When will the petition be handed in?
1 June, International Children’s Day.
Why should I sign?
Firstly, because no child should be taught to hate. School textbooks in Pakistan are littered with discriminatory ideas and hate speech, teaching that religious minorities (including Christians, Ahmadi Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs) are inferior and don’t belong in Pakistan.
So many of the injustices we see in our world today are rooted in hatred that’s learned in a child’s early years. Religious fundamentalism is at worrying levels in Pakistan, with terrorism claiming hundreds of lives over the past few years alone. To stop this tide of violence, we need to tackle hatred in the education system before it takes root.
Secondly, because every child deserves to have dreams. Isaac was forced to give up on his dreams. He was told that because he’s Christian, all he’ll ever be is a cleaner. We want to make sure that textbooks no longer entrench this view, and instead celebrate the contribution of religious minorities and foster diversity.
How will this petition make a difference?
Pakistan receives more in UK aid than any other country. It’s right that we should give to a country where so many children live in poverty. However, we also need to ensure that instead of fuelling prejudice, our money is enabling children to help themselves out of poverty and become good citizens.
At the same time as we are applying pressure in the UK, groups within Pakistan, including our partners the National Commission for Justice and Peace and the Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation, are campaigning on the same issue, lobbying provincial governments and education authorities there.
What will you do with the petition?
The petition will go to both the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for International Development. That’s because we need the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development to work together to address this issue.
What else can I do?
Take a look at faithandafuture.com/get-involved/. There you’ll find campaign resources, films to share, actions you can take and more.