Muslims in dominantly-Catholic
"We're challenging that mind-set," MamarosBoransing, a Muslim educator and an undersecretary at the Education Department,told Reuters on Wednesday, March 21.
"We're reforming our own madrasah system topromote a culture of peace and national unity."
There are an estimated 2,000 madrasahs in the
Only 40% of these madrasahs are accredited by theDepartment of Education.
"Only eight percent of these madrasahs areunder the control of the government," said Ricardo Blancaflor, defenseundersecretary and former director of an anti-terrorism task force.
"We don't want our madrasahs to becomefactories for terrorists."
Muslims make up 5% of the country's 87 millionpopulation.
The mineral-rich southern region of Mindanao,Islam's birthplace in the
Islam reached the poor Southeast Asian state in the13th century, about 200 years before Christianity .
Boransingsaid the madrasah system is trying to strike the right balance and help promotea culture of tolerance.
"We'vejust planted the seed of tolerance and understanding," the Muslim educatorpointed out.
"Wedon't really want our Muslim children to become virtual strangers in their owncountry, but, at the same time, we don't want them to grow ignorant of their cultureand religion."
The Education Department hasintroduced in 2005 a new curriculum offering Arabic and Islamic studies tostate schools in Muslim-dominated areas outside
"In thebeginning, it was difficult to learn Arabic," said Hamid Abdul, a10-year-old beginner at
"I haveto learn it to be able to read the Qur'an."
About 70percent of 1,000 pupils at Hamid's school are Muslims and most of them havebeen attending weekend classes on Arabic and Islamic values.
"We'reteaching only the basic to help them understand the language of theQur'an," said one of 2,000 Muslim teachers trained by the EducationDepartment.
"Underour constitution, state schools are not allowed to teach religion."
Source:AgenciesGüncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16