Freedom Report, Afghanistan was reported to have greater religious freedom and tolerance than Pakistan. Religious minorities are routinely discriminated against, harassed, beaten, kidnapped, or killed because of their faith. Individuals are often rejected admission to universities, are prevented from getting a promotion or being hired by the government based on their religious affiliation.

Up until recently the government had compulsory Islamic educational classes in public schools and the text books they used were full of anti-Buddhist, Christian, and Hindu remarks which encouraged religious intolerance among the general population. Education reform in the past of couple of years has done away with compulsory Islamic education and has instituted the use of secular textbooks. The government has begun sponsoring interfaith and intersectarian dialogue, workshops, and meetings. Interestingly, individuals are allowed to "marry" someone from a different faith but the government may not recognize it or consider the children from it legitimate. A Muslim man is allowed to marry any woman "of the Book" (Jew or Christian) but Muslim women can only marry Muslim men [6].

 

 

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