Vastanvi could take Deoband to next level: UK Muslims - Indian Express His seven-month tenure as the Mohtamim of Darul uloom Deoband may have been fraught with controversies but Maulana Ghulam Mohammed Vastanvi seems to hold sway over overseas Muslims. Back from a tour of Deoband and Kerala, members of a delegation of British Muslims told The Indian Express that Vastanviâ€™s model of combining the secular with the sacred in his educational institutions in Akkalkua is one that Muslim seminaries across the world would do well to adopt. They said had Vastanvi continued at the helm there, Darul uloom Deoband would have â€œprogressed to the next levelâ€. The balance of religion and modernity, they added, has been struck better by institutions in southern India than those in the north. Yusuf Ebrahim Akudi, a first generation Muslim Imam born and educated in the UK, said: â€œSouth was impressive, their command over English, vocabulary, current affairs awareness, the way students were taking stands on things were striking. There is a distinct difference between Islamic seminaries in the north and the south. Students were so much more aware in Kerala which may have to do with better infrastructure, more resources and the higher overall literacy rate.â€ Apart from Deoband where their â€œ15-minute interactionâ€ with students stretched to one-and-a-half hours, they visited the Calicut University, Farook College, Markaz Al Sunniyah, Jamia Millia Islamia University. Osman Sheikh, principal of Quills Consultancy, an organisation involved in fund raising and community initiatives, said: â€œWe were keen to visit Akkalkua to see how Maulana Vastanvi has brought the secular and the sacred together... That could not be fitted into our itinerary, but we are meeting him personally in Mumbai.â€ Sheikh had spent nine years at Al Jameah Al Islamiyyah seminary in Dabhel, Gujarat. He is not willing to indulge in the north versus south debate, but concedes that the fact that Darul uloom Deobandâ€™s policy of not accepting government funding may be one of its limitations. But Vastanvi, feels Salim Yusuf Lorgat, an East Midlands fundraiser for Islamic Relief, would have been a potent influence on Deoband, taking it to the â€œnext levelâ€. â€œHe is a big figure among Muslims in South Africa, Canada and would have been able to mobilise funds for Darul uloom,â€ he said.