Nine year old Alicia who goes to Sekolah Kebangsaan Sri Hartamas came home from school last week and asked her mom if she will end up in hell when she dies.
“Mommy, Lina said her teacher told the Agama class that when we die, the Malays will go to heaven and non-Malays will go to hell. Is it true?”
Eleven year old Yasmin who goes to Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Desa was confused over who her friends should be and decided to seek her mom’s advice.
“Ummi, my Ustaz says it is haram to be friends with Olivia and Annie. He said it is because they are not Muslim. But I like Olivia and Annie, they are my best friends. Will God be angry with me if I talk to them?”
Both incidents you just read about aren’t made up. The names have been changed to protect the identities of the children but the stories are very much real.
I can understand how confused those two girls are because I was confused myself having experienced it some 30 years ago.
“Bangsa lain tak sama dengan kita. Agama pun lain, perangai pun lain. Kalau kamu rapat sangat dengan depa tu, nanti terikut-ikut pula dengan perangai buruk,” my ustazah reminded me in my primary school days.
It seems to me that nothing has changed since my days at school. With every new Education Minister syllabuses, policies and guidelines change as well, but the core teachings never seem to change. Each Education Minister tries to outdo their predecessor but all they do is create a bigger mess.
Despite making press statement after press statement about unity and tolerance, our younger generation is taught the supremacy theory right from school. A few days ago, our new Education Minister, Dato’ Seri Mahdzir Khalid blamed the social media for inciting racial sentiments…but it is not just social media that is at fault. Instead of nurturing young minds to love and bond with each other, we are spawning hatred, fear and discrimination from within the system itself.
Why are we brainwashing our children if unity is what we hope to achieve?
The Honourable Minister also claimed to be in the midst of identifying programmes to foster racial ties among primary school children. He plans to gather students in one place, so that they can communicate, assimilate and get to know each other.
Excuse me, but isn’t that one of the objectives of sekolah kebangsaan?
We provide our children a platform to communicate and assimilate throughout their 6 years in primary school and 5 years in secondary school. But how can we eradicate racism when we have half brained teachers who teach absolute nonsense to our children?
We begin to segregate our children at age seven, sending off non-Muslims to learn moral and good behaviour while we teach Muslim students that the nons will go to hell because they are immoral. Seriously, aren’t our teachers and education officers the ones in need of lessons on unity and tolerance?
With all due respect, Dato’ Seri Mahdzir, perhaps you could begin your new portfolio by setting a good example to all our educators out there. Send your message of harmony, unity, tolerance and love, loud and clear. You may want to begin by apologising for your insensitive remarks about Christians…
To all Muslim parents, I urge you to talk to your children about what goes on in their Agama classes. Let it be known to them that being born a Muslim doesn’t necessarily entitle anyone to a ticket to heaven– even if you happen to be an ustazah or a minister – most especially if you are not kind, respectful and caring!