Diary of a Terrorist


| April 15, 2002


Diary of a Terrorist, Ahmad Omar Sayed Sheikh, Harper's
The handwritten prison diary of Ahmad Omar Sayed Sheikh, a Muslim radical suspected of abducting Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 1992, exposes the daily life of a terrorist in almost travelogue-like narration. These excerpts from his journal, featured in Harper's magazine online, follow the diarist's thoughts, observations, and questions as he carried out his orders to kidnap civilians to use as bargaining fodder for his organization's mission. The entries are, perhaps surprisingly to some, a humanizing portrayal of a terrorist, as is depicted in one citation: 'After taking Rhys to the Saharanpur house, I started explaining to him the facts of life. I told him that I was a revolutionary and was here in India for a specific purpose and I wanted him to help me in that purpose. He asked what I meant. I said I wanted him to be our guest while we negotiated with the British and Indian governments. I was trembling at that moment.'
--Julie Madison
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