Bible Commentator

ISLAM AND THE WEST

Rabbi Moshe Reiss

moshereiss@moshereiss.org

A CULTURE OF DEATH OR A THEOLOGY OF DEATH


INTRODUCTION


In the three monotheistic religions salvation or redemption is the ultimate goal. Most believers expect the Kingdom Of Heaven to occur in Paradise rather than on this earth. Some however call the ‘heavenly world’ the ‘True World’. All believe humanity began in a ‘Garden of Eden’; an occurrence resulted in mankind being exiled to a place of suffering. The objective is to return to this ‘Garden of Eden’. In this return one joins or rejoins God.


Mystics do not choose to await death but prefer to enter into a relationship with God Now - have salvation Now. Mystics believe they need to, in Islamic terminology, attach their 'inner soul’ to God’s ‘outer soul’. The mystic wishes to ‘be absorbed’ into God’. He fears this world and its enticing worldly pleasures. For mystics hell is here on earth - because they are not with God. Leaders of these groups often think of themselves as bringing the Kingdom of God and being ‘Judges’ on the ‘Day of the Lord’. There is selfishness in mystics - instead of doing God's will here on earth they prefer joining God in the Garden of Eden. 


Sheik Abu Hamza Al-Masri preached that ‘the common principle of all these operations, which we find even among the Palestinian youth, the girls, the women, and the children who throw stones at the bulldozers just to stop the destruction of their lands or homes – what unites all of these operations is their love of death for the sake of Allah, their burning desire to meet Allah.’ 1 Rifat Mukdi, aged 25, a failed suicide bomber stated "Dying for martyrs doesn't mean real death" 2 Can this be seen as a form of discontent in living; and the asphyxiation of hope?


"We will stand covered by our veils and wrapped in our robes, weapons in hand, our children in our laps, with the Koran and the Sunna of the Prophet of Allah directing and guiding us. The blood of our husbands and the body parts of our children are the sacrifice by means of which we draw closer to Allah, so that through us, Allah will cause the Shahada for His sake to succeed. . . [Our reward will be] the pleasure of Allah and His Paradise ” 3


Religious non-mystics believe in the belief system and the rituals of their religion. Most of those believe God created this world for humanity to conquer (Gen 1:28) and to serve (Gen 2:15) and to live in it ethically. God created humanity to have 'His Divine presence in the world’.


Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik in defining non-mystics in the Jewish religion as 'halakhic men' says their ‘ontological outlook differs radically from that of the mystic'. 4  He is referring to Jewish mystics. He makes similar comments about 'Christian Saints'. 5 The Rabbi does not claim halakhic man is superior to mystics nor Jews superior to non-Jews. While the Rabbi does not refer to Islam the same is true of Islamic mystics. Despite this distinction there are similarities between the Halakhic Man and mystics’. They are not opposite but emphasize different forms of their ‘reality’. 

Rabbi Soloveitchik lived a long life teaching thousands of Jews and non-Jews).  That is what he considered his job and he would do it at long as God wished him to do it. When he died and where he went after death was up to God. It simply was not a concern of his - his God given work was here on earth.

To believe in redemption is to be engaged in this world. Does believing in redemption suggest this world is inadequate? Or can a believer accept both worlds as being adequate unto themselves?


ISLAM

In some religions this mystical escapism has a longer history and greater significance than in others.

Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet was killed as he entered a Mosque to lead the prayers. Ali’s son Hassan refused to recognize the selected ‘righteous’ Caliph. Hassan was forced to retire and was probably poisoned. His brother Hussein then became the third Imam.

The key date in Shi’ite Islam began on October 3, 680 CE (61 in the Islamic calendar) on the Plain of Kerbala.  Hussein the son of Ali, stood facing a several thousand man army of the Umayyad Caliph Yazid. This was the beginning of the Sunni - Shi’ite conflict. 

