In comments that are likely to draw more ire, Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board chairman Wasim Rizvi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding the closure of all madrasas at primary level across India.
Rizvi claims that the Islamic educational institutions have become a means to promote Islamic State's ideology among young Muslim children. "If madrassas are not shut, in 15 years, more than half of the Muslim population will be supporting Islamic State. It has been seen worldwide that to promote any mission, children are targeted. As it can be seen, Islamic State is trying to build its stronghold in Muslim-dominated areas across the world," Rizvi wrote in the letter.
In his letter to the prime minister, Rizvi cited the example of Kashmir to substantiate his point
He alleged that these religious schools were becoming the first contact point for children to come under the influence of Islamic extremism. He claimed that this was already a successful strategy in the restive state of Jammu and Kashmir where militants were luring children into militancy with the promise of financial stability, Times Now said.
"In Kashmir, Islamic State supporters can be seen in huge numbers. In rural areas, madrasas are destroying the future of our children being run on donations as their owners are hungry for money," he stated.
He claimed that madrasa-educated children were also cut-off from the society and other religions. He suggested that primary education should be barred at these institutions and all children should compulsorily study in general schools till Class X, and thereafter any child who wishes to pursue a career in religious studies can shift to these institutes. This way every child will have a fair chance at proper education and then he can make a conscious choice if they want to take up religious studies.
Speaking to The Print on the issue, Rizvi claimed that he had only "highlighted a deliberately buried issue, which has been destroying many generations of India’s population." "The mullahs and maulvis who are attacking me do not even send their own children to madrasas; their children go to convents, while they brainwash poor Muslim children and run their business of donations from across the world, particularly Saudi Arabia, in their name," he told The Print.
Rizvi's comments are set to elicit strong reaction from other Muslim clerics who strongly assert that madrasas are an important educational unit that makes free education accessible for poor Muslim children across India.
However, this was not the first time Rizvi made adversarial comments towards his own community. Earlier, he has been known to tow the BJP line in matters such as construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya and triple talaq.
He had kicked up a row when he earlier attacked the madrasa system of education claiming that homosexuality was prevalent in the institutions, leading on to some clerics demanding that Rizvi be ostracised from Islam for his anti-Muslim comments.
Rizvi had batted for 10-year rigorous imprisonment for any Muslim man who gives his wife triple talaq. He also said that after triple talaq, nikah halala — a regressive practice to restore an annulled mariage in Islam — should be criminalised next.
Similarly, Rizvi had infuriated Muslim groups by claiming that the Shia community favoured the construction of a grand Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. He even scripted and produced a film on the issue.
"Everyone is familiar with my stand on the issue. I have tried to broker an out-of-court settlement by suggesting that a Ram temple be built in Ayodhya at the disputed site. In lieu, a mosque ‘Masjid-e-Aman’ should be constructed in Lucknow,” Hindustan Times quoted Rizvi as saying.
Rizvi said the structure at the place was never a mosque. "Some misguided supporters of Babar, however, were out to spoil the atmosphere in the country over the disputed structure built by Babar’s commander Mir Baqi. No community has been targeted in the film. Instead, the wrongs, including ‘halala’, in the society have been targeted," the report quoted him as saying.
Updated Date: Jan 22, 2019 13:07:11 IST