Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

A Measure of Students' and Teachers' Level of Tolerance towards Religious and Social Factors

Academic journal article Pakistan Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

A Measure of Students' and Teachers' Level of Tolerance towards Religious and Social Factors

Article excerpt

Pakistan is a progressive society and is composed of four different Muslim majority ethnic nationalities, distinct in culture and language: - Baloch, Pathans, Punjabi and Sindhis (Shahzad, 2007). Tolerance between social entities and institutions is essential for the attainment of peaceful environment throughout the country. But unfortunately, in the last two decades, the level of intolerance in Pakistan has reached to dangerously high levels.

In the situations where conditions are economically depressed and politically charged, groups and individuals may find it hard to tolerate those that are different from them or have caused them harm. Intolerance will drive groups apart, creating a sense of permanent separation between them (Peterson, 2003). To avoid such conditions it becomes necessary to explore the roots and causes of intolerance on a general and personal basis. Alport, (1954) states that "without the knowledge of the roots of hostility we cannot hope to employ our intelligence effectively in controlling its destructiveness" and to build tolerance and increase understanding of others.

Tolerance is "the willingness to accept or tolerate somebody/something, especially opinions or behavior that you may not agree with, or people who are not like you"(Oxford Advanced Learner Dictionary, 2011). According to American Heritage Dictionary (1994), tolerance is defined as "the appreciation of diversity and the ability to live and let others live. It is the ability to exercise a fair and objective attitude towards those whose opinions, practices, religion, nationality and so on differs from one's own". In its Declaration on the principles of tolerance, UNESCO (1995) offers another definition of tolerance. Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's culture, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance is harmony in difference. It is an entry point on a developmental process that leads to acceptance, respect and even an affirmation of differing opinions and ways of life (Nieto, 1996 as cited by Colesante & Biggs, 1999). Tolerance can also be viewed as a principled judgment which reflects propositional reasoning that is logical and verifiable, or narrative reasoning which leads people to understand how their actions can affect the lives of others (Colesante & Biggs, 1999).

In fact, it is difficult to 'define' tolerance because it is a concept 'open to several interpretations ranging from full or indiscriminate acceptance to forbearance or 'Putting up with'. (Oberdiek, 2001, as cited by Witenberg, 2007).Tolerance is defined slightly differently from one language to another, for instance : 'the capacity to accept ideas or opinions different from one's own'(Spanish), 'an attitude which grants that others may think or act in a manner different from that of one's self (French), 'willingness to tolerate, forbearance'(English), 'allow, admit to be generous towards others'(Chinese), 'pardon, indulgence, mercy, forbearance... accepting others and forgiving' (Arabic), 'to admit/accept the being, existence of something/somebody, to reconcile oneself to something/somebody' (Russian) (UNESCO, 1997,as cited in Developing Empathy & Tolerance) . These differences are mostly differences about the concept of tolerance, rather than the practice of tolerance. In other words, while different languages or cultures differ on the way they would define the word tolerance, the practice of tolerance, or its goals are widely accepted as essential to peace. Despite their differences, each definition encompasses the fundamental essence of tolerance: to respect the rights of others-'the different'- to be who they are, to refrain from harm because harming 'the other 'means to harm all and to the self.

Tolerance is fostered by knowledge and, openness, communication, and freedom of thought, conscience, and belief. It is not only a moral duty; it is also a political and legal requirement. …

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