Credit: Imam Wasim throuhg Express Tribune:
A Pakistani undergraduate class was shown a Richard Dawkins documentary in a sociology course. DESIGN: SIDRAH MOIZ:
Growing up in a society that discouraged asking too many questions, I often wondered what it is about modern western education that the conservative right is so scared of.
Reading the news and following politics on television and online has helped me understand how our policy makers think and what issues matter to our general public.
If you have done the same, you will know that every effort to modernise our educational system and make it more culturally and religiously neutral has met with stern resistance from political, religious and other factions of the society. But one day, while sitting in class, I finally had an epiphany of sorts.
What happened was unbelievable.
A Pakistani undergraduate class was shown a Richard Dawkins documentary in a sociology course. Now, for some of you who don’t know Richard Dawkins, he is a prominent atheist scholar and an active opponent to organised religion. Although his book is available at a few book stores, showing it to students as part of their learning process has to be an unprecedented incident in our academic history.
To put things in perspective, I’d like to just point out that we live in a country where a female minister, Zille Huma Usman, was killed because a lunatic thought the idea of women ruling is not prescribed by Allah; a country where Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti were killed for speaking against the blasphemy law, January 4 is celebrated as “Mumtaz Qadri day” and Ahmadi students are shunned out of school for their beliefs.