Madrassa furious over US 'terrorist' tag

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

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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Reader Comments (27)

  • imran bhatt
    Aug 21, 2013 - 10:00PM

    Why do madrassa not show their displeasure over its former and current pupils blowing themselves up every now and then?

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  • It Is (still) Economy Stupid
    Aug 21, 2013 - 10:01PM

    “The Pakistan Interior Ministry and army declined to comment on the decision.” To keep the tradition alive Ek denial to banta hai Boss.

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  • Vikas
    Aug 21, 2013 - 10:04PM

    Nice gesture by USA. Slowly it has to be enhanced to other madarassahs also.

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  • Baig
    Aug 21, 2013 - 10:09PM

    The Madrassah loves the deeds but hate being labelled..
    If you don’t want to be called terrorists,don’t train terroristz under the disguise of being a charitable institute.Recommend

  • unbelievable
    Aug 21, 2013 - 11:06PM

    Reminiscent of OBL – terrorism right under your nose and somehow no one in Pakistan seems to notice. Does anyone remember the ET articles discussing suicide schools for children? – I don’t recall Pakistan taking any action against those either.

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  • Farhan
    Aug 21, 2013 - 11:27PM

    What is the proof that the Madrassah is responsible for training the terrorists? Because, the pathological liar USA said so? Yeah, great proof!

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  • Aug 21, 2013 - 11:34PM

    All Madrassah have one and only one purpose. Terrorism promoted by Zia and religion twisting Mullahs. Once a student graduates from Madrassah, he can’t find any job other than as terrorist as taught by the fake Mullahs. Shameful.

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  • Parvez
    Aug 21, 2013 - 11:39PM

    The US could take this a step further to the source of funding, their close friend the KSA and ask them to stop supplying funds to these madrassas through various channels……..that is if they really are serious to clamp down on extremists.

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  • UK
    Aug 21, 2013 - 11:59PM

    @Farhan:
    Agree with you. I would like to see people who are commenting on this share their in-depth investigation and knowledge of this particular Madrassah.ie what is the exact address, how many students study there, how many ex students have been convicted (or at least accused) of terrorism. What is the curriculum and what do they do not agree with in that.Who are the main people who mange this institution and what are their profiles etc.

    Their sole source of information looks like to be “US said so”. Well US also told us that Iraq has WMDs.

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  • Sami
    Aug 22, 2013 - 12:37AM

    Since media, politics and banking is in US control therefore they can label anyone whatever they wish.. I wish Islam come back in its true spirit so the world can see its benefits..

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  • unbelievable
    Aug 22, 2013 - 1:28AM

    @Farhan:

    What is the proof that the Madrassah
    is responsible for training the
    terrorists?

    The founder readily admits that Shaykh Aminullah was a regular preacher at the madrassa up until 8 months ago. Shaykh Aminullah is classified as a terrorist supporter by the United Nation. Perhaps the better question is why is a Pakistani madrassa allowing a wanted terrorist to be a regular preacher? Anecdotal evidence would seem to support the Americans on this one.

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  • Aug 22, 2013 - 2:30AM

    @Sami:
    @UK:
    @Farhan:

    Please try to put some more rational thought into this. Whether you like it or not, Osama Bin Laden was found in Pakistan, and prominent controversial personalities such as LeT/JuD’s Hafiz Saeed have accepted it. There is no lie there. Pakistan is suffering from ideological Wahhabi/Salafi/Deoband/Sunni extremists and Madrassas have been accused since the 80’s by Pakistanis themselves for being militant terrorist factories.

    Here are some fuller details with years, names and aliases. They are specifically targeting only this one Madrassa, not the entire system.

    http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2144.aspx

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  • Sexton Blake
    Aug 22, 2013 - 7:46AM

    @bigsaf: “OBL was found in Pakistan”
    Dear bigsaf,
    As well as OBL being found in Pakistan, they also found a whole colony of people in the Abbottabad mansion. Some of the more notable personalities were Alice in Wonderland, and Mickey Mouse. I am not certain about Madrassa, but if in doubt I do not trust the US. The truth is completely foreign to Washington. Oh, and getting really rational, what sort of training camp do you think they are running at West Point?

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  • Dr.A.K.Tewari
    Aug 22, 2013 - 8:52AM

    It is the maderssa education that is responsible for current condition of Pakistan . Maderssa play a vital role in the election and organize Kashmir solidarity day . These den should be brought under the direct control of the state . Otherwise Drones are there to control them .Recommend

  • csmann
    Aug 22, 2013 - 9:03AM

    Some still seem to believe that “good Taliban” are manufactured there i.e.they won’t harm Pakistani interests.Well, “good Taliban” is an oxymoron- these two words don’t go together, and are mutually exclusive.

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  • LOL
    Aug 22, 2013 - 2:33PM

    Some of my Pakistani fellows are so American ;).

    So when would we finally find those WMD that America said Iraq possess?

