US lawmaker seeks shutting  down of Pakistan madrasas

Washington : An influential US lawmaker has sought the closure of 600 Deobandi madrassas in Pakistan, describing them as an “infrastructure of hate”.

  Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Relations Committee’s comments came after the deadly shooting in California on December 2 by a radicalised Pakistani-origin couple that killed 14 people.  He alleged that the madrasas were spewing hate. “Unless that infrastructure of hate is shut down, Pakistan will never win its struggle for internal peace,” Royce said during a Congressional hearing on Pakistan.

“That’s the issue. We have the list of the 600 schools. I’ve made three trips, as I’ve indicated, to try to convince the government to shut those down. We’ve had little success in convincing families in the Gulf states not to send their money there or convincing those governments in the Gulf states not to fund this,” Royce said.

“It’s a phenomenon that frankly, it’s so frustrating, because what we see is the failure of the government, time and time again, to address issues that are in that government’s own best interests. And this to me, given the knowledge about what goes on in those 600 schools, is the most obvious and vexing problem that is right in front of us,” Royce said. Responding to his concerns, Richard Olson, Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said the growth of such madrassas is due to the lack of primary education system.

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