Monday, July 11, 2005

A for Allah, B for Bismillah - The myth of madrassas

14th century ideas in the 21st century ? Surprised ? Don't be. There are schools offering "Islamic" education where the Quran is the only textbook, where girls and boys are not allowed to mix and in the guise of "Islamic education" regressive policies are taught. To be fair, the RSS run schools in tribal areas of MP and Jharkand also teach A for Arjun, B for Brahma. Like the RSS, the founders of Islamic schools worryabout children growing up " unprotected against the onslaught of the wicked west". Try as might "secular" Muslims try to convince the mainstream that the Madrassas provide a way for Muslims to grow up as confident individuals and mingle with the mainstream, it is a given that these Madrassas are the breeding ground forfuture terrorists.

Terrorists' backgrounds defy conventional wisdom
In his path breaking book"Understanding Terror Networks", Dr.Marc Sageman has produced a groundbreaking study about Islamic terrorists and their terror networks. Dr.Sageman has compiled biographical information - material from public sources, court documents and drawn on his own experience as a CIA field officer during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The conventional wisdom about Islamic terrorists is that these are poor, uneducated young men. However, some compelling numbers thrown by the book include,
  • About two thirds of the profiled terrorists went to college, some in areas where only 10% of young people get a post secondary education
  • About 87 percent of Islamic terrorists were Madrassas-trained before being
    sent off to colleges.
  • Around 10 to 15% of the student population of Pakistan (the foremost sponsor of state sponsored terrorism) studies in Saudi funded Madrassas.
Dr.Sageman says "kinship" nurtured in the Madrassas (during the children's formative years) is responsible for young men joining radical groups like the Al Qaeda and has proven that friends, relatives and parents brought more than 90% of the student population into the fold.

Schooled for Jihad
Noor Huda Ismail, a Washington Post reporter who spent six years of his education in an Islamic boarding school, Al Mukmin Ngruki in Indonesia has this to say, "It was hard to avoid being swept up in the spirit of Ngruki. The only music the students heard was nasyid, Arabic religious songs, from loudspeakers in the corners of the school buildings. On the dormitory wall hung Arabic calligraphic which proclaimed, Die as as a martyr by killing the infidels. Mr.Ismail says that for six years he was taught that the only true way for a Muslim was to dakwah --- proselytize -- to bring other people to "true" Islam. Mr.Ismail also has conducted a series of interviews with Ngruki alumnus who are serving various sentences in Indonesian jails for terrorism related crimes. He says most of the Ngruki alums went to military camps where they were part of a broader campaign to prepare as many young people as possible for jihadi operations. It is often said, "The most dangerous people are those who dream with their eyes open". The biggest danger to the free world comes from the Madrassas trained jihadis. We are about to see more attacks like the Bali resort bombings, Madrid train bombings and the London tube bombings. These attacks are not against a particular race or a particular country, they are against our way of life, our way of thinking. It is often said, "To remove a man, remove his voice first". The bombings andterrorist attacks are a way to muzzle the voice of the free world.

Tavleen Singh has an excellent piece in Indian Express on this issue.

Vir Sanghvi has written on this phenomenon in the Hindustan Times. LINK

5 Comments:

Anonymous NMehra said...

It is extremely essential that information of this kind be transported to people of the free world. Most of us want to know as much as possible about this , but do not know where to look for it.

This article gives a good direction toward that.

7/12/2005 1:23 PM  
Blogger Sachin Sinha said...

RSS runs those schools but their motive is not terrorism and that is why I don't find any harm in that. These type of schools are everywhere is every religion. You can find a number of similar christian schools in USA. Problem comes when they start teaching stuff other than the education.


Some of our own leaders like Maulana Mulayam are just supporting the Madrassas without knowing that half of those are breeding grounds for terrorists.

7/12/2005 1:25 PM  
Blogger The Greatest Hokie Ever !! said...

[nmehra] - You should take the lead by spreading this to as many people as you know. We need to get a dialogue going. Most people either react with hatred or with apathy, but very few want to have a constructive dialogue. We can take action only after that

[Sachin] - My objection is not to the RSS schools or catholic institutions. They are doing a terrific job providing education in areas where the usual educational institutions dont exist. My objection is to the linkage between religion and education. It is not only Maulana Mulayam, but several people in the "educated" world that think that everything is fine in these Madrassas. Hopefully, my blog piece should serve as a wake up call.

7/12/2005 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Adi said...

I agree with most of what hokie says here as well as in Tavleen Singh's article. I believe the madrassas do foster fundamentalist tendencies in Muslim youth throughout the world. I am trying to understand why would this be and a few things come to my mind. First, I think the hatred in Islamic world for western nations (specifically US) would have started around the time US started taking active interest in Israel-Arab conflict, Afghan occupation and other Middle-east crises. In such atmosphere it would have been very easy for the clerics and mullahs to incite the youth to rise against US policing of the world on the name of nationalism and religion. That said I believe all religions tend to discredit the other religions and proclaim only their religion as the superior one. This however is not that big of a problem as long as it does not teach you to be violent. All religions want to convert people of other religions to their own and I don't see anything wrong with it as long as they do it without force and false information.

7/12/2005 1:57 PM  
Anonymous Another Hokie said...

Maulana Mulayam and the Communist Mullas of India are turning a blind eye to this activities of Islamics for their own political gains. In our war against Islamic terrorism, we need to defeat people like Mulayam and the Communists first.

8/08/2005 10:01 PM  

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