This here New York Times op-ed is garnering notice today for its insightful discussion and illuminating wisdom on the role of madrassas in Islamic terrorism.
Oops, sorry, I got confused there for a moment-- this editorial is crap:
While madrassas may breed fundamentalists who have learned to recite the Koran in Arabic by rote, such schools do not teach the technical or linguistic skills necessary to be an effective terrorist. Indeed, there is little or no evidence that madrassas produce terrorists capable of attacking the West. And as a matter of national security, the United States doesn't need to worry about Muslim fundamentalists with whom we may disagree, but about terrorists who want to attack us. . . .
Like the view that poverty drives terrorism - a notion that countless studies have debunked - the idea that madrassas are incubating the next generation of terrorists offers the soothing illusion that desperate, ignorant automatons are attacking us rather than college graduates, as is often the case. In fact, two of the terrorists in our study had doctorates from Western universities, and two others were working toward their Ph.D.
Okay, let's take a step back for a moment.
Hmmm. . . because the 9/11 terrorists were somewhat educated, we shouldn't worry about any schools teaching stupid terrorists?
Anyone know how long madrassas have been in business? I've always understood them to be a relatively recent phenomenon (last 15-20 years), thus terrorists above a certain age by definition would never have been exposed to a madrassa education.
Even so, simply because the current generation of terrorist leaders never passed through a madrassa is meaningless to the *next* generation of terrorists that receive their years of education in hatred. Regardless of whether madrassa students go on to become a terrorist or a teamster, how can there be any good in rote learning that Jews are dogs, women are chattel, and Americans the great Satan?
Excuse me, but I'd rather have our enemy illiterate and friendly than angry with a 6th-grade education in evil.
But you see, the authors argue that madrassas don't teach skills directly applicable to skills like bombmaking and head-hacking. Gee, since you guys didn't learn how to build an IED in shop class, well then, you get a pass.
Of course, the madrassa's steady diet of hate merely motivates the students to later take Terrorism 201 at the Jihadi Technical Institute, where they can go on to earn their degree in Hawala accounting, gun repair, or scalp(ing) care. Or, even if the madrassa graduate never signs up for a terrorist cell, they're less likely to see any problems with the neighbors doing so. You're fashioning an enabling culture of hate.
Not all of our enemies in this war will be an educated mastermind like Mohammed Atta or Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi. There are and will continue to be foot soldiers. And some of them-- perhaps many of them-- will receive their education and training in madrassas that teach hatred. Not necessarily how to fight, but they will definitely teach them why they fight.
Yet, the authors of this editorial would have us believe that we need only worry about the Hitlers and Himmlers, and that it is the height of folly to worry about the Hitler Youth. C'mon, all the real Nazis attended university during the Second Reich, or in the years of Weimar, so why worry about Nazi schools?
Inescapable logic, that.
[Cross posted over at Ace of Spades HQ]