Hindus urge Turkey to portray Hinduism appropriately in textbooks

Hindus are urging Turkey to portray Hinduism appropriately in its textbooks after a report indicated misleading information about Hinduism.

A new study, “Compulsory Religious Education in Turkey: A Survey and Assessment of Textbooks,” sponsored by United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), stated:…only superficial, limited, and misleading information is given about…Hinduism.

The study, quoting an eighth grade world religions book, found that Hinduism was placed under “not divine” (not based on God’s revelation) category of religions, thus implying a second-class status. The textbook provides brief overview of Hinduism and states that “the most visible aspect of Hinduism is the caste system, and presents a brief breakdown of different castes, followed by beliefs in Brahma and multiple gods by Hindus, and concepts of karma and re-incarnation”, per this study.

Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, urged Turkey to urgently revise the language about Hinduism, ensuring that it was written by Hinduism experts. He or other Hindu scholars would gladly help if asked, Zed indicated.

Hinduism should be taught in the way Hindus saw themselves and not how Turkey perceived Hinduism, Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out.

Rajan Zed further urged Turkey to have more objective religious education in schools instead of reinforcing negative stereotypes about “other” religions.

Zed suggested that opening-up the Turkish children to major world religions and non-believers’ viewpoint with objective information would make them well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened global citizens of tomorrow.

USCIRF, based in Washington DC and chaired by Dr. Robert P. George, is “an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission…dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.” The study was lead by Ziya Meral, a researcher & Director of London headquartered Centre on Religion and Global Affairs.

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