Hussein and his family and perhaps two hundred men entered into the conflict in Kerbala. Being barred by their enemies from drinking water Hussein released his men from an oath to fight; some departed. But seventy-two of his companions (and his family) refused. They died; Hussein was beheaded as was his one year old son. This event is celebrated annually by flagellation as a ritual commemorating Hussein’s martyrdom by Shi’ites.

These deaths became the founding myth of the Shi’ite movement. There are some obvious parallels to Jesus’ crucifixion.

Even outside the Shi’ite martyrdom violent death seems to have followed the early Islamic leadership. Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab was stabbed in 644; Uthman was hacked to death in 656; Marwan was smothered by his wife in 683; Uman ibn Abd al-Aziz was poisoned in 720 and Al-Walid ibn Yazid hacked to death in 745. These violent deaths include two of the four non-Shi’te ‘righteous Caliphs’.

The Shi’ite religious tradition of martyrdom filtered into the Sunni terrorists world-view. This developed from Khomeini through Osama bin Laden in the Afghanistan war and from Hizbullah to Hamas. Thus a cult of martyrdom or death developed first in the Shi’a world and then in the Sunni world.

According to Sheik Al-Masri 'Allah Made this World as a Wide Gate Leading to the Glory of the Hereafter for the Believers, and They Understand this' 6


THE CLERICS

Would some Islamic clerics object? Muhammad Sa‘id Tantawi, Sheik and Mufti of Egypt's Al-Azhar Mosque and University, had been unequivocal about the issue of suicide bombers in past declarations. He declared that the Shari‘a (Islamic law) ‘rejects all attempts on human life, and in the name of the Shari‘a, we condemn all attacks on civilians, whatever their community or state is responsible for such an attack.’ 7 Echoing Tantawi's ruling, Sheikh Muhammad bin ‘Abdallah as-Sabil, member of the Saudi council of senior ulema (clerics) and Imam at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, also decried the suicide attacks. ‘Any attack on innocent people is unlawful and contrary to the Shari‘a," he announced, adding, "Muslims must safeguard the lives, honor, and property of Christians and Jews, attacking them contradicts the Shari‘a’.  Islamic legal arguments against suicide operations relied upon three principles of Islamic law: the prohibition against killing civilians, the prohibition against suicide, and the protected status of Jews and Christians.

But the fundamentalists objected. The harshest rebuttal came from the Egyptian-born Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, known as the theologian of the Muslim Brotherhood and currently head of the Sunni studies faculty at Qatar University.  ‘I am astonished that some sheikhs deliver fatwa’s that betray the mujahadeen, instead of supporting them and urging them to sacrifice and martyrdom,’ announced Qaradawi.  He argued that ‘Israeli society was completely military in its make-up and did not include any civilians … How can the head of Al-Azhar incriminate mujahadeen who fight against aggressors? How can he consider these aggressors as innocent civilians?’ 

Qaradawi also stressed the distinction between suicide and martyrdom. Islam clearly prohibits suicide, yet views martyrdom as a noble act, while assuring individuals a place in heaven. Qaradawi told the Qatari newspaper Al Raya in April 2001, ‘They are not suicide operations. These are heroic martyrdom operations, and the heroes who carry them out don't embark on this action out of hopelessness and despair but are driven by an overwhelming desire to cast terror and fear into the hearts of the oppressors.’

Tantawi subjected to criticism began to issue confusing and contradictory statements, effectively abrogating his earlier fatwa. In an interview with the Egyptian state-owned magazine Ruz al-Yusuf, Tantawi claimed that his earlier rulings had been distorted, stating, ‘My words were clear…a man who blows himself in the middle of enemy militants is a martyr, repeat, a martyr. What we do not condone is for someone to blow himself up in the middle of children or women. If he blows himself up in the middle of Israeli women enlisted in the army, then he is a martyr, since these women are fighters. ‘

In later statements he reiterated this formula, declaring, ‘I repeat that those who defend their rights by blowing themselves up in the midst of their enemies who murder his people, occupy their land or humiliate their people, are martyrs, martyrs, martyrs.’

