Turkish Schools Offer Pakistan a Gentler Islam
“Praying in Pakistan has not been easy for Mesut Kacmaz, a Muslim teacher from Turkey… He tried the mosque near his house, but it had Israeli and Danish flags painted on the floor for people to step on… ‘Kill, fight, shoot,’ Mr. Kacmaz said. ‘This is a misinterpretation of Islam.’
But that view is common in Pakistan, a frontier land for the future of Islam, where schools, nourished by Saudi and American money dating back to the 1980s, have spread Islamic radicalism through the poorest parts of society. With a literacy rate of just 50 percent and a public school system near collapse, the country is particularly vulnerable.
Mr. Kacmaz (pronounced KATCH-maz) is part of a group of Turkish educators who have come to this battleground with an entirely different vision of Islam. Theirs is moderate and flexible, comfortably coexisting with the West while remaining distinct from it.