President Obama’s recent announcement of a revised strategy on Afghanistan and Pakistan suggests the importance of education in reducing the threat of terrorism in the region. However, at present, it is not clear how educational investment and reform will be facilitated by the U.S. government in any way different from previous attempts under the Bush administration, as none of this investment can be directly targeted at the estimated 15,000 madrassahs because of U.S. restrictions on funding religious institutions.
The Saban Center at Brookings’ Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World and the Brookings Doha Center was pleased to host a roundtable discussion with Saleem Ali on the challenges and opportunities facing the United States, the international community and Pakistan as they grapple with that country’s counter-terrorism and educational reform issues.
Saleem H. Ali is a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar, and the author of Islam and Education: Conflict and Conformity in Pakistan’s Madrassahs (Oxford University Press, 2009). He is also associate professor of environmental planning and Asian studies at the University of Vermont, and a member of the adjunct faculties of Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies and the United Nations-mandated University for Peace.