Religious groups protest information minister’s remarks

Updated May 10, 2015

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Addressing a national conference organised by the Pakistan Academy of Letters in Karachi on May 3, the minister described the seminaries as ‘centres of ignorance and illiteracy.’ — APP/file
Addressing a national conference organised by the Pakistan Academy of Letters in Karachi on May 3, the minister described the seminaries as ‘centres of ignorance and illiteracy.’ — APP/file

ISLAMABAD: Religious groups belonging to the Deobandi school of thought on Saturday protested against Information Minister Pervaiz Rasheed’s remarks about seminaries.

Addressing a national conference organised by the Pakistan Academy of Letters in Karachi on May 3, the minister described the seminaries as ‘centres of ignorance and illiteracy.’

Wafaqul Madaris Al Arabia, the board representing the seminaries belonging to the Deobandi school of thought, on Saturday held a protest outside the National Press Club here.

The protesters demanded the removal of the information minister besides the registration of cases against him.


Protesters seek removal of the minister and registration of cases against him


The protesters said they would announce their future course of action against the minister after consultations with other religious groups.

The minister at the conference had asked academicians as well literary figures to play their role in promoting the culture of tolerance in the country.

But at the same time, he described the seminaries as the ‘universities of illiteracy’.

The minister had said: “These universities of ignorance, to whom we give donations and hides, are giving an ideology of hatred and conservativeness to the society.”

The remarks invited criticism from the religious elements, mainly belonging to the Deobandi school of thought.

Addressing the protest rally, Deputy General Secretary Wafaqul Madaris al Arabia Maulana Qazi Abdul Rasheed said the remarks by the federal minister had upset the whole nation.

The office-bearers of Wafaqul Madaris al-Arabia said they would initiate a campaign against the minister even if they have to delay the exams of the madrais affiliated with them.

Mufti Mohammad Naeem of Jamia Binoria, Karachi, said the minister was an ignorant person.

He said the term used for knowledge in the ‘Quran’ refers to the knowledge of Quran and Hadith only.

Similarly, the student wing of the proscribed Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) – the Muslim Students Organisation - in a statement said the statement by the information minister was a conspiracy against Islam and it had hurt the sentiments of Muslim youth of the country.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2015

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