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Published in the 1-15 Feb 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Enough madrasas, we need more schools and colleges

By Abdul Hafiz Lakhani

Ahmedabad: "We have enough mosques and madrasas, we need better schools and colleges". This repeated refrain was heard at the day long meet at Ikhar village, Bharuch district, in the week of December last year, which was organised by Ikhar Muslim Samaj. 

Muslims wearing traditional clothes, and women in burqa, listened in rapt attention the speeches of school teachers, ulema and the members of Tablighi Jamaat who had gathered from all over the state to speak on the importance of education. 

No one of the village missed the opportunity to watch the event which was telecast on cable television network. Ikhar has to its credit the famous cricketer Munaf Patel. 

Education was the common refrain of all the speeches. Mohammad Hanif Bana, a principal from Surat said that we should be clear that education is not only meant for getting jobs. Education along with proper religious instruction would help Muslims to assert themselves.

The evocative speech of Maulana Ghulam Vastanvi who heads Jamiah Islamiah Ishatul Ulum in Akkalkuva on Gujarat-Maharashtra border drew attention of most of the people.

The madrasah is seen as a role model in the region as it has successfully blended religious and mainstream education. Maulana Vastanvi said that it was not difficult for the Muslims to have better trained doctors, engineers and other professionals, if parents, teachers and specially Muslim teachers did their work honestly.

He said that Muslim students needed to change their mindset that they are discriminated against in examinations. They should raise their performance.
At the meet community leaders felt that after the Gujarat riots 2002 Muslims were under siege. They were of the opinion that nobody would help Muslim. It was in the interest of Muslims that they admitted their mistakes.

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