Washington Times links South African Madressas to ‘International Terrorism’

Western media’s tenacity to slander and malign Islam and Muslims seems to know no bounds.

The latest manifestation of such ridiculous and bigoted attacks, which is a classic case of hysterical Islamophobia, is an article in the October 16 issue of Washington Times.

Titled ” ‘MADRASSAS’ A CONCERN IN SOUTH AFRICA”, it mischievously seeks to create fear and alarm around educational institutions of Muslims in South Africa.

Geoffrey Hill, the author of this despicable piece, has not only disregarded basic journalistic ethics by failing to substantiate allegations he attributes to faceless “authorities in South Africa”, he also undermines the credibility of his fable by raising the false bogey of “madrassas, some of which may have links to international terrorism.”

South African Muslims have a proud tradition rooted in their history in this country stretching over 300 years of establishing and maintaining a national network of institutions. These include mosques, madressas, colleges, social welfare and humanitarian organizations. With regard to their Islamic educational centers, whether styled as madressas or schools, having resisted interference by the apartheid state, they will certainly oppose US/Israeli efforts to target these as “terrorist networks”.

If Hill’s faulty logic is to be followed, it would appear that developing countries must remain in a state of limbo.

His unfair attack on "madrassas" rests on the fact that South Africa possesses "modern communications infrastructure and the widespread use of English." Does it follow then that the US/Israeli ‘War on Terror’ views this ‘infrastructure’ as an impediment to its global campaign against Islam?

This sensational report by Hill is a reflection of the hollow arguments raised by the neo-cons in the US in their imperial drive to obliterate all vestiges of Islam. It is a repeat of their anti-madressa campaign in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere. It is driven by a crazy notion to deny Muslims right to education, by attempting to eliminate primary sources for such education which madressas provide.

It is not surprising that apart from injecting the issue of "illegal immigrants" from Pakistan to South Africa whereby Hill seeks to link the closure of "extreme" madressas in Pakistan to an unidentified "recent report" suggesting that students from that country were "heading abroad to continue their studies", he fails to provide any evidence.

Despite not being able to identify either a single US official willing to comment on whether South Africa’s madressas represent a particular source of concern, or any South African official whose views on madressas with "links to international terrorism" could be challenged, Hill’s brazenly gives vent to his own prejudice.

This demonstration of legitimate educational activities is not shaped by facts, but by unexamined assumptions and must be rejected with contempt. It demonstrates the levels gutter journalism will stoop to, to oppose the free expression of Islamic ideas and values.