Following the Model of British Muslims

A group of top Islamic scholars from Pakistan visited Muslim colleges in Britain to see how British Muslims are leading the way in Islamic education, BBC reported.

Following the Model of British Muslims

The Pakistani delegation visited the Ebrahim College in Eastern London, which is located in the heart of the capital's Bangladeshi community and serves Muslim teenagers who want to study A-levels alongside Islamic studies.

Many of the students hope to become Muslim scholars and imams. Classes at Ebrahim College are in English, although most Islamic colleges teach in Urdu.

Ebrahim College also teaches Arabic to enable students to read and understand the holy Qur'an.

Head teacher Mohammed Meshfiq believes that a balanced course can make Muslim students more employable.

His view echoes the hopes of the British and Pakistani governments who believe that moderate Islamic schools can combat the threat of religious extremism.

Many young Muslims lack knowledge of their noble faith. That is why they could be at risk of being used by extremists. This makes reform of Islamic education of top priority in the UK and in Pakistan.

The Pakistani delegation find Ebrahim College very different from the their schools, that educate, feed and clothe 1.5 million of the country's poorest children.

The clerics hope their tour of Leicester, Sheffield, Blackburn, Oxford and London shows their willingness to clarify misconceptions about their schools, or madrassas, that are allegedly accused of promoting terrorism.

One of the Pakistani delegation, Dr Ata-ur-Rahman - the principal of the Jamia Islamia branch of the Sunni Muslim faith - rejects the allegations as unfounded. "They [madrassas] are imparting education only," he said. "They have no link with military training because they are above ground, open, anytime people can see them."

The UK government now wants to fund Ebrahim College, and would like to "export" the model to Pakistan.

But Pakistani Religious Affairs Secretary Vakil Ahmad Khan, who was accompanying the delegation, didn't really like the word "export".

"If you say it's an export of the UK system, I will say, no, it's not an export, it's the adoption of a system which is there in the UK and which is going to be in Pakistan as well," he says.

When the Pakistani clerics ended their visit, they realized that it would take a lot of time and money to modernize their schools, especially that they need funding from their government to purchase computers.

They hope to fight poverty and unemployment in their country. And they also want to fight illiteracy, as there are eight million Pakistani children who don't go to school at all.

Last Mod: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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