More on Indian Minorities

Chennai Mosque Open Doors to Coaching for Civil Services

Chennai: Makkah mosque in Chennai is not just a place of worship these days. It has turned into an additional Makkah Masjid Coaching Academy that is training students to crack the civil services examination.


Last week Mohammed Ashraf became the first student from the academy to clear the Indian Administrative Services examination. He had spent hours at the mosque preparing for the tough exam. The mosque besides conducting the usual prayers now is a coaching academy with the best of teachers guiding students for civil services.


Ashraf has ranked 1,032 in his first attempt in the exam and filled with joy he says, “I want to empower our community the same way this institute is doing”.


The academy picked up 28 students in the first batch when it started conducting classes in the mosque in February last year.Ashraf, the son of the welding workshop owner had earlier quit his job with Chennai Metro to prepare for the IAS exams.


Ashraf and the other students did not pay anything to get into the classes but with high profile teachers and the infrastructure have been done by community contributions.


To have a successful candidate in its very first batch is a big boost for the mosque, as religious centers of the community fight stereotypes to a more modern outlook. “We are very hopeful. We expect better results this from the second batch,” said M Abdulgani, another aspirant, the son of a driver.


According to official estimation Muslims, who comprise about 14 per cent of India’s population have less than three percent civil servants and in some states even less than one percent in other administrative services.


According to MaulanaShamsuddinQuasinin, the chief cleric of the mosque, “in more than two decades there has not been a single student from the community to clear the civil services examinsation”.” So the only way to empower the community is to get people in decision making positions as the administrative services”.The students undergoing coaching are provided free food and accommodation and the community bears the expenses. The program as of now does not include women because of a shortage of accommodation, but clerics say they plan to include women soon.

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