The government’s decision to drop the controversial Bangladesh Qwami Madrasah Education Authority Act 2013 is highly commendable. The Education Ministry withdrew the draft Act from the agenda of Monday’s cabinet meeting.
If the decision hadn’t come in time, the complications arising from the Act designed to control Qwami Madrasas would have deepened. Hefazat-e-Islam’s Ameer Alamma Shah Ahmed Shafi clearly warned against the passing of the Act in a press statement on Friday. He threatened to wage a civil war. His argument was the Madrasa Act is designed to destroy the sovereignty of the madrasa education system and to devoid the country of Islamic morals and values. He claimed the act would destroy the existence of Qwami madrasas, its education trends and freedom of religious practices. Its sole purpose is to monitor the system and to bring it under the government’s thumb. We in our newspaper also clearly stated our demanded to give recognition to Qwami-Madrasas and not too bring it under government control. The ‘Qwami Madrasa Education Commission’ was formed on April 15. The government should have more intensely reviewed the recommendations made by this commission, in the light of which the draft was drawn. In fact, the government should have adopted a more careful approach as soon as the draft Act created a wave of controversy. But still, it is appreciable that the government had the good sense to scrap the Act before the situation could devolve much further.
The drafting of the Qawmi Madrasa Shikkha Kartripakkha Ain-2013 was not a wise decision in the first place. The Qwami Madrasa are recognized as valid institutions in both India and Pakistan but are not controlled by the government. So why should a similar demand in Bangladesh be unreasonable? In the British period the madrasas were called ‘kharizi madrasa’- which means outside of government control.
So the government, by its decision to drop the Act, has shown respect for the demand made by madrasa teachers and students alike. The Education Ministry withdrew the draft form the agenda yesterday for further review before placing it before the Cabinet. We hope the government would act sensibly and realistically in the matter of this Act in future as well.
Source: Daily Ittefaq