Skip to comments.Clerics Resists Musharraf's War On Madrassas
Posted on 09/04/2004 5:09:44 PM PDT by blam
Clerics resist Musharraf's war on madrassas
By Massoud Ansari in Karachi
Islamic clerics in Pakistan have launched a campaign of resistance against a government crackdown on religious schools.
They are furious that President Pervez Musharraf is attempting to staunch the flow of "terrorist recruits" by regulating the schools, known as madrassas.
There are up to 20,000 such schools in Pakistan and until now the state has had no control over them. The government is now insisting that they should be registered and teach secular subjects.
The Farooqia mosque in Karachi, which runs an extremist Sunni seminary, has hosted gatherings in protest at the plans. It intends to stage demonstrations across the country and is calling for a boycott of the registration process. Its members are also refusing to declare their sources of income.
The deputy leader of the mosque, Wali Khan, claims that the madrassas, as the schools are known, are being victimised by the pro-Western leadership.
Khan is a disciple of the Deobandi movement, which advocates a return to strict Islamic principles "to save Muslims from Western contamination". But he insists that the schools are not breeding grounds for violence: "No religious school has anything to do with terrorism."
Pakistan's interior ministry estimates that almost 3 million students attend the madrassas, where generations of young militants have been groomed.
"The number of religious schools and the involvement of their students in both acts of terrorism and in sheltering terrorists, is countless," said a police officer.
Last week the police rounded up a dozen militants linked to al-Qaeda, claiming that they were planning suicide attacks on targets including the American embassy in Islamabad.
Police identified Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the head of a religious school in Islamabad, as a leading figure in the plot. Police have raided at least two madrassas in Islamabad in the search for him.
Some of the most prominent teachers in religious schools have well-documented links with terrorists. The spiritual leader of the Farooqia madrassa, Moulana Salimullah Khan, is a self-declared friend of Mullah Omar, the Afghan Taliban leader, who is still being hunted by the American-led coalition.
Critics of the Pakistani government, however, claim that the clampdown is too little too late. Kamila Hayat, of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said: "What difference will it make for a child if he is taught English or computers, but continues to be force-fed lessons of intolerance?"
Musharraf wants to go down as one of the greatest Arab leaders ever in the modern world. Turning Pakistan into a modernized world power would guarantee him that.
He's writing his legacy... and frankly, I hope he lives to write it himself.
That's impossible, since Musharraf is not an Arab.
LOL, that's a very good point.
I assumed he was Arabic and Muslim... After checking, he's Indian born, and frankly I can't find a reference to his religious preference.
Well, to adjust what I said, Musharraf wants to go down as one of the greatest Middle Eastern leaders ever in the modern world.
Long as he stays alive.
He needs to produce bin Laden and Zawahiri.
Musharraf is not an Arab. Agreed.
He needs to crack open that ISI and let some light shine in, if they don't whack him first.
The whole Indian subcontinent contains a multitude of ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups.