December 22, 2009
The recent arrest of five Americans in Pakistan suggests young Muslims from ‘moderate’ families in the US are possibly getting hooked on to jihad through the Internet, write Martha Irvine & Nafeesa Syeed
There was a book left in a Pakistani hotel room where five young men from Virginia stayed before their arrests on suspicion of trying to join Taliban forces. Called The Pact, the book tells the true story of three boys from a rough neighbourhood and broken homes who bond and eventually help one another through medical and dental school.
“This is a story about the power of friendship. Of joining forces and beating the odds,” reads a snippet on the back of the book.
It is a story with a happy ending.
But the saga of the five young men from Virginia —friends who grew up together and attended the same mosque — has taken a very different turn, moving from a tale of promise to one of despair for many of the relatives and friends they left behind.
There is sadness in their tight-knit Muslim community — and anger.
The five detained men, who grew up with modest means and still lived in small homes and apartments with their families, seemed as though they were on track to achieve good things.