Madrassas dens of gays, ban them: AMU professor

ALIGARH: An Aligarh Muslim University professor's alleged comments on madrassas that they are "dens of vice and homosexuality" has triggered a storm of protest in the campus.

The professor, Waseem Raja of the university's history department, has been accused of saying in a WhatsApp message that he sent to a TV channel that "maulanas are involved in such activities" and that the fortunes of Muslim youth will only change for the better if madrassas in the country are banned.

Chat grabs show Raja saying, "We want removal of madarsa... Where homo sexuality is rampant...Maulanas are part of it".

The professor, who has been teaching in AMU for the past three decades, has, however, denied he said any such thing. "I did not say anything like that," he told TOI on Tuesday. "I have been part of SAARC conferences in the past and I have always spoken about reformation of the community. Are madarsas not part of the community? That does not mean I said such things, my phone was hacked and I have blocked the chat group now."

But students have taken to social media to condemn Raja's remarks. Shah Alam Turk, a research scholar, said, "I was chatting on the group when Raja popped saying such things -- his personal views. I messaged him saying 'You have constitutional rights to express (your views), but don't defame (madrassas) without verifying facts first. This is prejudice, not logic, and will weaken the community, not strengthen."

Other students hit back equally hard. One of them said: "People like you spoil the name of the university. God has given you reason, so think before speaking."

Mustafa Zaidi, AMUTA secretary, said the professor should have "calculated" what to say. "Such statements can be misconstrued and can result in anger," he said, adding, "If he said so in the first place."

Rashid Shaz, director of AMU Bridge Course that deals with madrassa students, condemned Raja's views and said, "Students of madrassas are very cultured and have standards of morality. One should show evidence before questioning them en masse."

AMU PRO Rahat Abrar said course of action against the professor will be decided only when the VC returns. "VC is away, decision will be taken only when he returns," he said



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