The gunmen shouted “Allahu akbar”

A survivor of the Taliban massacre in Peshawar describes his experience.

Speaking from his bed in the trauma ward of the city’s Lady Reading Hospital, Shahrukh Khan, 16, said he and his classmates were in a careers guidance session in the school auditorium when four gunmen wearing paramilitary uniforms burst in.

“Someone screamed at us to get down and hide below the desks,” he said, adding that the gunmen shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) before opening fire.

“Then one of them shouted: ‘There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them’,” Khan told AFP.

“I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches.”

Khan said he felt searing pain as he was shot in both his legs just below the knee.

He decided to play dead, adding: “I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn’t scream.

“The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again.

“My body was shivering. I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching me — I felt as though it was death that was approaching me.”

It was.

Warning: this next bit is even more gruesome.

As his father, a shopkeeper, comforted him in his blood-soaked bed, Khan recalled: “The men left after some time and I stayed there for a few minutes. Then I tried to get up but fell to the ground because of my wounds.

“When I crawled to the next room, it was horrible. I saw the dead body of our office assistant on fire,” he said.

“She was sitting on the chair with blood dripping from her body as she burned.”

If Allahu akbar, what is this? What is in any way “great” about this? Or is “greatest” just a euphemism for “most powerful”? It’s true that men with big boots and guns are more powerful than schoolchildren and school teachers and office assistants. They are more powerful but in this case they are certainly not greater.



  1. says

    It’s one thing to shout “God is great” (or “Gott Mit Uns” or any of the similar invocations used at various times) while going into battle against an equivalently-armed enemy — an occasion on which one might wish (if inclined that way) to seek God’s protection and help, and aspire to do mighty deeds. Still pretty sick, but at least comprehensible.

    But to shout it as you gun down unarmed *children*?! What the *fuck* kind of twisted, perverted, mind does one need to think *that’s* worth a holy battle cry?

  2. Brian E says

    I think part of it is self-justification. God is the greatest, and I believe in God, and I am carrying out his wishes, thus this is a righteous act.
    It’s pointless to argue that even a mediocre god needs no person to act in its stead, let alone the greatest god.

  3. grumpyoldfart says

    Religion attracts control freaks.
    Like Jim Jones, David Koresh, Marshal Applewhite.
    They regard themselves as best friends with god.
    With the same privileges as god.
    God has the power to decide who lives and who dies.
    They feel they have the same power.
    Eventually they decide to use that power
    The victim’s size, age, or sex is of no consequence.
    It’s not about the victim, it’s about the control freak’s ego.
    It proves he is on par with god.
    Even better, he doesn’t get jailed, he gets congratulated by his peers.
    Christians used to carry on like this in the old days.
    Today it’s Muslims taking their turn.
    In the future it will be some other religion.
    Religion attracts control freaks.

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