Sensitization of Religious Leaders
The CSSS believes that a number of issues affecting peace and communal harmony could be solved through discussions among religious heads of the major religions in the country. With this belief in mind, the CSSS has been organising interfaith dialogue by choosing a contemporary subject
over which each religion could be holding its own views, and engage them in discussions so as to find a solution that is acceptable to the followers of all religions. A message sent out following such interfaith dialogue will go a long way in avoiding tensions.
Workshop for Ulemas
A bulk of the Indian Muslims is poor and educationally backward. Poverty does not allow Muslim parents to give good education to their children. Similarly, educationally under-qualified Muslim youth cannot get better- paying jobs, thereby opting to join the family ‘business’ or taking up some petty trade or ending up in low-paid jobs. This situation perpetuates the vicious cycle of poor socio-economic status.
Poor Muslim parents cannot afford to send their children to good educational institutions which teach science and technology, IT, commerce etc., Majority of the Madrasas run on charity follow a traditional curriculum. Consequently, the Madrasa-educated students are unable to compete in the employment market. Keeping the needs of the twenty-first century, there is a need for change in the curricula of the Madrasas. It has been observed that many Ulemas are against secular education for Muslim children, especially girls. They have also been opposing co-education even in Madrasas and reforms in Madrasa curriculum. Such outlook among the Ulemas towards secular education has not been helping the Muslim community to improve its socio-economic status.
In the above background, the Centre proposes to organise a workshop for 25-30 Ulemas who are held in high esteem by the Muslim society and hold a dialogue with them in order to change their attitude towards secular education, girls’ education, employment of Muslim women and girls in the organised sector and political participation of Muslim women. The workshop is expected to:
- Make the Ulemas realise that mere religious education is not enough if the socio-economic conditions of the community were to improve.
- Influence the mind-set of the Ulemas about secular education of both boys and girls of the community and convince them that secular education does not mean that a Muslim would lose his religious identity.
- Following the workshop, it is hoped that the Ulemas will advocate secular education besides religious instruction to the Muslim children.