Strange irony: Pakistan girls’ school names library after Osama bin Laden

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All during the 2012 election season, President Barack Hussein Obama crowed that “Osama bin Laden is dead.” But as a former member of his staff once asked, “what difference, at this point, does it make?”

You can kill the person, but does that kill a movement, an ideology, a systematic indoctrination of future generations? Of course not.

As reported by Munir Ahmed writing for the Associated Press (via Army Times), a new library at an Islamic seminary for girls near Pakistan’s capital has been named the Library of Osama bin Laden, the Martyr. Cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz, a radical preacher who runs the Jamia Hafsa madrassa, wanted to honor the memory of the al-Qaida leader.

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As an aside, I must say it’s still somewhat of a mystery as to how Pakistanis could have been so completely “blind” as to the existence of the world’s number one terrorist target right under their nose in the city that housed the Pakistan Military Academy. Or maybe not.

According to the report, the library’s name has garnered attention across Pakistan, where public opinion remains strongly anti-American and religious students today still idolize the man behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks. But his image increasingly has faded from public view in recent years, as Pakistan has seen thousands killed in its own war against its local Taliban. A public that once named its own children after the Saudi millionaire has grown increasingly angry with militant violence. Not the first time…

As all politics are local, so it is with terror attacks. You may recall the turning point in the Iraq War was the so-called “Sunni Awakening” which was actually a local tribal response to the brutality and violence of al-Qaida in the western Al Anbar province. The result was that al-Qaida was denied sanctuary and American forces found alliances in a new common enemy.

Nonetheless, while local Pakistanis may display anger towards the Taliban, strategically many still see America as an enemy. The slain al-Qaida chief is still regarded as a hero by most students at Islamic schools, or madrassas — so ideologically he remains a viable martyr.

According to the spokesman for Cleric Aziz, “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.” The madrassas are an important aspect of education in predominantly Muslim Pakistan which educate tens of thousands of students. Most of the religious schools provide free food, tuition and even board for students who come from other parts of the country. Some also serve to radicalize youth to join militants. Aziz’s students have joined anti-American protests put on by the hard-line cleric.

A bit of background on Cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz – he was a prayer leader at Islamabad’s Red Mosque — a former militant hideout that the army, on orders from then-President Pervez Musharraf, raided in 2007. The raid killed dozens of extremists and others, and unleashed a wave of retaliatory militant attacks across Pakistan. Aziz was arrested by police during the raid when he tried to escape disguised as a woman wearing a burqa. Later freed, he began running a boy’s and girl’s school connected to the mosque.

So where does the money come from to fund this free education? One answer is petrodollars. Have y’all noticed gasoline prices? I just paid $4.47 a gallon. Gee, I remember when it was $1.89 gallon in January 2009, during the good old days before Obama took office… In any event, why don’t we simply wean America off supporting OPEC and allowing the further proliferation of radical Islamist ideology in these schools? Look at how being held hostage to energy resourcing is affecting Europe.

Back in Pakistan, Abdul Rehman, the school’s administrator, says the library will only carry books about the teachings of Islam. So much for tolerance.

But frankly, it’s not very different here in the supposedly free United States. We allowed the same misogynistic ideology to prevent Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an advocate for Muslim women’s rights, from speaking at Brandeis University. “Coexist” only applies to some.

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