Al-Huda, Tashfeen, and the massacre


A young mother who attended a religious school for women in Pakistan weds a conservative man. Months later, the two are accused of murdering 14 and injuring many more in an unprovoked attack in San Bernardino, California.

What made her leave diapers for rifles?

Tashfeen Malik, the young mother and the co-accused in last week’s massacre in California, attended the religious teaching centre Al-Huda’s regional branch in Multan. Though, Ms. Malik left before completing her studies, acquaintances report her becoming religiously conservative after enrolling at Al-Huda.

The Al-Huda International Welfare Foundation has distanced itself from Ms Malik by posting an official statement on their website:

Tashfeen Malik had studied at Al-Huda International’s Multan branch for a brief period between 2013 and 2014. She left without completing the Diploma course. No organisation can be held responsible for personal acts of any of its students.

While there has been no publicised connection as yet between the institute and the shooting, the Canadian branch of Al-Huda abruptly shut down Tuesday citing security concerns.

The Centre has been controversial from the very beginning — in 2014, three of the Centre’s former students of Somali heritage, aged 15 to 18, left homes for Syria to join the militant Islamic State (IS) group. The Turkish authorities intercepted the girls and returned them to their parents in Canada.

The Canadian authorities are concerned about the extent to which the teaching at Al-Huda Centre inspired the teenage girls to leave their parents for IS militants in Syria.

Read more » DAWN
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