In Britain, every year millions are spent on raising awareness about sex education, and on ‘trying’ to control the rising numbers of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Every year I get a massive book delivered to my house from my local surgery, containing information about sexually transmitted diseases, ways to avoid teenage pregnancy, and precautions to avoid ‘unplanned’ babies. However, despite the fact that these governments have spent millions on these issues, there is still not a positive outcome. The awareness campaigns and classes, and books have not made an iota of difference to the rising number of teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. I find it very ironic; governments spending millions on ‘trying’ to reduce these issues, while the media is also spending if not millions then a big chunk of money on adding more glamour to sex. In countries like Britain, or say America, or any other European country and Non-Muslim country, it is understandable when such campaigns and classes and awareness books are introduced and published. But, in a Muslim country, publication of such book without any religious backup, and adding it in the school books tends to trigger much speculation amongst people, particularly parents, and religious groups.
A certain book, said to be rather controversial, approved by the Sindh government has caused much speculation amongst the people. While some oppose the idea of educating the children about precautions during sex, and other health issues caused by unsafe sex which should not even be mentioned to the children before a certain age and without the religious background, some favour this. Some even suggest making the outlet of the book more religious and less controversial. Some aggressively opposing it, that we don’t need such awareness as it will pollute the mind of the young, and some suggesting that it is a good step in the right direction, that it will help youngsters to be more ‘careful’ while getting involved into sexual intercourse. My question is not just whether it’s a positive step or not, my question is, what good would we have out of it when in our culture, sexual activity before marriage is not even allowed? But I’m not naïve, I’m well aware of such things happening even in Pakistan, and the extent of such activities is worrying, not just for the health of individuals but also worrying for us as a society, as a culture, as followers of Islam. And this begs the question whether we need more education on safe sex, or education on morals and ethics and religion? The current situations of Pakistan beg just that.
My personal view on this is that it is partially a good step. Partially, because it is important to educate people, married and unmarried, about such issues while our society is too illiterate to know that unsafe sex is harmful not just for the health of individuals but can also be passed on to their spouses. People need to be taught regarding these issues to avoid any fatal health issues that are transmitted sexually. Although, I think it should be done more religiously and less controversially. While such things are being explored by our younger generation through internet, and porn, and many such wrong sources, it is important to ensure that people are informed about the fatal and negative consequences of such activities in more restricted and cautious manner. We need not anyone tell us about the things that our religion already warns us about. Islam restricts us from such and such activities, because it causes such and such issues – how simple and less controversial is that?
When I read this story (http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C04%5C11%5Cstory_11-4-2011_pg7_20) on the Daily Times website, my first reaction was ‘What, seriously?’ and then I read the similar story on facebook, posted by one of the Pakistani pages. The response by many members was outrageous. Some opposing it and some supporting it, and my personal response was, why would we need a book, which was publish under the same title “Life Skill Based Education” which is being run by the World Population Foundation? Shouldn’t we have an Islamic view on such issues; shouldn’t we be taught this by our parents and teachers keeping the Islamic teachings in mind? A member of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ page on facebook, where this story was uploaded, posted a very interesting comment saying;
‘6th graders, should be taught that it IS PERMISSABLE AFTER MARRIAGE! Not before, I mean why on Earth are they teaching about sexual health. I mean isn’t it obvious, they’re trying to make our younger generation more curious. They’d defect from their religion, 6th graders, are so young, they hardly know much about their religion at all and teaching them this from that age, will of course set them away from the right path. And will make them curious to find out more, and internet is the best source for getting information on anything, and we all know how unsafe internet is. Children can be lead to porn sites, which will cause more damage to their brain.’
I strongly agree with the above comment. Kids have found out about the things they are not supposed to learn before a certain age through misuse of internet and other porno sites. In such scenario it is very important that children are taught about the negative consequences of these actions, but not just concerning the health issues, also the religious aspect of it. Sex education is not just for unmarried people, it is just as important to follow for married couples.
However, another member goes on to comment;
‘The actual course books are not even available in the market, the books that are important, and the Sindh government is spending money on publishing such books that are not even needed.’
To conclude, what’s more important today for our society is to promote more moral and religious education. Sex education is important, indeed, but the method designed and approved by the Sindh government is entirely wrong. Perhaps a book with religious ideologies behind this topic would have been a lot more beneficial for this society that lacks the moral values. Follow the story (http://tribune.com.pk/story/149212/rising-abuses-239-sexually-assaulted-in-3-months/) and you’ll know what I mean. The figures in the report are absolutely astonishing, and sickening. Would a book containing information on safe sex program help to reduce this shockingly high number? I’ll let you do the math. I would also recomment everyone to read another blog post (http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/899/teaching-our-children-about-the-‘s’-word/) to get a better idea about why this step should have been taken long ago. The writer has written a very thorough piece on this issue and it needs to be read, acknowledged and shared.