Internet Love In the Time of Al QaedaThis month's Harper's reprints a series of love e-mails between alleged Canadian terrorist Momin Khawaja and his internet paramour Zeba Khan. Sexy, dashing and extremely distrustful of America, Khawaja seduced the Pakistani resident and U.S. citizen through vague militant threats and a shared love of Cat Stevens. Under the weight of this man's considerable charm, who could say no?As if we don't already have enough reasons not to date bloggers, Khawaja e-mailed Zeba Khan after reading her blog post 'Why I Am Never Going Back to America.' The two started exchanging e-mails regularly on a variety of topics before Khan was arrested because of implications he was involved in a London bomb plot. The engagement was dissolved, but the letters are proof of what these two kids had.
August 12 From: Momin Khawaja / To: Zeba Khan I'm twenty-four, graduated from college about two years ago, and work as a software developer. I like to read, not just Islamic material but current affairs, war strategy, history, or books like The Lord of the Rings. As I'm sure you're aware, TV here is mostly pure filth. Movies, well, most are just fast cards, more girls, and killing. I'm not into that at all. I don't mind stuff like cartoons or documentaries. As for my goals, my main one is to live as a Muslim in a state that pleases Allah. I strongly believe in the concepts of hijara and jihad. I'll ask you the same questions back. Age? What do you do? Goals in life?
Internet Love In the Time of Al QaedaZeba Khan encouraged Momin's advances, telling him that "I'm kinda looking for someone more active so I can join him in Islamic activism!" He replied that he was open internet dating and so were his parents: "My family is Kashmiri. About finding a spouse via the 'Net, my parents are chillin. Anything halal goes." In an August 17th, 2003 e-mail, while innocently pondering what he might if had millions of dollars, Momin gets more specific about his aims:
You know, I've thought about what I would do if I had millions. First, I'd help Muslim communities in areas like education. Second, I'd build a grand army of mujahedeen equipped with best weaponry and head to Afhganistan. After taking care of the Americans there, I'd do whatever it took to reform their society and bring Islam into their lives. After that, we'd head to Iraq. See I'm hoping by then the Americans in Iraq would have heard about the fate of their buddies in Afghanistan, so maybe they'd just scram like the cowards they are.
After debating the second wife issue fully, the two moved on to that all important point of connection: "What do you do for fun?" Momin informs her that Internet Love In the Time of Al Qaeda
It's hard to say what I'd do for fun on a given day. I'm up for anything halal. When the weather permits, I go fishing with my older bro and another friend. Guys have fun in weird ways, trust me. Does the idea of hiking ten kilometers in a jungle and practicing guerrila warfare tactics in harsh terrain sound fun? I occasionally do stuff like that. What makes me happy? If imperial Amrika and their Yahoodi masters got a kickin' and lost everything, that would make me very happy. Do I sing along with the CD player? Not really, because I enjoy more just listening and pondering. I like some of Yusuf Islam's stuff. It's quite good.
In late September, Momin Khawaja finally describes his point of view in the frankest possible terms:
I was once a normal kid too. I played basketball, went swimming, rode bikes, and did all the naughty little things kids do. But once I grew up, I realized something was wrong, terribly wrong. All those fun activities were a waste of time and did not benefit Islam in any way. When the Palestinian Intifada happened, I started looking into myself. I realized that I must change myself first.
Khawaja's trial (without jury) began on June 23, 2008. Love Is A Battlefield [Harper's]