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Plan to make Pakistan’s mosques centres of learning unveiled

A committee of religious scholars will be established to formulate syllabi, training and exam for imams

Gulf News

Islamabad: The government plans to initiate a phased programme from the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), aimed at making mosques centres of learning and religious guidance.

Under the proposal, the federal government would work with provinces and religious leaders to initiate wide-ranging reforms to make mosques centres of learning.

In line with mosque reforms under the National Internal Security Policy 2018-23, a committee of religious scholars with representation from all schools of thought will be established for formulation of a recommended syllabi, examination and training for Imams.

Specialised training will be offered to Imams under supervision of the committee of religious scholars and administered by Ministry of Religious Affairs while standardisation of training and expertise of Imams will also be ensured through state-conducted exams leading to specific qualifications.

The policy document revealed that qualified Imams will be incentivised through a monthly stipend paid by the government, recommended guidelines and narrative for Friday sermons will be prepared by the Committee of religious scholars in collaboration with government while civic values will also be promoted as part of religious sermons. Some progress has already been made in this regard in the ICT.

The document said funding will be offered to set up libraries at mosques and centres for Islamic studies under supervision of Ministry of Religious Affairs and assisted by scholars committee.

Mosque committees will be reviewed and reconstituted to ensure effective management. All funds raised for setting up, maintenance, or expansion of mosques will be audited by the government to ensure transparency.

Similarly, under Madrassa Reforms, registration and regularisation of madaris in a uniform manner in all provinces will be ensured.

In this regard, all provinces will be encouraged to develop legislation for mainstreaming madaris and undertake madrasa reforms.

Conditional state funding in return for a financial audit, adoption of national curriculum, teaching of science subjects and examinations system will be institutionalised while avenues to switch from madrasa to mainstream education system will be created at a level equivalent to years 5 and 10 of schooling.

This will allow students currently enrolled at madaris a chance to join mainstream education system at various stages of their educational career.

Moreover, the document said increased collaboration will be promoted between madrasa, public and private educational system including students and teacher exchange programme as well as joint academic and co-curricular events.

This will not only reduce mutually-harboured misconceptions and distrust but must also lead to shared research and insights into the drivers of and solution for insecurity, militancy and extremism.

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