Pakistani cleric who runs Islamic school for girls names its new library after Osama bin Laden

Published: April 18, 2014

By Munir Ahmed

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — A controversial Pakistani cleric who runs an Islamic seminary for girls in the capital of Islamabad has named the school’s newly built library in honour of Osama bin Laden, his spokesman and a school administrator said Friday.

The tribute is an unusual first, though there have been cases in recent years of Pakistanis naming their sons — or even their stores and places of business — after the terror network’s slain leader.

Bin Laden was killed in a May 2011 raid by U.S. Navy SEALs in his hiding place in Abbottabad, a garrison town about 125 kilometres (75 miles) north of Islamabad. The unilateral raid at the time angered the Pakistani government, which said the United States had violated the country’s sovereignty.

In the immediate aftermath of bin Laden’s death, Islamists held small rallies across Pakistan to denounce the killing. The slain al-Qaida chief is still regarded as a hero by most students at Islamic schools, or madrassas.

The madrassas are an important aspect of education in the predominantly Muslim Pakistan, and tens of thousands of students study there. Most of the religious schools provide free food, tuition and even board for students who come from other parts of the country.

For cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz, bin Laden was also a hero and a “martyr” for Islam and he wanted to pay a proper tribute by naming the school’s library after the al-Qaida chief, the cleric’s spokesman Tehsin Ullah told The Associated Press.

Aziz has long been considered a hard-line and controversial cleric. He is also a prayer leader at the Pakistani capital’s Red Mosque — a former militant hideout that the army raided in 2007. The raid killed dozens of extremists and others and unleashed a wave of retaliatory militant attacks across Pakistan.

The mosque runs two schools, one for boys and one for girls. The girls’ school, called Jamia Hafsa, has an all-female staff and about 1,500 students. As a madrassa, it is moderate in size and considered somewhat prestigious.

The newly constructed, one-room library is located inside the school compound, next to a computer room and Aziz’s office. A paper sign posted on the library’s wooden door reads, in Arabic, “Maktaba Osama bin Laden Shaheed” — or, Library Osama bin Laden, the Martyr.

“Aziz thinks that Osama bin Laden is a hero and he is a martyr and that is why he selected Osama bin Laden’s name for the library,” said Ullah, the spokesman.

Abdul Rehman, the school administrator, said the library was built two months ago and was named after bin Laden over a month ago — something that raised little attention until media picked it up.

There were no visible books or portraits of bin Laden inside the library, and Rehman stressed it can only carry books about the teachings of Islam. He refused to discuss bin Laden or the U.S. commando raid that killed the al-Qaida chief.

However, students from both the boys and the girls’ madrassa run by Aziz have participated in anti-U.S. protests in recent years, and the cleric himself is also known for his anti-American stance.

AP reporters visiting the girls’ madrassa Friday were not allowed to talk to any of the students or the staff. Rehman said Islam doesn’t allow men who are not family members to interact with female students or teachers.

08:45ET 18-04-14

[+]

Tags: , , ,



Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

Featured

A soldier in the Canadian Army stands guard at the National War Memorial during a ceremony at the memorial on October 24, 2014 in Ottawa, Canada.  Two days ago a gunman killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a soldier guarding the memorial. The gunman then stormed the main parliament building, terrorizing the public and politicians, before he was shot dead. Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Five things to know about the anti-terrorism measures to be tabled today

JIM BRONSKILL THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — The Conservative government is poised to introduce anti-terrorism legislation today that will amend existing laws and create new…
Continue Reading »

AP Photo/James H. Collins, File.

B.C. hate-crime investigation: Racist ranter declares ‘open season’ on First Nations people

THE CANADIAN PRESS TERRACE, B.C. — Terrace RCMP are investigating allegations that a hate crime was committed when someone posted a racist tirade on Facebook…
Continue Reading »

Archbishop Christian Lepine, Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, and Sayed Nabil Abbas, left to right, take part in a meeting with spiritual leaders to talk about unity and diversity in wake of Charlie Hebdo. The meeting was held at city hall in Montreal on Wednesday January 28, 2015. Allen McInnis / MONTREAL GAZETTE

Montreal mayor urges city’s religious leaders to unite against intolerance after Charlie Hebdo attack

