Mosques have stepped in where schools have shut down
Damascus – George Al Shami
Children in the Syrian province of Idlib are studying maths, science, Arabic and religion at local mosques because their schools have been shut down or damaged in the ongoing conflict
Around 3900 schools had been destroyed or put out of action in Syria by January 2013, jeopardizing the education of 2.5 million children, according to aid agency Save the Children.
Many of the Syrian children living as refugees in Jordan and Lebanon may also be attending religious schools, according to a UN document seen by Reuters news agency. The UN said a large number of refugee children were not going to school at all.
In Idlib, imams from Uthman Ibn Affan mosque in the town of Hazano arrange classes for children.
One of the clerics, Sheikh Mohammed, said: “The need to establish these religious schools has arisen over the past two years.
“Many schools have been neglected, closed or even destroyed, and ignorance was growing among people, so we wanted to revive the main role of mosques, as mosques used to serve as schools, where children learned Koran, Hadith, and public morals.”
Nasser, a child who takes classes at the mosque, said: “I come here every day, and we take around three or four hours of classes. We learn how to read and write.\"
Another imam-turned-schoolteacher from Uthman Ibn Affan mosque said that besides giving lessons in mathematics, science, Arabic and religion, the mosque was teaching children how to cope with war-related emergencies, such as air strikes.