Diary of a Terrorist

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
–Julie Madison
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