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Islamic Education in Bangladesh and Pakistan

Trends in Tertiary Institutions

By Mumtaz Ahmad and Matthew J. Nelson

Publication Year: 2009

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States, analysts and policymakers struggled to determine how South Asia had become "lost" to Islamist extremism and terrorism. A small—but vocal—group of Western-based academics suggested that the proliferation of madrasas, or Islamic schools, were at least in part to blame. The controversial debates sparked by these institutions led NBR in summer 2005 to launch a comprehensive three year survey of Islamic education in South Asia, to examine in depth the relationship between Islamic education and Islamist militancy in the region. This report represents the culmination of the third and final year of NBR’s South Asia Education Survey, which focused exclusively on trends in tertiary-level religious and secular education in Bangladesh and Pakistan. Research findings from these two countries continue to shed new light on the emerging socio-political landscape of Muslim South Asia, with critical implications for U.S. policy and security interests in the region.

Published by: National Bureau of Asian Research

Copyright

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p. 2-2

Contents

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pp. iii-3

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Foreword

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pp. iv-4

In the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks against the United States, analysts and policymakers struggled to determine how South Asia had become “lost” to Islamist extremism and terrorism. A small—but vocal—group of Western-based academics suggested that the proliferation of madrasas, or Islamic schools, were at least in part to blame. The controversial debates sparked by these institutions led NBR in summer 2005 to launch a comprehensive three-year survey of Islamic education in South Asia, to examine in depth the relationship between Islamic education and Islamist militancy in the region. NBR assembled a multi-disciplinary team of experts to explore trends in Islamic educational institutions in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and India...

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Madrasa Reforms and Perspectives: Islamic Tertiary Education in Pakistan

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pp. 1-28

Building on previous years’ research, this paper examines recent developments in madrasa reform initiatives throughout Pakistan while looking further into the alleged relationship between madrasa education and extremist tendencies. The report assesses the largely negative attitudes of madrasa ulama and their students toward the United States, in general, and their hostile views of U.S. aid to Pakistan and U.S. foreign policy in the Muslim world, in particular. The paper concludes with an overview of the relation between madrasas and the question of national and Islamic identity in Pakistan...

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Views from the Madrasa: Islamic Education in Bangladesh

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pp. 29-60

This paper examines tertiary-level Islamic education in Bangladesh, providing in-depth analysis of the relationship between madrasa education and Islamist and radical politics. The report examines the political consciousness of madrasa teachers and graduate students in Bangladesh, and analyzes their worldviews with regard to the West and the United States. The report reviews student and teacher responses to negative media coverage of madrasa education in Bangladesh while also looking at the alleged connections between madrasas and militancy. The paper concludes with a look at the mushrooming growth of ulama-led non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Bangladesh...

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Religion, Politics, and the Modern University in Pakistan and Bangladesh

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pp. 61-94

This paper provides an account of the relationship between religion and politics in the public- and private-sector universities of Pakistan and Bangladesh. Acknowledging that religion and religious education are thoroughly institutionalized (even in ostensibly nonreligious universities) through compulsory and elective coursework, hostel-based activities, and numerous student organizations, this paper focuses on the ways in which public-sector universities have been affected by a history of violent clashes involving the student wings of various political parties (especially the Jama’at-e-Islami). The paper goes on to note that a growing number of elite students have sought to escape from this pattern of violence with a retreat to private-sector universities featuring a nominal ban on campus politics. However, the paper argues that more often than not, although this shift has succeeded in permitting...

Back Cover

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p. 99-99


E-ISBN-13: 9781939131010

Page Count: 94
Publication Year: 2009