Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Pakistani-American Boys to Return Home to Atlanta from Pakistani Islamic School

FOX News (7-8-08) reports that two Pakistani-American boys who have been studying at the Jamia Binoria Institute, an Islamic boarding school in Karachi, are going to be allowed to return to the U.S.

According to FOX, their father wants them educated at the Jamia Binoria Institute, but their mother wants them home.

Some articles say the number of international students at these schools has declined since 9-11; others say the number of international students is increasing. Someone is not telling the truth, obviously. Who do you think it is?

A Pakistani publication called Newsline ( 9-05) claimed that the number of international students at a school called Jamia Binoria had declined:

Jamia Binoria used to house between 900 to 1100 foreign students of diverse nationalities, but the number has drastically decreased in the last few years.

I think this may be the school the Pakistani-American boys are attending, but I am not sure. It looks like a beautiful campus.

If this is the school, nine people were killed there and forty injured in 2004 when the school was bombed. It seems to be an international Sunni Islamic school. A Pakistani perspective on the school is here.

It's all a bit confusing trying even to sort out if all these articles are discussing the same school.

The Sidney Morning Herald (8-10-04) claimed:

[Jamia Binoria ] is considered to be a moderate institution that offers a modern education with Islamic teachings.

FOX News (7-8-08) characterizes the school where the boys are studying as a "radical madrassa" (school) and reported (before they rewrote their article a bit):

Two American teenage boys studying for the past four years at a radical madrassa in Karachi, Pakistan, have been unable to leave, a situation that led three Texas lawmakers to meet with Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf to discuss their return, FOX News has learned.

But Musharraf promised Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, and Democratic Reps. Gene Green and Henry Cuellar that the boys will be released soon and sent home.

The three congressmen flew to Pakistan last week to discuss military affairs with Pakistani officials. On their way to meet with Musharraf, McCaul told the others about the American boys who were studying at a madrassa, or Islamic religious school, called the Jamia Binoria Institute. Green and Cuellar were unaware of the teens' plight.

The boys, identified as Noor Elahi Khan, 17, and Mahboob Elahi Khan, 16, are from the Atlanta area; their parents are both Pakistani.

Noor and Mahboob lived in the U.S. until being sent to Karachi several years ago by their father. Their parents have been fighting over where the boys should be: Their mother wants them back in the United States, while their father wants them to stay in Pakistan.

"These American boys should be released immediately," said McCaul in a statement. "Pakistan has a policy to exclude foreigners from these madrassas, including Americans. However, the policy has failed so far."

...Musharraf told the congressional delegation that he has been trying to close this particular madrassa, according to Green.

"There's been a concern about madrassas who teach people how to hate America," said the congressman.

Within hours of McCaul's meeting with Musharraf, Pakistan's new civilian government announced that it would continue with his madrassas' reform policy — which includes expulsion of foreign students, registration with the federal government, control of funding and standardization of the curriculum, according to McCaul's press release on his negotiations.

...A Justice Department source told FOX News that Pakistan has revoked the teens' visas, and officials there say they want to send the boys back to the United States. [Full text]

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