Basically, i couldnt agree more with what you are saying Freedom_for_sum
However, to start with.. i would like to bring to your attention a few notes. You've obviously done a good deal of research about the topic.. but
there is one very interesting point. Those wierd institutions you believe to be mindlessly teaching kids the Quoran are indeed called a madrasa, and
the correct plural for it is infact "madares" and it simply means SCHOOL!
I think what you meant to say is a "Kuttab". This is an institution mainly founded to teach religion and language, as opposed to a "madrasa" which
is just any school.
You see, it is very common in third world countires, and in some rural parts of Egypt, where there are almost no or very little schools available, for
religious institutions and mosques (muslim churches!) to aid in the education of the people, as im sure many churches do all over Europe and the
states. Naturally, their aim is to produce individuals with a solid religious and lingual background. However, the only thing they dont do is
mindlessly teach kids to recite the Quoran.
I would like to tell you a small story, of a guy called Taha Hussein. He was an egyptian, the seventh of thirteen children! He grew up in rural Egypt,
and to in a relatively poor family. Additionally, he went blind at a very early age. Despite his disability, he was accepted into the local
"kuttab". There they tought him the best foundation there was for language and religion, and he was capable of reciting and explaining the entire
Quoran. And what is even more amazing is... the teachings this young blind boy recieved enabled him to do the following...
1) Recieve the first PhD to be issued from the newly founded Cairo University in Egypt under the british regim.
2) Recieve a PhD from the French university "Sorbonne", which is a well established university in literature.
3) Write numerous local, national and international novels, many of which have been translated into other languages.
4) Became the Egypian Minister of Education in 1950.
5) Was awarded honorary doctorates from French, British, Spanish and Italian universities.
6) President Gamal Abd Al-Nasser (An Egyptian President) bestowed on him the highest Egyptian decoration, normally, reserved for heads of state.
7) In 1973, he received the United Nations Human Rights Award.
All of this he managed to achieve building only on the original teachings of his local "kuttab".
So you see, the error definately does not come from the fact that there are muslim institutions that aim to decrease illitracey, and I can personally
guarentee you that you cannot learn to recite the Quoran without learning to read and write, as it is virtually impossible, due to the extensive
vocabulary it contains, and the immense amount of arabic punctuation!
The problem is all due to extremists. If they did as you said they did... just simply teach their kida to read the Quoran, then that would be the
biggest favour they'll ever do.. but they dont! They just teach them to obey orders.
The other point you mentioned is how Islam treats women. It is perfectly true that women are not treated very good in places like Taliban and Saudi
Arabia.. but those are the only two i can think of... and its not really as extreme as you said.. i mean, even in Saudi, they dont have to walk behind
they're male family member! I've been to Saudi! And as for the stoning part, in Saudi, this form of punishment is supposedly applied for both the
male and female if they stray from marriage.
However, none of these things defend in anyway the way women are treated in those countries. I as a muslim am appaled at some of the things they do
over there. Therefore... i ask you to consider a place where i think islam is at its best, at least for now! (and its hard to say that without showing
off... ) I think Egypt is by far the most modernized Islamic country. YOu walk in Egypt and its not far off Newyork (I picked newyork cause of the
Generally, women are treated just as u'd expect anywhere in the states.
and i can get u some pics if u'd like! hehe
Anyways,, i'm sure i've definately got the longest posts on here hehehe... but i was just hoping to mention all the points u brought up.