Pakistani cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz, who runs an Islamic seminary for girls in Islamabad, has named the newly built library on his school premises in honour of Osama bin Laden. The decision to do so may be controversial but it is not so uncommon, especially since many Pakistanis have named their sons and businesses after Al Qaeda's late leader,in recent years.
Madrasas play an important role in educating young Pakistanis with several thousand students attending classes. Many of these religious schools provide food, tuition and even accommodation to students free of cost.
Like many other Pakistanis, Aziz too, considers Bin Laden a martyr and that is why he wanted to pay a proper tribute to him by naming his school library after the late leader. He is known for being a fundamentalist prayer leader at the Red Mosque, a former militant hideout for terrorists, which was raided by the army in 2007. The raid killed a significant number of extremists and unleashed many retaliatory attacks.
Currently, the mosque runs two schools – one for boys and another for girls. At the girls’ school where there are approximately 1,500 students and an all-female staff, a one-room library was recently constructed. A paper post outside the library reads in Arabic “Maktaba Osama bin Laden Shaheed” or Library Osama bin Laden, the Martyr.
Bin Laden was reportedly killed in May 2011 during a raid at Abbottabad by U.S. Navy Seals. The garrison in which he hid, approximately 68 miles north of Islamabad, was demolished by the Seals – a decision that infuriated the Pakistani government, which said the United States had violated the country’s sovereignty. Soon after, small rallies were held across Pakistan to denounce Bin Laden’s killing, as the late Al Qaida chief was regarded a hero by many.