By S. Gurumurthy

Madarsas and Jihad

This is an investigation into some institutions claiming to be religious schools but acting as facilitators for terrorist outfits abroad. It is based on top-secret reports of Indian Intelligence. It is a saga of the madarsas preaching jihad to highly impressionable minds. 

Part 1: Pious schools? Or jihad factories?

Laskhar-e-Toiba, LeT for short, is a Jihadi outfit, a merchant of terror, based in Pakistan. It has always targeted India. Now, the US is also its target. It has carried out a hundred terror strikes on us. and was involved in the hijack of an Indian Airlines flight to Kandahar.

It was LeT that laid siege on the Indian Parliament. It was also responsible for eliminating US journalist Pearl. India has been pleading with the US to declare it as a terrorist outfit. The US had brushed aside our demand till Islamic terror struck at the World Trade Centre. The first act of the US after that was to get Pakistan to ban this terror outfit. But that is only in name.

Harkat-ul-Ansar, HuA for short; in its previous incarnation, Harkat-ul-Mujhadeen, is cast in the same mould.

Yes. Terror, LeT or HuA, operates from outside. But it has facilitators within. They cannot target India without such facilitators. Here is an investigation into how terror is facilitated from within. Facilitated by institutions claiming to be pious religious schools, protected by secular polity as sacred minority institutions. They shelter, harbour, launch, provide cover for terror and terrorists.

Let us get to the heart of the matter straightaway. The story is long and instances have a disgusting similarity about them. But it has to be told; and read, in the larger national interest.

Azam Cheema is the Launching Commander of LeT for India. His duty and expertise are to launch the Jehadis into India. See how this is done.

Azam Cheema instructs Abu Sayeed. Who is Abu Sayeed? He is in Khurja in UP. His business is to harbour terrorists. Azam instructs Sayeed to give letters of commendation for Abu Shoib and Abu Waheed, both LeT Jehadis from Pakistan, to facilitate their launch into India. To strike at India; for Jehad against it. Whom does he address? Mustafa. Who is he? This is where the story begins. He is in charge of the 'Madarsa' of Sunni Islamic sect at Domutha Karim Bazar, in Malda District, in West Bengal. So the connection is from Pakistan to UP via Malda in West Bengal. The address is the 'madarsa' at Malda.

Azam Cheema instructs again. Not the same, but, a different Abu Sayeed, an LeT Jehadi. To do what? To go to Abdul Majid. Who is he? Majid is in charge of 'Madarsa' Ahle Hadis, with address at No 988 Pan Mandi, Sadar Bazar, Delhi. Azam instructs Abu Sayeed to go to Majid for shelter for carrying out Jehad in India. Again note the address of the contact, the shelter. Madarsa. This is in Delhi, India's capital. Not in a distant village.

Significantly, a diary seized from Abdul Mateen, a Pak national gave out details of the Indian contacts of Harkat-ul-Ansar [HuA], the dreaded terrorist outfit. What were the contacts? ±First Pervez Azam Khan, studying in 'Madarsa' Nadvah-ul-Uloom, Lucknow, in Room No 11; two, Mustafizur Rehman who teaches in the 'Madarsa' at Farah, Mathura District, in UP; third, Naweed Shahid of 25 Azami Manzil 'Madarsa' Dar-ul-Uloom, Deoband. The terror contacts were all in madarsas, all in UP.

Who has uncovered these covert acts? The Indian Intelligence in a top-secret repor. In a meticulously documented report, it brings out the link between Madarsa and Jehad. It says more.

But before we proceed further we must know some basics.

What is a madarsa? It is an Islamic religious school. Madarsa is an Arabic term. It eans 'centre of education'. This system developed in Baghdad in Iraq in AD 1073 and was introduced into India in AD 1206.

The madarsas in India are organised under four or five organisations. It is even difficult to read or pronounce their names. But that is no reason to ignore them. It is time that at least Hindus knew about them. They are Dar-ul-Uloom in Deoband [founded in 1886], madarsat-ul-Uloom, Aligarh [in 1873] and Nadvat-ul-Ulama [in 1894] Jamait-ul-Hidaya or Jel-H [1948] and of late Ahle Hadis. Each of them is a brand in very respectable Islamic academic institutions.

