The film "Among the Believers," which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this past weekend, gives an in-depth look into the rise of Islamic schools or "madrassas" across Pakistan and the cleric behind The Red Mosque, Maulana Abdul Aziz.
The film’s directors Mohammed Ali Naqvi and Hemal Trivedi, who trailed Aziz for five years, appeared on HuffPost Live and explained why the schools have gained prominence. As Trivedi learned while filming, poverty is what pushes many families into a madrassa's open arms. Poor Pakistani parents who can't afford to send their children to more traditional schools often lean on these institutions to educate their kids, despite their fundamentalist bent. While in the program, the children begin their ideological training.
"The kids are the most malleable. So they target kids and they program them for their own political agenda, and that's just the way it is," Trivedi told host Caroline Modaressy-Tehrani.
While the students are not taught tactical lessons in weaponry, the rhetoric appears to be more than enough to encourage the students to act out. As Naqvi explained, a connection between the madrassas' teachings and violent behavior has emerged.
"Several militant incidences that have happened over the last few years in Pakistan have students that were directly connected to the Red Mosque and who studied there. So there is a correlation, absolutely," Naqvi said.
Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with the "Among the Believers" directors here.
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