Sunday, 22 April 2012

Teaching in Egypt (7): The one guy that stands out

In the current batch of students I teach, there is one guy that stands out, because he is the only one that can properly argue his way around a debate.

Today I found out why. 

We were talking about religion (yes, that topic tends to come up a lot) and the guy in question was extensively quoting from the Quran. "Trust me, I know what I'm talking about", he said at one point. "I know it by heart."

"You're an Azhari, right?", one of the other students asked him, to which he nodded his head. An 'Azhari' is someone that studies or has studied at one of the Al-Azhar Institutes.

Known as the Al-Azhar system, the Azhar Institutes make up an educational system that operates next to and independently from the regular Egyptian educational system. The main focus is on religious subjects. My student was specifically trained as a khatib, the person that delivers the sermon on Friday.

So the only guy that can think critically and argue his point in a sophisticated manner, is essentially a religious scholar. Interesting detail. 

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