By Akmal Anas
Ban Phonesavatai, Vientiane City, 17 July. While education is only exclusive for the people who can afford it, an Imam took the stand not only to ensure daily prayers are practiced but to teach religion ontauhid, fiqh ibadah and general Islamic knowledge for the minority Muslim community here during weekends at Masjid Azhar.
“A government school charges USD 100 a year for the tuition fee while the private school fee is at a whopping 200 USD yearly. We can’t afford that and the underprivileged people will grasp every chance they get to learn and have education” said an Imam here.
The Muslim community took a liking to the classes he conducted and even the women came to hear the sermon he delivered in the Friday prayer to gain the weekly insights of the religion.
Education has always been a prime concern for the Laotian especially for the Muslim community of Ban Phonesavatai. Imam Vina bin Ahmad, a 46 year old imam of Masjid al-Azhar expresses his concern to the LIFE 2016 participants when met during the aqiqah ceremony here today.
The imam, a father of two daughters migrated from Cambodia in 1994 and currently working hard in spreading the da’wah and basic Islamic education throughout the community with the help of two other part time religious teachers. These teachers serve 85 Muslim families live surrounding the mosque while the other mosque i.e. Jamia’ Mosque is patronised by other 76 Muslim families, also in Vientiane City. There are two mosques in Lao PDR .
As the saying goes, knowledge is power. While highly appreciated the contributions of Laos educational system for Muslim children, the Imam, who is also a committee of Muslim Association of Laos (MAOL), hopes that education can be empowered more for the community. He seeks helps of any humanitarian organisations that would take the opportunity to come and help the Muslim community to uplift its capacity building as to face the future challenges and in turn to contribute more effectively not only to the Muslim community but the community of Lao PDR as the whole.