ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- A seminary run by a fiery Muslim cleric has named a library after Osama bin Laden.
Abdul Qadir, a spokesman for Maulana Abdul Aziz, confirmed that the all-girls madrassa in Pakistan's capital had recognized the slain al Qaeda leader "in honor of his martyrdom."
Bin Laden was slain by U.S. Navy SEALs in nearby Abbottabad in 2011.
"Around six months ago, we set up a library ... named for Sheikh Osama as a martyr of Allah," Qadir added. "We have an estimated 3000 to 5000 volumes, but plan on increasing our size."
Aziz is a controversial character. A prayer leader of the Red Mosque, which was once a stronghold of militants in the heart of Islamabad, he and his students fought government troops there in 2007 which resulted in dozens being killed. That incident also fomented the Pakistani Taliban as a more organized movement bent on battling the Pakistani state.
During that military operation, Aziz was detained by Pakistani troops as he tried to leave the Red Mosque dressed up like one of his female students: in a burqa - a long flowing robe that many Muslim women wear to cover up.
B.K. Bangash / AP
Maulana Abdul Aziz, the Red Mosque cleric, during a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Feb. 7.
Aziz is a proponent of "universal Shariah law" who uses the term "Ghazi" -- or "Islamic war veteran" -- with his name.
His views often make the news in Pakistan. Aziz recently decreed that the country's constitution is "un-Islamic" because it was "imagined in the British era," even though Pakistan gained independence in 1947 and drafted a constitution making it an Islamic republic in 1973.
First published April 18 2014, 7:06 AM
Wajahat S. Khan
Wajahat S.Khan is a correspondent and producer for NBC News based in Islamabad, covering South Asia and also assisting the Kabul bureau. Khan is the national security correspondent for Pakistan's largest news network, Geo, and its largest English newspaper, The News.
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He was the first Pakistani Fellow at the Shorenstein Center for the Press, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Previously, Khan reported for CNN, and contributed alternative-media reportage to San Francisco-based Link TV. He anchored a popular investigative series on Pakistanâ€™s local Aaj TV, and also hosted and produced for Pakistanâ€™s first English-medium network, Dawn News.
He is also the first broadcaster from Pakistan to produce an investigative series from across the â€œdivideâ€ in India. Khan has written for most of the major Pakistani publications - The News, The Dawn, The Express Tribune, The Friday Times and The Herald, and also contributes to India Today, India's most popular weekly.