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British school book compares Dharma to terrorism, withdrawn after outrage amongst the Indian diaspora

The workbook then went on claim that India has nuclear weapons as 'self-defence' is justifiable in Hinduism. Further, linking Hinduism to terrorism, it alleged, "Some Hindus have turned to terrorism to protect Hindu beliefs."

In a blatant display of Hindu hatred, a British GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) workbook on religious studies had linked Hinduism to terrorism.

As per a reports, the contentious workbook was a part of the academic curriculum of a secondary school named Langley School in Solihull in West Midlands. Reportedly, the text was published by Hodder Education and has been a part of the AQA GCSE (9-1) Religious Studies Specification A” since May 27, 2016. It bore the logo of Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) and was named, ‘GCSE Religious Studies: Religion, Peace and Conflict.’ AQA is the awarding body that lays down specifications and holds exams for GCSE and A levels in the United Kingdom.

The fourth page of the workbook stated, “Holy books reach that it is necessary to be able to morally justify a war in order to preserve the Dharma.” While misinterpreting the Hindu epic Mahabharata, it claimed, “Arjuna, as a Kshatriya, is reminded of his duty to uphold a righteous cause and that in fact there is nothing better than a righteous war. If the case is just, Hindus will take up arms.”

Screenshot of the contentious text (Image Courtesy: Twitter/Arif Ajakia)

The workbook then went on claim that India has nuclear weapons as ‘self-defence’ is justifiable in Hinduism. Further, linking Hinduism to terrorism, it alleged, “Some Hindus have turned to terrorism to protect Hindu beliefs. The Arthashastra scriptures state that governments must act with a suitable moral approach, which implies a just one.”

Hindu body criticises deliberate misinterpretation of religion

While criticising the deliberate misinterpretation of Hinduism, Trupti Patel said, “This is a political move to discredit Hindus and India. I am sure whoever wrote this did it deliberately. ” Patel is the President of the Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB). She and Vice-President of the organisation, Ramesh Pattni, wrote to AQA highlighting that the text promulgated vexatious and false beliefs about Hinduism. They slammed the awarding body for misinterpreting the meaning of Dharma, Arjuna’s actions in Mahabharata and falsely linking it to terrorism. “We suspect that there may be a political agenda behind how Hindu beliefs and practices have been portrayed.”

Contentious texts removed from the school curriculum

Langley School took to Twitter to apologise to the Hindu community for the misinterpretation of the Holy texts and linking it to terrorism. In a statement, the school stated, “Thank you for alerting us to this issue. Unfortunately, this document was purchased externally several years ago and not produced by our staff at our school. We can assure you that it is not used in school.”

It further emphasised that the contentious workbook was removed from the website, following social media outrage and email from AQA. “The resource was immediately removed from our website, upon on receipt of your email and social media tweets yesterday, although it may appear in search engine links for a few days until indexes are updated. We apologise for any offence caused.”

AQA directs the publisher to withdraw the sale of textbook

While taking cognisance of the matter on October 5, AQA stated, “Just to confirm that, despite the use of our logo, this workbook wasn’t produced by us – but we’re looking into the material.” On the following day, it informed that the awarding body had directed the publisher to withdraw the sale of contentious textbook until the issue is resolved.

“We can confirm that we didn’t produce this workbook and our logo was used on it without our permission. Some of the material seems to have come from a textbook – we’ve spoken to the publisher, which has withdrawn the book from sale while it addresses the issue” the tweet read.

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