Nevada (US), Sep.9 (ANI): Hindus have applauded Catholic Archdiocese of Malta for documenting that students should "learn from the beauty and goodness of other faith traditions".
According to Constitution of Malta (Chapter I, Article 2, Item 3): "Religious teaching of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Faith shall be provided in all State schools as part of compulsory education."
American Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, commended Malta Archdiocese for stressing in the document titled "Religious Education in Malta" that "it is of utmost importance that students" should be "knowledgeable of other religions". Zed urged Malta Archbishop Monsignor Paul Cremona to form an interfaith group with other existing religious traditions in Malta and then lobby for replacing the subject of "religion" with "comparative religion" in Malta public primary and secondary schools.
Besides Catholic majority, Malta has minority communities of Protestants, Orthodox, other Christian denominations, Muslims, Hindus, Baha'is, Jews, Wiccans/Neo-Pagans, people with "no religion", etc.
Zed further said that as a dominating majority in Malta, Catholics had a moral responsibility to take care of minority brothers/sisters from different faith backgrounds.
According to this document, Malta secondary education Religion teachers are expected to cover the topics related to Jesus, Christian Community, Christian Living; and to go through the topics related to God's plan for full development for the human community and for the individual.
It also says that Religion in Malta schools has always been taught by a practising Catholic believer. Besides academic qualifications, the Religion teacher should also be a person of serious Catholic conviction who lives in accord with what s/he is to teach. The document, however, admits that there is a "growing number of teachers who feel uncomfortable to teach Religion" and "spiritual education is almost completely absent".
The document also points out: ...we also believe that other religions and cultures hold "seeds of the Word", ...Other faiths command our respect because over the centuries they have borne witness to the efforts to find answers "to those profound mysteries of the human condition". Besides other Religious Education initiatives, this document suggests: "live in community in respect of diversity", "have an understanding of other religions and be respectful of different worldviews", "to help students learn from and about other faith traditions",
Zed argued that opening-up the Malta children to major world religions and non-believers' viewpoint would make them well-nurtured, well-balanced, and enlightened citizens of tomorrow. It also made a good business sense to know the beliefs of "others" in a global community. Moreover, students should have knowledge of the entire society to become full participants in the European community.
Maltese islands were first settled reportedly in 5,200 BCE. Few European countries have such concentrated architecture, history, and beaches in so small an area as Malta. (ANI)