Monday, October 30, 2006

Pakistan raids "Al-Qaeda school" -- locals say it was a madrassa

Years ago, Wayne and Shuster had a sketch called "Did you ever have one of those days, when everything goes wrong?" Today's happenings in Pakistan makes me wonder if something could fit in that category.

The army there claims they raided a school was being used as a training centre for Al-Qaeda operatives. Locals there insist it was a religous or cultural school. Regardless of who one believes, at least 80 people between the ages of 15 and 25 are now dead. Needless to say, there is widespread belief it's actually the United States who was behind the action. This puts Musharraf, of course, in an impossible situation. He's been long accused of doing nothing in the north of the country, where Osama Bin Laden is almost certainly hiding. He actually tries to do something to suck some air out of OBL's tires and people go nuts.

I'm not against religious schools -- or for that matter, charter schools -- as a matter of principle, although I do think their effectiveness should be evaluated on a regular basis if they're funded by public money. But if the sole purpose of such an institution is the promotion of hatred and exclusion, then action should be taken with force being an absolute last resort. Some madrassas do fall into this category, although extremism can be found at schools sponsored by virtually all religions and denominations within them.

Those who support the terrorists claim this is a holy war, and it's probably turned into that. My question to them is who started the fire?

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