Pakistan's Madrassas -- Weapons of Mass Instruction?
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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Since September 11, 2001, Pakistans madrassas have come under scrutiny as sources for the interpretation and propagation of militant versions of Islam. The madrassas are not unique to Pakistan, but are found throughout the Muslim world. However, Pakistan is a particularly interesting case since it was the staging ground for the CIA-led opposition to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. During this period, from 1979-1989, the CIA worked closely with Pakistans ISI to provide arms and training to holy warriors or mujahideen who crossed the border into Afghanistan to engage Soviet troops. This proxy war was funded by the United States and the Persian Gulf countries, most notably Saudi Arabia. In the years since this war ended, the madrassas funded by Saudi Arabia have continued to promote an austere interpretation of Islam called Wahhabism that has a tendency to produce graduates with few marketable skills and an anti-Western worldview. This thesis attempts to analyze these madrassas from a historical perspective to better understand their character, purpose, and influence, and then offers recommendations for both the United States and Pakistan in dealing with this complex and delicate phenomenon.
- Humanities and History
- Unconventional Warfare