One hardline Islamic school in Bangladesh has burned hundreds of cellphones in a bonfire because the mobile phones were distracting students.
The Islamic school is called Darul Ulum Minul Islam and is an Islamic seminary. The school administrators tossed hundreds of cellphones into a fire. The seminar is 123 years old as an institution with over 14,000 students in attendance.
One spokesperson for the school, Azizul Hoque, described the phones as ruining the character of the young. Hoque was pro-technology, but cited the negatives such as ruining the character of young students.
The country is more or less secular, but the religious leaders such as the Muslim clerics have a huge influence and power in particular areas of the country, especially in the more conservative areas. The madrassa in Hathazari (outside the port city of Chittagong) is headed by Ahmed Shafi, the leader of a hardline Islamist group Hefazat-e-Islam.
There have been large and growing movements to turn the Bangladesh secular government into an Islamic theocracy. For example, of the Hefazat supporters alone, hundreds of thousands marched to Dhaka in 2013 “demanding implementation of religious laws including criminalising blasphemy and segregating genders in the workplace.”
The protests created violence with about 50 people dead. There was an accord struck with the movement and the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Hasina “agreed to recognise academic qualifications from hardline seminaries, allowing their students to apply for government jobs.”
Photo Credits: Rappler