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  • Sexton Blake
    Aug 22, 2013 - 4:22PM

    @csmann:
    Dear csmann,
    I do not quite agree that “good Taliban” is an oxymoron term to be applied to all. You appear to be mixing apples with oranges. However, I would like your opinion as to which government, and in particular America, does not qualify for the term oxymoron to be applied against them. The fact that America is accusing an organization of indulging in terrorist activity really is the pot calling the kettle black. You may be aware that al Qaeda, which you neglected to mention, is a US creation, or has at the very least been encouraged and supplied by America for many years, and is still doing so in Syria, which so far has resulted in 100,000 dead people. I could explain US terrorism for ever, but ET would not have enough room to print it. However, the US has been indulging in dreadful mischief in Afghanistan, the Middle-East, Africa, and elsewhere. Perhaps the US should stop spreading malicious accusations, and handle the situation more diplomatically. Unfortunately, The US does not appear to understand the terms diplomacy or negotiation and prefers to drop bombs, which so far have only aggravated an ongoing 13 year problem for Pakistan. I think the Americans use childish nomenclature such as “Shock and Awe” to describe their childish, but brutal activities.

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  • Gp65
    Aug 22, 2013 - 10:58PM

    @Sexton Blake:
    These good Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddha statue. They facilitated the Kandahar hijacking of an Air India plane that resulted in release of Masood. Azhar from jail. All this happened before American shock and awe. What justifications do you have for those acts? What justification do you have for not allowing women to go go to school? What justification for ruling that women could not be treated by male doctors? If women cannot study to become doctors and male doctors cannot treat women, then are all sick women are condemned to suffer untreated? How do you call these brutes as good?

    Your dislike for Americans is really clouding your judgment when it comes to assessing the brutality of the so called good Taliban.Recommend

  • Aug 23, 2013 - 1:47AM

    ET, why are you not posting my replies and allowing space to such stupidity and conspiracist lunacy?

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  • Aug 23, 2013 - 1:53AM

    @Sexton Blake:

    they also found a whole colony of people in the Abbottabad mansion. Some of the more notable personalities were Alice in Wonderland, and Mickey Mouse

    Is that how you see OBL’s wives and kids who were taken into custody by Pak security and released later to their families? Please, stop with the pill induced fantasies and denialist counters.

    I am not certain about Madrassa, but if in doubt I do not trust the US

    You already are certain, were never in doubt to being against what the US said regardless, and attempted your excuse, batting all the way for the Madrassa, rationalizing an illegal militant training camp by ridiculously comparing it with US army’s West Point, whose equivalent is Pak military academy. The thinking is predictable. There is no ‘getting really rational’ with you. Its time wasting deflection. The arguments are always unsound and delusional based on contradictory self-deceiving comments.

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  • Sexton Blake
    Aug 23, 2013 - 3:48AM

    @Gp65:
    Dear Gp65,
    You and many of the contributors are missing the entire point and using emotive arguments. The bottom line is that the Pashtun/Taliban grouping has been on the Sub-Continent for thousands of years, and they are not going anywhere, whereas the Americans, who were not invited, will have to leave sometime. I personally am glad my daughters do not have to live under Taliban or the type of rule practiced in the Middle-East generally. However, whether you like it or not the Taliban exist, and they will not change for you or I, and we have to find a way to live with them. The only alternative is that people such as you will be at perpetual war with them. Best of luck if that is what you want. Fortunately, there are some far sighted people such as Imran Khan who want to find a solution. The result will not be perfect, but hopefully will be better than the current 13 year impasse created by your American friends.

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  • Sexton Blake
    Aug 23, 2013 - 1:19PM

    @Gp65:
    Dear Gp65,
    If you had read the comments correctly you would have realized that the term “Good Taliban” was introduced by csmann, and I was only reiterating his words.

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  • Sexton Blake
    Aug 23, 2013 - 1:47PM

    @bigsaf:
    Dear bigsaf,
    It appears that I have to explain in infinite detail what really happened to OBL at Abbottabad, and ET must be getting sick of my comments. However, President Obama said that he had watched the whole live action thing in the White-house. Unfortunately, I have not seen the navy seals video. Have you, or do you prefer to blindly believe Washington waffle?

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  • Cariobbean Critic
    Aug 23, 2013 - 8:56PM

    I am mystified by the low level of this debate around a school of learning (Madrassa). This school may not reach western ideals or teach a western style curriculum, however for Pakistan it serves a the purpose for which it was established. The US administration considers these schools as terrorist training centers, This may or may not be true however from a reasoned perspective what appears to me to be a more accurate description they are training schools for irregular troops usually referred to as Guerrilla’s to carry an asymmetric fight to the real terrorist the allied forces of the US and NATO. It is not the Pashtun /Taliban/ Haquini network guerrilla’s using drones on women and children it is not these guerrilla’s who use highly toxic chemical weapons such as white phosphorus, Depleted Uranium, agent Orange etc they are not the one’s doing night raids killing innocent women and children as they sleep. that falls to the ISAF terrorists to perform those tasks trained in the real terrorist schools such as West Point Sandhurst! It is these terrorists using drone strikes on wedding parties then hanging around for the rescuers to arrive before blasting them a second time in military terms this action as call a second tap in reality a war crime of the most despicable kind.

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  • csmann
    Aug 23, 2013 - 10:06PM

    @Sexton Blake:
    Talk of denialisms. Nobody is forcing you to take you out of your denial.I don’t think Obama and most of his cabinet had had time to put out a drama to convince you or any other whether OBL is killed. They have other things to do than to waste their time on people defending Taliban and other monstrosities.

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  • Aug 24, 2013 - 3:43AM

    @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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  • Aug 24, 2013 - 4:06AM

    @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.

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