Aliah University merges Islamic studies with science

Aliah University, the first minority university set up by the state government, has introduced Islamic and Arabic studies in its engineering and science courses.

"A very basic knowledge of Islam and Arabic will be a part of the course structure of even engineering and science disciplines. Even in the IITs, the students take up one foreign language. So there is no harm in talking Arabic, which is spoken across 22 countries," said Syed Shamshul Alam, the vice-chancellor of the university, who was once the head of department of mathematics at IIT, Kharagpur.

The university, set up in 2008, has introduced 12 integrated post-graduate courses from the ensuing academic session. Four courses of mathematics, physics, chemistry and statistics, of the 12, are aimed towards basic sciences while disciplines like computer science and engineering, electronics and communication, electrical engineering and civil engineering along with conventional courses on Islamic Theology, Islamic Studies have also been started.

But to maintain the character of a minority institution, the university will also incorporate Arabic and Islamic studies in the syllabi of the engineering and science courses. The V-C said that there is no problem in students taking up science with Islamic studies. On the contrary it would clear misconceptions about Islam among educated Indians, he added.

The university authorities clarified that there is no reservation for minorities and students from all communities were welcome to the university.

The university is, however, facing serious infrastructure problems — both the constraints of space and faculty. To overcome this, the university will enter into an understanding with Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU) and the West Bengal University of Technology (WBUT).

According to the vice-chancellor, the university will take its students to BESU every weekend and use the workshop and laboratory of the university for the students.

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