The whole world is concerned about the growth of Madarsas. For, Madarsas, wherever they are, in Egypt, or the Middle East, in Iraq or Iran, in Pakistan or Afghanistan, in Malaysia or Indonesia, in India or Bangladesh, are now known as the cradle of terror. The world debates Madarsa. Scrutinises it. Tries to control it. But thanks to our secular establishment most of us are ignorant of this phenomenon. Most of us do not know even the difference between Madras and madarsa. Some believe Madarsa to be a pious religious school. It may have been so. No more now. They, at least most of them, are now Jehad factories. This is what the investigation demonstrably brings out.

Now back to the main investigation. Not just in UP or West Bengal, the madarsa-linked terrorism has spread everywhere. Madarsas in India, in whichever state they are, are linked to terror.

The Intelligence report is voluminous. It cannot be captured in newspaper articles. But a fair picture of what the investigation report says needs to be given.

In Andhra Pradesh, the report says, one Amir Abdullah, an ISI instructor, had asked Mohd. Asmal Chon, an LeT terrorist, who operated under three aliases, to contact Abdul Gafoor Nadvi, who runs a 'madarsa' at Telgugiri street in Karnool.

In Assam, says the report, interrogation of Abul Kasem, a HuM activist revealed that Hafisia 'Madarsa' had links with Muslim militant outfits and had sheltered Kasem and another.

In Delhi, the report quotes instance after instance of involvement of different madarsas, their students and officials, in sheltering and providing cover for Pakistani terrorists for Jehad against India. Some of them are: the 'Madarsa' in Azad market; 'Madarsa' Uloom Islamia at Chitli Qabar; 'Madarsa' Babul Uloom Jaffarabad near Saleempur; 'Madarsa' Jamia Islamia Sanabul No 9. Yashola New Delhi -25; 'Madarsa' Riaz-ul-Uloom Urdu Bazar, Jama Masjid. Here 'Madarsa' Babul Uloom figured thrice in evidence; Riaz-ul-Uloom 'Madarsa' also figured thrice.

Mohd. Jaleel Ansari a Pak terrorist involved in the kidnapping of three British and an American tourist was instructed from Pakistan to contact Moulvi Mehmood of Jama Masjid Delhi, who arranged accommodation for Jaleel in Azad Market madarsa.

Take Gujarat next. The report establishes at least 10 proven instances of Madarsas getting involved in recruiting and motivating terrorists, and providing cover for terrorist activities. The latest and again an illustrative instance. Asad Mohammed Munshi, a resident of Jamia Islamic Talimuddin 'Madarsa' at Dabel Navsari is a Pak-trained terrorist. He was arrested along with another terrorist on Feb 15, 2002. a huge cache of terror hard wares including 10 pistols, 12 magazines, 116 rounds of ammunition, 5 kg of RDX, 4 ABCD timers, pistol cleaning rods and a packet of detonators were recovered from them. Interrogations revealed that these terrorists were activists of HuM and the ammunition were intended for delivery at different points in India.

Next, over to Mumbai. The report says that Mohammed Ali a Pakistan ISI subversive, who operated in three names including one Hindu name, contacted Maulana Faeh Mohammed at Madarsa Miftahul Uloom, at India Market, Khairani Road, Sakinaka, Mumbai who arranged for his stay for two months.

There are at least 10 instances of proven links between Madarsa and terror in Delhi, four in J&K, 15 in UP, seven in West Bengal illustratively listed in the report.

Obviously the Madarsas are not so pious as the seculars would have us believe. They are part of the terror. They preach Jehad to highly impressionable minds. Jihad means war against the infidel. Who is an infidel? In Islamic theology all non-Muslims, particularly the idolators, the Hindus, are infidels. But the story does not end here. Let us look at the anatomy of these Jihad factories, their funds and spread.

Part 2: The terror factories, their anatomy, spread, funds

How did the Indian Intelligence suddenly wake up to this phenomenon? The answer is it would never have but for the fact that the US was shaken by Islamic terror on September 11, 2001.

The Intelligence report in effect admits as much. ‘‘The multiple terrorist attacks in the US and the subsequent war on terror have focussed world attention on the role of madarsas in fostering and sustaining terrorism. The large scale use of the madarsa network in Pakistan for motivating, recruiting, and launching trained terrorists, creation of Taliban, etc. have brought madarsas under international spotlight in an extremely adverse light and clearly established their complicity in fomenting terrorist activities in the region.’’

