This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Pakistan's Islamic Schools Fill Void, but Fuel Militancy

Pakistan's Islamic Schools Fill Void, but Fuel Militancy - Comments

Stephen Fagg's Avatar Comment 1 by Stephen Fagg

Well guys, this is our problem, how are we going to fix it£ If we don't, we will know what it is like to live in the dark ages, almost what it is like in the very poor ares of the middle east that are dominated by Islam, submission. I fear that these militant faith leaders could motivate these children very easily to kill other religious groups and committ genocide.

Mon, 04 May 2009 07:00:00 UTC | #356012

joe72's Avatar Comment 2 by joe72

This is headlines, first article on the NYT Kindle edition this morning. Hats off to the NYT for giving it good coverage.

Just goes to show, basic education in reason is a global problem that we all share. We need an international fund to help provide basic universal elementary level school eduction. Non-religous education should be a basic human right.

Mon, 04 May 2009 07:27:00 UTC | #356014

Valerie B's Avatar Comment 3 by Valerie B

Here's what one Greg Mortensen is doing to address the problem....

Mon, 04 May 2009 07:30:00 UTC | #356015

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 4 by Richard Dawkins

Please watch the video 'Children of the Taliban' on this page of the NY Times. It will make your blood run cold.


Mon, 04 May 2009 07:32:00 UTC | #356017

canatheist's Avatar Comment 5 by canatheist

Education goes hand in hand with economic development. It has always been the poor and uneducated that are the victims of religious zealotry.
The battle cannot be won on the fields of philosophy and scientific truths. We (the developed world) need to provide economic aid with specific terms to focus the funds on secular education. Even it is with Countries we don't share political or ideological beliefs with.
At the risk of sounding overly solcialist, it;s time to share the wealth, for our own sake as mch as theirs.

Mon, 04 May 2009 07:39:00 UTC | #356018

SilentX's Avatar Comment 6 by SilentX

Here's what one Greg Mortensen is doing to address the problem....

Mr. Mortensen has visited my town before.
A cool guy who has lead an interesting life.

Mon, 04 May 2009 07:49:00 UTC | #356021

Aztek's Avatar Comment 7 by Aztek

I watched the 'Children of the Taliban' as Richard recommended.

Horrible. Just horrible. I've never been religious, I've never been indoctrinated to a faith, I've never been bashed with a Bible or other religious story books. So watching videos like this one shouldn't bring back any painful memories of such things, as it does for so many others who have suffered from childhood indoctrination.

And still, watching videos like this, or movies like Jesus Camp, brings tears to my eyes. It hurts to watch things like that, to see what kids have to go through because of the faith of adults. It's mental torture captured on film. In no other case are we allowed to shove shit down kids' throats like that, except when it comes to religion.

Mon, 04 May 2009 08:12:00 UTC | #356030

the way's Avatar Comment 8 by the way

Comment #372743 by Richard Dawkins

Please watch the video 'Children of the Taliban' on this page of the NY Times. It will make your blood run cold

Shocking and sinister.
The two main characters (young men) were so far gone that they did not seem to be aware of what they were saying or doing (eg, rocking to the tune of the koran whenever it flitted through their empty minds). I doubt psychotropic drugs could bend a mind as much as that.

Mon, 04 May 2009 08:49:00 UTC | #356038

black wolf's Avatar Comment 9 by black wolf

How can one reverse such a state of mind? Reverse Pavlovian conditioning? Yell at them every time they cite the Koran? Surely calm argumentation cannot reach any cognitive level of thought anymore.

Mon, 04 May 2009 09:04:00 UTC | #356044

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 10 by NewEnglandBob

This is nothing new. It has gone on in Pakistan for a long time. Saudi Arabia and some other Islamic countries are about the same.

Mon, 04 May 2009 09:07:00 UTC | #356045

DamnDirtyApe's Avatar Comment 11 by DamnDirtyApe

Mon, 04 May 2009 09:09:00 UTC | #356048

Dr. Strangegod's Avatar Comment 12 by Dr. Strangegod

We (the developed world) need to provide economic aid with specific terms to focus the funds on secular education.
Good. Freaking. Luck.

