Faithful Education: Madrassahs in South Asia

Faithful Education: Madrassahs in South Asia

Faithful Education: Madrassahs in South Asia

Faithful Education: Madrassahs in South Asia

Synopsis

In the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2011, discussions on ties between Islamic religious education institutions, namely madrassahs, and transnational terrorist groups have featured prominently in the Western media. In the frenzied coverage of events, however, vital questions have been overlooked: What do we know about the madrassahs? Should Western policymakers be alarmed by the recent increase in the number of these institutions in Muslim countries? Is there any connection between them and the "global jihad"?

Ali Riaz responds to these questions through an in-depth examination of the madraassahs in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India. In Faithful Education, he examines these institutions and their roles in relation to current international politics.

Excerpt

Educational institutions called madrassahs have been a feature of Muslim societies for centuries, yet the word madrassah was almost nonexistent in the Western lexicon, particularly in public discourse, until September 2001. After 9/11 the U.S. media took special interest in madrassahs, and referred to these institutions as citadels of militancy, or factories of jihad. In a very short time, a once unknown word gained familiarity and notoriety at once. Media coverage of madrassahs, particularly during the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan, was frenzied, to say the least. What became known to the media audience was that the madrassah is a special kind of educational institution that teaches Islamic thought and that provided training to the then ruling regime of Afghanistan—the Taliban. Some media reports provided an element of context, informing readers that the madrassahs were also the recruiting centers of the Afghan mujahideens or holy warriors, who fought against the Soviet Union in the eighties. In this highly skewed coverage, vital questions have been overlooked: What do we know about madrassahs? Why and how have Islamic educational institutions whose traditions date back hundreds of years been transformed? Is there any connection between the so-called global jihad and the madrassahs? Is there a need to reform the madrassahs? Should Western policy makers be alarmed by the recent increase in the number of madrassahs in Muslim countries, particularly in South Asia?

This book aims to explore these questions through examination of the madrassahs of three South Asian countries, namely Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India. I shall attempt to define the tracts and territories of thoughts and ideologies, deliberations and practices, debates and conflicts on these issues rather than give a set of ready-made answers. But before we begin our exploration it is necessary that we understand what a madrassah is, what the significance of . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.