Tagged: Pakistani madrassas Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • aziz 6:56 am on January 30, 2012 Permalink
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    stealth madrasahs: secular educational institutes that disseminate sectarian strife and inculcate hardline attitudes in their students, under the guise of being “Sharia-compliant”.


  • johnpi 8:06 am on December 31, 2009 Permalink
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    West Bengal madrassas draw non-Muslim students.

    In the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, many government-sponsored madrassas have become so successful that they attract large numbers of non-Muslim students. In some institutions, non-Muslims outnumber Muslims.

    The Brookings Doha Center, located in Qatar and sponsored by the Brookings Institution of Washington, cites West Bengal madrassas as models for modern education and has suggested that Pakistan emulate them.

    Seventeen percent of the pupils studying in madrassas across West Bengal are non-Muslims, according to Abdus Sattar, West Bengal’s minority development and madrassa education minister.

    Unlike traditional madrassas, Bengal’s state-run versions follow a mainstream school curriculum. Their students are being groomed to become engineers, doctors, scientists and other modern professionals.

    West Bengal state’s ruling Communist Party government is happy to receive accolades from abroad, which it says it merits because it has ensured quality and progressiveness in madrassa syllabuses.

    “Our good work in Bengal’s madrassas is being recognized today. It’s heartening to note that the study advises Pakistan to emulate the Bengal model,” Mr. Sattar said.

    • Conrad Barwa 9:37 am on December 31, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      To a degree though, this is an indictment of the LF govt’s inability to provide effective schooling in the state sector. I am unsure about the Madrassas and the teachers there but the CPI(M) has a death grip on most of the teacher’s unions and other PSE employees; which gives them a level of control over policy rarely seen elsewhere. Given how the party has developed the these constituencies and the ‘Muslim vote’, to the extent that it is often accused of minority-pandering, it might not be replicable elsewhere. As Trinamul will most likely win the next state elections, there might be a change in the state then. none of this is to say, that the general principles from the Bengali scenario can’t be learnt from applied elsewhere of course.

    • abunoor 12:40 pm on December 31, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

      What does “madrasa” mean in this context? You can call any school a madrasa but that does not mean it makes any sense to lump them altogether without having some sense of what is meant by the term.

      • Conrad Barwa 1:13 pm on December 31, 2009 Permalink | Log in to Reply

        In India things are always excessively categorised and pigeon-holed; given the traditional bureacratic governance. All non-state schools would need to be registered and licensed to operate in the formal sector; schools can register as religious institutions under the law run by their particular denomination; since that brings some tax and legal benefits if I remember correctly. So all religious schools run registered and run by any person, group, institution as a ‘Muslim’ school could theoretically be dubbed as a Madrassa. Of course many schools operate informally, without registering as well. In place like Kerala, religious schools like those in the Christian sector have benefited from govt funding and have played an important role in the spread of literacy and education, caste-based and other community based schools; so there is a funding relationship even if the school lies outside the state sector. There is an element of ambiguity in terms of identity though, as in many cities a lot of the newer private schools that have sprung up take Christian names and register as religious schools but are in reality run by private individuals who aren’t Christian (I know of several such cases).

        So this is an administrative definition really, but it probably doesn’t make sense outside the Indian context.

  • johnpi 9:32 pm on December 14, 2009 Permalink
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    Not a very nice story about madrassas in you-know-where and the young students from throughout the world who attend them along with thousands of Pakistani kids, including American youth.

    Anas bin Saleem, a 12-year-old American, spends seven hours a day sitting cross-legged on the floor memorizing the Quran.

    He is one of thousands of foreigners who have flocked to conservative Islamic schools in Pakistan, despite a government ban, the Associated Press has found through interviews with officials, documents, visits to the schools and encounters with dozens of students.

    In Anas’ school, Jamia Binoria, several hundred students from 29 countries live alongside 5,000 Pakistani pupils, teachers said. Binoria is one of the largest schools in the country and one of at least four schools in Karachi with foreign students on its books.

    Anas says he’s not taught militant Islam at Binoria. But clerics firmly endorse suicide bombings and jihad against Western troops in Afghanistan on the school Web site, and Anas admits he is fed up with anti-American barbs from teachers and pupils.

    “I get it like every second,” says Anas, who left Louisiana last year with his Pakistani-born mother, barely spoke the national language when he arrived in Pakistan and misses Hannah Montana. “I’m like ‘shut up’ and don’t talk like that.”

    Only a handful of the foreign students are Westerners; most are Asians and Africans in the late teens or early 20s. Many come to Pakistan for a cheap Islamic education, albeit a conservative one, part of a tradition of Muslims traveling to gain knowledge that goes back centuries.

    I guess US kids in Pakistani madrassas don’t get it much easier than the children of US foreign service employees.

  • johnpi 11:19 pm on December 12, 2009 Permalink
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    An attempt to bring reform to Pakistan’s madrassas has inadvertently made the problem of Islamic extremism on the Internet worse.

    Pervez Hoodhbhoy, a Pakistani nuclear physics professor and writer on social and political issues, has seen the fury that drives men to take up violent causes during his meetings with members of the Pakistani community in the United States.

    He says clamping down on militant networks on the Internet could be impossible for any government. But Hoodhbhoy emphasised that Pakistan’s policy of trying to modernise religious schools, some of which are seen as breeding grounds for extremism, may make the job more difficult.

    ‘The government put these computers and Internet into the madrasas as part of its reform package. The hope was that this would modernise the madrasas,’ said Hoodhbhoy, who has been called a traitor by militants on the Internet and received death threats.

    ‘In fact, it has given them means of networking with jihadist groups across the world.’

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