Friday, June 18, 2010

Pakistan Madrasahs Draw U.S. Students Despite Scrutiny - TIME

Pakistan Madrasahs Draw U.S. Students Despite Scrutiny - TIME

Mohammad Abdullah, a shy, skinny American in his early 20s with a wispy black beard and knitted white skullcap, is just a month from finishing an eight-year course in religious studies at a Karachi Islamic school, or madrasah. He plans another year of study before returning home to New York to teach Islam at a university or mosque, and the Pakistani American knows that he'll probably be taken for a terror threat. In fact, most of the 60 Americans studying at Karachi's Jamia Binoria (which historically has a higher enrollment of foreign students than other madrasahs in the city) declined to be interviewed, citing fears of being pegged by Homeland Security upon their return to the States. But Abdullah quietly insists he and his schoolmates shouldn't be stigmatized. "Not every university is considered the same. Just because of a few people you can't just say everyone is the same. Just because some students are radical doesn't mean we are."

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