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Parents debate home schooling vs madrassas

KARACHI, Aug 4: A few parents, who had been sending their children to madrassas for Islamic education, expressed concern when contacted over what their children might be learning. Some of them said they pulled their children out and decided to ask maulvis to teach them at home while others said they preferred the madrassa environment.

"Although I have met the maulvi sahab who was teaching my sons and he seemed like a decent enough man, it is a scary thought what my children must have been learning," Saera Imdad said. "My husband and I discussed pulling them out but it seems unreasonable to judge all maulvis as terrorists." Saeras two sons go to the mosque daily so that they can read the Quran with meaning and reference to the Hadith and Sunnah. She believes that clerics who teach at home fail to give their students as good an education as a mosque's environment can offer. Saera knows a group of eight mothers who send their children to the mosque to learn the Quran after school. "Our children study together. We used to meet often and realized that our kids had reached the age when they should start reading the Quran, so we decided to enroll them all together after school at a nearby mosque. But now, four of us have taken our children out of the madrassa for fear of any violence," said one of the mothers.

Maliha Nishat sends her two sons to a madrassa but has recently employed a maulvi to come to her house. "I would be more satisfied if they are taught under my supervision," she said. "I really don't trust what my children might be learning in a madrassa even if I have complete faith in their teacher." Maliha's husband takes a keen interest in making sure the boys learn proper wazu and namaz, and from a young age, read the Quran with understanding so that it becomes a habit in their later years. When asked why only boys were being sent to madrassas, Saera said that mothers with daughters felt that girls could learn the essentials of religion from their mothers. One such mother is Uzma Naz who has eight-year-old twins, a daughter and son. Her daughter has been studying the Quran at home while her son goes to a madrassa. "The method used by the maulvi saheb who comes home to teach my daughter, and the maulvi saheb at the madrassa seem pretty much the same. Both children have equal knowledge and are learning at approximately the same pace. Therefore, I decided to teach my son at home as well," she said.

Saera said most mothers had been taking Arabic and Quran classes as well. "Our children go to private schools where they study well but when we see their seniors, we fear that our kids might just go astray and not know their religion at all." Daily times
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