Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel today said that Hefajat-e Islam chief Shah Ahmed Shafi’s remarks on girls’ education are his own.
While exchanging views with journalists this morning, Nowfel said, “It is his (Shafi) personal opinion. He does not hold any executive position regarding implementation of the country’s education policy or in the education sector.”
“As the right to freedom of speech is entitled to any citizen, he has the rights to express his thoughts. As a citizen of the country, he has come up with his own analysis. However, his analysis is not consistent with the country’s policy, he said.
“With due respect, I would like to say that those of us who are practising freedom of speech, must not forget that the Constitution guarantees equal rights for all,” Nowfel also said.
The deputy minister goes on saying, “I urge all not to make discriminatory comments. As he (Shafi) does not hold any policy-making position, it is his own opinion. There is no ground to think that his opinions will be reflected or included in state policies.”
Replying to query on changes in textbooks, Nowfel said, “We initiated the criticism that the very stability of the society will be affected in the long run if textbook contents lead to division or communalism. These must not be inculcated in the tender minds of the students. The Awami League believes in secular politics.”
The minister further said, “The Constitution compels us to form a secular country. The Muslims will abide by the guiding of Islam whereas the Hindus their own. Noncommunal, secular curriculum is very imperative. Likewise, the upgradation of religious education is also very necessary.”
“If education is communalised, this will lead to jeopardy not in the distant future, but in near future,” he opined.
WHAT DID SHAFI SAY?
Hefajat-e Islam chief Shah Ahmed Shafi yesterday made parents promise that they won't send their daughters to school.
Addressing a rally attended by thousands, the Islamist leader said girls should not receive schooling beyond grade IV or V because education would make them disobedient.
“Don't send your daughters to school, college. At most, you can allow them to study up to class IV or V, so that they can maintain their husbands' accounts and can write letters to them,” he said, during his one-and-a-half-hour sermon.