IANS, Sunday, August 06, 2006 11:27 IST
DEOBAND (UP): Senior VHP leader Pravin Togadia is being invited by scholars at India's leading Islamic seminary here to visit them so as to understand Islam and the country's Muslim community better.
The Darul Uloom says it is important for Hindu hardliners such as Togadia to come to the 140-year-old madrassa to have interaction with Islamic scholars with a view to removing misunderstandings.
"We have invited Togadia even in the past and we reiterate our invitation to him," Mohammed Qari Usman, the Naib Mohtamin (assistant administrator) of Darul Uloom, said, referring to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader.
Added Adil Siddiqui, the seminary's spokesman: "If you are sincere, see what we are doing. We invite everyone. All kinds of people come to Darul Uloom. Even Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have come here. We also invite Togadia."
"Come, stay with us, talk to us, see for yourself what is going on, go around (the seminary), and see what we teach our students. We came up in 1866 under the shade of a tree, and we believe in the values Mahatma Gandhi preached."
Darul Uloom now has some 3,700 students who study Islamic theology for free for 13 years. The five years of primary education includes Hindi, English, Urdu, Persian, history, general knowledge and mathematics.
During the next eight years, theology, logic and Islamic jurisprudence are taught. Some also go for computers, advanced English and journalism. Tailoring, book binding and calligraphy form part of the professional courses.
A majority of the students come from poor and lower income families.