[QODLink]
Riz Khan
Madrassa reform in Pakistan
What role do Pakistan's religious schools play in creating the Taliban fighters of tomorrow?
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2010 14:29 GMT



Watch part two

What role do Pakistan's madrassas play in creating the Taliban fighters of tomorrow?

From the Middle Ages through to the 16th century, such religious schools were considered the bastion of Islamic higher education, making breakthroughs in mathematics, science and the humanities.

But today, madrassas have been labelled by the West as "incubators of violent extremism" and institutions that breed future terrorists.

More than ever before, attendance at madrassas is increasing, as many Pakistanis see religious schools as a better - and free - educational alternative to inadequate public schools.

Although the US government and aid groups have been working to improve secular schools, some say not enough is being done to assist religious ones. At the same time, negative Western perceptions of the madrassa system have created a schism in US-Muslim relations.

So how much do madrassas contribute to Islamic extremism, and what should be done to reform religious education in Pakistan?

Joining us to discuss this topic is Azhar Hussain, the vice-president for Preventive Diplomacy at the International Centre for Religion and Diplomacy, and Qamar-ul Huda, a senior programme officer for Religion and Peacemaking at the United States Institute of Peace.

This episode of the Riz Khan show aired from Wednesday, December 23.

Source:
Al Jazeera
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Featured
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.