California shooter attended madrassa in Multan: teacher

Published: December 7, 2015


MULTAN: The woman who with her husband shot dead 14 people in California last week attended one of Pakistan’s most high-profile religious seminaries for women, a teacher at the madrassa told AFP Monday.

Tashfeen Malik, 29, studied at the Al-Huda Institute in Multan, which targets middle-class women seeking to come closer to Islam and also has offices in the US, the UAE, India and the UK, the teacher at the seminary who gave her name only as Muqadas said.

‘We feel ashamed’: Pakistani relatives of California shooter

The institute has no known extremist links, though it has come under fire in the past from critics who say its ideology echoes that of the Taliban.

Pakistani students arrive at Al-Huda Institute, one of the most high-profile female seminaries, in Multan on December 7, 2015, where female US shooter Tashfeen Malik studied. PHOTO: AFP

Malik and her husband Syed Farook, 28, went on a killing spree at a social services centre in San Bernardino, an act praised by the Islamic State group who hailed the couple as “soldiers” of its self-proclaimed caliphate.

Investigators suspect that Malik, who went to the United States on a fiancee’s visa and spent extended periods of time in both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, may have radicalised her husband.

The probe is trying to establish if she had contact with Islamic radicals in either country.

Pakistani in California shooting became hardline in Saudi Arabia: relatives

“It was a two-year course, but she did not finish it,” the teacher Muqadas said.

“She was a good girl. I don’t know why she left and what happened to her.”

The teacher did not say when Malik studied at the seminary, but fellow classmates at the Bahauddin Zakariya University said she had attended the madrassa after classes at the university, which she attended from 2007-2013.

Pakistani students arrive at Al-Huda Institute, one of the most high-profile female seminaries, in Multan on December 7, 2015, where female US shooter Tashfeen Malik studied. PHOTO: AFP

An administration official at the academy in Multan said he could neither confirm nor deny that Malik had studied there, and said he would discuss the issue with management.

“But we have nothing to do with it (the shooting) and are not responsible for our students’ personal acts,” he added.

Father of California shooter says son ‘agreed with Islamic State ideology’: report

One of Malik’s former classmates at the Bahauddin Zakariya University in Multan, where she studied pharmacology, told AFP she had attended the madrassa after classes, saying she “drastically changed” during her time there.

“Gradually she became more serious and strict,” said the student, requesting anonymity.

A second university student who also requested anonymity confirmed the account.

IS claims California couple as its ‘soldiers’

Pakistan has pledged to crack down on religious seminaries suspected of being breeding grounds for intolerance or even fostering extremism, with the country’s information minister Pervaiz Rashid terming them “universities of illiteracy and ignorance”.

However the government’s efforts to rein in madrassas have prompted anger from many clerics who accuse the authorities of maligning religious leaders in a bid to build an “anti-Islamic narrative”.

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Ashraf P
    Dec 7, 2015 - 11:52AM

    A mother of a 6-month old child will ditch her child to do this senseless act?? Just unbelievable !Recommend

  • asad
    Dec 7, 2015 - 11:56AM

    So. attending a madarssa was the reason behind all of what happened in California?
    Come on ET


  • GKA
    Dec 7, 2015 - 12:36PM

    @Ashraf P: More unbelievable : she was a muslim !Recommend

  • Bisma
    Dec 7, 2015 - 1:08PM
  • SGJ007
    Dec 7, 2015 - 1:44PM

    It was expected !!Recommend

  • Dec 7, 2015 - 2:07PM

    Important thing is who trained her to use such automatic weapons? Impossible to handle for a novice.Recommend

  • Student
    Dec 7, 2015 - 2:35PM

    I say shutup to ET. stupidity is on the Rock. Is it necessary to defame institutes Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)
    Dec 7, 2015 - 3:58PM

    We all become inevitably part of this heinous crime when we advocate violence and homicide in any of its multiple and ugly forms.

    Have you people never noticed how aggressive and violent our children already are, what to speak of grownups?

    In Pakistan all sort of physical and psychic violence MUST be declared as a crime by law.

    I as a human feel so sad for this young women and her husband, because they are the victims of their ugly parenting and a hideous brainwashing process of their fanatic religion.Recommend

  • Shakil Ahmed Khan
    Dec 7, 2015 - 4:31PM

    I dont know such madrassah could do such heinous education! Pakistan doesnt have magic wand that change mind of individuals with couple of visits to the country!

    Somehow Kingdom of Saudi Arabia successfully avoided the fame and its role in radicalising this woman who stayed almost all of her life in KSA!

