The Bangladesh Madrasa Education Board, also known as “Alia Madrasa”, has removed chapters relating to the concept of Jihad from Islamic text books after four decades.
Alia Madrasa Education Board is one of three types of madrasa education system in Bangladesh, alongside Qawmi and Hifz.
Jihad has been defined in madrasa textbooks as a “struggle” or “striving against the enemies of Islam”.
All chapters referring to Jihad will now be removed from the Alia Board’s textbooks, which will be distributed to students in 2018.
The ministry also directed the madrasa board to remove any articles or lessons “contradictory” to the teachings of the Bangladeshi constitution and “the spirit of the nation”.
Sources told the Dhaka Tribune that the “National Committee on Militancy Resistance and Prevention” believes several chapters of the madrasa textbooks could have motivated students to participate in “militant” activities.
Under the circumstances, the Home Ministry sent a letter to the madrasa board in April asking it to remove the chapters from the textbooks that contain lessons about Jihad.
The incitement to militancy claim was refuted by the controller of publication for the Madrasa Education Board, Mohammed Shahjahan.
Mr Shahjahan told the Dhaka Tribune: “We heard that a Home Ministry official made such allegations. However, books used in the initial evaluation were counterfeit textbooks published by a private company and not by the Madrasa Board.
“If a company is publishing guidebooks for madrasa students with text that is not approved by the board, then the liability falls on them and not us.”
Since the inception of the board in 1979, chapters on Jihad were included in the madrasa textbooks from class eight to degree level.