Thursday, July 24, 2008

I keep thinking about those "Karachi Kids"...

Friday prayers at Jamia Binoria

...but haven't been able to find anything in the news about them OR the status of the ones still left behind at Jamia Binoria International. That got me to thinking about Jamia Binoria.

In my mind's eye, I was seeing a rundown, ramshackle facility off in the middle of nowhere. After all the Karachi Kids trailer showed the place to be dirty, squalid and crowded.

Imagine my surprise to find the Jamia Binoria website to be quite glossy and fairly slick. It was weird though. There were pictures of the two grand mosques, the madrassa, the library, they even show the restaurant ("the only half way decent eat out place in the whole of SITE area" crows the website).

All quite nice, except for one thing. There wasn't a single picture of a kid to be found anywhere.
It was creepy.

But it got even creepier when I printed out the
"True English Translation - The Jamia Binoria, Site, Karachi, An Introduction" to read.

Here are some of the highlights.

Established "at a Place (sic) which was forlorn, deserted and unpopulated, It all started with a small mosque at a place mostly thronged with street dogs." Today, it "accommodates thousands of students from the country and abroad who some to seek and get education and knowledge of religion."

It is religious institution established in the style and form of Darul-Uloom Dewband (The City of Knowledge at Dewband) – India. (aka Deoband) a curriculum based on the 17th century (!) Indo-Islamic Dars-e-Nizami, teaching shariah (law), fiqh (jurisprudence) and traditional Islamic spirituality known as Sufism.

(Per Wikipedia: "The course of study consists of four stages. The first three stages can be completed in a total of eight years. The final stage is a post-graduate stage where students specialize in a number of advanced topics, such as the sciences of Hadeeth, Fiqh etc." )

One of the school's main aims and objectives? And I quote:

To work for the domination of Islam by helping local and international movements and Organizations morally, and give support to them with the help of manpower.

Hmm. "Domination of Islam. Local and international movements. Help with manpower." Sure sounds like the Jihad on a raging crusade to me...

The school is very proud of their affiliation with the largest madrassa governing body in Pakistan, Wafaq-ul-Madaris al Arabia and the school's claim to fame appears to be the learning of the Koran by heart.
And it IS definitely all about the Koran there.

The dominance, expansion and the rise of Muslims were due to the teaching of the Holy Quran and to adhere to them. The Quranic teachings led them into renaissance. The same is true for Muslims now to come out of the abyss of disgrace and ignorance...History bears witness that as long as Muslims had upheld the Holy Quran they were on the track of progress and success. They achieved great glory and ruled the world. They were made so strong that no one dared to stand against them.

About their scholars:

The out-going scholars of the Jamia are fighting a crusade against infidels and pagans. They are engaged in teaching the Holy quran and the Traditions of the Holy Prophet_Hadith everywhere, let it be USA, France, Canada, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the UK.

About the Department of Foreign Students and it's main mufti:

Fifteen years ago Maulana Mufti Mohammed Naeem went to the USA on a Ramadan preaching mission. (He's been coming back with his hand out every year since.) While there he "keenly and deeply observed the patterns and life style of the people. He saw that Muslim parents here strongly desired to keep intact their relations with their religion." He felt "they were very much worried and concerned about their children there, as they are being brought up in a different and more unreligious environment. They feel that there is no one to teach and guide them about religion. They could go astray in that irreligious atmosphere... The parents are not in a position to protect their children from the seductive society... There is no safeguard against the onslaught."

He heard their concerns and "decided to do whatever he could do to provide them and their children a safe haven for religion and learning and teaching religion."

According to the guide for perspective parents, Jamia Binoria is the only one "providing some conducive atmosphere to them." Imagine that. Still it sounds like there were problems.

They come across many difficulties and untoward situations in regard of their accommodation, food and social and psychological adjustment. Because of these odds the parents do not prefer to get the children admitted here, and if foreign students get them admitted without realizing the situation then soon they drop out and return home. (ed. note: Unless you take their passports and refuse to hand the kids back over to their parents, right Naeem?)

This all changed though when a group of American students came over during their summer vacation and became personal guests of the Mufti:

They were taught how to read the Holy Quran and the basic teachings of religion. When those children went back, the people in the USA were amazed by the changed the stay of those children had brought in them. The people also realized that particular arrangements and care were taken to make their stay comfortable. Now the parents were not hesitant to send their children here for the studies.

Consequently, a separate department for foreign students has been established in the Jamia. Separate teaching faculty is appointed to teach foreign students who can teach them in accordance with their psychology. Arrangements for their separate accommodation are being made with air conditions and special care is taken for a neat and clean atmosphere. They are given proper beddings and every sort of faility is made available to them. Weekly menu of mess system is established. Thus, every sort of effort is being made to make their stay comfortable and they should not feel themselves strangers in here, rather they feel at home during their stay here. This department has registered much more success than expected due to the efforts of Mufti Mohammad Naeem.
There are more than five hundred foreign students from different countries.

About the facilities:

1.Air Condition rooms to stay for the students.
2.Classrooms are carpeted.
3.Menu of their liking and taste.
4.Pick and drop service for the students from and to airport.
5.Washerman service available for their laundry.
6.Cold and hot water is available.
7.Medical facillities and best hospital services are available.
9.Visa and ticket service are available.
10.Separate kitchen for foreign student where food is prepared to their taste and liking.

Some terms and conditions for admission of foreign students:

If you're "Learning the Holy Quran by heart" level you must be between 8-12 years old. (ed. note: heartbreakingly young.) The Book Level means you must be between 15-20 years of age. You must also:

Present passport.
Follow the rules and regulations of the Jamia.
Political involvement.
Refrain from non-shariah things and deeds, and abide by the shariah.

Tuition cost for all this?

Admission fee for this department is $50. Monthly fee is also $50.

Okay, now watch this over at the Karachi Kids again and tell me what you think about the facilities for foreign students and any parent who would think pawning the kid off for $50 a month in a foreign country is a good deal.

I have a real problem with any American that would send their kids to this place. IMO, they should be thoroughly investigated for any potential terror ties and have their home evaluated by social services with regard to their suitability as parents.

And any American mosque that invites the Maulana Mufti Naeem to speak during Ramadan should also be investigated. (Of course, after the invites are issued and the Mufti accepts he should be denied a visa.)

Sure makes you wonder what's going on with those kids.

(FYI, I'm busy working on Jamia Binoria pt. 2 for later - There will be more about Maulana Mufti Naeem, the "Jamia Binoria For Women" and coming soon to neighborhood near you, "Jamia Biniora USA". )