Madrassa furious over US 'terrorist' tag

Residents and students fear attack by US drones.

Reuters August 21, 2013
Haji Alam Sher, 83, a Muslim cleric and founder of the Ganj Madrassa, speaks to the media in Peshawar August 21, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS.

PESHAWAR: Students and teachers at a Peshawar based madrassa, designated as a "terrorist training center" by the United States on Tuesday, have furiously rebutted the charges Wednesday and said they had not had a chance to defend themselves against the accusations.

The US Treasury imposed economic sanctions on the Ganj madrassa, in Peshawar on Tuesday, saying it trained recruits and facilitated funding for al Qaeda, the Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is accused by Indian intelligence of masterminding the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The sanctions include a ban on US citizens having any dealings with individuals or assets linked to the school. The Pakistan Interior Ministry and army declined to comment on the decision.

The Treasury had said Fazeelatul Shaykh Abu Mohammed Ameen al-Peshawari, known as Shaykh Aminullah, controlled the school. In 2009, both the US and the United Nations accused him of providing material support to al Qaeda and the Taliban.

But 83-year-old Haji Alam Sher, who founded the school as a mosque more than two decades ago, denied this.

"He was just a regular prayer leader here but he left eight months ago and I've never heard of him again," Sher said angrily. "I condemn perpetrators of terrorism and would never support those carrying out suicide attacks."

The United States accuses the school of radicalizing students to conduct terrorist and insurgent activities and training them to become bomb manufacturers and suicide bombers.

Donations collected for the school were directed to terrorist groups such as the Taliban, which used the money to fund the ongoing violence in Afghanistan, the Treasury said.

But the school's principal said teachers focused on religion, not militancy.

"This is a religious school where purely religious knowledge is given to the students," Maulana Mohammad Ibrahim said.

The brown concrete school lies down a narrow street in the heart of Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, not far from Pakistan's tribal belt where Taliban-linked militants are ensconced.

Since the announcement of the seminary's designation, some residents are afraid that the US might mount an attack. US drone missiles have targeted militants in areas near the Afghan border since 2004.

"Some people are saying that US drones will now fire missiles to hit this madrassa," said resident Sabz Ali. "All of us are worried."

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COMMENTS (27)

bigsaf | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend

@csmann: @Gp65:

SB really isn't worth the time, and I know I fall for it too, feeding him.

Can't believe that while the accused Madrassa at least tried to deny having a militant wing, he went ahead and made a hypocritical apologist argument on the assumption that they did train terrorists and shamefully tried to justify and ridiculously compare it with the US's national military academy earlier.

Shouldn't be surprised that on top of the narrow anti-US imperialist views backed with conspiracist nuttery, that there's the IK homerism and sympathizing with the Taliban, highlighting their ethnicity as if the represent all Pashtuns (ignoring their killing of other Pashtuns, non-Pashtuns, religious minorities as well as partnering with Al Qaeda, just incredibly contradictory and irrational), while never once acknowledging or addressing their Wahhabi/Salafi/Deoband/Sunni extremist backgrounds and deflecting from it.

bigsaf | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend

@Sexton Blake:

You can't address the point about OBL's family and shifted the argument as per your usual tactic.

Must be a sad cocooned world, to conclude the opposite by assuming anything and everything in the East is confirmed by what Washington says or does not say. Guess what...there are players outside Washington that can confirm or debunk their claims objectively. I was against them on Iraq, but doesn't mean I ignorantly dismiss all their claims when its confirmed.

Even if the US released the video to the public or shown it to your highness, your 'infinite wisdom' would have rejected it regardless, because of that steeped prejudice, mistrust and delusion. There is already more than enough facts and evidence without the video (namely OBL's family). Pak authorities, independent US, non-US analysts, on the ground personalities and even our own extremist ideologues have confirmed not just the operation but OBL's existence and end. So yes, I can imagine how anyone may get sick of the dim witted "pics or it didn't happen" denialist comments.

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