I write this letter in response to Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech at the Conservative party conference, in which he made some ill-thought points about Muslims and the Madrassa system.
I am a product of the Madrassa system, having been involved in some capacity or another for close to 20 years now; currently I am the Principal of a Madrassa.
My personal experience of the Madrassa system has been that of an enriching, tolerant, respectful and thoroughly enjoyable education system; quite a world away from the vicious verbal attack by the Prime Minister’s misinformed from-a-distance accusations; which included intolerance, hate and a suggestion that it bred conspiracy theories.
I have personally had many parents remark how their child’s behaviour has markedly improved, or how he/she has become more respectful and well-mannered as a result of attending Madrassa.
When the Madrassa experience of so many of those associated with it bears such positive fruits and outcomes, does this not suggest Madrassas are well equipped to prevent and counter extremist and radical ideologies, and wouldn’t the Prime Minister do well to work with the Madrassas to counter extremism and radicalisation, rather than to make ill-judged comments?
Although this is not to say improvements can’t be made in certain areas, just as is the case for many educational institutions.
The Madrassa is a key component of the identity and of the Muslim community in itself, which gives back and means so much to the Muslim community in so many different ways and also serves as a positive institution for the entire community.