Friday, July 18, 2014

Muslims sceptical about aide to madrasas

NAGPUR: There is a cautious response in Muslim community to the Rs100 crore aide announced by finance minister for modernization of madrasas. Fears of government interference and confusion over how the money is to be utilized needs to be cleared, feel Muslims connected with various educational institutions.

The 250 madrasas in city are both traditional and modern. The modern institutions offer a number of courses, both professional and technical, and traditional ones teach Koran to children. "Most of the traditional madrasas are run on money received as zakat. So they will not accept this aide," says Javed Ahmad Ansari, president of United Muslim Students Association.

Opposing the gesture, Muslim scholar and writer M Sharuddin Sahil says that such aides in the past have been misused. "Just giving aid is not sufficient. Government should also keep a track of how it is being used." These madrasas will need to change their curriculum if they wish to utilize it, he feels.

Not sure of what the government means by suggesting modernization, Abdul Bari, vice-president of Jamiyat Ulema Hind says that there is no scope for modernizing a madrasa. "Koran is taught by heart to children and the method of doing so is ancient. It cannot be changed. So, what is to be done with this money? I feel it will invite a lot of interference from the government if the money is accepted."

Questioning the purpose behind the gesture, Mufti Qadri, state president of Jame Arbiya Islamia, says, "A boy who is going to a madrasa doesn't need modernization. For that there are innumerable English medium schools." Qadri feels that money given by the government falls in wrong hands as the real madrasas do not accept it. "The purpose of this aide should be spelt out and it should be easy to collect," he says.

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