In Singapore, A More Progressive Islamic Education

In Singapore, A More Progressive Islamic Education

“After starting the day with prayers and songs in honor of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, the students at the Madrasa Al Irsyad Al Islamiah here in Singapore turned to the secular. An all-girls chemistry class grappled with compounds and acids while other students focused on English, math and other subjects from the national curriculum.”


The distinction between religious and secular is facile and not terribly helpful. What do we have that doesn’t belong to the One? But leaving that aside…

Interesting article.

I hope it spreads, but I doubt it will

From the article

“The Muslim world in general is struggling with its Islamic education,” Mr. Razak said, explaining that Islamic schools had failed to adapt to the modern world. “In many cases, it’s also the challenge the Muslim world is facing. We are not addressing the needs of Islam as a faith that has to be alive, interacting with other communities and other religions.”

In Indonesia, most Islamic schools still pay little attention to secular subjects, believing that religious studies are enough, said Indri Rini Andriani, a former computer programmer who is the principal of Al Irsyad Satya Islamic School, one of the Indonesian schools that model themselves on the school here.

and, when discussing these students being tested in a national test…

Al Irsyad, which was the first to alter its curriculum, outperformed the other madrasas. But neither it nor the others made any of the lists of best performing schools or students compiled by the Education Ministry in Singapore.

However, this is still the beginning of the process. Hopefully, the idea of a religious school that teaches secular topics, a concept that has existed in the West for over a tousand years, will work there and spread to all of Islam.

I live in Singapore and yes its true, Madrasahs here do not cultivate future terrorists nor tolerate terrorism. But the article does not mention how Madrasah students tend to alienate themselves from the other non-Malay (or non-Muslim) residents of Singapore. That to me, tends to bend towards anti-socialism. The article also does not mention how Madrasah students are taught not to trust religious leaders of any other faith than Islam. It also fails to mention only Muslim teachers are allowed to teach in Madrasahs. Whereas in many parochial (Christian) schools in Singapore, there are Malay-Muslim teachers.

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