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Syria restricts Islamic teaching - BBC, UK

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  • Zafar Khan
    Syria restricts Islamic teaching By Kim Ghattas BBC, Beirut http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3491618.stm The Syrian authorities will no longer allow
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 28, 2004
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      Syria restricts Islamic teaching
      By Kim Ghattas
      BBC, Beirut

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/3491618.stm

      The Syrian authorities will no longer allow foreign
      students to study Islam in private schools.

      From the next academic year foreigners will only
      attend classes at the Islamic law faculty of Damascus
      University, in the Syrian capital.

      There are 20 Islamic schools operating in Syria under
      the supervision of the social affairs and labour
      ministry.

      They cater to several thousand foreigners from the US,
      Japan, Britain and Indonesia among other countries.

      Officially the Syrian government said it was taking
      measures against private Islamic schools because their
      degrees were not officially recognised yet.

      But these institutes were always closely watched by
      the staunchly secular Syrian Baath regime and now it
      appears that things have been taken one step further.

      Student suspicions

      This comes after several Muslims arrested for alleged
      terrorist activities were found to have stayed in
      Damascus.

      Capt James Yee, a Muslim military chaplain at the
      Guantanamo Bay detention centre, who was arrested and
      then released last year after allegedly being caught
      with classified documents, had studied Islam and
      Arabic in Damascus in the mid-1990s.

      And in April last year, Assaf Mohammed Hanif, a
      British Muslim blew himself up in a Tel Aviv pub.

      He had studied Arab at Damascus University in 2000 and
      it is thought this is where he was recruited by the
      Palestinian group, Hamas.

      There are about 3,000 foreigners studying in Syria.

      While Damascus has been accused by the US
      administration of supporting radical Palestinian
      groups, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, it has
      received praise for co-operating in the fight against
      al-Qaeda.






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