Kolkata, Mar 16 (IANS) — The Amanat Foundation, one of the largest NGOs working among Indian Muslims, is executing a programme for teachers of Islamic seminaries or madrassas not recognised by the authorities.
The programme, being carried out in madrassas in seven districts of West Bengal, is being funded by the American Centre here.
The foundation has received $15,000 to execute the programme that aims to inform madrassa teachers about “modern and secular subjects”.
Madrassas are supposed to be authorised by the government but there are hundreds of them that are not recognised and impart only religious lessons to their students.
Amanat Foundation secretary Shah Alam, however, does not agree that the US-sponsored programme seeks to transform the outlook in these madrassas.
“Thousands of poor Muslim children study at unrecognised madrassas and the aim of the project is to improve the quality of teaching at these places,” Alam says.
Despite several efforts, American Centre officials couldn’t be reached for comment.
The programme hopes to cover 550 teachers associated with unrecognised madrassas in North Dinajpur, Murshidabad, Malda, North 24 Pargana, South 24 Pargana, Howrah and Hooghly districts.
About 11 camps are being held. The programme covers discussions on subjects like English, Bengali, computers, mathematics and science.
Some Islamic seminaries in India and Pakistan have been accused of being breeding grounds of terrorism, and the latest US funding to such schools is seen as an effort to counter that.
© Copyright 2001-2003 IANS India Private Limited, New Delhi. Posted on Religioscope with permission.