Shut madrasa boards, says Shia Waqf head

Writes to PM and U.P. Chief Minister

January 10, 2018 12:49 am | Updated 12:49 am IST - LUCKNOW

Wasim Rizvi

Wasim Rizvi

Claiming that madrasas were producing “more terrorists than civil servants,” Shia Central Waqf Board chairman Wasim Rizvi on Tuesday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to abolish madrasa boards across the country and re-categorise them as “schools” with a common, secular education policy.

Mr. Rizvi suggested that madrasas be registered under various State education boards, CBSE or ICSE with a common education policy. Religious education should be kept optional in these schools and those madrasas functioning without registration should be shut down immediately, Mr. Rizvi said in his letter to Mr. Modi.

He addressed a similar letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

“The primary reasons for [illiteracy and backwardness among Muslims] revolve around the four corners of the madrasas,” Mr. Rizvi said.

In his letters Mr. Rizvi is critical of the current functioning of madrasas, saying not only do they have poor infrastructure and limited syllabi, the abysmal quality of education is driving Muslim youth away from the “national mainstream” towards fundamentalism and terrorism.

Describing madrasas as a “curse” for Indian Muslims, Mr. Rizvi blames them for creating an “Islamic atmosphere” which is keeping Muslim children away from government and other secular schools and influencing their minds towards fundamentalism.

“As a result of these, students not getting the right education or even getting the wrong education, get distanced from national mainstream and gradually get pulled toward terrorism because such poor and backward children are easy targets for terrorists,” the Waqf Board chairman said.

He also alleges that some madrasas, especially the unregistered ones, are funded by terrorist groups, citing this as a reason for them keeping a low profile. Mr Rizvi flags as a “matter of concern” that some madrasas are allegedly providing bombs and arms training to female terrorists in West Bengal.

In his letter to Mr. Adityanath, Mr Rizvi points out that there are 16,000 registered madrasas in U.P. alone, of which most are “fake” and do not follow standard practices. Another 2500 are unrecognised, he said.

Mr. Rizvi further said children from other communities were scared to enrol in madrasas due to their focus on religion-oriented education and irrational practices.

“Some organizations and fundamentalist mullahs are keeping Muslim children away from mainstream education through these madrasas,” he said.

Not only do madrasas in India not follow a common standard, their syllabi are outdated and studying in them makes Muslim youth “economically unproductive” as their degrees are not universally accepted, especially in the private sector, Mr. Rizvi said.

In a parallel development, the Shia Board has directed all trustees, managing committees and administrators that all recognised madrasas operating illegally on land belonging to the Shia Waqf Board be shut down by January 31. Legal action will be taken against those who don't comply, the Board said.

Responding to the letter, All India Majlis-e-Ithehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi lashed out at Mr. Rizvi and demanded that he produce proof of his allegations or apologise to the nation.

Mr. Owaisi said Mr. Rizvi was talking in a “reckless and general way” and if he had any proof that madrasas were breeding terrorism, he should produce it before the Home Ministry.

“Wasim Rizvi is the biggest joker and the most opportunistic person. He has sold his soul to RSS. I challenge this buffoon to show one Shia or Sunni madrasa where such teachings are imparted. Such sort of generalization is not good for the nation as Muslims are already being targeted under the garb of gau raksha ...” Mr. Owaisi said.

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