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February 19, 2007

Inside The Madrasa


The suicide bombing of a courthouse in Pakistan this past weekend has once again put Islamic militancy in the headlines, as have attacks and bombings in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Many observers have pointed to the way boys are educated in the Muslim world as a source of such extremism.  The schools, or madrasas, are widely perceived to be training grounds for terrorists.

In addition, recent media reports have sensationalized the fact that Barack Obama was educated in a madrasa, or an Islamic school.

Ebrahim Moosa was educated in a madrasa, and has spent the past year visiting madrasas around the world. He feels that the word "madrasa" has become demonized in the west, yet he admits that the world of the madrasa is not without its problems.

In places like Pakistan, some sectors do feel threatened, and hence they are encouraging young men from the madrasas to join the resistance. This is in some sense also the clash that many people have been predicting-although I do not want to subscribe to the "Clash of Civilizations". But there is a confrontation going on… For many people there it is a life and death confrontation over what they see as their world and their history being overrun. 
-Ebrahim Moosa 


Sara Veldhuizen Stealy is from a small town in Iowa, and had always thought herself to be urbane and confident.  

As a communications and theater student, she went to London and by chance bumped into her idol, Ralph Fiennes.  Not once but three times.  Each time she saw him, Sara - to her own horror - froze.

I'd like to imagine that if I saw him again … hopefully he'd be completely swept away by my sophistication and then of course we'd run off and get married. Maybe.
-Sara Veldhuizen Stealy

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