July 08, 2008

Film: The Karachi Kids

“A breeding ground for terrorists.”

“University of Jihad.”

Those are just some of the phrases used to described the Pakistani madrassa system, a network of Islamic schools where children as young as six are taught to memorize every verse and phrase of the Koran.

The Karachi Kids takes the viewer behind the shrouded curtain of a Pakistani madrassa to show a world of abuse, loneliness and transformation into radical Islam.

Filmed over the course of years, the Karachi Kids tracks the changes of two middle class brothers from Atlanta whose father, a Pakistani taxi driver enraged at the influence of American culture on his children, into a madrassa with instructions that they must memorize the Koran before they are allowed home — a process which takes about seven years.

A story of personal tragedy with national security implications, the Karachi Kids promises to create a national debate about the true nature of radical Islam in ways that have never before been told.

Ties to Terror

Madrassas have come under intense international scrutiny for their anti-Western sentiment and links to terrorism since 9/11, and since the London subway bombings three years ago today, July 7, 2005. Three of the four suicide bombers who carried out the London plot were British nationals of Pakistani descent. Two attended madrassas inPakistan. The Binoria madrassa is known to recruit Americans most aggressively. It prominently displays a banner supporting the Taliban. And it is documented that Osama bin Laden spoke to students at Binoria before the 9/11 attacks.

While these religious schools purport to serve a purpose and educate Islamic children, great concern has grown over the increasing number of "political" madrassas. They mass-produce extremists with a political agenda, including a narrow view of society and no tolerance of Western culture. They radicalize Muslims and are seminaries for jihad.

"Most disturbing is that Americans and other westerners who are trained in these madrassas to hate America, have unfettered access to the United States. They leave the madrassas with intent to come back home to spread their message of hatred toward our country. Worst case they intend to kill us," Congressman McCaul said.

"The 9/11 terrorists had to work to infiltrate the United States to plan their attack. These madrassas are creating a new breed of terrorist that can come back to our country, work in our businesses, live next door, and teach our children with no questions asked. They are potential time bombs planted in our communities waiting to explode."


Documentary filmmaker Imran Raza, who is of Pakistani descent, discovered the Khans in the Binoria madrassa in 2005. He embarked on his documentary "Karachi Kids", http://www.karachikids.com/, immediately after the London subway bombings. Raza has spearheaded the effort to remove the Khans from Binoria and bring them back to America.

Congressman McCaul just returned from an official visit to the Middle East with U.S. Representatives Gene Green and Henry Cuellar. They also visited wounded U.S.military personnel at Landstuhl Medical Center in Ramstein, Germany. And they toured the front line of the war on terror with U.S. troops in Afghanistan charged with rooting out Taliban and al Qaeda terrorist cells which have sought safe haven in that region. Congressman McCaul is a member of the House Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs committees. Before he was elected to Congress, McCaul served as chief of Counter-Terrorism and National Security in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Texas, and led the Joint Terrorism Task Force charged with detecting, deterring and preventing terrorist activity.