    19 of 9/11 attackers were from same Kingdom including the agent Osama bin Ladin! Recommend

  • Abdur Rehman
    Dec 7, 2015 - 4:41PM

    AlHuda is not a madrasa in the sense that it is not registered with any of the madrasa boards. So Malik’s attedence there has nothing to do with madrasas. Alhuda is however very aligned with Saudi Salafi Wahabi ideology. Pakistanis should stick to Hanafi Sufi institutes of learning Islam. There are a lot of Islamic schools now also cropping up which follow Saudi Salafi Wahabi ideology, but don’t tell the parents they do so, and parents need to be careful. Examples are SCILS, Reflections, AlFajr, Deen School etc.Recommend

  • Indian
    Dec 7, 2015 - 5:20PM

    My heart pains to see the sub continent being poisoned like these venomous institutes. What happened to the land of Buddha and Krishna !Recommend

  • Point
    Dec 7, 2015 - 5:40PM

    Land of Buddha!! It is implemented in Myammar Mr. where buddha krisha teachings are practically implemented on Rhoyinga Muslims. And ghar wapsi krishna teachings where people are murdered and killed in india. Recommend

  • Einstein
    Dec 7, 2015 - 5:50PM

    You are rrrrrright.
    You have a better explanation and we are supposed to believe it!!Recommend

  • Clockboy Ahmed
    Dec 7, 2015 - 5:57PM

    Another Madrassa Graduate, trying to live in Western Society. Why emigrate to a place which is believed to be anti Islam?Recommend

  • Prada
    Dec 7, 2015 - 6:11PM

    You can deny all you want but it is fast becoming the truth. Recommend

  • Zaida Parvez
    Dec 7, 2015 - 6:13PM

    Thanks to this lady, now Muslim women wearing head scarves cannot walk on the streets without being heckled. Recommend

  • Rahul
    Dec 7, 2015 - 6:48PM

    Muslim women are free to wear headscarves, niqab, hijb and burqa in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Recommend

  • Arsalan
    Dec 7, 2015 - 6:53PM

    Institutions are just bricks and mortar. It is the teachers that make them. Helping to get rid of extremist teachers can only help the institution.Recommend

  • Aley
    Dec 7, 2015 - 7:23PM

    Her father is alive, so is her immediate family in Saudi Arab, will any of the international media outlets dare to talk to them? She was not a Pakistani national but a Saudi prior to her marriage….Instead of digging out her relatives here talk to her immediate family. Recommend

  • GKA
    Dec 7, 2015 - 7:23PM

    Never thought I would do this, but as a South Asian living in Europe I am voting National Front (Marine Le pen won today)Recommend

  • Arsalan
    Dec 7, 2015 - 8:11PM

    @Abdur Rehman: “Pakistanis should stick to Hanafi Sufi institutes… “
    What kind of jobs will that get you?Recommend

  • Abdullah
    Dec 7, 2015 - 8:39PM

    Lets hate the main source of antihuman terror”All Saud”. And request to all those claim they r fighting evils/terrorists pls cut the tree insted of playing with leaves of terror tree.Recommend

  • np
    Dec 7, 2015 - 8:49PM

    @Aley: She IS a Pakistani national and she was the holder of Pakistani visa. She was not a US citizen as claimed by some others either.Recommend

  • Dec 7, 2015 - 9:17PM

    Im sure she must have attented some madrassa in saudia arabia….not in pakistanRecommend

  • Aley
    Dec 7, 2015 - 11:16PM

    @np: She left Pakistan, when her family settled in KSA, she was a toddler at that time. She only returned for studies and left again. Her nationality has yet to be established, and at the same time she spent all her life in Saudia. But my question remains the same, why her immediate family isnt being approached for comment and queries, instead of digging out her distant relatives in Pakistan?Recommend

  • observer
    Dec 7, 2015 - 11:25PM


    ” She was not a Pakistani national but a Saudi prior to her marriage”

    Wrong. She was a Pakistani citizen with a Pakistani passport living in Saudi Arabia.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Dec 8, 2015 - 12:22AM

    AR-15 type assault rifles of type used in this terrorist attack are semi-automatic, not fully automatic!
    No specialized training required!Recommend

  • Chauhan
    Dec 8, 2015 - 12:38AM

    In a country where Lakhvi and Hafiz Saeed are heroes its hard to understand why this Tashfeen is being criticized. Recommend

  • Chauhan
    Dec 8, 2015 - 12:40AM

    @GKA: I can’t find any such party in Germany Germany is doomed. Recommend

  • Umair
    Dec 8, 2015 - 12:41AM

    So much fun to see all Pakistanis running into a hole and disowning their own national again. The world knows what Pakistan exports to the rest of the world. Recommend

  • Aley
    Dec 8, 2015 - 12:45AM

    OK even so, where was she living prior to her marriage ( except for 4 years she spent in Pakistan) and why no access to her parents and siblings??Recommend

  • Desi
    Dec 8, 2015 - 2:51AM

    Unfortunately yet another case of terror somehow that leads and traced to Pakistan. Recommend

  • Sher
    Dec 8, 2015 - 3:33AM

    @All: Please make sure what has happened before making it a Pakistani citizen’s issue. The early reports and witnesses have clearly said that there were three MALE shooters with athletic built. Now no body is talking about that and suddenly the blame is on these two couples, I am not ruling out the possibility of this couple’s involvement. BUT really it doesn’t make sense to leave your 6 months old child behind and die. Not even Osama Bin Laden could do that.

    FBI and other investigation agencies should release the surveillance videos, that will prove what exactly happened.Recommend

  • IndianDude
    Dec 8, 2015 - 7:37AM

    From all the accounts, she seems like a typical Pakistani. In fact she is.Recommend

  • Dec 8, 2015 - 11:19PM

    the one who has a foreign nationality….the one who has been living in a foreign country….cant be a pakistaniRecommend

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