Headley and power of Islamization

The pathological hatred for India that the American-Pakistani terrorist David Coleman Headley (born Daood Sayed Gilani) has confessed to underscores the toxicity of Islamism in Pakistan. The recent revelation should—but won’t—drill some sense into the heads of the votaries of peaceful Indo-Pak ties.

The 55-year-old Headley has hated India and Indians since December 1971 when Indian planes bombed his school. Indeed he nurtured the hatred over the decades and ended up becoming a key player in the mass murder in Mumbai in November 2008.

The most conspicuous feature of his life is not his radicalization but radicalization in spite of not a very conducive environment. His mother was an American lady, Alice Serrill Headley, who married Sayed Salim Gilani, a prominent Pakistani diplomat and broadcaster. The parents divorced; he stayed with his father in Pakistan. At the age of 17, he moved to Philadelphia with his mother.

He attended the Community College of Philadelphia, though did not complete the course. For years, he lived in the US. Evidently, unlike most Pakistanis who can’t escape religious indoctrination, he was exposed to the liberalism, plurality, and variegated bounties of the Western civilization, even though in Pakistan he was brought up in a traditional Muslim household. Yet, the influence that endured in his mind and heart was Islamist and not liberal. This was despite the fact that his father, a former Director General of Radio Pakistan, was opposed to Headley’s association with LeT.

Apparently, Headley remains unrepentant to date. During cross-examination by Abdul Wahab Khan, the lawyer of Abu Jundal—an alleged key plotter of the 2008 Mumbai siege—via video-link from the US, Headley said that all the nine attackers who had attacked Mumbai on November 26, 2008, should be honored with the highest gallantry award of Pakistani military, Nishan-e-Haider.

This is the man whose mother was a Christian, who himself has lived in America. Such is the power of Islamization.