15:18 GMT09 April 2020
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    In an explosive letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shia Central Waqf Board chairman, Waseem Rizvi has advocated shutting down all Madrasas (schools imparting Islamic education)in India and replacing them with mainstream schools as, according to him, they have been producing "terrorists."

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — "The Madrasas breed terrorists" claim by a Muslim body has ignited a huge controversy with heated debates on the subject dominating prime time Indian television.

    "Madrasas push students to terrorism. Education is important; madrasas are not relevant. Students of the madrasas are unemployable and these madrasas must be converted into convent schools and Islamic education should become optional," the letter accessed by the local media.

    The Waqf board is a legal body responsible for the management, upkeep, preservation, and utilization of properties donated or constructed by Muslim rulers or people from the community for public use. The Shia and Sunni sects have different Waqf boards in India.

    Rizvi further claimed in the letter, a copy of which has been sent to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh — the state that hosts the majority of Muslims, that madrasas are mushrooming in almost every nook and corner of the country and they are run on funds coming from Pakistan and Bangladesh.

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    "How many madrasas have produced engineers, doctors, IAS officers? Yes, but some Madrasas have produced terrorists," Rizvi told the news agency ANI.

    Rizvi's remarks encountered a scathing attack by the Muslim body representing the Sunni sect.

    "All these allegations are completely baseless. Not a single Madrasa has ever been caught giving any type of training or education relating to terrorism. The home minister of the country himself has given a statement sometime back where he said that not a single Madrasa is involved in terror activities. As far as the standard of education is concerned, it is the only education system which is giving 100% employment to its students and you will not find a single incidence of violence or misbehavior in Madrasas across the country," Maulana Khalid Rashid, All India Muslim Personal Law Board told Sputnik.

    The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) — a Muslim political party based in the Indian state of Telangana also demanded an apology from Rizvi for defaming Madrasas. AIMIM President and member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi called Rizvi the "biggest joker and the most opportunistic person."

    The Shia sect constitutes around 25% of India's Muslim population and holds contradictory views from that of Sunnis on most issues.

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    Tags:
    Islamic scholar, Shia, madrasa, radicalization, terrorism, sunni muslims, India
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