"Pakistan’s poorest families have turned to Islamic schools that feed and house children while pushing a militant brand of Islam."
This article describes the link between some madrasas (Islamic Schools) and the growth of militant Islamic Fundamentalism. Rashid Ahmed writes about the same connection in "Descent in to Chaos," as does Tom Friedman in "Hot, Flat, and Crowded," and Greg Mortenson in "Three Cups of Tea." Basically, it is believed by many that the majority of suicide bombers go through extremist madrasas. I specify extremist madrasas because not all madrasas are teaching a militant brand of Islam. In fact the majority of them, do not. Unfortunately, there are many madrasas that teach little more than memorization of the Koran. While only a minority of madrasas is directly linked to militant movements, the article posits that a singular focus on conservative interpretation of the Koran is a "stepping stone" to more militant ideals. Ultimately, fundamentalist madrasas are only a symptom of a more systematic failure of the government in Pakistan to provide education and basic welfare to the millions of Pakistanis. In fact, it is widely believed that madrasas have long been purposely supported by the Pakistani government (with help from the U.S. government during the cold war) as an unofficial military force to support Pakistani interests in Kashmir and Afghanistan. Nowadays, many madrasas are funded by money from Saudi Arabia. If Pakistan had spent less money on the military and more on education, perhaps its stability wouldn't be threatened today by a resurgent Islamic militant movement. My question is, where did the $650 million in non military U.S. aid go? Where is the accountability?
-- The Kettle Rumbles