Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board Chairperson Waseem Rizvi on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to shut down primary-level madrasas across India, PTI reported. Rizvi claimed that these madrasas promoted the ideology of the Islamic State terror group.

“It can be seen that children are soft targets for running any mission, and at this point of time the Islamic State is a dangerous terror organisation which is gradually getting hold over the Muslim population across the world,” Rizvi said in the letter. The Shia Waqf Board chief claimed that if madrasas are not shut down, half of India’s population will begin to support the Islamic State in 15 years’ time.

The Waqf Board advises the government on how to administer land and other charitable donations made to Islamic institutions. Members are appointed by the government.

Rizvi claimed that support to the terrorist group was “clearly visible” in Kashmir, where children attended madrasas with monetary support from the state, and become alienated from people of other faiths. “In the rural areas of the country also, the primary madarasas in the name of donations are harming the future of our children and promoting fundamentalist thinking,” he said.

The Shia Waqf Board chairperson suggested that Muslim students should first complete their education in regular schools and then be allowed to join madrasas after high school. This will enable them to have a “normal education” until high school with children of other faiths, and prevent them from falling prey to fundamentalism, Rizvi said.

This not the first time that Rizvi, who is from the minority Shia sect among Muslims in India, had assumed positions that are contrary to those of the majority Sunni Muslim community. For instance, he has said that the Babri Masjid-Ram Janmabhoomi dispute should be resolved by giving up the Sunni Waqf Board’s land to the Hindus. Rizvi told the Supreme Court last year that there was never any mosque on the disputed site in Ayodhya. “It is the birthplace of Lord Ram and only a Ram temple will be built,” he said.

In February, Rizvi had said that Muslims who oppose the construction of a Ram temple should go to Pakistan or Bangladesh.