While western leaders have castigated Muslims for not doing more to rein in radicals, they have been cosying up to the propagators of jihad
Two years ago, while researching a book on migration, I visited West Java. One day, while driving through the uplands of Subang, I saw, among the acres of tea and coffee plantations, a huge white edifice. At first I thought it was a mosque: it had a big dome and minarets. But as we drew nearer, I realised it was a cluster of several buildings. When I quizzed my driver, he said that it was indeed a mosque and the buildings attached to it comprised a boarding school. Before I could ask what such an obviously expensive complex was doing in a rural backwater, he added that it was a Saudi-funded establishment. It was one of many, he said, that had cropped up all over West Java in recent years. Did he know anyone who attended that school? He was not local to the area but, he said, near his own village, a similar Saudi-funded school had appeared a while back. Impressed by its spacious grounds and imposing building, he had moved his 10-year-old son there, but within a few weeks he had hastily returned him to his ramshackle old village school. His son had begun, he reported, to express some alarming ideas about “true Islam” and berate his Muslim parents for their easygoing ways.
“You mean it was a madrasa?” I asked him.