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Jas
01 Aug 05,, 21:16
found this article on a Sunday Times Site.......


The Pakistan connection by Christina Lamb

It was a chill autumn day and a strange murmuring sound was coming from inside the building. At first I thought it was the wind that was whipping up angry columns of dust around the white arched courtyard.
Then the teacher let me peer through the door to see hundreds of boys in white pyjamas and prayer caps sat on the floor hunched over large books and rocking back and forth. The sound was their muttering as they tried to memorise all 77,934 words of the Koran.


This was Darul Uloom Haqqania or House of Knowledge, one of Pakistan’s leading madrasahs based in Akora Khattak in the North West Frontier Province. The Eton of budding Islamic warriors, its 2,500 places are heavily oversubscribed. Upstairs in the hall leading to the Library of Fatwas, a roll of honour lists most of the Taliban leadership as alumni as well as an honorary degree for Mullah Omar.
Madrasah is the Arabic word for religious school and the only lessons were Arabic, Islamic jurisprudence and learning the hadith, the sayings of the Prophet. Students are also taught the proper size for a beard and appropriate trouser length. There is no science, maths, literature or other languages and everything was by rote learning.
“Why do we need discussion?" asked my guide Rashid, the deputy director, when I questioned this. “What is written is written.”
For one used to a western lifestyle, the students — aged from five to their twenties — seemed to inhabit an almost prison-like life. Up at 4am for the first of five prayers a day, they sleep on thin mats on the floor in unheated dormitories.
Greying washed shirts hung stiff on a line outside. The only posters on the walls were of a Kalashnikov-wielding Osama Bin Laden on a charging white horse. A large boom box stood on the floor but the tapes alongside were of sermons from radical imams.
The teenagers I spoke to were unable to do simple calculations and had never heard of dinosaurs. They laughed uproariously at the idea that man could walk on the moon.
When I asked what they wanted to be when they graduated, they talked of becoming mullahs. One or two spoke of embracing shahadat, martyrdom, and of going to paradise with its 72 virgins, almost as though this world was just a grade to get through.
My visit was short — as a woman, although clad in an all-encompassing burqa, I had been warned I might be stoned and my questions were clearly provoking some hostility.
But I have known the director Maulana Sami-ul Haq since I lived in Pakistan in the late 1980s and he waved me to a plastic chair in his car port and offered Pepsi, brought by his son Osama. The maulana explained that his father had founded the school before independence in 1947, stating that “we don’t have money or guns to drive out the British but through education we have the power to influence and raise an entire generation against them”.
The only foreign students I had seen were central Asian, Indonesian and north African, but the maulana boasted that among the thousands of applicants every year were British students.
It was in one such madrasah near the old Mughal city of Lahore that Shahzad Tanweer, the Aldgate bomber, spent time at the beginning of this year after growing up in Leeds. It was a trip from which friends say the cricket-mad 22-year old returned a changed man.
According to Pakistani intelligence sources, this was his second trip to the country. Mohammed Sidique Khan, the primary school teaching assistant and Edgware Road bomber, is said to have made regular trips to the country, and the youngest suicide bomber, 18-year-old Hasib Hussain who blew up the No 30 bus, also visited, ironically sent by his father to learn some discipline.
“Yet again with 7/7 we see all roads lead to Pakistan,” said M J Gohel, director of the London-based Asia- Pacific Foundation that monitors terrorism.

He pointed out that all six of the most senior Al-Qaeda leaders captured so far were living in Pakistan. Richard Reid, the failed shoe-bomber, had spent time there as had Saajid Badat, the second would-be shoe-bomber who was arrested in Gloucestershire. Pakistan was the base for Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the British-born LSE student sentenced to death for beheading Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter.
Now it seems that the Leeds suicide bombers were probably trained and perhaps masterminded from Pakistan.



