Madrassas in Manhattan

Some Muslim boys in New York are spending nine hours a day for two to three years memorizing the Koran so they can win entrance to Heaven for themselves and 10 family members, reports the New York Times. They learn the sounds but don’t understand the words much less analyze the meaning. Parents think the boys, who seem to be middle-school age, will catch up in high school after missing years of English, math, science and history classes.

Ann Althouse calls it child abuse, not to mention a violation of New York law, which requires children to be taught a range of subjects, whether they attend public or private school. There are lots and lots of comments.

— JJ

About Joanne


  1. Didn’t the guy who ran a white-supremicist, skin-head organization get a long sentence for being the prime motivator behind a racial killing committed by some of his acolytes? I’m pretty sure “yes” which means there’s a way to lean on some of the more vitriolic Muslim religious figures.

    Also, I wonder how much of the budget for these schools comes from tuition and how much comes from abroad? I know the Saudis have been pretty generous when it comes to funding Wahabi mosques, if they’re funding these schools then simply making the information public knowledge might put a bit of a damper on American Jihad academies.

    Also, from the article:

    Tariq’s favorite video game is Grand Theft Auto: “You can hook up cars. That’s the best part.” His favorite genre of music? Hip-hop, especially, Fat Joe and T. I. He recently pestered his mother into buying five shirts for him from G-Unit, the clothing line of the rap star 50 Cent.


    Mrs. Sherwani confessed that she sometimes questioned whether she was doing the right thing with her son, fretting that Thaha, who would have been entering the sixth grade this year if he had stayed in regular school, does not know his multiplication tables, for example.

    Sounds like little Thaha has a foot in each culture. When it comes time to decide whether to strap on a bomb-vest as per the advice of the local imam or study for the LCAT I have a feeling mom may be unwilling to leave the decision up to Thaha about which way to go, looking toward the day when she’ll want to bounce grandchildren on her knee. I’ll put my money on mom, this being America.

  2. One person’s religous freedom is another’s loose definition of child abuse.

    I believe in religious freedom for all, even the religions I don’t like. The state fails to educate millions of children and no one calls that abuse… so neither is this.

  3. Laylo, good point. OTOH, memorizing a book without understanding the language it is written in is simply insane.

  4. Indigo Warrior says:

    The ultimate in rote memorization, drill, and busy-work!

    More seriously, the Muslim school in question is no nuttier than some fundamentalist Christian schools. And freedom of religion does apply to all religions, even freaky foreign ones we don’t like. Is there any evidence of actual terrorist activities? This school may well be abusing its students (though I need to know more before I can judge) – but can government be trusted not to abuse its own power to rescue children from “abusive” families?

    Case in point, the anti-cult, anti-Pagan, and anti-Satanic panics of the not too distant past. Individuals and families practiced unpopular religions; so parents were suspected of abuse (despite no real evidence), children were separated from parents and forcibly “deprogrammed”, families split up, lives ruined – and for what?

  5. allen wrote:
    Sounds like little Thaha has a foot in each culture.

    Ghetto culture vs. muslim culture? Both are tribal in the extreme, both frown on intelligence, both breed violence, and both are largely incompatible with any other culture. What a choice…

  6. They’re also incompatible with each other which is the secondary point the primary point being that where there’s choice there are people who will inevitably make the wrong choice from the point of view of people who feel they have right to dictate others range of choices.

    That’s why extremist movements are self-limiting in the U.S. The more the movement demands of its adherents and the further from the mainstream it strays, the fewer adherents there are. It’s happened repeatedly in the U.S. and with movements much more powerful and monolithic then the Muslim religion, I don’t see why it won’t happen to the Muslim extremists as well if it hasn’t already started to happen.


  1. penis enlargement

    penis enlargement PEN001212766421