Hindus angry at distortion of faith

5th May 2006 at 01:00
A national body representing Hindus has attacked the "grotesque version" of the faith being taught in schools.

The Hindu Council UK said interviews with more than 100 religious education teachers showed that many failed to grasp basic tenets of the belief.

It said that Hinduism, the third biggest faith in the country, was being presented as a "naive paganistic religion happy to accept many all-mighty Gods".

The controversy comes just two years after Hindus criticised the Edexcel exam board for twice describing the faith as a "cult" in test papers.

Jay Lakhani, the council's education executive, said: "We are not making a fuss because we feel we are being neglected - it is because Hinduism is being wrongly portrayed as a naive and childish religion. We would simply like to put the record straight."

The importance of Hinduism in schools was given fresh emphasis following the publication of the first national framework for RE in 2004. The document, a guide for locally-written syllabuses, said that Hinduism should be taught in all key stages, alongside Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism.

Ministers have also announced funding for the country's first Hindu state school. The pound;9.8 million primary will open in Harrow, north west London, in 2008 and initially take 240 pupils.

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