Madrassa Metrics: The Statistics and Rhetoric of Religious Enrollment in Pakistan

Khwaja, Asim; Andrabi, Tahir; Das, Jishnu; Zajonc, Tristan (2008)


Khwaja, Asim, Tahir Andrabi, Jishnu Das, and Tristan Zajonc. 2008. “Madrassa Metrics: The Statistics And Rhetoric Of Religious Enrollment In Pakistan”. In Beyond Crisis: A Critical Second Look At Pakistan, Ed. Naveeda Khan, Routledge, May 2008.
Although consensus on deep determinants of terrorism still eludes us, Islamic religious schools are widely cited as an important contributor to extremism. Nowhere have these statements been more strongly applied than to Pakistan, where religious schools -- commonly known as madrassas -- were responsible for educating the leadership of the Taliban during the 1980s. In recent years, these schools have been called “factories of jihad” and are commonly believed to churn out extremists by the millions. While discussions about Pakistani madrassas are deemed central to the war on terror, two distinct issues remain difficult to resolve: First, do madrassas, through their teaching and training, create terrorists by indoctrinating their students in a particular world-view? Second, are parents increasingly sending the vast majority of their children to madrassas?