Tafsheen Malik, one of the terrorists involved in the San Bernardino shooting, has been linked to an Islamic school that may have radicalized her.
The Al-Huda Institute has schools in the United States, Canada, and Pakistan, where Malik was born. Malik had taken classes at one of the Al-Huda schools in Pakistan, reportedly attending every day and eventually being “drastically changed.”
The founder of the school is Farhat Hashmi, a female Islamic scholar who has been a controversial figure in the news for teaching a rather strict interpretation of Islam in her schools that promotes a “medieval view of human rights and women’s place in society.” Toronto Sun columnist Farzana Hassan wrote that Hashmi “touts the segregation of women as socially beneficial.”
“She endorses a husband’s superiority over his wife. She preaches the niqab. She has been accused of supporting polygamy, an allegation she denies, arguing she is a feminist who makes women aware of how Islam protects them,” Hassan wrote.
The UK Daily Mail cited writings from Pervez Hoodbhoy, who has been critical of “hard-line Islam” and wrote that “Al-Huda has brought a majority of my university’s students under the burqa.”
“In comparison with my students of earlier decades, they are less confident, less willing to ask questions in class, and most have become silent note-takers,” Hoodbhoy wrote. “To sing, dance, play sports or act in dramas is, of course, out of the question for these unfortunates.”
The Al-Huda schools have produced other students who wanted to join Islamic terror groups other than Malik.
Hashmi teaches that women should be completely subservient to their husband, her website instructing girls, “Remember that your husband is the head of the family and as long as obedience to him does not entail any sin, it is your duty to obey him.” In one online interview in 2001, she reportedly said that it’s fine for men to “chastise” their wives, even physically.
Freelance journalists have attended Hashmi’s lectures and were disturbed at what they saw. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, an undercover filmmaker, told Macleans Magazine that Hashmi taught her class that the 2005 Kashmiri earthquake was a punishment from God.
“The people in the area where the earthquake hit were involved in immoral activities, and God has said that he will punish those who do not follow his path,” Hashmi reportedly said.
In the same article, students turn their pages in sync to not disturb her, and even carry her purse behind her. In Pakistan, Hashmi’s students have reportedly rubbed her feet.
In his book Rock & Roll Jihad, musician Salman Ahmad wrote that Hashmi wrote him a letter saying, “We read your statement in a newspaper challenging any religious scholar to prove that music is disallowed in Islam. People like you have been further endowed with a good voice and talent. To use all this for worldly gains, patriotism, romance, and fiction is not doing justice to yourself. Not using your voice to the One that gave it to you, IN THE WAY HE LIKES IT, is sad. Cat Stevens took this step years ago when he renounced not only his musical career but also his religion. When people like you or him choose (the right) path, it is an announcement of faith to hundreds that adore you, and if anyone follows you, your rewards are multiplied. Allah is ever watching and ever aware of intentions and sacrifices.”
The root of Hashmi’s extreme views is likely due to the fact that she is a Wahhabist, a sect of Islam that the McKenzie Institute describes as “the main source of Islamic extremist violence in the world today”:
Wahhabism declared the entirety of existing Islam to be unbelief, and traditional Muslims to be unbelievers subject to robbery, murder, and sexual violation. Wahhabism has always viewed Shia Muslims genocidally, as non-Muslims worthy of annihilation. Wahhabism has always attacked the traditional, spiritual Islam or Sufism that dominates Islam in the Balkans, Turkey, Central Asia, India, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Wahhabism and neo-Wahhabism (the latter being the doctrines of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and the Pakistani Islamists) are the main source of Islamic extremist violence in the world today. Wahhabism represents a distinct, ultra-radical form of Islamism. Wahhabism is completely subsidized by the Saudi regime, using oil income.
Hashmi has also described Sharia law as “full of wisdom” and is a believer of putting Canada under it. She was invited to employment to Canada by the Islamic Society of North America, which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the mothership of Islamic terror organizations.
The Al-Huda schools have produced other students who wanted to join Islamic terror groups other than Malik. CBC News reported that four Al-Huda students attempted to go to Syria to join ISIS. There’s also this:
Moderate Muslims believe her lessons encourage extremist views among her students in Mississauga — the same Toronto suburb where many of the 18 men arrested on 2 June 2006, on terrorism-related charges, grew up and developed into radicals. Some of those young men’s militant views are reputed to have been influenced by their ideologically inclined wives, a reminder that the radicalizing of females in childhood can have grave downstream consequences. As for the dyed-in-the-wool quality of some of those convicted in the Toronto 18 affair, one need only look at Somali-born Canadian convict Ali Mohamed Dirie. After serving his time, he promptly headed for Syria, where he was reportedly killed in 2013, fighting in the ranks of an extremist rebel group.
That may have also been the case with Malik, as she reportedly “wore the pants” in her marriage to the American-born terrorist, Syed Farook.
While there is nothing to indicate that the Al-Huda Institute promoted violence, it did seem to promote an extreme view of Islam that, as Arif Rafiq, analyst at the Washington-based Middle East Institute, says, “may have made her more susceptible to the ideology of a transnational terrorist group like ISIS.”