A massive row erupted on Tuesday after Shia Central Waqf Board urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to shut down madrassas in India and turn them into “secular” schools affiliated to CBSE or ICSE boards. Shia Central Waqf Board’s letter alleged that madrasas should be shut down as education imparted in these Islamic schools encouraged students to join terrorist ranks. The Shia Board has also demanded that madrassas be replaced by schools affiliated to CBSE or the ICSE that will offer students an optional subject of Islamic education. It also suggested that all madrassa boards should be dissolved. In the letter, Shia Central Waqf Board chairman Wasim Rizvi argued for shutting down the madrassas by presenting shocking reasons about their functioning.
Here are some of them:
- The Board said most of the madrassas in the country were not recognized and Muslim students studying in such institutions were moving towards unemployment.
- It also alleged that these madrassas were mushrooming in almost every city, town, and village of the country and were providing “misplaced and misconceived religious education”.
- In the letter, the Board said funds to run the madrassas were also coming from Pakistan and Bangladesh and that even some terror outfits were assisting them.
- The Shia board also said madrassas should be replaced by schools that are affiliated to the CBSE or the ICSE and they should allow non-Muslim students too. “These schools should be affiliated to CBSE, ICSE, and allow non-Muslim students. Religious education should be made optional. I have written to the PM and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in this regard,” he said in a tweet, adding, “This will make our country even stronger.”
- The letter also said it has been found in certain cases that the education of these institutions is encouraging the students to join terrorist ranks. “How many Madrasas have produced engineers, doctors, IAS officers? Yes but some Madrasas have produced terrorists,” Rizvi was quoted as saying by ANI. “Madrasas should be affiliated to CBSE, ICSE, and allow non-Muslim students, religious education should be made optional. Have written to PM and UP CM in this regard.It will make our country even stronger,” he added.
Rizvi’s claims invited angry reactions from his opponents. “Wasim Rizvi is the biggest joker, the most opportunistic person. He has sold his soul to RSS. I challenge this buffoon to show one Shia or Sunni or Madrasa where such teachings are imparted. If he has proof then he should go and show it to the Home Minister,” AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi told ANI.
PTI quoted All India Muslim Personal Law Board spokesman Khalilur Rehman Sajjad Nomani as saying that madrassas had played a key role in the freedom movement and by raising questions on these schools, Rizvi was insulting them.
The letter cited two primary reasons to justify the demand of closing the madrasas: a) The education imparted in the madrassas is not relevant to today’s environment and therefore, they add to the long queue of unemployed youths in the country. b) Rizvi said employability of students passing out from madrassas was very poor at present and they do not get good jobs. “At the most, they get jobs of Urdu translators or typists,” he said.
The Shia Waqf Board had said that all madrassas being run on Waqf properties would be shut down after as many as 51 girls were rescued on December 30 in a raid on a madrassa in Uttar Pradesh.