“This cannot be just coincidence,” said Gohel. “What it shows is that in spite of General Musharraf’s stated policy of supporting the war on terror, Pakistan still seems to be the epicentre for global jihad.”
Yesterday Musharraf urged authorities to root out extremism, ban extremist gatherings and confiscate material that preaches hate. “We owe it to our future generations to rid the country of the malaise of extremism,” he told a gathering of law enforcement officials.
Those who believe that Musharraf may be saying one thing to the West, but doing another, cite as evidence his failure to regulate what goes on in some madrasahs.
Madrasahs are not a new phenomenon — like church schools in Britain, for centuries they were the main source of learning in the Islamic world. But during the Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union, madrasahs in Pakistan mushroomed, funded by Saudi money, and became less concerned about scholarship and more concerned with making war on infidels.
Aside from teaching the Koran, some added how to use a Kalashnikov to their curriculum, something I first witnessed at a religious school for young boys in Baluchistan in 1988. When the Taliban movement emerged in the 1990s, these so-called “universities of jihad” provided thousands of foot soldiers. Maulana Sami-ul Haq boasts of how he would declare holidays and send his students off to fight whenever he got the call from Mullah Omar.
It was after September 11 that the international spotlight started to focus on madrasahs when it emerged that they were sending students to fight Americans in Afghanistan. Colin Powell, then US secretary of state, denounced them as “breeding grounds for fundamentalists and terrorists”.
Lack of regulation means that nobody knows how many madrasahs are in Pakistan today. There are said to be at least 13,000, educating 1.5m students. Mehmood Ahmed Ghazi, former minister for religious affairs, said he believed that only 1% were involved in any kind of violence. This would still mean 130 schools.
For millions of Pakistani mothers, they have no alternative but to send their children to madrasahs if they want any form of education. Pakistan is one of only 12 countries in the world to spend less than 2% of GDP on education. Less than half the population are literate and many poor families end up sending their children into bonded labour, making bricks or sewing footballs used in western playing fields.
A study being completed in America will show that the real problem at madrasahs is not local students, who tend to have a limited world view, but western-educated Muslims who then attend them and become highly radical.
The lack of regulation by Pakistani authorities means that nobody knows how many foreigners attend but US intelligence puts the number as “at least a few thousand”.
However, Professor Akbar Ahmed, chairman of Islamic studies at the American University in Washington and former Pakistan high commissioner in Britain, believes it is a mistake to focus too much on the influence of madrasahs.
“I think what you are seeing is this new generation of British Muslims, especially with a South Asian/Pakistani background, who have grown up suspended between two cultures and not really feeling they have dominated either,” he said. “So while they play cricket, enjoy western pop music and speak with a northern accent, they are still susceptible to notions of Islam ‘under siege’.”
There is mounting evidence that since September 11 a main Al-Qaeda strategy has been to focus on would-be Islamic militants in Britain. Pakistan security forces are investigating links between Shahzad Tanweer and militant groups such as Jaish-e- Mohammed, Lashkar-i-Toiba and Harakat al-Ansar, all of which are active in Britain.
Banned in Pakistan in 2002 after pressure from the United States, they simply changed names and continued operating. In their literature they boast of raising large amounts of funds in Britain and recruit among young men of south Asian origin, born and raised here. These men make ideal operatives because they fit in and do not appear on the radar screen of security services.
Before the attacks on London, members of Islamic extremist groups in Pakistan would often boast that the next wave of mujaheddin would come from Britain.



“Brother, you will soon see real mujaheddin in action,” said Abu Qasim, a member of Al-Muhajiroun, a London-based extremist group, recently. “They will not come from Afghanistan or Pakistan. They will come from the heart of infidels. They will come from London.”
According to Pakistani intelligence, in 2003 Tanweer travelled to his family’s home town of Faisalabad and met Osama Nazir, who was arrested last year for the 2002 bombing of a church in Islamabad that killed five people, including two Americans.
It is believed that Tanweer may also have attended Muridke, a vast training camp just outside Lahore run by Lashkar-i-Toiba. I visited the heavily guarded location two years ago, after Musharraf had assured America that all such camps had been closed down, and found it still operating.
The Pakistani connection to the London bombings came as no surprise to Husain Haqqani, a former Pakistan government adviser and now scholar at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington.
“Just as 9/11 was a wake-up call to the US that 15 out of the 19 hijackers were Saudi, even though Saudi was supposed to be its great ally, so 7/7 should be a wake-up call to the western world about Pakistan,” he said.

The Watcher
04 Aug 05,, 23:34
What are you trying to prove with this bias article?

Adux
05 Aug 05,, 01:58
What are you trying to prove with this bias article?



any article against pakistan is a baised one...nice logic.. u do have an open mind

Su-47MKI
05 Aug 05,, 06:39
typical Madrassah education. Anyone or anything that says a word against Pakistan is a kafir. That is why Al Jazeera is a channel of kafirs...since it regularly airs anti-Pakistani documentarys.

667medic
05 Aug 05,, 06:52
typical Madrassah education. Anyone or anything that says a word against Pakistan is a fakir. That is why Al Jazeera is a channel of Fakirs...since it regularly airs anti-Pakistani documentarys.
Hey man, a non-believer is a KAFIR/MUNAFIQUE. Fakir usually refers to a godman. Churchill had once remarked that Gandhiji was a half naked fakir... :mad:

Su-47MKI
05 Aug 05,, 07:07
my bad...sorry about the mix up