Pakistani students display a radical Islam - Print Version - International Herald Tribune
ISLAMABAD: Hameeda Sarfraz, 19, lively eyes sparkling out of a black burka, was describing the boons of the afterlife.
"In heaven you get everything without hardship," said Sarfraz, daughter of a bus driver. "In heaven, if a martyr feels hungry, food appears, the best quality food, and you won't even know where it came from."
Sarfraz, an alumna of the now bullet-ridden Jamia Hafsa Islamic school for girls, said she deeply regretted missing her chance to be a martyr. She fled through the back door of the school July 3, just hours after a gun battle began between Pakistani special forces and militants holed up in the neighboring Red Mosque, the parent institution of Jamia Hafsa.
Sentiments like hers are the fruits of a radical Islam that has blossomed in this country - not just in the lawless tribal areas that American intelligence officials describe as an enduring sanctuary for Al Qaeda but in its capital, in a mosque and school compound that until recently enjoyed the blessings of the state.
The young adherents present a portrait of adolescent passion that one might find anywhere, except that they are Pakistani girls mostly from poor rural families and their passion is directed against the government of President Pervez Musharraf. Some among Jamia Hafsa's alumnae say they still wish to die in the cause of militant Islam.
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