This New York Times story contains the revelation that the head of Pakistan’s spy service knew where Osama bin Laden was hiding, posted here yesterday. It is also important, however, to note that reporter Carlotta Gall also recounts her visit to one of the madrasa that the Taliban run. The deputy head of the madrasa tells her: “We are educating the students in the Quran, and in the Quran it is written that it is every Muslim’s obligation to wage jihad. All we are telling them is what is in the Quran. Then it is up to them to go to jihad.”
We are constantly told that the vast majority of Muslims rejects this understanding of the Qur’an and jihad. It would be refreshing if one of them would be so kind as to explain exactly how the deputy head of the madrasa is misunderstanding the Qur’an and jihad, and teaching his students to do so. But even in the absence of that, it is noteworthy that these Misunderstanders of Islam, airily dismissed as not even being Muslim at all by many Muslims in the West (I recently ran into a prominent U.S. Muslim outside Penn Station in New York; he insisted to me repeatedly in the course of our conversation that the 9/11 hijackers were “not Muslims”), ground their jihad activities squarely in the Qur’an. The Western foreign policy establishment, to say nothing of the mainstream media, steadfastly refuses to take notice of that or face its implications.
“What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden,” by Carlotta Gall for the New York Times, March 19 (thanks to Twostellas):
…After our first day of reporting in Quetta, we noticed that an intelligence agent on a motorbike was following us, and everyone we interviewed was visited afterward by ISI agents. We visited a neighborhood called Pashtunabad, “town of the Pashtuns,” a close-knit community of narrow alleys inhabited largely by Afghan refugees who over the years spread up the hillside, building one-story houses from mud and straw. The people are working class: laborers, bus drivers and shopkeepers. The neighborhood is also home to several members of the Taliban, who live in larger houses behind high walls, often next to the mosques and madrasas they run.
The small, untidy entrance on the street to one of those madrasas, the Jamiya Islamiya, conceals the size of the establishment. Inside, a brick-and-concrete building three stories high surrounds a courtyard, and classrooms can accommodate 280 students. At least three of the suicide bombers we were tracing had been students here, and there were reports of more. Senior figures from Pakistani religious parties and provincial-government officials were frequent visitors, and Taliban members would often visit under the cover of darkness in fleets of S.U.V.s.
We requested an interview and were told that a female journalist would not be permitted inside, so I passed some questions to the Pakistani reporter with me, and he and the photographer went in. The deputy head of the madrasa denied that there was any militant training there or any forced recruitment for jihad. “We are educating the students in the Quran, and in the Quran it is written that it is every Muslim’s obligation to wage jihad,” he said. “All we are telling them is what is in the Quran. Then it is up to them to go to jihad.” He ended the conversation. Classes were breaking up, and I could hear a clamor rising as students burst out of their classrooms. Boys poured out of the gates onto the street. They looked spindly, in flapping clothes and prayer caps, as they darted off on their bikes and on foot, chasing one another down the street.