Here is yet another illustration of the folly of the Administration’s toeing the PC line on Islam and jihad. They admit that “there is a risk that they will be vulnerable to radical Islamic preachers,” but they are leaving it up to the Afghan governor to “try” to “ensure that there is some sort of control over the curriculum, to ensure that radical Islam is not being fomented through these schools.” But who is checking on the governor himself? Are their heads so stuffed with Esposito/Armstrong whitewash that they assume that it’s only a remote possibility that jihadists will take over these madrassas? Are they really so utterly ignorant of the mindset of the jihadists that they actually think that refurbishing mosques will win over hearts and minds? Yes, of course they are. Here, mutatis mutandis, is an explanation of why that will never, never work.
By Gethin Chamberlain in the Sunday Telegraph, with thanks to Dane:
American forces in Afghanistan are building madrassas in an attempt to persuade parents not to send their children across the border to Pakistan for instruction at hard-line religious schools.
Work has started on two “super-madrassas” in Paktika, which borders Pakistan, and more are planned. The American government is also paying for the refurbishment of mosques in the area, in the hope of winning over religious leaders. The coalition has been under growing pressure over the deaths of civilians and American military commanders say they hope the moves will convince Afghans – many of whom rely on madrassas to provide bed and board for their children – that they are on the same side.
“We are saying that we respect their culture and religion,” said naval commander Eduardo Fernandez, the man in charge of American aid efforts in the Sharana district of Paktika. “We have to give the religious leaders the respect they feel they deserve.”
Each madrassa will accommodate 1,000 boarding pupils, all of them boys.
The US military insists that the schools, which it calls “centres for educational excellence”, will be administered by the Afghan education ministry, but admits there is a risk that they will be vulnerable to radical Islamic preachers. Madrassas in Pakistan have frequently been linked to the indoctrination of young Muslim men who have joined the insurgents in Afghanistan or been trained to become terrorists in the West.
“In Afghan terms it is a madrassa, but those words have baggage and if word gets back to a Western public that we are building madrassas, that is a bad thing,” said Major Jason Smallfield, 37, an American officer in Sharana. “It is a religious school, but it is not a religious education. The governor is trying to ensure that there is some sort of control over the curriculum, to ensure that radical Islam is not being fomented through these schools.”