Was this madrasa intended to teach violent jihad or not? “Islamic school furor,” from the Sacramento Bee, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
Supporters of the center envision a small elementary school that embraces traditional Islamic values, a gathering place for Muslim women who are otherwise sequestered at home, a playground, a library and a site for worship.
“There’s a huge need for it,” said Pamela Parvez, a Lodi mother of seven who makes an 80-mile round-trip drive each weekday to ferry her fourth-grader to an Islamic school in Sacramento.
But federal attorneys and agents, mounting a counterterrorism offensive in Lodi, saw a darker future for the Farooqia Islamic Center. They have alleged in court that the facility’s secret mission may have been to recruit and groom American Muslims for the jihad – the holy war against enemies of Islam.
In testimony at an immigration court hearing Aug. 9, FBI agent Gary Schaaf compared the Lodi school to militant madrassahs – Muslim seminaries – in Pakistan: “Our investigation has come across information that the (planned Lodi) madrassah is part of a long-term plan … during which students would be spotted and assessed and maybe eventually be ready to commit acts of violence in the U.S.”
Supporters of the Farooqia Islamic Center emphatically deny any connection with terrorism.
“The intent was for the school to teach kindergarten through fourth grade,” said Taj Khan, a leader in Lodi’s large Pakistani community and member of the center’s board of directors.
“It was to be an independent charter school licensed by the state. How could it be a terrorist school? A 5-year-old terrorist? It is mind-boggling. God help the FBI if they think that right under the noses of the community such a thing could be established.”
The FBI will not elaborate on its allegations, saying the investigation continues.