Shafi’s remarks his own: Nowfel
CHATTOGRAM, Jan 12: Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury Nowfel, the newly appointed deputy minister of education, has described Akmed Shafi's remarks against women's education as 'personal'. Shah Ahmed Shafi, chief of the radical Islamist outfit Hifazat-e Islam, had reportedly made the audience of an Islamic congregation give him their word that they will not allow their girls to study past fourth or fifth grade on Friday.
The remarks of Shafi go against state policy and we do not accept them, Nowfel said in a statement at a media briefing in his Chattogram residence at Chashma Hill on Saturday. According to Bangladeshi media, the 95-year old Shafi, who runs the Al-Jamiatul Ahlia Darul Ulum Moinul Islam madrasa in Chattogram's Hathazari, solicited promises on the matter from the attendees of the institution's annual gathering on Friday.
Journalists pressed Nowfel on the statement from Shafi, who is also the chairman of the government recognised Qawmi Madrasa Education Board of Bangladesh. "The person who issued the statement gave his personal opinion on the matter," said Nowfel. "He does
not hold an executive post governing the policy, administration or management of education in Bangladesh."
"Everyone has the right to freedom of speech in Bangladesh. He has made a statement regarding his own thoughts as a free citizen of country."
"This kind of statement is not consistent with the policy of the state. And with due respect and solemnity, I want to state that, we, who are talking about equal rights, should remember that, our constitution says everyone has equal rights."
Responding to a question regarding to the communalisation of textbooks and the removal of several texts, he said, "The Bangladesh Awami League believes in secular political practice. We also believe that we can prevent social unrest by ensuring the development of all forms of religious education though specialised management." Shafi is the chairman of Al-Haiatul Ulya Lil-Jamiatil Qawmia Bangladesh, an agency that oversees the six Qawmi education boards.