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Dars and Madrassas: Remnants of a Lost Pedagogy That Has Advanced Onto the Cyber Realm

Madrassas (school-like religious seminaries, mostly for young boys who train to become Islamic theologians) and dars (female-only institutional and/or home-based study circles and diploma courses) constitute an informal and unregulated religious education space in Pakistan. Dars, often taught by self-declared authorities on religion, are increasingly delivered online and could contribute to radicalisation; until now, there is no coherent strategy in Pakistan that takes the online element sufficiently into account. Tackling online radicalisation would require the Pakistani state to reflect deeply on its scholastic apparatus, the shortcomings of which often pave the way for digital Islam to serve as the alternative for a state-approved religious education.

No Pakistani government has made serious efforts till date at officially inscribing the number of registered and unregistered dars authorities in Pakistan. Additionally, nor have they probed into the dars classes’ syllabus, intended outreach and impacts, which happen to be far more advanced than that of madrassas, given the former’s grasp of modern-day technology.

Read more at the Global Network on Extremism & Technology

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