THE militants' policy of destroying educational institutions in Swat, under which girls' schools have been the worst hit, provides a peep into their most retrogressive bent of mind, and deserves the severest condemnation possible. It cannot be condoned under any code of religion or ethics. The reports that the NWFP government has handed over the control of schools in the Valley to the armed forces to ensure their safety from bomb blasts and provide a measure of security to students is, therefore, an extremely good and far-reaching decision. Strangely, though the militants are supposed to be fighting for the cause of Islam, they act to deny its adherents the pursuit of education that it enjoins upon every man and woman, irrespective of the odds. In this backdrop it seems quite difficult to fathom the motives of those who brainwash young men to sacrifice their lives to eliminate the very source that helps fulfil that sacred obligation. The unfortunate fact, however, is that till recently education for girls has not been at a premium, if not positively discouraged, in the underdeveloped world, and Muslims have been the worst culprits under pretext of the need for modesty for women. The less exposed the area to modern compulsions, the stronger the resistance to the idea of female education. The ill-informed assumed that education, especially modern, tended to debase the minds and give rise to vulgar thoughts from which women must be shielded. The upsurge of anti-American sentiments and Pakistan's support to the War On Terror has provided them a cause to get rid of all signs of modern life, of which the West is a symbol. Under these circumstances, the use of mere force would not make for a change of heart. The extremists have to be convinced that their acts are in sharp contradiction of the explicit message of the great religion that values life and knowledge over everything else. Widespread propagation of these ideas and dialogue with them are a dire need.