In January 2002 Tantawi attended a conference in Alexandria, Egypt together with the chief Sephardik Rabbi of Israel, the Palestinian Latin Patriarch, Rabbi Michael Melchior, a Minister of the State of Israel and others. They signed a document known as the First Alexandrian Document’ which stated (among others clauses) the following:


’We declare our commitment to ending the violence and bloodshed that denies the right to life and dignity.’


SEPTEMBER 11

September 11 was high point of this terrorist form of Jihad. Muhammad Atta was the leader of the nineteen suicide bombers and the only Egyptian. Fifteen of the remainders were Saudi Arabians who were educated in the Wahhabi puritanical and intolerant sect of Islam that helped found Saudi Arabia two centuries ago. Atta grew up in a middle-class Egyptian family and appeared to have a promising career ahead of him as an engineer. Ziad Jarrah, another of the suicide pilots, was educated, well-off and planning to marry. These men were not mentally unbalanced people. "The crucial quality that recruiters look for is mental stability," said Jerrold Post, a psychiatrist at George Washington University who recently completed a study of 35 Palestinian militants in Israeli jails, several of whom had recruited suicide attackers. In addition to level headedness, terrorist organizations look for a willingness to conform and obey. These are also attributes of religious laypersons.


Atta left a multi page document in his luggage; probably written by him. It has been called a ‘Doomsday Document. 8 It is a ‘religious’ document. It begins with ‘In the name of God, the most merciful, the most compassionate. Remember the battle of the prophet… against the infidels, as he went on building the Islamic state’.  The document ‘time and again promises victory and paradise, effortlessly mixing Qur'anic allusions with reassurance of God's support.’ 9

‘Once seated inside the plane [we] should pray remembering God’. The text discusses the violence needed to seize the plane by these acts. It admonishes that killing is to be done without anger and ought not [to] cause pain, while insisting that no prisoners be taken and no compassion ought [to] compromise the mission and to sanctify the shedding of blood.’ The document further states ‘You are traveling to almighty God . . . Be happy, optimistic, calm because you are heading for a deed that God loves and will accept. . . .when the hour of reality approaches . . . wholeheartedly welcome death for the sake of God. Always be remembering God. Either end your life praying seconds before the target, or make your last words ‘There is no God but God and Muhammad is His messenger’. (section 25, 34-35). 10 Rona Fields described the letter as a request to do God’s will in an ecstatic state and merging with Him, 11 a typical mystic request.

As Abu Ghaith, a spokesman for Al Quada stated after the September 11 mission ‘these youths that destroyed Americans with their planes, they did a good deed. There are thousands more young followers who look forward to death like Americans look forward to living’. 12


THE BOMBERS

Who are these young bombers and what are their motives? 13

There is an emerging understanding that contradicts the notion that suicide bombers are deranged fanatics. The evidence is just the opposite: They tend to be free of obvious mental illness. Many are competent and successful. What, then, triggers these acts? In the end, the suicide terrorist sees his mission as acceptable, logical, even noble. ‘It can be perceived as a very idealistic act,’ said Yale and Harvard Medical School’s psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton who has studied cults and suicide.  ‘They believe there's a higher purpose, that in some way they are bringing about a purification, a perfection. They are destroying the world in order to save it… I think in this sense, all suicide has to do with making a lasting statement one could not make in life.’ 14


Clearly these men belong to a band of zealotry, although not necessarity religious. Ariel Merari, a professor of psychology and head of Tel Aviv University's Program on Political Violence. Instead, martyrs are motivated more by a collective sense of hurt: "They always mention national humiliation. They always mention the occupation. 15


A common trait of nonpolitical suicides--people who take their own lives without harming others--is a feeling of isolation or disconnectedness from the world. Suicide terrorists are anything but isolated. Often, they have connected with others deeply, and this affiliation helps prepare them to take their own lives, said Clark McCauley, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania who studies terrorism. ‘It's the group that's abnormal and extreme,’ McCauley said. ‘The bombers themselves are psychologically as normal as you and I’. The best evidence that these terrorists are mentally competent is the planning and patience required for many of their missions. They are not socially dysfunctional.


