The role of religion in the cultural assessment of different languages, perhaps particularly in West and South Asia, is also inadequately understood at present. In South Asia, Hinduism and Islam are two religious traditions strongly identified with particular written traditions, Hindi and Urdu respectively, regardless of the fact that the difference between these varieties is, in their spoken versions, indiscernable. In the Middle East and North Africa, the reverence for classical and Koranic Arabic is so strong that no ground is given for the kinds of problems that arise in teaching children to read a language which bears little resemblance to their actual linguistic skills. In South Asia, Hinduism and Islam have been firmly embedded in the culture for centuries if not millennia, and the attitudes inherent in these religious traditions towards texts, towards literacy, and towards education in these traditions exert strong influences on language policy in the area. Attitudes toward the Quran strongly affects the linguistic culture of the whole Arabic world, as well as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia, and parts of Africa; attitudes toward other religious traditions (Buddhism and pre-Buddhist texts) affect language policy in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Burma (Myanmar). Under Islam, there is a strong expectation that devout Muslims will learn Arabic, which strengthens cultural, religious and symbolic ties between the Arab world and Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indonesians, and Malaysians.