Madressas as terror schools: The myth and the reality
September 11, 2001 brought madressas under the microscope. The myth is that they are factories manufacturing jihadi fighters to unleash on the world. The teaching of Islam in madressas has been depicted as teaching extremism. Persuading students that jihad against infidels was the duty of each Muslim succeeded in changing the mindset. The madressas proved to be in the right place at the right time, with a ready supply of young males. But, these are a minute percentage of all madressas. Most are what they have always been - educational institutions trying to teach children who are poor and unable to afford schools in urban areas, or simply the only educational institutions available in rural areas. Education is a major social responsibility of the state to provide for its citizens. The Government of Pakistan has not been proactive in providing education, so the madressas provide an alternative. I look at areas to see if the expansion of madressas coincides with the lack of educational public facilities. Data is not readily available, and the instability in the country precludes the visiting and interviewing of madressas' administrators, students and parents in the northern areas of Pakistan. Therefore, my hypothesis is that the madressas are a parallel education system to the broken public and lucrative private school systems, and that, though a number of them do produce terrorists, by and large, the vast majority are a better alternative to no education at all. The conclusions that I reached are supported and substantiated by my research. The responses to the problem should therefore be changed in order to be more effective and efficient.