By LYNSEY ADDARIO
n some of the larger cities in Pakistan, like Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, many women work, go to the movies, eat at McDonald's, wear pants and otherwise live a modern, Western-influenced life. But in certain areas, particularly in the Northwest Frontier Province, which abuts Afghanistan, many girls and young women spend much of their time in one of the more than 100 religious schools, or madrassahs, for women. (There are about 10,000 madrassahs for boys and men throughout Pakistan.) Here they are steeped in Islamic fundamentalism -- reading and reciting the Koran many hours a day and learning Arabic grammar and pronunciation. At some of these madrassahs, like Jamia Khadijatul-Kubra-Lil-Binat, immersion is complete; students, who tend to come from poor or lower-middle-class families, board during the week and leave only on weekends to visit their homes. These madrassahs instill a religious ideology that is at the heart of the jihad now being waged against the United States.
Girls as young as 5 and women as old as 65 attend madrassah. But generally, when a student turns 15 or 16, she weds in an arranged marriage and leaves school to start having babies. She spends almost all her time inside the home taking care of her children, praying and reading the Koran. If she leaves the house, she must do so fully covered.
These photographs were taken in and around two madrassahs in Peshawar in the Northwest Frontier Province, just before the United States began bombing Afghanistan.
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Shafia Salaam, 16 (in black), at a celebration for a 13-year-old girl, at right, who has memorized the Koran at Jamia Khadijatul-Kubra-Lil-Binat madrassah. Shafia is an Afghan refugee who has been living in Pakistan for more than a decade.
have seen images in the newspapers of what happened in America, and I feel
it was not good. But perhaps God punished America for the wrongs she is
doing in other countries, like Palestine and Kashmir. If the Americans
attack us, we will fight. Non-Muslims are our enemy according to the
Koran, so Americans are our enemy. We hate America. "I believe in
jihad. I will do whatever I can do. If I am provided the opportunity to
get weapons, I will use them."
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Munaza Kanwam, 10, at her Koran ceremony at the Mohamadia Mujadadia Izhar-ul-Koran madrassah.
"I am very happy. I feel like a bride. My father gave me a 20-gram gold set, my grandmother has sewn my clothes and my hair band, and my mother has sewn me two new suits. I have received a lot of gifts. I think Osama is a great man, and he is fighting America."
Rehima, 35, kissing her son Osama. Rehima, the wife of a powerful member of Jamaat-i-Islami, one of the most prominent fundamentalist groups in Pakistan, is a supervisor at Jamia Khadijatul-Kubra-Lil-Binat madrassah. Most of the students and teachers at this religious boarding school are the children and wives of Jamaat-i-Islami members. This photo was taken in Rehima's home, across the street from the school in Peshawar.
''I named my son Osama because I want to make him a mujahid. Right now there is war, but he is a child. When he is a young man, there might be war again, and I will prepare him for that war. In the name of God, I will sacrifice my son, and I don't care if he is my most beloved thing. For all of my six sons, I wanted them to be mujahedeen. If they get killed it is nothing. This world is very short. I myself want to be a mujahid. What will I do in this world? I could be in heaven, have a weekly meeting with God.
is when you are attacked, you attack back. This is God's wish. We are not
afraid. I am already asking my husband if I can go to Kashmir and train to
fight. I will suicide bomb. If there are 20 to 30 non-Muslims, there I
will commit martyrdom. If America attacks, we will put our hands on the
throats of Americans and kill them.''
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Mehreen Zair, 9, far left in white, during a Koran-reading session at the Mohamadia Mujadadia Izhar-ul-Koran madrassah, a day school.
"If America attacks, we will do jihad. I don't know how, but we will do it together."
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Shumailia Kiran, 12, center, learning the first five chapters of the Koran at the Mohamadia Mujadadia Izhar-ul-Koran madrassah.
is not involved because he is a Muslim, and Muslims are not capable of
such a terrorist act. He is a mujahid and is supposed to fight on the path
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