Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tolerance of an idealist

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's National Day Rally speech spoke about how so very important religious and cultural tolerance is in this pluralistic society of ours. About how the need for one group to be socially, culturally and religiously (SCR) aware of others is so important, less we become an Asian Bosnia! There could never be a place, or space, for any form of SCR chauvinism of sorts in our society, and these was clearly demonstrated when PM Lee talks in great length, and in fact apportioned a significant portion of his speech on this. This is something that perhaps must be constantly, and continually be emphasised, especially to the younger generations, as they are the ones who are ill-equipped with the experiential accounts of what going along the wrong path have led to in the past, and more so with the instant connectivity that the world has to offer right now, and their greater exposure to external influences, both good and bad.

Which led to one idea that pops up in my head during one of my intellectual discourses with my significant other a few days ago. The fact here is that we do have Muslims, or for that matter, non-Christian students studying in mission schools; why can't we then extend this concept to the local madrasahs (Islamic religious schools)? Is it possible for our madrasahs to open up their schools to non-Muslim students, who just wants to study about Islam a little deeper, without perhaps being burdened with the pressure of becoming a Muslim in the end, or without being proselytized by the academic staff and/or others? Would our educational landscape generally, and perhaps the Islamic one specifically, be open to such an idea? Perhaps only time can tell.

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