RENE BRUEMMER MONTREAL GAZETTE Montreal mayor Denis Coderre brought together several leaders of the city’s numerous religious communities Wednesday at city hall, saying he wanted…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

A soldier in the Canadian Army stands guard at the National War Memorial during a ceremony at the memorial on October 24, 2014 in Ottawa, Canada.  Two days ago a gunman killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a soldier guarding the memorial. The gunman then stormed the main parliament building, terrorizing the public and politicians, before he was shot dead. Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Five things to know about the anti-terrorism measures to be tabled today

JIM BRONSKILL THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — The Conservative government is poised to introduce anti-terrorism legislation today that will amend existing laws and create new…
Continue Reading »

AP Photo/James H. Collins, File.

B.C. hate-crime investigation: Racist ranter declares ‘open season’ on First Nations people

THE CANADIAN PRESS TERRACE, B.C. — Terrace RCMP are investigating allegations that a hate crime was committed when someone posted a racist tirade on Facebook…
Continue Reading »

Archbishop Christian Lepine, Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, and Sayed Nabil Abbas, left to right, take part in a meeting with spiritual leaders to talk about unity and diversity in wake of Charlie Hebdo. The meeting was held at city hall in Montreal on Wednesday January 28, 2015. Allen McInnis / MONTREAL GAZETTE

Montreal mayor urges city’s religious leaders to unite against intolerance after Charlie Hebdo attack

RENE BRUEMMER MONTREAL GAZETTE Montreal mayor Denis Coderre brought together several leaders of the city’s numerous religious communities Wednesday at city hall, saying he wanted…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Vancouver-BC

Raise your hand, send us a selfie and make a statement against racism (with video)

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi’s digital anti-racism campaign, Raise Your Hands Against Racism, officially kicked off Thursday, with people across the Lower Mainland sending in selfies…
Continue Reading »

File photo: Commuters hang by doors of a crowded local train in Mumbai, India, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. Three men were killed on Monday after they attempted to take a selfie by a moving train near Agra. AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade

College students killed while attempting train selfie in India

VANCOUVER DESI Three college friends on their way to India’s Republic Day celebrations were killed by a speeding train after they tried posing for a…
Continue Reading »

Screen shot of Shah Rukh Khan's first video tweet. Submitted.

Shah Rukh Khan sends out India’s first tweet using Twitter’s new mobile video camera

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was the first-ever Indian to use Twitter’s freshly launched mobile video camera. Twitter announced the new feature on…
Continue Reading »

Indian spectators watch as a float carrying a sign that reads "Congratulations! It's a Baby Girl" passes by during the Indian Republic Day parade in New Delhi on January 26, 2015. The float represented India's Ministry of Women and Child Development.  An estimated 26 million babies are born anually in India, a country considered to be one of the worst places to be born a girl because of a societal 'gender gap' that favours boys and preferences for male children.  ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images

India’s Supreme Court bans online advertisements for pre-birth sex tests

VANCOUVER DESI India’s Supreme Court has ordered Internet giants Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to block all advertisements for pre-birth tests that determine a child’s gender,…
Continue Reading »

sethi

American Punjabi rapper feels at home in Vancouver

Collaborative hip hop and artistic group Char Bagh set to play the PuSh Festival on Saturday   LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI California-based MC and artist…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Akshay Kumar

Askhay Kumar offers martial arts training to visually impaired girls

PRASHANT SINGH HINDUSTAN TIMES Last year, Akshay Kumar — who was a professional martial arts trainer before he started acting — launched an initiative to…
Continue Reading »

Shah Rukh Khan (L) and Kajol (R) are rumoured to be appearing in the next Rohit Shetty film. Getty Images.

Rohit Shetty tightlipped on SRK, Kajol casting rumours

IANS Mumbai — Bollywood’s blockbuster director Rohit Shetty is remaining tightlipped on rumours he’s managed to rope in a casting coup of Shah Rukh Khan…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood sex

Sonam Kapoor never planned to use her father’s fame to jumpstart her Bollywood career

IANS Mumbai  – It’s always thought that Bollywood’s star children have it easy, but actress Sonam Kapoor says that at the start of her film…
Continue Reading »