Many low-income-group Muslims in
Though some Islamic purists forbid all kinds of interpretations and translations of the original texts, it is a common feature of Islam to use an authorized agent of religion to interpret the holy book and its contents to masses. Most Muslims parents in
Madrasas have a long history. I would not go into that in this topic. What my concern is the kind of education they impart to the young Indian Muslims
Most of the madrasa education is primarily based on Koran, the holy book of Islam. Many adherents and supporters of madrasa education contest that this book alone is sou
Most of these teachers of madrasas are not well educated and some of them have vested interests. They get full attention from highly impressionable kids who are ready to lap up anything they tell them. Added with religious teaching that forbids any inquiry, these institutions become highly suitable for indoctrination of any ideology as teachers see fit.
Madrasa education is based in rote learning. It expects the kids to believe some fantastic stories about mystical beings and miracles performed long ago in some distant lands. Its expects the kids not to experiment with this learning, write it in their own version, or express it in any other way other than what is prescribed thousand years ago.
Madrasa education is based in curbing intellectual curiosity. It asks for students to believe all kinds of supernatural things and blind beliefs and pushes them to accept rules and definitions without asking questions. Any questioning of authenticity or veracity of the holy text is forbidden. Even if questions are asked, the answers are given to snub any further enquiry – saying ‘God said so, hence it is true’.
Madrasa education can make people zealots and fanatics. Any organized religious teaching involves creating strong followers and adherents. Such teachings can be easily extended to create zealots and fanatics as next step. Islamic religious teaching asks for allegiance to a single god and single faith. And madrasas add many other allegiances to different vested groups. Indoctrination is a part of this education that brainwashes kids depriving them all intellectual curiosity, making them robotic machines who can be asked to perform certain duties without asking too many questions (not very different from indoctrination of soldiers by an army).
Madrasa education is not scientific and it is retrograde. There is no inquiry. There is no empiricism. The laws or rules are not questioned. This education lack rational thinking. All debate and discussion is confined within borders of set rules. Many instructions are retrograde, and are not in tune with modern values. They do not welcome the role of modern institutions to debate social issues.
Madrasa education is based in inculcating intolerance. It is not embracing or inclusive. Instead it feeds on dividing the world into ‘us’ and ‘them’ based on religion alone. And the way they differentiate ‘us’ and ‘them’ is not healthy either. It describes ‘them’ in pejorative terms and imparts ‘us’ with a duty to bring ‘them’ into Islam’s fold using certain coe
What to do?
Currently, the madrasas are outside the purview of state education departments. The curriculum is not monitored or guided by these departments. Therefore, many privileges and incentives, which the government provides to regular schools to ensure kids enrolment, are not extended to madrasas. Madrasa education turns out to be less interesting and quite ineffectual. Indian government and Muslim religious groups have betrayed a big chunk of Indian population by neglecting the education of these low-income group Muslims. Their policies have ensured these groups live in ignorance and poverty forever.
While we continue to address some of the real and genuine problems and issues that Islam faces worldwide as a religion, we should do our best to bring Indian Muslims into the mainstream, impart them with right education and skill sets, so that they can avail the jobs and opportunities this country has opened up.
One of the ways to bring the Indian Muslims into the mainstream is by giving them the same education that other kids get. Religious teachings can be personal but it cannot be a substitute for mainstream education. The mainstream education will involve teaching different languages, Social Studies, Sciences and Mathematics in a proper school.
All Indians are entitled to a good education in a proper school. Denying that education to the young Muslim kids is a crime. If politicians, parents or religious zealots obstruct such means and methods to bring these kids into mainstream education, denying them their basic right, they should be prosecuted.