Interfaith studies a must in schools, says researcher

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PETALING JAYA: A Universiti Teknologi Petronas researcher has welcomed the suggestion to have interfaith studies as part of the education curriculum in schools nationwide.

Nur Arfah Sabian said this suggestion was a good initiative to counter the element of religious intolerance, especially among students.

This effort would create a positive platform for youngsters to have a basic idea about the inter-religious and inter-cultural society existing in Malaysia, she said.

“However, in realising this, authorities need to be careful not to inject any element of discrimination and bias during the education process.”

She presented the results of her study on religious tolerance towards Islam at the World Engineering, Science and Technology Congress (Estcon 2016) today.

Her survey at 20 higher education institutions in the country established that religious tolerance towards Islam was only at an average level with many of those surveyed preferring to answer “I don’t know” to questions on their views on Islam.

“Due to the diverse backgrounds that exist in Malaysia, religion has been regarded as a sensitive issue.

“It has become common practice that any discussion related to it would render the conflicting parties defensive and sceptical towards one another,” NST Online reported her as saying.

She said one of the findings suggested that the students viewed the distribution of halal and non-halal food in supermarkets as discriminatory towards non-Muslims.