Suicide bombers are not poor and uneducated. 47% have an academic education and an additional 29% have at least a high school education. RAND Corporation economist Claude Berrebi says that in his study of 285 Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorists killed in action between 1997-2002, he found that "they were more educated and wealthier than the average Palestinian." 83% of the suicide bombers are single,  64% of the suicide bombers are between the ages 18-23; the rest are under 30 years of age.


They are supported by a remarkable part of their population. According to a poll conducted in May 2003 among Palestinian adults from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank including East Jerusalem by Dr. Nabil Kukali and the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion, ‘a substantial majority (76.1%) support suicidal attacks like that of Netanya [May 2003], whereas 12.5% oppose, and 11.4% express no opinion.


What brings a young Palestinian man to detonate himself amidst a crowd of other young persons? Is it a religious upbringing with promises of Paradise in reward for acts of martyrdom? Is it the parental support he receives for his convictions? Is it brainwashing, or encouragement from a Palestinian society who see no other means of fighting back against occupation, oppression and humiliation?


A Friday night bombing outside a Tel Aviv discotheque took the lives of 20 young Israelis. The suicide bomber was identified as 22-year-old Saeed Hotary, a Jordanian who had been living in Kalkilya. ‘I am very happy and proud of what my son did and I hope that all the men of Palestine and Jordan would do the same', Saeed's father Hassan told The Associated Press. His brother said Saeed ‘was very religious since he was young; he prayed and fasted.’


While the language used by the bombers and their organizations is always distinctly Islamic, the motives of the bombers are much more complicated. Mahmoud Ahmed Marmash, a twenty-one-year-old bachelor from Tulkarm, blew himself up in Netanya in May 2001. On a videocassette recorded before he was sent on his mission, he said: ‘I want to avenge the blood of the Palestinians, especially the blood of the women, of the elderly, and of the children, and in particular the blood of the baby girl Iman Hejjo, whose death shook me to the core.... I devote my humble deed to the Islamic believers who admire the martyrs and who work for them. In a letter he left for his family he wrote, ‘God's justice will prevail only in jihad and in blood and in corpses.’ Such references to jihad are not as common as references to revenge. In the Middle East this can be considered a death made to satisfy ‘honor’.


Mouin Rabbani, director of the Palestinian American Research Center in Ramallah, claims, ‘Religious or ideological fervor appears to offer only a partial explanation.’ Palestinian suicide bombers are neither products of a passive and unquestioning obedience to political authority nor pressed into service against their will.’ Instead, Rabbani stated that the common thread among all suicide bombers is the ‘bitter experience of what they see as Israeli state terror. Without exception, the suicide bombers have lived their lives on the receiving end of a system designed to trample their rights and crush every hope of a brighter future… Confronted by a seemingly endless combination of death, destruction, restriction, harassment and humiliation, they conclude that ending life as a bomb – rather than having it ended by a bullet - endows them, even if only in their final moments, with a semblance of purpose and control previously unknown’ (MEMRI Dec. 16, 2003).

According to Christopher Reuter who interviewed many failed suicide bombers, they are increasingly self-selected. The role of terror organizations has declined, and the interval between decision and mission execution has vastly decreased. Eight of the fifteen interviewees volunteered for missions; five of fifteen began to execute the mission within ten days of committing do to so, and fourteen undertook their mission within one month.

Throughout the course of the second intifada, it appears that an individual's psychological preparation for bombing often takes place without ties to a cell or institutional training.

These findings are consistent with the Reuters depiction of a cult of death that has developed in Palestinian society; the culture being a community-wide message of defiance rather than a descent into despair. 16

Children in this culture have increasingly grown to idolize suicide bombers and others who are seen as having sacrificed their lives for the Palestinian cause, said Dr. Eyad Serraj, a psychiatrist in the Gaza Strip in a Christian Science Monitor interview (March 10, 2004). The reason, he says, is that they see "martyrdom" as the ultimate redemption. In a poll held in the summer of 2003, 36 percent of 12-year-old boys in Gaza said they believed that the best thing in life was to die as a martyr, according to Dr. Serraj.

