A news report has emerged that a Muslim preacher in Kozhikode in Kerala has suggested Muslim parents to not send their children to mainstream schools as these schools were “conspiring to wean students away from their religion”. He also encouraged them to home school their children so that they could be brought up in an Islamic way, The Times of India reported.
The controversial speech by Abdul Mohsin Aydeed, an extreme Salafi in the group of Shansudeen Fareed, surfaced on Sunday. Though the exact date of speech, uploaded in edawa.net, is not known, it has some veiled reference to the Peace School row.
“Our children should be taught what Allah’s messenger has dictated us. We don’t need anyone’s help to do it. No government or police have the right to tell us how to bring up our children,” Aydeed said, according to the TOI report.
“Our scriptures direct us to respect Allah, his prophet and his religion. Are such things there in your text books? If standing by Islamic teachings is extremism, then we are the spokespersons of extremism,” Aydeed said.
“Not just the country, but the entire world may turn against you. But they cannot do any harm to you unless Allah wishes so,” he said.
Last week, an FIR was filed against the Peace International School in Kochi, for promoting enmity among different groups on the basis of religion. Portions of some of the textbooks taught in the school leaked by parents and others to the media revealed that the textbooks promoted Islamic orthodoxy.
Islamic schools are not a novel concept. Even in the UK and the US, such schools are flourishing, according to news reports.
However, experts fear that such faith schools can create a culture of isolation, in which there is less cooperation between schools and a disregard of wider community responsibilities.
In a mainstream educational institution where teachers are appointed without reference to faith or background; where the management represents the whole community, and not just a small section of it; and where pupils come from the widest set of backgrounds, it would help in raising tolerant, secular and broad-minded citizens.