Date: 4/29/2002


Madarsas: Even as Pakistan controls the jehad factories, we protect them here - III

....................S Gurumurthy

INDIA borders three countries, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, which have intense Islamic terrorist activities. From our security point of view, the developments in these countries are crucial.

First look at the largest Jehadi factory in the world today, that is, Pakistan. Technologically competent modern version of Islamic Jehad against infidels took roots not in Afghanistan as many seem to think. It is in Pakistan. This is how a Pakistani writer describes how Pakistan as a state and as a society built up Jehadi spirit and Jehadi structures.

``The aim was clear. These madarsas had a single function. They were nurseries designed to produce fanatics." "The dragon seeds sown in 2500 madarsas produced a crop of 2,25,000 fanatics ready to kill and die for their faith when ordered to do so by their religious leaders". Says another scholar: "(the) madarsas, religious training schools breed the Taliban mindset and feed the mills of Islamic fundamentalism and militancy". A third one says: In the madarsas, children "are indoctrinated in the military tactics of Jehad."

The situation in Bangladesh is comparable if not worse. This is what Far Eastern Economic Review in its issue dated April 4, 2002, says about the jehad linked madarsas. ``The radicals' ranks are being swelled by 64000 madarsas, or religious schools which have mushroomed in the past decade and are described by a high-ranking civil servant as a "potential time bomb" ....... The madarsas focus on religious instruction and many are funded by proselytising Arab charities as in Pakistan whose madarsas were nurseries for many of Afghanistan's Taliban leaders. Some analysts fear Bangladesh's Madarsas could also become exporters of Islamic revolution.''

The situation in Nepal is as bad. Says the Indian Intelligence report ``Madarsa Nepal Jamia Milia Islamic, Suruchia, Biratnagar is a centre of fundamentalist and anti-India elements. This madarsa runs with funds received from Saudi Arabia..... Maulanas of madarsas keep very close relationship with the officials of Pakistan high commission.... Some madarsas were notorious for having links with Pakistan based terrorist outfits.... Madarsas in border areas are bring used to select and motivate cadres' for Jehad.... Some madarsas also provide shelter to terrorists...... Some of them are caching arms and are promoting anti-India activities. .....Maulana Abdul Rauf Rehamani, of Nazim Madarsa Siraj ul Uloom, Jhandanagar, provides pan Islamic funds to fundamentalist institutions on both sides of the border. Rauf's position as a member of the founding committee of the Muslim World League makes him very resourceful in the matter.'' So goes the report.

So the situation is bad in India and around India. In all four countries these Jehad factories abound. But how do these countries respond to the Madarsa-led Jehad efforts.

The world's largest supplier of Jehadis, Pakistan, is now under pressure from the US to act on madarsas. Pakistan government has started to initiate regulations on madarsas. The Indian Intelligence report says, ``these measures are precipitated due to increasing realisation that Madarsas are an essential cog in the wheel of terrorism.''

In his famous address to Pakistan on January 12, 2002, Musharraf declared ``a new Madari strategy', meaning new deal for madarsas, so that they are brought 'to the mainstream through a better system of education'. The Pakistan President's new strategy includes: first, survey of the 10,000 madarsas (the government has in fact a 21-point questionnaire to elicit information from them); second, registration of all madarsas with big ones being registered at the national level, the medium ones at the provincial level, and the small ones at the district level so that there are no unregistered madarsas at all. In fact the last date for registration was set as March 23, 2002 that is within 10 days of Musharraf's address to the nation; third, an education board has been set up to draw up a curricula for madarsas which will include study of science, maths, English, besides religion and will lead to normal degrees like BA and MA; fourth, the government has also decided to establish model madarsas in three centres.

Likewise in Nepal too, the government decided on January 31, 2002, to regulate madarsas because, according to the Intelligence report, ``these are suspected to be the main breeding ground of terror.'' It mandated similar measures like Pakistan, including directing the registration of all madarsas by March end, 2002, and further directing the madarsas to submit their accounts to the government for scrutiny.

Musharraf himself was a self-confessed Jehadi before September 11, 2001. Even he is scared of the Madarsas, which are Jehad factories. It suited Pakistan so long as the Jehad was targeting India. But the moment the Jehad began explicitly targeting the US, the Jehad factories and Jehadis in Pakistan became a burden and problem for Pakistan, which is just a proxy for the US. So overnight Musharraf changed his colours. He ceased to be a Jehadi. He is now an ex-Jehadi.

But see in comparison what we are doing. If Pakistan is burdened by 10,000 madarsas, we have 30,000 of them here. If there are a million students imbibing Jehad in Pakistani madarsas, we have double that number memorising the religious verses, which mandate Jehad against infidels. Many of these madarsas are undoubtedly linked to terror and terrorists.

This is what the Intelligence Report says in conclusion about the madarsas in India. "Despite the burgeoning suspicion against their ideology and intentions, madarsas continue to proliferate in a haphazard uncontrolled manner. The above developments have serious long-term implications for national security, electoral patterns, pressures and compulsions, particularly since these concentrations are in strategically significant areas.''

Imagine the BJP government enacting a measure against these factories of terror. Like Musharraf has done, for regulating them; for registering them; for making them submit their accounts; for devising a secular curricula for them. Hell will break loose. 'Secularism in danger'. `Pogram against the minorities'. The secular megaphones, the political parties, leaders, the English media will go all out to protect these mills of terror. Even if the Parliament passes a law, the 'secular' President of India will not give his assent. The law passed by the UP legislature asking for the registration of madarsas in border areas was sent to the President who withheld his consent and the law has now lapsed. A secular act indeed by the President!

Lamenting the freedom for these factories of terror in India, the report says, " Interestingly, while regulation of madarsas in India continues to be perfunctory, concrete steps have been taken in neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Nepal. Regulation of these institutions, though controversial is urgently required.''

The story ends. But the madarsa inspired Jehad continues. It will continue as long as the madarsa is free to spread the message of terror, unimpeded and unregulated.

Courtesy: The New Indian Express, Chennai Edition 29.04.