Religious bigotry in Pakistan schools is forcing Christian parents to give their children Islamic names – according to a bishop there.

Bishop Samson Shukardin said minorities are ‘considered infidels and they are depicted negatively’ in school textbooks

Religious bigotry in Pakistan schools is forcing Christian parents to give their children Islamic names – according to a bishop there.

Bishop Samson Shukardin of Hyderabad told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) that Christian children and other faith minorities were using different names to prevent them from being subjected to abuse.

He said: “Many minorities give their children Islamic names so they will not be singled out as Christians and become potential targets for discrimination in primary or secondary schools or at the college level.

“In many cases, minority students do suffer abuse in public schools.”

Bishop Shukardin spoke out against textbooks in state-run schools, saying: “The minorities are considered infidels and they are depicted negatively in textbooks, which promote prejudices against minorities.

“The fundamentalists believe that Islam is the only complete religion – that salvation is only found in the Qur’an as the last holy book.”

Bishop Shukardin said the febrile atmosphere whipped up by extremists has put pressure on minorities – including Christians.

The bishop said: “Most of the minorities, and in particular Christians, are afraid of attacks and persecution.”

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