Ehtesham U. Raja

Ehtesham  U. Raja
World Trade Center

No Fan of Fundamentalism

Ehtesham Raja loved to party and loved his $70,000 BMW 740iL. He was a Muslim from Lahore, Pakistan, and worked for TCG Software in Bloomfield, N.J. Like many Muslims from India and Pakistan, Mr. Raja, 28, loved Hindi music. He sang it in the shower, and was also crazy about the Hindi movie star Amitabh Bachan.

His best friend in the United States was Maneesh Sagar, a Hindu from India. Mr. Raja talked about how some friends from Pakistan had become fundamentalists. "He hated how fundamentalism rears its ugly head," Mr. Sagar said. "To all of us, religion is more a spiritual and personal thing than dogma."

Recently, said Mr. Sagar, Mr. Raja was thinking of giving up partying and marrying his girlfriend, Christine Lamprecht, an American.

On the weekend before he was to attend a conference at the World Trade Center, he and Mr. Sagar went partying. They talked about their dreams, and at 5 a.m. ended up at an Indian restaurant for tea and tikkas, skewered lamb. "It was a guy's night out," Mr. Sagar said. And that's how he would always remember his friend.

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on November 14, 2001.

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