Kids” is a powerful documentary story tracing the brainwashing of two American
boys from Atlanta sent to a radical madrassa in the Pakistani port city by
their immigrant father. Masterfully produced by Pakistani-American filmmaker
Imran Raza, the film recently moved Texas Congressman Mike McCaul to urge Pakistani
President Musharaf to let the kids go home.
Rep. McCaul also found it necessary to introduce a congressional
resolution in order to get a reluctant State Department to do the same for the
dozens of other American children subjected to jihadist indoctrination in
film is as powerful as it is relevant today, with large parts of the territory
of our “strategic ally” being Talibanized by violent extremists, many of whom
are the product of these same jihadist madrassas. One couldn’t fault the
filmmakers for thinking that Atlanta-headquartered CNN would actually be
interested in helping native sons who were the victims of such indoctrination. In fact, CNN International worked for months
with the filmmakers toward that purpose.
“the most trusted name in news” turned out to have a very different agenda.
Shortly after the boys were sprung from their madrassa and returned home, CNN
broadcast a program that claimed “Karachi Kids” was a bogus story, suggesting
that both the director and Congressman McCaul were lying.
at whose suggestion would CNN engage its vast news machinery to try to do in a
low-budget film is a fascinating question.
What is certain is that the network, not the kids’ champions, is in the
In a broadcast
on July 27, CNN tried to debunk Karachi Kids by arguing that the madrassa in
question, Jamia Binoria, is “favored by Pakistani-Americans for its moderate
and tolerant Islamic instruction,” that it has no ties to jihadist groups and,
besides, it may have been simply mistaken for a well-known jihadist madrassa
with a similar name. To buttress these assertions
CNN cited unnamed State Department officials, a picture of a US consular
official with the madrassa principal, Mufti Mohammed Naeem, and an interview
with him in which he denies any ties with militant groups.
each of these propositions in turn:
Jamia Binoria is “favored by Pakistani-Americans,” that popularity has nothing
to do with its supposed moderation.
Rather, it reflects the fact that the madrassa’s leader, Mufti Mohammed,
makes a yearly trip to the U.S. for fund-raising and student recruitment among
Pakistani-Americans of an Islamist bent – and has proven rather successful at
picture of a US official with the good mufti is, as CNN implies, proof of his
moderation, then a gentleman by the name of Abdurrahman Alamoudi has no
business serving a 23-year sentence in federal prison for terrorist activities,
since he was photographed more than once with George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
most interesting purported “gotcha” moment in the CNN report came when it cited
an analysis of Karachi madrassas by the highly respected International Crisis
Group (ICG) think tank to the effect that many confuse Jamia Binoria with the
better known, and openly jihadist, Binori Town madrassa. The network suggested that “Karachi Kids” director
had therefore spent three years making a film about the wrong madrassa.
anybody familiar with Pakistan’s madrassas, the CNN ‘gotcha’ not only serves to
undo their entire argument, it proves
beyond much doubt that in attacking “Karachi Kids” and Congressman McCaul, the network
engaged in disinformation.
ICG report they cite (and, therefore, presumably read) states in the very next sentence that the leaders of Jamia
Binoria “have publicly adopted a pro-jihadi, anti-Western stance.” Nor does
ICG support CNN’s “moderate madrassa” spin when its analysis bluntly states that,
“Even those [madrassas] without direct links to violence, promote an ideology
that provides religious justification for such attacks.” No mention of any of
that in the CNN story.
there is more. CNN is silent about Jamia Binoria’s role as a key member of an organization
of Deobandi madrassas called Wafaq ul-Madaris al-Arabiya, whose head has
publicly advocated forcing Pakistanis to abide by Shariah law and to expand
its reach by violent means.
there any mention of the organization’s guiding Deobandi creed, which rivals
Wahhabism in its violent and mysoginist worldview. It is that creed that gave rise to the murderous
Taliban and continues to guide it today.
It considers not only non-Muslims to be infidels; it also views Shia
Muslims in the same way – and, therefore, among those who deserve to be killed.
addition, the Deobandis see women as semi-human, at best. For example, a recent Deobandi fatwa ordered
an Indian Muslim who had been raped by her father-in-law, to divorce her
husband and marry the rapist, because she had become “unclean” to her husband.
CNN evidently sees nothing wrong with American
kids being subjected against their will to this kind of “education.” Worse yet, it is willing to deliberately besmirch
the reputation of those that do. Far
from deserving the trust of the viewing public, CNN has with its attack on
“Karachi Kids” earned yet another distinction in journalistic malfeasance:
proud purveyor of jihadist disinformation.