Pakistani Madrassa Tries to Make a Difference

A teacher at a Pakistani madrassa (search) outside Islamabad wants his students to learn about more than Islamic theology.

"We are teaching economics, we are teaching political science, we are teaching computer science," said English teacher Muhammed Moeenuddin.

Students still spend plenty of time memorizing the Koran (search), as they do at other madrassas, which are religious schools that primarily focus on Islam. But at Moenuddin's school, they also get a secular education. And unlike other madrassas, which often promote radical Islamic thinking that is hostile to the United States, this one teaches peace. FOX News visited the school recently with a congressional delegation.

"We're taught to be patient, be tolerable to other people because our religion teaches us that every single human being is equal," said student Ali Jawad.

School leaders made it clear they wanted Western nations to know their school is tolerant and educates women.

Nosheen Gul went through the system and now is a university law student. She said education helps women improve their lives.

"Women get to identify their rights; they get to know how to get their rights in society and identify their function, their role in society," Gul said.

School officials said their students get a balanced education and go on to get jobs in politics, business and international relations and they take pride that they are not turning out radicals.

Lawmakers said they were encouraged by what they saw. "You have a madrassa with traditional religious education and people are going from a classroom teaching the methodology of Islamic prayer to a computer science lab," said Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.

"Obviously there is a need for religious instruction," added Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. "I myself went to a religious college but you've got to have secular knowledge as well. So it's gratifying to see some of that happening there."

Leaders at the madrassa said it would be gratifying for them if the West would take another look at students in Pakistan (search), especially from this particular school system, and accept more of them into western universities.

Editor's Note: FOX News' Molly Henneberg was embedded with a delegation of lawmakers from the House International Relations Committee who traveled to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Germany. This is the first in a series of reports. Part two will focus on the Khyber Pass, a remote tribal area along Afghanistan's border with Pakistan, where terrorists — including Usama bin Laden — may be trying to find sanctuary.