NEW DELHI – One of the world's most revered schools of Islamic learning decided Wednesday that its new, reformist leader would stay in office while an investigative panel examines charges against him, a spokesman said.
The board of the Darul Uloom seminary in the northern Indian town of Deoband decided to set up a three-member panel to probe Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi's conduct, Adbul Khaliq Madrasi said.
The 150-year-old institution has been rocked by weeks of protests after Vastanvi made comments that appeared to praise a Hindu nationalist politician loathed by Muslims.
Vastanvi took office last month promising to modernize the curriculum and rein in hard-line religious edicts at the seminary.
The school's Deobandi Islam has inspired millions of Muslims, including the Taliban's hard-line interpretation.
Darul Uloom has around 4,000 students and, as the center of the Deobandi school of Islam, is seen as the spiritual light for thousands of other schools across the Middle East, Britain, the United States, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Much of the Taliban leadership attended Deobandi-influenced seminaries in Pakistan.
It was founded in 1866 to preserve Islamic culture in India and preaches an austere form of Islam its founders regarded as authentic.
After being named head of Darul Uloom, Vastanvi announced plans to establish medical, engineering and pharmaceutical schools to supplement Islamic education. He also said he would maintain tighter control of fatwas — religious edicts.