S:     We should just shut them all down. They are good for nothing, I swear. I feel sorry for all those children in madrassas. Their ‘religious education’ will count for nothing in the market. What a waste!

A:     It is reasonable for you to be this angry over the Bajaur girls’ story, but let’s not blame the entire system. Madrassas don’t just offer religious education, which you obviously don’t care for, but they also provide food and shelter to a large number of poor children. Do you prefer that they were left to their parents who cannot give them half of what madrassas do or be left out in the open to fend for themselves? We all know what happens with those kids.

S:     We also know what happens to madrassa kids. Just because someone has a beard and invokes the name of God ten times during a conversation doesn’t mean they should be blindly trusted. Who knows how those children end up there? Who knows how they are treated? I’d propose regulation, a certificate of authentication maybe, a regular check from the state, but I don’t want to endorse madrassas; directly or by implication.

A:     Well, Sadiq, like it or not, they are here to stay. You know why that is? Because of your beloved state. It is incapable of doing its job, providing orphanages, capable schools, social security, foster homes. Don’t blame the cure for being imperfect; blame the cause. Anyway, we have freedom to choose our own education methods. Would you also stop children from being home-schooled or sent to private institutions?

S:     So we should not try to perfect the imperfect system at all? Is that what you want? And please, Ameen, do not generalize. Home-schooling happens in a tiny minority of cases, and private institutions are picked by parents based on their educational affiliations and acumen. What do madrassas offer, a place in heaven? Madrassa students are completely unprepared to deal with the world, no skills to offer, no proper education, no attested degree. In the end they can only socially survive amongst their own, and we know what that leads to.

A:     Trust me, they all don’t grow up to become suicide bombers and religious radicals. You can be so prejudiced sometimes.