Not that it's not a fine idea, but I think it speaks to the root of our problem. We somehow think that we can send billions of dollars over to other countries and let their leaders dole it out appropriately. I challenge anyone to provide an example in which this has actually worked, all by itself. There are two, maybe three, ways to deal with such a problem: 1) leave Pakistan to solve, or not, its own problems, and accept the consequences that may bring to us and the rest of the world, 2) completely take over the country and create an educational and judicial infrastructure. One. Or. The. Other. No action, or drastic action. This half-assed semi-involvement only perpetuates bad behavior, from the villagers to the legislators. One possible third option would be to have corporate NGO's go in and directly spend money on building schools, etc. But I haven't thought that through very much, and I'm sure there are reasons why that would not work.

NOTE: I recently happened upon a State Department recruitment page. Do you think they'll take me?

Mon, 04 May 2009 09:30:00 UTC | #356053

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 13 by Stafford Gordon

The religious leader dissembled with alacrity; he's murdering children and seems to delight in it; how can anyone negotiate with someone like that?


Mon, 04 May 2009 09:38:00 UTC | #356055

ahmunnaeetchoo's Avatar Comment 14 by ahmunnaeetchoo

Watched that video. I'm in shock.

Mon, 04 May 2009 09:47:00 UTC | #356059

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 15 by mordacious1

I'm not shocked by the video. Religion always preys on the poor, the young, the sick, the fearful.. They've perfected it over centuries.

Mon, 04 May 2009 10:09:00 UTC | #356069

Cartomancer's Avatar Comment 16 by Cartomancer

So where does the money come from to pay for the madrassas then? If the problem is woeful lack of funding for secular primary education then why can these religious schools get enough money not only to "teach" children (if such it can be called), but to feed and house them as well? Who gives them this money, and why can it not be put into proper schools instead? Are there wealthy islamic organisations in the area who bankroll the madrassas? Where do they get their money from? Tithes? Is it feudal lords or tribal warlords? Surely not the taliban themselves? Is it international money from somewhere like Saudi Arabia?

Mon, 04 May 2009 10:13:00 UTC | #356073

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 17 by mordacious1

Here is something else that really pisses me off. U.S. troops in Afghanistan being told to "hunt down people for jesus". This is in direct disobedience to U.S. policy in the region.

Mon, 04 May 2009 10:13:00 UTC | #356074

notinlist's Avatar Comment 18 by notinlist

The video paints a horrible picture. I am in doubt about the future there. You cannot identify a taliban if he don't want to be identified. And they walk village by village. One village cannot resist. The police/army does not know who to shoot at.

Wondering about the solution. Maybe the army should walk house by house and collect all weapons and explosives and maintain a hard front line. Kill anyone immediately who carries any weapon without military or police uniform. They are powerless if there is no weapon in their hands. Maybe this idea is rude and has collateral damage, but I think it is better than bombing which is counterproductive too.

The police/army has more resources at the moment, but it is not granted forever. They are losing relative manpower quickly, and material resources will change accordingly.

Mon, 04 May 2009 10:15:00 UTC | #356075

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 19 by mordacious1


When you buy a gallon of gas, some of that money goes to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are well known for funding these radical madrassas around the islamic world.

Mon, 04 May 2009 10:16:00 UTC | #356076

DamnDirtyApe's Avatar Comment 20 by DamnDirtyApe

19. Comment #372803 by mordacious1 on May 4, 2009 at 11:16 am

Another reason to own a bicycle.

Mon, 04 May 2009 10:36:00 UTC | #356085

Stephen Fagg's Avatar Comment 21 by Stephen Fagg

Perhaps they get the money from the mountains of money that we pour into the region by buying oil. These very primitive people used to be brutal and kill each other, now they are much more wealthy brutal, primitive people that still want to kill each other and us.

Mon, 04 May 2009 10:49:00 UTC | #356091

friendlypig's Avatar Comment 22 by friendlypig

Sickening video.

So the money that Pakistan should be spending on education goes on developing nuclear weapons, and the outside world provides aid that is no where enough to provide education, and in 10 years or less, if this carries on, the Taliban will be in control. Nice prospect.

