Pakistan's Islamic Schools Fill Void, but Fuel Militancy
By SABRINA TAVERNISE - NY TIMES
Added: Sun, 03 May 2009 23:00:00 UTC
Thanks to Catalin for the link.
MOHRI PUR, Pakistan — The elementary school in this poor village is easy to mistake for a barn. It has a dirt floor and no lights, and crows swoop through its glassless windows. Class size recently hit 140, spilling students into the courtyard.
But if the state has forgotten the children here, the mullahs have not. With public education in a shambles, Pakistanâs poorest families have turned to madrasas, or Islamic schools, that feed and house the children while pushing a more militant brand of Islam than was traditional here.
The concentration of madrasas here in southern Punjab has become an urgent concern in the face of Pakistanâs expanding insurgency. The schools offer almost no instruction beyond the memorizing of the Koran, creating a widening pool of young minds that are sympathetic to militancy.
In an analysis of the profiles of suicide bombers who have struck in Punjab, the Punjab police said more than two-thirds had attended madrasas.
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