Madrassas in Pakistan: Formal and Informal Education

10 March 2010 - 2:30pm to 3:30pm

Chatham House, London


Professor Tariq Rahman, Visiting Fellow, Centre for Islamic Studies, University of Oxford
Chair: Dr Marie Lall, Associate Fellow, Asia Programme, Chatham House



Madrassas (religious seminaries) were established to provide skills and knowledge which were useful for the employment of the state as well as the religious establishment in pre-British India. Following colonialism, however, the madrassa has become an institution for producing the Islamic clergy. The speaker will argue that it is not the formal curricula which the Pakistani authorities and donors talk of reforming which will do away with the potential of violence which exists in the madrassas, but instead it is only by reducing poverty and by investing in peace that the madrassas will not contribute to increasing violence in society.

Tariq Rahman Ph.D is an HEC Distinguished National Professor of Sociolinguistic History at the National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.