View Full Version : Bid to Transform Afghan Madrassas

01-11-2008, 09:09 PM
BBC, 11 Jan 08: Bid to Transform Afghan Madrassas (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/newsnight/7182927.stm)

The Afghan government has changed its policy on madrassas (http://afghandevnews.wordpress.com/2007/03/27/afghanistan-taking-back-madrassas-education-minister/), the religious schools that inspired a generation of fundamentalists who became the Taliban.

Rather than trying to freeze them out, it is trying to bring them into the state system, providing they widen their syllabus to teach other subjects.

The Education Minister Hanif Atmar (http://www.afghan-web.com/politics/cabinet_members.html#education) says: "We are critical of policies in the past. Actually it was a result of those policies to exclude these madrassas, keep them on the margin of the society, and then entirely hand them over to the fundamentalists.".....
For those new to the subject: Islamic Religious Schools, Madrasas: Background (http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RS21654.pdf)

01-12-2008, 11:19 PM
Not a bad idea, but must be done with caution.

--traditionally, Afghan Islam has been quite tolerant and opposed to Wahhabism, and which was banned for a time in the 19th century. Majority of Afghans used to consider Wahhabism a heretical sect. However, last 25 years, Wahhabism - and its local variant, Deobandism - have infected many Afghans, esp. among the under 40 club;

--Expanding the curriculum w/o taking out the radicalism is more dangerous: Pakistan tried it, and radicals used the graduates to infiltrate the government at all ranks since some level of basic educ. was required. The Pakis treated the madrasa diploma as equal to a high school diploma;

--Afghans need to teach Islam as it was in Afghanistan to the new generation, but its a tall order. Older generations are fading, and the middle gen knows little but radicalism and war;

--The bigger problem are the Deobandi and ahl-i hadith madrasas in Pakistan, and which have mushroomed since 1980 (change in Pak law) and oiled by Gulf cash. They still spout garbage and provide recruits to Taliban and AQ