Down with Hate

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 3, 2002 | Go to article overview

Down with Hate


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

We've heard about Pakistan's Islamist religious schools, or Madrassas, where hundreds of thousands of Pakistani boys and young men have been indoctrinated in the hate-based teachings of radical Islam. A goodly chunk of the $600 million in economic aid the Bush administration has designated for Pakistan this year is for re-establishing that nation's school system, which both governments now recognize as having long been a state-sponsored, terrorist training ground. But a radicalizing Islamic school system turns out not to be exclusive to any one country.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Netherlands is investigating 10 of the country's 32 state-sponsored Islamic elementary schools after a Dutch intelligence study found that many of these schools are funded "by what it called an intolerant Islamist foundation in Saudi Arabia and a society it said is controlled by Libyan intelligence." The intelligence report also says that "a number of the schools are run by boards with contacts to militant Islamic organizations such as Hamas." The government insists it's not attacking Islamic education, but rather seeking to guarantee that Islamic schools, like other government-sponsored schools, "work toward the integration of minorities into Dutch society." (With a population of 16 million, the Netherlands is home to some 800,000 Muslims.) This rationale may say more about the politeness of the Dutch than the blamelessness of Islamic education, because the more we learn about Islamic schools, abroad and at home, the more at odds their all-too-often intolerant curricula seem to be with the tolerant societies in which they exist.

The Washington Post, for example, reports on a couple of Washington-area Islamic schools, including the Al-Qalam All-Girls School, where maps of the Middle East simply omit the state of Israel, and the Islamic Saudi Academy, where several students told a reporter "they are taught that it is better to shun and even to dislike Christians, Jews and Shiite Muslims." Some teachers "focus more on hatred," one teen-ager said. …

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