‘‘In the Indian context,’’ says the report, ‘‘where the role of Madarsas is already the subject of intense scrutiny, the recent attack on the American Information Centre, Kolkata, on January 22, 2002, and the subsequent developments have heightened the controversy.’’

It is now an undisputed fact that many, may be most, madarsas foster, sustain, motivate, recruit and launch terrorists. Islam is a global faith. It places faith above nations. There is nothing like a national Islam, different from the global. Madarsa is about Islam. It stands for Islam. It cannot teach one Islam in India and another in Pakistan. So the role of the madarsas elsewhere and in India cannot be different. There is the common thread of Islam running through the madarsas cutting across national limitations.

The secret report implies this fact. It says, ‘‘Anti-India elements _ including the ISI and ISI-influenced criminal gangs and fundamentalist organisations, have systematically taken advantage of the surging muslim resentment to stoke fundamentalism, exclusivism and militancy. In this scheme, madarsas have repeatedly come to adverse notice, having been misused by inimical interests for anti-national activity ranging from subversion to active support of terrorism.’’

The geographic spread of madarsas in India is highly indicative. The report points out the growth of the madarsas in the border areas of the country. Says the report, ‘‘a noticeable feature of the growth of madarsas is the significant increase in the concentration of these institutions in border areas, particularly on the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bangladesh sectors. Similarly on the Indo-Pakistan border there has been a perceptible growth in the border districts in Rajasthan and Gujarat.’’ It is not that the madarsas have grown only abutting the Indian side; there is similar growth on the other side too. It says, ‘‘simultaneously a parallel concentration of madarsas is noticeable in the abutting areas on the other side of the border.’’

The report says that the population survey reveals that in some border areas, particularly in Bihar and Bengal, the Muslims are in majority. The report adds: ‘‘the survey reveals that the large migration _ an honourable word for infiltration _ of Bangladeshis into India has been one of the principal factors behind this trend.’’

In all border districts of UP the decadal growth of Muslim population was higher than that of the national level. The growth of Muslim population of the bordering district of Darjeeling in West Bengal (50.33%) was higher than that at the national level (32.70%) and at the state level (37%). During 1971-91, an estimated 13 to 14 million infiltrators from Bangladesh crossed over to India.

In Rajasthan, the major concentration, says the report, is in the border districts of Barmer and Jaisalar. In Barmer, the proportion of Muslim population increased from 11% to 18%, in Jaisalmar from 23% to 28%. In Rajasthan, says the report, efforts are being made to mobilise the Peer Bagaro cult for anti-national activities.

Likewise in Gujarat too, according to the report, there is concentration of madarsas in the border districts of Kutch and Banaskantha. It also notes that criminal and communal elements in the Tabhligi Jamaat from Maharashtra and Gujarat have been playing an important part at the behest of ISI. Similar pattern, says the report, is noticeable in West Bengal also.

In the border areas with Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, many madarsas were noticed for adverse activities like sheltering of terrorists, provision of covert identities, caching of arms and other logistic help.

The report says that ‘‘there has been a systematic pattern of use of madarsas for shelter/hideouts, cover building, communication, arms caching recruitment of cadres. It is also clear that madarsas and mosques are being used for inculcation of fundamentalist Islamic precepts and practices among Muslim children at all levels. Given that one of the basic tenets of Pan-Islamic revival is the elevation of individual loyalty from nationhood to religion, this is tantamount to systematic effort towards subversion of the population.’’

So these apparently pious centres are really Jihadi dens which subvert the mind of the pupil against the nation. For, Pan Islam does not recognise any nation. It recognises only religious loyalty.

How many madarsas exist in the country? The report cites a recent survey, which puts the figure at about 32,000, Kerala leading with a high tally of 9,975. They have over 74,000 teachers and 18.29 lakh students. The numbers are far less in Pakistan, which turned out the entire Taliban with much smaller number of these factories of terror.

Where from do these madarsas get their funds? From the Muslim world. Even from the underworld. The report says. ‘‘The matter assumes gravity in the light of the fact that several of these madarsas have been in receipt of finance from foreign sources...In addition to their spread, another pattern that has emerged is that madarsas run by Ahle Hadis sect have seen the fastest growth. They have also been major recipients of foreign funds particularly from Gulf countries.

