Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Four female students who went to Syria to join ISIS attended Canadian 'madrassa'.

Four female students who went to Syria to join ISIS attended Canadian 'madrassa'. (CBC). (TheStar).

A girl and three young women left Canada to join ISIS in Syria after studying at the Al-Huda Islamic Institute in Mississauga, Ont. — a school whose sister institution in Pakistan is now connected to the mass shooting in California.

It's unclear exactly when the Canadian students travelled overseas, but sources have confirmed they all left in the last two years after attending the school founded by controversial female Islamic scholar Farhat Hashmi. Hashmi's ultra-conservative teachings in lectures and online have faced criticism for promoting an extreme wifely subservience to a husband.

Founder of Pakistan religious school where San Bernardino shooter studied, lives in Mississauga.

Tashfeen Malik, who gunned down 14 people with her husband last week in California, attended a religious school in Pakistan. Al-Huda’s founder, Farhat Hashmi, has been criticized for promoting a conservative strain of Islam.

While in Multan, she also attended a religious school, which Pakistani intelligence officials on Monday identified as the Al-Huda International Seminary. The school is a women-only madrassa with branches across Pakistan and in the U.S. and Canada, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

The Canadian branch is based in Mississauga, Ont., according to the foundation’s website.

Al-Huda’s founder, Farhat Hashmi, who now lives in Canada, has been criticized for promoting a conservative strain of Islam, though the school has no known links to extremists.

Hashmi was not available to comment on Monday, as she is currently in Pakistan, said a staff member at the school’s Canadian branch. The school also released a statement condemning the shooting in California and saying it was looking to increase security around its Mississauga campus.

Hashmi’s name surfaced on the payroll of one of Canada’s largest Islamic organizations, despite her not actually working there. An audit in 2011 revealed the Islamic Society of North America Canada was trying to help her immigrate to Canada.

Farhat Hashmi had been invited to come from Pakistan to deliver lectures several times throughout the mid-2000s.

In Pakistan, the school is popular among upper-middle class and urban women interested in Islamic studies.

The region where the school is located, however, is home to thousands of extremist seminaries, with hundreds of them linked to al-Qaida and the Pakistani Taliban.

Pakistan, which supports Islamic militants battling archrival India in the disputed region of Kashmir and is widely believed to have ties to insurgents in Afghanistan, has long turned a blind eye to institutions that teach radical interpretations of Islam.

Pakistani authorities have also been looking into Malik’s time in Multan. Police and intelligence agents have searched the house where she lived on two occasions since Friday. Shabana Saif, a counterterrorism official, said intelligence agents seized documents, family photo albums and a laptop belonging to Malik’s sister, Shahida, who was studying engineering at a Pakistani college. It is not clear whether the house, which has been sealed, was owned by Tashfeen or her father.

The school's founder, however, is not a Canadian resident, despite several media reports to the contrary, sources told CBC News. Hashmi has not been in Canada for three years, those sources said. Read the full story here.

Update: Scaramouchee has more on the Founder of these 'Madrasas'.

Update: Flashback 2006.

Another ideological war is being fought on behalf of the extremists by controversial Pakistani scholar Dr. Farhat Hashmi who has set up Al-Huda Academy, a female-only school, in Canada. 14

A July 2006 article in Maclean’s, reported that she was still teaching her students a fundamentalist brand of Islam, promoting polygamy and subservience to men, some nine months after immigration officials demanded she leave the country. Yet she remains here.

Moderate Muslims believe her lessons encourage extremist views among her students in Mississauga the same Toronto suburb where many of the 18 men arrested on 2 June 2006, on terrorism-related charges, grew up and developed into radicals.

Some of those young men’s militant views are reputed to have been influenced by their ideologically inclined wives, a reminder that the radicalizing of females in childhood can have grave downstream consequences.

As for the dyed-in-the-wool quality of some of those convicted in the Toronto 18 affair, one need only look at Somali-born Canadian convict Ali Mohamed Dirie. After serving his time, he promptly headed for Syria, where he was reportedly killed in 2013, fighting in the ranks of an extremist rebel group. 15

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