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Indian state bans government-run Islamic schools from teaching religious scripture


#Every government-run #Islamic school in #Assam, locally known as madrassas, will be converted by #April, the state’s #Education #Minister, #Himanta #Biswa #Sarma, confirmed on #Twitter on #Wednesday.

#In a speech to local politicians the same day, #Sarma positioned the law as a move to empower the #Muslim community. #He said it would ensure “a right to equal education for all children and eases the path to higher education.”

#Madrassas provide a system of education in which students are taught about the #Quran and #Islamic history alongside general subjects like maths and science.

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#According to the 2011 government census, #Muslims make up 34.22% of #Assam’s total population.

#Once the law is passed, the madrassas will become “secular schools” which will not teach students about the #Quran, officials said.

#Opposition politicians have criticized the move, alleging it is reflective of hardening anti-Muslim attitudes in the #Hindu-majority country.

#Senior state opposition leader #Debabrata #Saikia claimed the new law was passed by the BJP to “consolidate more #Hindu votes.”

“#It is a polarization tactic,” #Saikia said. “(The BJP) is trying to do it in an official capacity. There is no such need for a law.”

#Opposition politicians from the #Indian #Congress #Party and the #All #India #United #Democratic #Front staged a walkout during the discussion of the bill.

#According to the chairman of #Assam’s #Madrassa #Education #Board, #Imran #Hussain, about 700 schools will be impacted.

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“#If parents have sent their kids to madrassas for just theological studies, they may have a problem,” #Hussain said. “#But I believe in good education, and if (students) are given a general education, it will be good. #It is not belittling the (#Muslim) community. #This is not a policy aimed against #Muslims.

“I hope with the new law, (the government) steps up the infrastructure in the madrassas.”

#Religious discrimination in #Assam became a topic of debate last year when nearly 2 million people in the state of 33 million were not included in the country’s #National #Register of #Citizens (NRC).
#Supporters of the registry argued the NRC would filter out illegal #Bangladeshi immigrants. #But critics slammed the move, stating it was an attempt by the BJP to target the state’s #Muslim population who had been there for generations, but were unable to prove it with the required documentation.



[ source link ]
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/12/31/india/islamic-schools-assam-india-intl-hnk/index.html

##Indian #state #bans #governmentrun ##Islamic #schools #teaching #religious #scripture

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