From The Atlantic:
In the springÂ of 2000,Â I lived for a month in a Taliban madrasa, a religious seminary, located on the Grand Trunk Road outside of Peshawar, in Pakistan. The chancellor of the madrasa, a wrinkled, bearded, and often barefoot man named Samiul Haq, was said to be a confidante of Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader. I did not believe, when we first met, that he would agree to my presence in his school. I was open about my intentions: my goal was to write about the religious education of Pashtun boys who would soon be fighting on behalf of the Taliban, and by extension al-Qaeda, in Afghanistan.
The subject of my religion came up in conversation. The imam was fascinated. He was anti-Semitic, but impersonally so. His abstract detestation of Jews was trumped by a practical curiosity. He phoned a friend who, like him, had never met someone from my tribe. That friend brought another friend. Soon, we were having a colloquy on several subjectsâ€”the putative righteousness of Osama bin Ladenâ€™s cause, the alleged treachery of Bill Clintonâ€”but our focus narrowed to matters of faith. I raised the subject of Muhammadâ€™s often complicated, sometimes violent relationship with the Jews of Arabia. These men, like many Muslims, believed that the Jews had behaved perfidiously toward their Prophet, and they endorsed Muhammadâ€™s decision to behead some 600 of his Jewish enemies, the males of the vanquished Banu Qurayza tribe.