Mon, 04 May 2009 10:51:00 UTC | #356093

ods15's Avatar Comment 23 by ods15

When you buy a gallon of gas, some of that money goes to Saudi Arabia

Phew, good thing I buy my gas in liters...

But seriously, wow, that video was simply incredible... I have to give them points for being honest, but it only makes it more insane that they truly aren't even ashamed of their ideas, they are proud of them...

By the way, an incredible thing to think about - as upset as we at the adults for doing these horrible things to children, bear in mind that they too were children once, and probably received similar treatment. It's a vicious, and incredibly strong, cycle.

Edit: (when I say incredible, I don't necessarily mean it in a positive sense. I might not be using the word correctly...)

Mon, 04 May 2009 11:11:00 UTC | #356100

Sciros's Avatar Comment 24 by Sciros

When you buy a gallon of gas, some of that money goes to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis are well known for funding these radical madrassas around the islamic world.
I think technically by then the Saudis will already have the money for that oil. Whether the US will buy less oil from Saudi Arabia (and other less-than-awesome nations) if people start using less gasoline in their automobiles... I really don't know how those contracts work.

We get more oil from Canada than from Saudi Arabia, interestingly. Also the most gains in the fastest time stand to be made in the airline industry and shipping industry, where there is already infrastructure in place to make widespread changes quickly. If the airline industry wanted to, it could go from using jet fuel to hydrogen fuel cells far quicker than the automobile industry could go to either hydrogen fuel cells or go fully electric.

The energy used to generate that electricity and create those fuel cells... I really don't mind going all-out nuclear.

Anyway there have got to be smarter, more effective ways to bring about change (and hurt the Saudis' bottom line a bit in the process) than pushing for more and more people to go to hybrid vehicles, etc. The latter doesn't hurt, provided the people can afford a new car at all, but the gains are woefully small in the grand scheme of things.

What I find confusing is why BP/Exxon/Marathon/etc. are not pushing for a technology shift themselves, while they are in the best position to do it. If the energy giants orchestrate the shift, they will remain energy giants. Perhaps they are waiting to see what energy tech will make the most sense to invest in on a global scale. But anyway I think where we should focus is airlines and shipping.

Mon, 04 May 2009 11:42:00 UTC | #356108

Gregg Townsend's Avatar Comment 25 by Gregg Townsend

25. Comment #372837 by Sciros

Alternatives to heating oil as well. I understand, as far as the U.S. goes, this is a major consumer of oil.

Mon, 04 May 2009 12:06:00 UTC | #356114

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 26 by mordacious1


Every time you buy 3.79 liters you're getting a gallon, so you're not off the hook. :)

Mon, 04 May 2009 12:11:00 UTC | #356116

Sciros's Avatar Comment 27 by Sciros

Gregg, that's where AGW comes in :-P

Mon, 04 May 2009 12:12:00 UTC | #356117

Gregg Townsend's Avatar Comment 28 by Gregg Townsend

28. Comment #372847 by Sciros

[laugh] That's good, AGW as an alternative to home heating issues. Wow, think of the Natural Gas we'll save here in the west!

I tip my hat to you...very witty.


Oh, and Sci. How do you think the Bulls/Celtic series will go down in NBA history? I think it should be quite high on the list of most entertaining duels. :D

Mon, 04 May 2009 12:19:00 UTC | #356119

Sciros's Avatar Comment 29 by Sciros

Hmmm regarding the Bulls/Celtics... yeah as far as entertaining first-round series, it's definitely up there. Though IMO the entertainment was mostly because the teams sucked too bad to close each other out properly, not because they were both good and evenly matched. Terrible defense and terrible shooting, bad shots that luckily made it in, a bunch of missed free throws that should've sealed the game every time, etc. Joakim Noah averaged something like 30 failed dunks per game. Most of the players' stats, given how many minutes they averaged, were hilariously bad. I might write up a bit about it for slamdumb.

Mon, 04 May 2009 12:30:00 UTC | #356124

Gregg Townsend's Avatar Comment 30 by Gregg Townsend

--deleted and converted to PM--

Mon, 04 May 2009 12:34:00 UTC | #356125