A religious school for women in Islambad, Pakistan has renamed its library in honor of Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaida and the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.
The school, Jamia Hafsa, is linked with Lal Masjid, a mosque run by hardline imam Maulana Abdul Aziz, reports Dawn, Pakistan’s most widely read English-language newspaper.
The Jamia Hafsa seminary’s small library is filled with Islamic texts.
“It is true that we have named the library after Osama bin Laden,” an unidentified source told Agence France-Presse, according to Dawn.
A little sign sitting above the library door is festooned with bin Laden’s name. The sign also calls him a “martyr.”
“He might be a terrorist for others but we do not consider him as a terrorist,” the source speaking on condition of anonymity added. “For us he was a hero of Islam.”
Lal Masjid means “Red Mosque.” At one time, it was a hiding place for radical Muslims allegedly connected with militant Islamic factions.
In 2007, the infamous mosque in Pakistan’s capital was the setting for a prolonged siege by the country’s military. Over 100 people died during the week-long battle. Militants responded with an intense and bloody series of terrorist attacks across the South Asian country.
Pakistan is an overwhelmingly Muslim country. Over 95 percent of the country’s residents identify with Islam. Of those, between 85 and 90 percent identify as Sunni Muslim, like bin Laden.