‘In their minds, the only model of power and glory is the martyr,’ he said. ‘Palestinian society glorifies the martyr. They are elevated to the level of saints and even prophets. Out of the hopeless and the inhuman environment they live in, there is the promise that they will have a better life in heaven.’

The martyr's image, he said, contrasts sharply with the way Palestinian youth view their fathers, Serraj says. In studies he has conducted, fathers are seen as ‘helpless, unable to protect his children in the face of bombings.’

Raymond Stock, an expert on Arabic literature and media based in Cairo is quoted by Thomas Friedman of the New York Times (May 23, 2004) referring to Iraqi suicide bombers. ‘They are mainly imported cookie-cutter killers, created by a combination of Arab mass media, certain extremist elements in Muslim culture, and some very shrewd recruiting by Al Qaeda and its ilk. When young, angry, futureless, sexually repressed people are taught that death is a permanent vacation of guilt-free pleasure, and they see it glorified in countless videos, all you need is a willing truck driver to ferry them over the border from Syria, Jordan, Turkey or Saudi Arabia and presto — a human bomb.’


A young man caught before he denoted his bomb said ‘I despise Israeli’s. . they took our land’. When asked if there was anything he admired about Israeli’s he said they had good soccer players whom he watched on television and admired there playing skills. When asked whether he would take his bomb and blow himself up in an Israeli soccer stadium, he said ‘on a soccer field  . . . No I couldn’t do that’. 17

A Hamas suicide bomber blew up two armed Palestinians who attempted to rob him at gun point in the Gaza Strip.  Rather than relinquish his explosives, the bomber detonated them, killing himself and the two robbers near the border fence between Gaza and Israel. Palestinian security officials said the gunmen were criminals who were involved in a car theft ring which brought stolen vehicles from Israel to Gaza. Hamas said the bomber was on his way to infiltrate into Israel, accompanied by another Hamas member and a guide, when they were stopped by the armed men.

The robbers forced the bomber to lie on the ground and tried to steal the bomb, but the militant detonated it, killing all three. The other Hamas member together with the guide escaped. A Hamas official said that whatever their intention, the two should be considered agents of Israel. "Anyone who tries to stop a fighter from doing his work is a collaborator," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Famale Suicide Bombers

Wafa Idris

On January 27 Wafa Idris, a 27-year-old Palestinian woman from the Al-Am'ari refugee camp near Ramallah, attained the fame of becoming the first female Palestinian suicide bomber. At the age of 16, Idris wed her cousin Ahmad and nine years later, they were divorced because she was unable to bear children.  Following the divorce, Idris volunteered for the Palestinian Red Crescent. She was a volunteer paramedic who had founded a women's relief group to assist victims of the conflict with Israel. She was not known as an Islamic extremist.

Friends reported that in her work, she was exposed to horrible sights of Palestinian wounded and dead, and speculated that this is what led her to become a suicide bomber.

Relatives conjectured that Idris' divorce and the dearth of opportunities available with which to make a new life for herself were factors in her decision. An aunt said, "He [her husband] killed her when he discarded her. She watched his second wedding from her window.  (MEMRI June 25, 2002)

In an interview Barbara Victor’s had with Wafa’s mother Mabrook, reported in The Observer (April 25, 2004) she stated that Wafa had been a constant target for mocking after her husband divorced her. 'My daughter's husband divorced her because she couldn't have children,' Mabrook said. 'Wafa knew she could never marry again, because a divorced woman is tainted... She was young, intelligent and beautiful, and had nothing to live for.'

