Tashfeen Malik Attended Al-Huda Islamic School That Has Branches In U.S. And Canada

Tashfeen Malik attended the Al-Huda Institute, which is headed by Dr. Farhat Hasmi. The female founder of the all-girls school has reportedly opened branches of the institute in both the United States and Canada.

Malik attended the Al-Huda Institute in Multan, Pakistan. According to a Daily Mail report, the branch of the school in North America is attempting to bring Sharia law to Canada. The 29-year-old San Bernardino shooter reportedly attended courses at the school six days a week while studying to become a pharmacist. She turned in her last paper just two months before arriving at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport with Syed Farook.

Dr. Farhat Hashmi, who may be living in Canada, has reportedly been criticized for promoting an “extremely conservative” form of Islam at the Al-Huda International Seminary. In addition to the branches of the school in Pakistan, the United States, and Canada, centers also exist around the UAE, India, and the United Kingdom, Yahoo New reports.

Pervez Hoodbhoy, a nuclear scientist who has written about “hardline Islam,” believes that Dr. Hashmi is one of the “driving forces” behind the religious conservatism movement in Pakistan.

“Through ceaseless proselytizing and subtle pressure tactics, Al-Huda has brought a majority of my university’s students under the burqa,” Pervez Hoodbhoy previously wrote. “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. To sing, dance, play sports or act in dramas is, of course, out of the question for these unfortunates.”

The Al-Huda Institute reportedly appeals to women in the middle and upper classes. The school, unlike many others, is not a branch of a learning center for men only but was conceived and founded by women. At the main campus of the international seminary in Islamabad, female students can reportedly be seen wearing a uniform that consists of long robes and headscarves. The women sit in rows and take notes as teachers offer lessons about the Koran.

Al-Huda International Seminary students are thought to return to their own villages and cities and launch branches of the school once they have completed their studies. No known government has been able to link Dr. Hashmi or the school to known terrorists, but critics have claimed that the curriculum and ideology at the school are similar to the mindset of the Taliban.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Tashfeen Malik pledged her allegiance to ISIS shortly before she and her husband, Syed Farook, opened fire at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.

Malik’s classmates told reporters that she changed significantly while enrolled at the Bahauddin Zakariya University from 2007 to 2012 — when she was also studying at Al-Huda.

“Gradually she became more serious and strict,” once alleged former classmate told the Daily Mail.

Tashfeen also reportedly stopped actively participating in class and became more withdrawn in what was deemed a change in personality described as both “hardline and different” by classmates.

“Al-Huda attendance alone doesn’t answer the question of how she many have made the leap from being a conservative or even Salafi Muslim into jihadist,” said Arif Rafiq, an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington. “It may have made her more susceptible to the ideology of a transnational terrorist group like ISIS.”

An Al-Huda International Seminary representative told the media that the institute is attempting to determine if Malik was a student at the facility or just a “listener.”

“Government and law enforcement agencies have never suspected us of spreading extremism – instead we preach the peaceful teachings of Islam and the prophet of Islam,” the Al-Huda spokeswoman added.

[Photo by Asim Tanveer/AP]