UK School Removes Workbook After Objections to Portrayal of Hinduism

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LONDON, ENGLAND, October 7, 2020 (Tribune India): A school in England has apologized and removed a workbook from its website following protests from several parents and British Hindu organizations over a reference to terrorism within a section on Hinduism. Langley School in Solihull, in the West Midlands region of England, said on Wednesday that the document, “GCSE Religious Studies: Religion Peace and Conflict Workbook,” was purchased externally a few years ago and has now been removed from circulation. (GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education.) The workbook, which falls under the Religious Studies module for GCSE Year 10-11 stage pupils aged around 15, had a stamp that reflected an official clearance by the examinations authority for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance).

Angry parents and Hindu groups had taken to social media and highlighted segments of the text, which made references to the Mahabharata and war being justified in order to “preserve dharma.” Hindu Forum of Britain, another umbrella organization, issued a letter to AQA and called for action. “The statement regarding Hinduism in the section on ‘Religious beliefs, teachings, and attitudes about the meaning and significance of justice’ on page 4 is completely misrepresented, vexatious, inaccurate and meant to teach wrong beliefs about Hindus to impressionable children,” read the letter by HFB Chair of Religious Education Dr Ramesh Pattni, addressed to the AQA Board.

From this much longer article ( … ng-hindus-are-terrorists/) on the same topic, two examples are given from the AQA material :

For Hinduism: “Holy books teach that it is necessary to be able to uphold a righteous cause and that in fact there is nothing better than a righteous war. If the cause is just Hindus will take up arms. Self-defense is justifiable; hence India has nuclear weapons to protect from aggressors. Some Hindus have turned to terrorism to protect Hindu beliefs.

For Islam: “Muslims believe in Jihad, ‘the striving for justice,’ which can mean armed conflict to protect the common good. Radical Jihad is not acceptable and neither is terrorism. Islam condemns violence and indiscriminate killing, so wars have to be carried out in the right way and there are set rules for warfare. People have the right to freedom and to defend that freedom in the right way.”

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