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Cablegate: Bangladesh Islami University

VZCZCXRO0364
PP RUEHCI
DE RUEHKA #5201 2270623
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 150623Z AUG 06
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0813
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 9267
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 7526
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 8644
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1227
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON 2482
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1501
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 0343
RUEHMD/AMEMBASSY MADRID 0021
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL CALCUTTA
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHHMHAA/COMPACFLT PEARL HARBOR HI

UNCLAS DHAKA 005201

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER KISL KCRM PGOV BD
SUBJECT: BANGLADESH ISLAMI UNIVERSITY

REF: DHAKA 6275

1. (SBU) Summary: Poloff visited Bangladesh Islami
University, a new Bangladesh private university with Saudi
Arabian connections. Secretary General Maulana Jafri
discussed his university's expansion plans, asked for U.S.
assistance, and denied any plans to run for office. End
Summary.

2. (SBU) On August 14, Maulana Kamaluddin Jafri invited
poloff to visit Bangladesh Islami University (BIU), an
English medium university, describing it as the newest of the
54 private universities in Bangladesh. Conceived in 2002, he
said, BIU is nearing completion of its first academic year
with total student enrollment of 200, housed in a temporary
ten-story building in central Dhaka. The building housing
BIU also provides primary and secondary schooling for 100
students, which Jafri expected to attend his soon-to-grow
university.

3. (SBU) Jafri, the school's Secretary General, said that BIU
was sponsored by Bangladeshi Islami University Trust (BIUT),
chaired by Dr. Abduallah Omar Naseef through a cooperative
Saudi-Bangladesh arrangement. Asked who funds BIU, Jafri
replied that BIU is funded solely with Bangladeshi money, but
is actively seeking foreign contributions and assistance. He
said that he currently has no foreign students, but expects
that to change in the future.

4. (SBU) Current programs are limited to business studies,
human affairs and social sciences, and law. Poloff saw
several all male classes, conducted in English, whose
participants said they came from all over Bangladesh. Some
of the students in an Islamic studies course, encouraged by
the professors, volunteered they were Hindu. Asked why they
chose BIU, some said they expected to graduate and obtain
good paying jobs with their college education.

5. (SBU) Poloff toured the building and saw a small lending
library where required texts are available for borrowing.
Asked where the computers and Internet were located, Jafri
said that the faulty offices all had Internet access. He
said that they plan to put a distance learning center in
place, in which the Internet plays a central role. Within
five years, Jafri said, he plans to expand the university to
5,000 students on a 50 acre campus, providing both male and
female residential housing, and expand the faculty to provide
degrees in science, engineering, medical sciences,
agriculture, and Shariah law.

6. (SBU) Jafri, seen frequently on Bangladesh television,
said that his school emphasized "morality first" and prepares
their students for the future where they can "do just works
and be accountable to God." He and his staff told poloff
that the Koran said that all Muslims who see knowledge must
"pick it up." Jafri added that Islamic knowledge stretched
as far as Seville and Cordoba, and that it is the duty of all
Muslims "to retrieve their lost knowledge and heritage."

7. (SBU) Poloff asked the Jamaat Islami-affliated Jafri if he
intends to run for a seat in the upcoming parliamentary
election. Jafri said that he would not, claiming he was only
an academician.

8. (SBU) Note: Jafri is principle of the sprawling Jamiya
Kashemia maddrassah which we visited on in December 2005
(reftel).
BUTENIS

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