Time to close hate schools says Hamid Karazai


AFGHAN President Hamid Karzai has urged the world to put an end to Islamic schools that teach hatred and produce suicide bombers. Madrassas, or Islamic schools, are "teaching hatred rather than religion, (teaching) that some people we must hate, that some people we must destroy," Mr Karzai said on the eve of summits with the US and Pakistan. He said it "will take a lot of sacrifice from Afghans, and from the rest of the world . . . to get rid of those places who . . . in the name of religious schools . . . are actually training suicide bombers against us". Mr Karzai also said neighbouring Pakistan must find the political will to eliminate terrorist breeding grounds if Afghanistan is to know peace. He said other nations had to pressure them to do so. "We have to convince them that it is not in their interest, that it is going to hurt all of us eventually," he was quoted as saying. Mr Karzai is to meet US President George W. Bush next Tuesday. On Wednesday, they and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf are to hold talks. Asked to comment on a report that al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden was dead, Mr Karzai said it would be good news , but it was just speculation. The NATO-led force in Afghanistan said it had killed 23 insurgents in the south and wound down a mission in the west. A US intelligence report has found the Iraq war gave birth to a new generation of Islamic radicals and the terrorist threat had grown since September 11. A national intelligence estimate in April said Islamic radicalism had mushroomed worldwide and the Iraq war was one reason, the New York Times said. "The estimate concludes that the radical Islamic movement has expanded from a core of al-Qaida operatives and affiliated groups to include a new class of `self-generating` cells inspired by al-Qaida`s leadership but without any direct connection," it said. The Times cited more than a dozen US government officials and outside experts with knowledge of the consensus view of 16 US spy services. It`s their first formal appraisal of global terrorism since the Iraq war began in 2003. In Britain, tens of thousands of people, led by Prime Minister Tony Blair`s sister-in-law, held a march on the eve of the Labour conference to protest at policy over Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel. Organisers said 50,000-60,000 attended, but Manchester police put it at about 10,000. And a poll of 500 British Muslims has found almost one in 10 would not tell police of suspicions fellow Muslims were involved in terrorism. Of 16- to 24-year-olds, 15 per cent would stay silent. One in 20 thought attacks such as the July 7 London bombings were justified. Two-thirds said Muslims` failure to root out extremists was a factor in such terrorism. - AFP, REUTERS, PA

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