Tuesday, July 22, 2008

American girl still held in Pakistan's Jamia Binora madrassa

Remember the Karachi Kids? It looks like there's a Karachi Girl...

The Pakistan government has issued her deportation orderbut Mufti says:
"We will not hand her over" and" no one would dare come within a mile of our compound." US embassy official claims to be "watching the situation."

Do we have the potential for another Red Mosque type situation at Jamia Binora? Would it be wrong of me to hope so?

Pakistan's immigration authorities issued immediate deportation orders on Monday for an American girl awaiting an uncertain destiny holed up in a fundamentalist Islamic seminary.

Muna Abanur Mohammed is among the eight students at Jamia Binora, a leading madrassa in southern port city Karachi, who were placed on a blacklist last month by Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, due to the expiration of their religious education visas to study the Koran.

"Yes we have received the deportation orders but we will not hand her over," Maulana Mufti Mohammed Naeemi, founder and head of the madrassa, a 12-acre sprawling walled compound seminary, told Deutsche Presse-Aguntur dpa.

"No one could dare come near a one mile radius of our compound," he said.

Senior immigration officers at state Federal Investigation Agency, requesting anonymity, said they had no immediate instructions from the federal authorities to carry out any swoop on the madrassa to remove students holed up inside.

Meanwhile, a US embassy official in Islamabad said they were closely watching the situation.

"We are aware and monitoring the situation," Press Attache Megan Eliss said.

A madrassa insider told dpa that the US embassy was in constant contact with the girl.

So far, out of the eight students, two American teens, known as the Khan brothers, were removed last week by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Pakistani authorities and sent back to Atlanta, Georgia, following the intervention by US Representative Michael McCaul, a Republican from Texas.

Both brothers were evacuated following a documentary Karachi Kids shown by US-based Fox Television, which claimed that teens were forced to study at Jamia Binoria.

Naeemi said the madrassa would try its level best to negotiate with the Pakistan government for an extension of Muna's visa.

But he could not say how long he would manage to violate Pakistan's writ by holding the girl at his seminary.

The other five students who have also been served deportation orders include four girl students from Thailand and one male from Fiji.