Wafa distributed sweets to friends and family when she learned that her former husband had become a father. ‘He broke her, but she maintained her pride. I think,’ said girlhood friend Raf'ah Abu Hamid, ‘her experience with divorce and society's rejection of her as a divorced woman who couldn't have children gave her a feeling of deficiency, for which she tried to compensate with her work and the social relationships she formed after the divorce."  (MEMRI Feb. 12, 2002

Barbra Victor interviewed Dr. Tzoreff, Professor at Ben-Gurion University of Women and the Middle East. She said:  'if we take Wafa Idris,' the ultimate shahida, who is she after all? She is a talented young woman, married and divorced because she was sterile, desperate because she knew perfectly well there was no future for her in any aspect of the Palestinian society. She knew better than anyone else that the only way for her to come out against this miserable situation was to kill herself. Look at her funeral and what the Palestinian leadership said about her, calling her a national flower and the embodiment of Palestinian womanhood. She knew her own society and the limitations they put on her and on women like her, and she understood better than anyone else that she had nothing left - no hope, no future.'

Victor writes that Mabrook Idris greeted me in her shabby living room, holding the tattered poster of her child, which she picks up automatically the moment I appear, seemingly by rote after so many months of practice, when local dignitaries, neighbours, friends and Western journalists have visited her to pay their respects. 'Thank God,' she says. 'I am proud that my daughter died for Palestine, proud that she gave her life for us all. Thank God, thank God...'  But after an hour of sitting with her, talking with her, listening to her, Mabrook Idris is weeping. 'If I had known what she was going to do, I would have stopped her,' she says. 'I grieve for my daughter.'

Hanadi Tayseer Jaradat

On October 4, 2003, Hanadi Tayseer Jaradat, a 29 year old unmarried female attorney from Jenin detonated a bomb in a restaurant in Haifa, Israel killing herself, 19 Israelis and injuring 50 others. Hanadi Tayseer Jaradat wrapped her waist with explosives and fought her way past a security guard at a restaurant. Hanadi Tayseer Jaradat was a single woman who had recently graduated Law School and worked as a lawyer. Her younger brother Fadi, a 25-year-old, and older cousin, 34-year-old Salah had been killed by Israeli forces in the raid on Jenin in June of 2003. Her family said she did not tell anyone where she was going and they assumed she was on her way to the law office in Jenin where she worked.

Reem Al-Reyashi

In an additional incident a mother of two blew herself up at the main check point crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, killing four people and injuring seven. It is believed this was the first mother to act as a suicide bomber. She was identified as Hamas member Reem Al-Reyashi, 22, of Gaza. She had two young children, a 3-year-old boy and 1-year-old girl.

She told soldiers at the check point that she would set off the metal detector, because she had a metal implant from surgery repairing a broken leg. She was then ushered to a special room for a security search. When a stranger offered to help, the woman brushed her off and then blew herself up.

In a videotape she is seen smilingly cradling her rifle, and said she had dreamed since she was 13 of ‘becoming a martyr’ and dying for her people.

‘It was always my wish to turn my body into deadly shrapnel against the Zionists and to knock on the doors of heaven with the skulls of Zionists," said Reyashi, wearing combat fatigues with a Hamas sash across her chest. She said ‘God gave me two children and I loved them so much. Only God knew how much’.

Is Female suicide bombing the Islamic form of feminist equality?

Dr Abdul Aziz al-Rantisi, admitted to Victor during an on-camera interview that, Hamas, Islamic Jihad or the Palestinian Authority, whoever takes responsibility distributes a lifetime stipend of $400 a month is paid to the families of male suicide bombers. He points out that the families of female shahidas such as Wafa receive $200 per month. It would seem that even in death women are not treated equally.

Barbara Victor stated that ‘it was never another woman who recruited the suicide bombers’. Without exception, these women had been trained by a trusted member of the family - a brother, an uncle - or an esteemed religious leader, teacher, or family friend, all of whom were men. I also learnt that all four who died, plus the others who had tried and failed to die a martyr's death, had personal problems that made their lives untenable within their own culture and society. (Jaradat was reputably accused of adultery.)  Women suicide bombers are concerned with private issues rather than public issues.  There performances are choreographed by men.