The report continues, ‘‘similarly, the madarsas run by Jamaat-e-Islami have been in notice for promoting fundamentalism and exclusivism’’; madarsas also have ‘‘connections with the underworld, with notorious criminal dons taking interest in their funding and development.’’

Then the report meticulously traces how the madarsas in different parts of the country are linked to the underworld and promote subversive and anti- national activities. See just a few illustrations.

In Madhya Pradesh, where a large number of madarsas are concentrated, many ‘‘madarsas have come to notice for anti-national activities and link with the underworld.’’ ‘‘For example,’’ says the report, ‘‘Islamia Karimia Society, Indore, which runs the Dar-ul-Uloom Noori madarsa is reported to have links with Karim Lala (the notorious Bombay-based don). Similarly the famous D Company of Dawood Ibrahim is reported to have infiltrated into the Malwa region and is reported to be financing some madarsas in this area.’’

In UP, a large number of madarsas run by Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband located in Lucknow, Sahranpur, Barabanki, Agra districts have come to notice ‘‘for receiving foreign funds.’’ Those belonging to madarsa Nadvah-ul-Uloom, Lucknow have been noticed ‘‘for providing logistic support for subversive elements including storage of arms.’’ Those belonging to madarsa Shergarh, Bareilly have been noticed ‘‘for creation of covert identities,’’ that is, false identities for subversive activities. Those belonging to Madarsa Mahadul Islami, Bareilly are known to do ‘‘motivation and talent spotting.’’ The report goes on: ‘‘the ISI in coordination with Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan has been evincing keen interest in renovation, construction and development of mosques in the region. In Azamgarh district, madarsas have potential for subversive activities.’’

The report goes on to record even more startling facts. ‘‘A disconcerting trend which has emerged during the interrogations of terrorists arrested during counter-terrorist and counter-espionage operations by security agencies in India in recent times is the use of madarsas for providing logistic support for terrorist actions or modules.’’

Says the report,‘‘many madarsas located in J&K, UP, Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Gujarat etc have been used by terrorists for contact building, shelters, hideouts, cover-building, motivation, recruitment, storage of arms, acquiring fake documents.’’ ‘‘This, the report says, has been done with the active connivance of the madarsa officials. Several terrorists modules launched from Pakistan, says the report, have been directed to contact designated madarsas, for shelter, guidance, direction on arrival in India. The earlier part contained some illustrations of these operations.

Obviously these seemingly pious schools are a great security risk. Even Pakistan thinks so. But we are in the holographic world designed by the seculars for us.

Let us see how even the ex-Jihadis in Pakistan are scared of the madarsas and are trying to control them by law.

Part 3: Even as Pakistan controls the jihad factories, India protects them!

INDIA borders three countries, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal, which have intense Islamic terrorist activities. From our security point of view, the developments in these countries are crucial.

First look at the largest Jihadi factory in the world today, that is, Pakistan. Technologically competent modern version of Islamic Jihad against infidels took roots not in Afghanistan as many seem to think. It is in Pakistan. This is how a Pakistani writer describes how Pakistan as a state and as a society built up Jihadi spirit and Jihadi structures.

``The aim was clear. These madarsas had a single function. They were nurseries designed to produce fanatics." "The dragon seeds sown in 2500 madarsas produced a crop of 2,25,000 fanatics ready to kill and die for their faith when ordered to do so by their religious leaders". Says another scholar: "(the) madarsas, religious training schools breed the Taliban mindset and feed the mills of Islamic fundamentalism and militancy". A third one says: In the madarsas, children "are indoctrinated in the military tactics of Jihad."

The situation in Bangladesh is comparable if not worse. This is what Far Eastern Economic Review in its issue dated April 4, 2002, says about the jihad linked madarsas. ``The radicals' ranks are being swelled by 64000 madarsas, or religious schools which have mushroomed in the past decade and are described by a high-ranking civil servant as a "potential time bomb" ....... The madarsas focus on religious instruction and many are funded by proselytising Arab charities as in Pakistan whose madarsas were nurseries for many of Afghanistan's Taliban leaders. Some analysts fear Bangladesh's Madarsas could also become exporters of Islamic revolution.''

