Dhaka (Fides Service) – Religious education in schools, explaining the teachings, symbols, feasts of the main religions in Bangladesh: this proposal has been put to the government by two experts in the field Catholic priest Father Parimal Rozario and Muslim professor Kazi Nurul Islam. Both are convinced that correct teaching of the different faiths and values they have in common can build interreligious relations and foster reciprocal respect and harmony in society.
The proposal was illustrated and discussed at un recent seminar in Dhaka on Bangladesh’s national education curriculum attended by 80 Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist education experts. According to Father Rozario, certain well known feasts, such as Christmas for Christians, Id-al-fitr for Muslims and Puja for Hindus are an opportunity to speak to children about religion
Kazi Nurul Islam, professor at Dhaka University agreed on the necessity of religious education in schools which should cover all main religions in the country to give young people all round knowledge and teach them a sense of tolerance. Professor Kazi Nurul, who obtained a doctorate in Hinduism in India, noted that the study of Hinduism highlighted important values and strengthened his own Muslim beliefs.
The professor said that many people do not have sufficient knowledge even of their own religion. The leaders agreed that study and comparison of religions can promote reciprocal knowledge and understanding and build social harmony.
The speakers emphasised that conflict and division in Bangladesh are caused not by religion but rather by injustice and poverty. “Religions want peace but fundamentalism deviates believers to hate members of other religions ”, said one local Muslim leader. Bangladesh has a population of 140 million 88% Muslim 10% Hindu, 4% Christian.
(PA) (Fides Service 31/10/2003 lines 35 words 341)