Javed Anand takes up the old question of madrasa reforms and the draft bill — the Central Madrasa Board Bill 2008 — currently in circulation and examines the Sachar Committee observation that only 4 per cent Muslim children go to a madrasa for education. So Why doesn’t the government concentrate on the education of the 96 per cent instead of losing sleep over the future of 4 per cent?
A rounded education for the 4 per cent is critical, for it is they from whom the 96 per cent learn their Islam. Because of the compartmentalised, fragmented, insular and sectarian nature of his education, the Maulvi Sahib’s ignorance of the world he inhabits is tragic — and the Mr Muslim’s knowledge of Islam pathetic.
But of course, Muslims must be part of the battle against the neo-cons, the neo-colonialists, the uncritical Westophiles and the diehard Islamophobes. The good news is that there is a growing tribe of Muslim men and women who are engaged in this battle for hearts and minds and I can rattle off a long list of names. Sadly, or maybe not, almost all of them occupy distinguished positions in the top universities of the West. They are proud of their Islam which is different from yours and the West is listening with interest and respect. A pity not one of them will find a place in any madrasa or university in the Islamic world...
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