It is hard to believe the line fed to those of us in the West that Pakistan’s President Musharraf is a “close ally” in the war on terror when you read statements such as this coming from officials in his own government. From the Khaleej Times:
JIHAD is not being taught as a subject at any of the religious schools or madaris in Pakistan, says Mohammed Illyas Dar, Joint Secretary Haj Affairs at Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Briefing a delegation of UAE-based journalists at Madinatul Hujajj in Islamabad, the official said that 40 per cent of madaris in the country are also teaching modern subjects in addition to religious ones. He said that madaris were not new to Pakistan. These madaris had been functioning here before the Partition. During the British rule in the subcontinent these madaris were teaching same religious syllabi as now but no one raised any hue and cry about it.
The official said that it was after 9/11 that United States and Western countries got worried about functioning of these madaris.
He said 99 per cent of the terrorists and extremists arrested after 9/11 were not students of madaris in Pakistan. They mostly belonged to Arab, African and even some Western countries and they were also educated in their own countries.
He said that Western media was giving conflicting reports about the number of madaris in Pakistan. He said there are around 12,000 madaris in Pakistan while Western media also counts maktabs where children are taught the Holy Quran as madaris.
He said it was wrong to blame Pakistan for spreading terrorism which was itself a victim of such incidents. He said foreign agencies are involved in most incidents of sectarian violence in the country. “It is unimaginable for a Muslim to attack a mosque or an imambargah. Those who are involved in such incidents are not students of madaris.”
About foreign-funding of these madaris, he said there was now a strict check on such fundings now. “They cannot get any foreign funding without approval of Pakistan government.” To a question about President General Pervez Musharraf’s decision to expel foreign students from madaris, the joint secretary said that around 5,000 students would have to leave the country after implementation of this decision.
Of course, Mr. Dar’s hopelessly ignorant statements stand in stark contrast to the massive body of evidence which implicates Pakistani madrassas in the promulgation of jihadist ideology, a phenomenon frequently covered on Jihadwatch.