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Pakistan doctor’s book on sex-ed for Muslims sparks controversy

Dr. Mobin Akhtar realizes he wrote a contentious book, translated into English as Sex Education for Muslims, but he is still upset at how it has been stonewalled in Pakistan. The 81-year-old Pakistani psychiatrist says he simply wants to educate Muslims on sex education, consistent with Islamic instruction.

He told BBC News: “There’s a huge problem in our country. Adolescents, especially boys, when they get to puberty, and the changes that come with puberty, they think it’s due to some disease.”

Very few doctors openly discuss sex and there is no government mandate to include sex-ed in the school curriculum. Parents and relatives are also hesitant to talk about sex with children, Akhtar says.

Akhtar advises: “When they get a little bigger and they ask where a child comes from, you can say it. That doesn’t make the child sexually active or immoral.”

The chapters in Dr Akhtar’s book also include quotes from the Prophet Muhammad, and lines from the Koran, such as: “You are allowed intercourse at night with your wives during the month of fasting. They are as intimate for you as your own clothes, and vice versa.”

Despite the Islamic flavour in the book (Special Problems for Young People in Urdu), the book has not shown up in many Pakistani bookstores, Akhtar notes, and he has received threats for his venture.

He told BBC News: “A provincial politician even hauled me into his office and said I was encouraging pornography. I explained I was doing nothing of the sort.”

He calls the reaction to his book “sad.” He adds: “It is a very sad reaction. Ignorance about sexual matters is causing a lot of our young people unnecessary psychological distress, and we have to change that.”

Before Akhtar’s book, there were limited resources to learn about sex-ed for Muslims. On Amazon, a 1996 book titled Sex Education: A Muslim Perspective was published by the Muslim Educational Trust. Other resources, published in English, were not found.

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