Mariam Shanpova was described by her parents, who are teachers, and by friends. as a quiet and well behaved young Muslim girl living in Balakhani in the north Caucasus. She was deputy head of information technology at the village’s only school. Her mother showed reporters a pile of fashion magazines, scented body cremes, and notebooks in which she had written while at an Islamist school. “Se, she was a normal girl like anyone else, interested in anything the world had to offer.” A teacher at the school where she taught said Mariam had “become more religious, but she was always timid.” Villagers remember the young girl as happy and pleasant to all, a woman who enjoyed life. But, last month, this shy young woman entered the subway in Moscow, gazed around for a moment, and then detonated bombs which resulted in the death of 28 human beings.
Her father insists his daughter was “stolen” by militants who seek to destroy the Russian government. As reporters wandered the village they encountered young boys who now regard Mariam as a heroine of the Muslim people. Rizan Kurbanov, a Russian government official, argues unemployment and lawlessness inspire young men and women with dreams of an Islamist state that will herald in peace, prosperity and meaning to their lives. “more than ever, young people are going to the mosque and searching for religion, for the true Islam”
She was just a timid happy girl.