India: Bihar Madrasa Bans Admission for Girls, Citing Co-Education ‘Un-Islamic’
Girl students of Madarsa Azizia during a protest
Giridhar Jha | Mail Today | Patna, October 15, 2014
Calling co-education “un-Islamic”, a prominent madrasa in Bihar has banned admission of the girls into the institution and even barred their entry into its campus.
Issuing a diktat recently, Madrasa Azizia, located at Biharsharif in Nalanda district, has stopped enrolment of girl students on the ground that co-education of boys and girls was against the basic tenets of the Islam.
Mohd Mumtaz Alam, headmaster of the madrasa, said that the decision had been taken in keeping with the directive of the madrasa administration. He said that the Islam did not permit co-education of boys and girls under one roof.
S.M. Sharaf, secretary (Mutawalli) of the Soghra Waqf Estate Committee, which runs the madrasa, said that a decision to discontinue co-education had been taken since it was against the religion. “Boys and girls cannot study together under one roof,” he said. “Besides, male teachers are not supposed to teach the female students.”
He said that no enrolment of girls would be possible at the madrasa until separate arrangements were made for them on the campus.
Sharaf said that the decision of his predecessors to allow coeducation at the madrasa was completely un-Islamic. “I do not know under what circumstances the girls were allowed to join the madrasa but it is illegal as per the Islamic laws,” he said.
The secretary said that education for women at the madrasa would resume after separate arrangements were made for them. “Women teachers would be appointed for them but it will take some time,” he said.
The decision came as a rude jolt to the girls who were enrolled there in the current session. Protesting against the move, they assembled outside the gate of the madrasa on Monday demanding rollback of the decision. They were, however, not allowed to enter the campus.
They alleged that the madrasa had taken the regressive step at a time when the governments and charitable institutions were trying to promote girl education across the world. They said that the girls, who had already been enrolled in the current academic session, were also not being allowed to attend their classes.
“We have been told that classes for girl students would no longer be held at the madrasa for now,” Farzana, a student, said. “This has put our future at stake.”
The decision evoked sharp response from the locals. “This institution takes grant from the Bihar government which has done so much for female education,” Mohd Murtaza, a local social worker, said. “There is so much importance on the Taleem (education) of girls in our religion and yet, they are being denied the opportunity to learn.”