Headline Mar 04, 2015/ ''' M A D R A S S A S '''

''' M A D R A S S A S '''

THERE'S SOMETHING VERY GREAT, very touching, and very caring, in the way-

*That hundreds and thousands of you,  -the world over,  have requested enlightenment on the historic phenomenon and development of  Madrassas.*

To a very high degree, the Truth  is,  that in many Islamic countries, the Madrassas are meant to enlighten and act as a bulwark against extremism. 
Hopefully,  -but eventually, I would be able to cover every Islamic country. 

In the meantime, I begin and help you see and take the following context:

The scenic setting is the beautiful city of  Gontor, Indonesia. The silhouette of the the large mosque, brick-like but for a bulbous dome, looked blurry in the downpour.

The rain of East Java is heavy, lending a sparkle to the green paddies, and the scent of moist earth to the air. As the evening prayer ended, hundreds of boys rushed out of the building in waves-

Mats slung over their shoulders, sarongs hitched up to their knees, flip-flops squelching in the wet. 

These students attend  Pondok Modern Darussalam Gantor, one of Indonesia's many Islamic boarding schools, or peasantren. (Estimates range from from about 13,000 to 30,000).

Almost three-quarters of the schools, including Gontor, teach secular subjects, like science and history in addition to classical Islamic texts and vocational courses in agriculture and mechanics.

Pesantren have existed for centuries in Indonesia, which is home to the world's largest Muslim population.

But their reputation has taken a battering in recent decades, thanks to a wave of terrorist attacks, including  bombings in Bali in 2002 that killed over 200 people.

By December 2014, militants in Syria and Iraq, including the radical Sunni Islamicist group that calls itself the Islamic State, had attracted some 100 recruits from Indonesia, according to the country's counterterrorism force.   

Some pesantren are indeed linked to terrorist groups. The most notorious is the Almukmin school in Ngruki, a short drive from Gontor, some of whose graduated have been associated with the Jemaah Islamiyah, the organisation responsible for the Bali bombings.

Yet Sidney Jones, director of the Jakarta based Institute for for Policy Analysis of Conflict (I.P.A.C.)  and a leading authority of terrorist movements in Southeast Asia, estimated that only around 40 pesantren have terrorist connections.

Another 200 or so emphasize an orthodox Wahhabi philosophy but do not preach violence. 

According to Ms Jones, many more pesantren focus on  grooming ''up-standing citizens in a way that reinforces their own settings and values.'' 

Known for strict discipline and character-building, they may actually serve as a bulwark against extremism.

Gontor arguably is the single most influential pesantren in the country, boasting an array of luminaries among its alumni, including the current, liberal minister for religious affairs and the head of the Indonesian Ulema Council, which advises the government on religious issues.

''On my visit to the school last November,'' writes Pallavi Aiyar, a highly respected author, ''I was chaperoned by Ustad Ally, a recent alumnus and young teacher.''

Wearing spectacles, a pinstriped shirt and tie, he played Bollywood hits in the car on our way in from the nearest airport.

He was not paid for his work, he said, but was content with room and board because of the sense of community he felt at Gontor.    
The Honour and Serving of the  ''operational research''  continues. Thank you for reading this very important work, and maybe learning something. And see Ya on the following one.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and teachers  of Madrassas of Indonesia. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless.

''' Students' Duties '''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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