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Terrorists, Madarsas and Pita Sandwiches
Wednesday December 9, 2015 10:36 PM, Aazeen F. Kirmani,

[Darul Uloom Deoband Press Secretary Maulana Asharaf Usmani: All Madrasas across the country hoist the tricolour. (Photo: PTI)]

Tafsheen Malik, the California shooter who along with her husband killed 14 and injured 21 in San Bardino California, had been educated in a Madrasa in Pakistan. That piece of information was found worthy of headline in national by publications in India as well as abroad. Now neither Malik nor Pakistan is of concern to anyone here. Malik was a killer. Pakistan is a neighbour we would have been better off without. But of every Muslim's utmost concern is the madrasa weather its in Pakistan, in India, in America or on Mars.

Madarsa is an institute of religious instruction. Even though it is not a much preferred destination of education among muslim parents it nevertheless has a socio-cultural identity and associating madrasa with terrorism amounts to associating an entire section of muslims with terrorism. Moreover it is tantamount to equating Islamic ideology with extremism which is as big a lie as it can get.

Madarsa phobia gained prominence in America post 9/11 and the East imported it without questioning and with utmost conviction like almost every thing else Western. Media loves to shower attention on madarsa not because there is any proof to associate madrasas with terrorism but because nothing sells as profitably as Islam bashing. Except maybe Sunny Leone.

Not too long ago Unnao BJP MP Sakhshi Maharaj had said regarding Madrasa, “Education of terrorism is being given in madrasas. They (madrasas)... Are making them terrorists and jihadis....It is not in national interest....Tell me about one Madrasa where the tricolour is hoisted even on 15 August and 26 January."

According to Sachar committee report 3% of Muslim children in India attend madrassa. Is it that 3% of Indian Muslim population is associated with terrorism? Its an outright refutation of logic, empirical data and common sense.

Had 3% Muslim children of extremist ideology been produced in India every year, the condition our country would have been in, is not too tough to imagine.

In the words of Darul Uloom Deoband Press Secretary Maulana Asharaf Usmani, “All Madrasas across the country hoist the tricolour. There is a misconception that Madrasas don’t take part in Independence Day celebrations. We want to show the correct side of the story. Some madrasas do it jointly. We just do not feel the need to show off these celebrations.”

In August 2015 Dargah Aala Hazrat in Bareilly started a course called 'Islam and terrorism'. The subject material of this course consists of original quranic text with genuine translation to be compared with manipulated translation done by terrorists groups like ISIS to twist the message of Quarn according to their needs. The course started at graduate level is a novel concept. The methodology is simple, direct and effective. However this praiseworthy initiative of the madrasa did not get a quarter of the media coverage that Tafsheen Malik's madarsa link got.

Not too long ago fatwa was issued by a top Barelvi cleric against burial prayers for those found associated with terrorism. “Any terrorist who claims to be Muslim is acting against the tenets of Islam. The religion does not propagate violence and shedding of blood of innocent.”

On 19, 2015 in Mumbai around eight prominent Maulanas and Muftis issued a joint statement that emphasized on the need to propagate awareness against ISIS and its anti Islamic inhuman ideology.

Historically too Madrasas have unwavering patriotism. Reshmi Rumal Tahrik (Silky Handkerchief Movement) one of the major freedom movements of early 20th century (1913-1920) was completely in hands of madarsa produced Ulemas. While Madarsa opposition to two nation theory is a relatively better known fact, it is an almost forgotten fact that Jamait Ulema Hind was among the first groups to demand “complete freedom for India”. Maulana Obaidullah Sindhi and Maulana Barkatullah Khan Bhopali, both with deep rooted connection with madrasas, were among the leaders of 'complete freedom for India'. That was at a time when a section of Indians (Muslims and Hindus both) were supporting the British.

Shah Waliullah, Shah Abdul Aziz, Shaikhul Hind Maulana Mahmood Hasan, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani are some of the names of madarsa products who took active part in India's freedom struggle.

”Ulemas played a great role in the independence of the country. The Congress was ready for a partial independence, but we had rejected it. We are surprised when someone raises questions about our integrity,” Maulana Ashraf Usmani of Deoband.

Not that madrasas are flawless. They have their weaknesses. Madarsas are not immune from the general decay of the society.

For all the flaws and faults however madrasas don't breed terrorists. Period.

Malik studied in a madrasa but so had Raja Ram Mohan Roy the great social reformer and Maulana Azad, freedom fighter and India's first education minister .

The media that found Tafsheen Malik's madarsa education worthy of news headline failed to notice that Malik did several other things common with normal, law abiding, peace loving and patriotic citizens. As evident from the photographs clicked by the media vultures who had descended upon Malik and Farook's home days after the attacks, Malik used to hang her clothes by hangers, she cooked in a kitchen using utensils, possessed at least one suitcase and used crib for for her baby. In all probability Malik, the Madarsa alumni also walked on two legs. Going by the Madarsa-Terrorism logic, use of hangers, crib, kitchen, utensils, and walking on two legs are all suspicious activities now.

That also makes the pita sandwich eaten by the couple just before attacking a potentially lethal food!

Time for the Sherlock Holmes of media to establish some vital links!


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