CHENNAI: Armed with the previous UPA regime’s Sachar committee findings on the socio, economic and educational status of Muslims, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed on Saturday said educational backwardness was the main reason for the community’s inability to progress economically.

The CM was here to participate in the United Economic Forum’s two-day trade summit. “I have always believed that education is most critical to uplift our community,” he said. “I do not find any stark contradictions between the need for religious education and the importance of having a secular modern outlook in today’s world,” he added, recalling that he had studied in a Madrassa and graduated in law from Aligarh Muslim University.

The decline in the socio-economic and educational status of Muslims in the sub-continent began as early as in 18th century. It was pioneers and geniuses like Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (the founder of Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College, which went on to become AMU), who showed that education was the path to development, Sayeed said.

Another visionary leader and one of the greater scholars of the religion, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, understood the importance of education and believed that Muslims could carve out a distinct niche for themselves in secular and diverse India. Azad was chosen by Jawaharlal Nehru to be Independent India’s first education minister and pioneered modern education system by setting up institutions and bodies.

The PDP leader recalled the recommendations of the Sachar Committee, which pointed out ‘clearly’ that the status of Muslims is lower than the status of SC/ST in many areas. The United Economic Forum’s trade summit saw MoUs signed to the tune of Rs 2,439.5 crore in sectors like power, infrastructure and industrial park, warehousing, logistics, infrastructure, real estate, education and tourism.

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