Thursday, February 28, 2013

Could We Have Bought Peace In Afghanistan By Paying Off The Preachers?

A geometry teacher at Habibia School in Kabul reads from the Koran during a break between classes. Students interested in learning more about Islam than what is taught in their religion classes. During the Taliban regime, Islam was one of the only subjects taught in school, but now the new Afghan government offers a broader education. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/BENJAMIN KRAIN

Missed Opportunity in Afghanistan: We Forgot to Pay the Preachers -- Mujib Mashal, Time

The assailants first came for Mullah Mohamed Hatif two years ago. It was a snowy winter night and he was making his way home after leading the evening prayer at his mosque. Two men, their faces covered, clubbed him in between his shoulders. He fell face down on the snow. They took his book ofsermons with thirty years of notes on its margins.

Hatif’s back hurt for 15 days, but undeterred, he continued to preach the kind of sermons many in his home district of Kohistan, in northeastern Afghanistan, believes made him a target. “Don’t blow up the bridge, the road,” the 63-year old would tell his congregation of roughly 800, his voice echoing in the village through the two sky-blue loudspeakers mounted on top of the one-story building. “Study chemistry, study biology, study English because we have huge mines that are untapped yet we can barely produce a plastic jug.” With a degree in education in 1960s, Hatif has taught science and literature in local high schools for nearly four decades. “I haven’t taken my hand off the chalk all these years,” he says proudly. He became a preacher by pursuing part-time religious studies for nearly 20 years.

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My Comment: Is this an opportunity lost .... probably .... but we will now never know.

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