Friday, January 12, 2007

The 64,000 dollar question

Shoaib Choudhury writes for The Jewish Week in New York.

According to latest estimates, there are at least 64,000 madrassas in Bangladesh, most of which are beyond any form of governmental control or supervision. Moderate Muslims note that the Taliban was born in similar madrassas in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province and in Afghan refugee camps, where they promoted a new radical and extremely militant model for Islamic revolutions.
As he notes, often they are the only means of education for the poor. It would be interesting to know what skills the madrassas develop in their young charges, apart from more or less questionable interpretations of the Koran. This is an example of Saudi soft power, one we would do well to imitate and compete with. One of the things I have heard nothing about in the latest Washington strategy changes is the use of American soft power. In the long run, it is going to be more important than the use of the military. Is the White House developing a strategy to deal with the mindspace? That is, after all, the main battlefield in this Long War.

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