FNC approves rules to supervise Quran centres

Health and safety standards, staff and data audits, approved activities and an annual licence among new regulations.

Rashad Bukhash of the Islamic Affairs and Endowment Committee wants greater supervision of Quran centres. Ravindranath K / The National
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ABU DHABI // The FNC has approved a law to ensure that there is better monitoring of privately-owned Quran memorisation centres.

The aim of the law is to improve learning of the Quran in the UAE and to make sure “proper Islamic knowledge” is taught.

FNC member Rashad Bukhash, rapporteur for the Islamic Affairs and Endowment Committee, said there needed to be better supervision of Quran centres.

“The need comes as a wish to organise private centres for Quran memorisation, and to have the centres supervised, and to seek auditing of the centre’s data,” he said.

Dr Mohammed Al Kaabi, chairman of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (Awqaf), said the law would ensure youngsters were taught Islamic knowledge based on the Quran.

“As per our strategic plans, we aim to initiate projects that encourage Quran memorisation and equip centres with technologies, as well as provide services that attract students,” he said.

The law states that school curriculums and Islamic programmes that the centres will teach must be evaluated by specialist entities.

Only those who are over 21, have a good behaviour certificate and do not have a criminal record are allowed to own, manage or teach at the centres. It aims to make sure that those with criminal records are not allowed to become teachers.

Activities will be limited to the memorisation and tawjeed (elocution) of the Quran and its teachings.

The centres must be based in buildings that meet health and safety standards, and must have separate classes for males and females. They must also have activity areas that the executive list will specify.

Centres will be allowed to cooperate with each other to improve their services. But overseas centres must have a permit to be able to participate.

The council also approved a new article prohibiting the establishment or management of a teaching centre until the proper licensing has been obtained from the specified authority.

The licence must be renewed every year, although there will be no additional fees after the first application.

The law also prohibits the centres from collecting alms and donations, giving lectures without approval, using the centres for political reasons, or publishing books or audio recordings without the approval of the authorities.

The centres must also disclose accounts, revealing the amount paid by the owner, the financial returns, the waqf (charitable endowments of a plot of land) and any other payments.

Those who fail to abide by the rules can be jailed for up to two months, with a fine of Dh50,000, or both. Such laws will not be in effect for federal or national entities, and will be applied only to private centres.

The law will be sent to the Cabinet before it is passed to the President for final approval.​