Charles M. Sennott has an interesting article in today's Boston Globe on education in Pakistan. He describes a religious school, or madrassa, where some 10,000 students study the teachings of the Koran. The assistant headmaster, Abdul Rashid Ghazi, sits on the floor with a Koran and a Kalashnikov as he praises Osama bin Laden's call to jihad. He expressed "great pride" that "at least hundreds" of graduates from his school have answered the call to take up arms against U.S. forces in Afghanistan. And he openly described himself and his students as "pro-Taliban."
The students are "absolutely going and those going are justified to fight jihad against U.S. troops. It is a legitimate jihad to fight and kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. . . . We teach that here because it is the accurate teaching of the concept of jihad."
Speaking in perfect English with a hint of a British accent, Ghazi continued, "Osama bin Laden's philosophy is quite logical and consistent with the Koran. If there are any forces attacking your people and your faith, you are justified in attacking in response. In fact, you are obligated to do so."
One Western diplomat said that madrassa was on a list of militant institutions that the Pakistani government has placed under surveillance. President Pervez Musharraf and other Pakistani officials say the countries have cracked down relentlessly on Taliban and al-Qaeda extremists, arresting more than 600 since 2001. Musharraf said in Washington that only 5 percent of the schools in Pakistan are radical, and added "we are moving slowly" against them.
Afghan leaders -- including President Hamid Karzai, during a visit to Washington this week -- have complained angrily that the Pakistanis have not done enough to go after Taliban networks in Pakistan and close radical madrassas. Karzai declared: "Those places have to be closed down."