The situation in Nepal is as bad. Says the Indian Intelligence report ``Madarsa Nepal Jamia Milia Islamic, Suruchia, Biratnagar is a centre of fundamentalist and anti-India elements. This madarsa runs with funds received from Saudi Arabia..... Maulanas of madarsas keep very close relationship with the officials of Pakistan high commission.... Some madarsas were notorious for having links with Pakistan based terrorist outfits.... Madarsas in border areas are bring used to select and motivate cadres' for Jihad.... Some madarsas also provide shelter to terrorists...... Some of them are caching arms and are promoting anti-India activities. .....Maulana Abdul Rauf Rehamani, of Nazim Madarsa Siraj ul Uloom, Jhandanagar, provides pan Islamic funds to fundamentalist institutions on both sides of the border. Rauf's position as a member of the founding committee of the Muslim World League makes him very resourceful in the matter.'' So goes the report.

So the situation is bad in India and around India. In all four countries these Jihad factories abound. But how do these countries respond to the Madarsa-led Jihad efforts.

The world's largest supplier of Jihadis, Pakistan, is now under pressure from the US to act on madarsas. Pakistan government has started to initiate regulations on madarsas. The Indian Intelligence report says, ``these measures are precipitated due to increasing realisation that Madarsas are an essential cog in the wheel of terrorism.''

In his famous address to Pakistan on January 12, 2002, Musharraf declared ``a new Madari strategy', meaning new deal for madarsas, so that they are brought 'to the mainstream through a better system of education'. The Pakistan President's new strategy includes: first, survey of the 10,000 madarsas (the government has in fact a 21-point questionnaire to elicit information from them); second, registration of all madarsas with big ones being registered at the national level, the medium ones at the provincial level, and the small ones at the district level so that there are no unregistered madarsas at all. In fact the last date for registration was set as March 23, 2002 that is within 10 days of Musharraf's address to the nation; third, an education board has been set up to draw up a curricula for madarsas which will include study of science, maths, English, besides religion and will lead to normal degrees like BA and MA; fourth, the government has also decided to establish model madarsas in three centres.

Likewise in Nepal too, the government decided on January 31, 2002, to regulate madarsas because, according to the Intelligence report, ``these are suspected to be the main breeding ground of terror.'' It mandated similar measures like Pakistan, including directing the registration of all madarsas by March end, 2002, and further directing the madarsas to submit their accounts to the government for scrutiny.

Musharraf himself was a self-confessed Jihadi before September 11, 2001. Even he is scared of the Madarsas, which are Jihad factories. It suited Pakistan so long as the Jihad was targeting India. But the moment the Jihad began explicitly targeting the US, the Jihad factories and Jihadis in Pakistan became a burden and problem for Pakistan, which is just a proxy for the US. So overnight Musharraf changed his colours. He ceased to be a Jihadi. He is now an ex-Jihadi.

But see in comparison what we are doing. If Pakistan is burdened by 10,000 madarsas, we have 30,000 of them here. If there are a million students imbibing Jihad in Pakistani madarsas, we have double that number memorising the religious verses, which mandate Jihad against infidels. Many of these madarsas are undoubtedly linked to terror and terrorists.

This is what the Intelligence Report says in conclusion about the madarsas in India. "Despite the burgeoning suspicion against their ideology and intentions, madarsas continue to proliferate in a haphazard uncontrolled manner. The above developments have serious long-term implications for national security, electoral patterns, pressures and compulsions, particularly since these concentrations are in strategically significant areas.''

Imagine the BJP government enacting a measure against these factories of terror. Like Musharraf has done, for regulating them; for registering them; for making them submit their accounts; for devising a secular curricula for them. Hell will break loose. 'Secularism in danger'. `Pogram against the minorities'. The secular megaphones, the political parties, leaders, the English media will go all out to protect these mills of terror. Even if the Parliament passes a law, the 'secular' President of India will not give his assent. The law passed by the UP legislature asking for the registration of madarsas in border areas was sent to the President who withheld his consent and the law has now lapsed. A secular act indeed by the President!

Lamenting the freedom for these factories of terror in India, the report says, " Interestingly, while regulation of madarsas in India continues to be perfunctory, concrete steps have been taken in neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Nepal. Regulation of these institutions, though controversial is urgently required.''

The story ends. But the madarsa inspired Jihad continues. It will continue as long as the madarsa is free to spread the message of terror, unimpeded and unregulated.




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