The happy Rage Boy
...This is just a small part of the interview. The guy is just not too bright, but then you probably figured that out from his participation in the Friday afternoon tantrums about perceived insults to Islam. There is apparently a growing business using his image on all sorts of items including underwear and coffee mugs.
"I heard that planes had crashed into the Twin Towers. I thought it was very bad that so many civilians had been killed. But afterwards I was told it was America's own government that had arranged the attack."
How could that have happened? "Money can make wonders."
But why would America have wanted to do such a thing?
"There is a strong lobby in the USA that opposes President Bush. He wanted to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. He had to justify that to his own people."
Then I asked if he had heard about the 7/7 bombings in London. "I heard that an Underground train was bombed. It pains me when innocents are killed. It pains me."
When the Islamic Rage Boy phenomenon took off and Shakeel had his face reproduced all over the world, the local police got worried and brought him in for questioning.
"They had photocopies from the internet which they showed to me."
They told Shakeel to stop going on demonstrations but he refused.
He says he was brought before one of Srinagar's most senior police officers, who offered him an administrative job in the government, and said he would find him a girl to marry. I believe him – Indian authorities have a habit of trying to rehabilitate militants who are no longer an obvious threat.
"They said they would drop all the cases against me if I quit going to demos." He refused.
I suggested to Shakeel that he must have been tempted by the prospect of a job and a wife – he was unlikely ever to get such a good opportunity again. He looked shy and covered his face with his hands.
"I want to marry a non-Muslim woman and convert her to Islam."
Why? I asked.
In a moment that might have come straight out of the Borat film, he answered in a soft, serious voice: "I have been told that if I can convince a non-Muslim woman to marry me – but not convert her by force – then there will be a place for me in heaven."
I suggested there might be some suitable candidates in Britain. "If the offer comes," Shakeel said, "I am ready to accept it."