These men had managed to convince women associated with them in one capacity or another that given their 'moral transgressions', or the errors made by a male family member or for revenge, the only way to redeem themselves and the family name was to die a martyr's death. Only then would these women enjoy everlasting life filled with happiness, respect and luxury, and finally be elevated to an equal par with men. Only in Paradise, and only if they killed themselves; they are true ‘black widows’.

Anat Berko, a criminologist at Herzliya's International Policy Institute on Counter-Terrorism (ICT states that far from being a landmark victory for feminism, the January 2002 (by Idris) attack actually reinforced the traditional roles of mother and wife, says

Idris was an independent woman with a job at the Palestinian Red Crescent, but because she could not have children, says Berko, "she was nothing in Palestinian society."

Berko has spoken with many of these would-be martyrs in Israeli prisons, though she will not reveal their names in order to protect their privacy. She believes that many of these inmates come from families with poor reputations, and that they have had illicit sexual encounters, or in some other way do not fit the rigid expectations for Arab women.

On the face of it, suicide is not an option for these social misfits since it is prohibited by Islam, yet martyrdom "wipes away all sins and stigmas," says Berko. 18

A remarkable number of the Chechnian suicide bombers have been women. Nineteen of the forty one in the Moscow Theatre were women.  Four women friends were among those killing the children (and adults) in Brelson, Russia, the two airplanes bombed and outside the Moscow subway in latter August and early September 2004. Three were divorced  and barren. 19


Mothers

The mother of 14 year-old Muhammad Sha’rawi when speaking of her son who was killed in the clashes:  ‘He had sought martyrdom and found it... He always said he would die as a Shahid and asked me not to cry for him or be sorry, because he was going to Heaven.’

Sheik Abd Al-Halim ’Ayyash says: ‘The family of the Shahid, and especially his mother, are sorry, are in pain, and even crying... [after all] death is death. However, when the dead is a Shahid, the issue is somewhat different. The Shahid has secured [for] himself, and possibly [for] his family too, a place in Heaven’.

The mother of Hilal and Bilal from the village of Ya'bad who were killed on the same day describes how religious belief helps her overcome the pain: ‘During the day, when I try to forget and calm myself. I follow the Koran and thank Allah and ask for forgiveness for my children, and especially when I hear that the Shahids [belong] in Heaven. I ask Allah to forgive them and recite the verses of the Koran that I know by heart. However, when I am alone even for some moments, I live with them and imagine all their movements... then I feel the pain exhausting me.’

Another mother whose son was killed describes the feelings she experienced when she received the news of his death: ‘I felt deep sorrow, but the fact that my son died as a Shahid cooled the fire in my heart and alleviated my pain.’ (MEMRI June 25, 2001)


Umm Nidal Farhat


Umm Nidal Farhat was filmed helping her son Muhammad Farhat leave home to carry out a suicide bombing on the March 20, 2002; he was killed. Approximately a year later her second son, Nidal, was killed by Israeli forces. She was interviewed in both the Israeli-Arab Kul Al-Arab weekly and the London Arabic-language daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi, 


Question: ‘As the mother of two Shahids, what has changed in [your] life?’

Umm Nidal: ‘Nothing has changed. The strength and honor have only increased. It doesn't matter to me whether I have two or three Shahid [sons]. [As far as I'm concerned], let all my sons be Shahids. What matters is doing what Allah wills and waging Jihad for the sake of this homeland. This is [Allah's] grace, and we are in the service of the religion and the homeland.’


Question: ‘The Shahid Muhammad was a bachelor, but Nidal was married and had children. Do his children ask about him?’

Umm Nidal: ‘... Every day when I see the sons of the Shahid Nidal, I feel pain. 'Imad, four, Nidal's eldest son, asked me a few days ago: 'Where is my father? Why did he become a Shahid? I miss him.' These things burn my heart. Nidal's sons burn my heart every day...’


Question: ‘If you could convey a message to the two Shahids Muhammad and Nidal, what would you tell them?’

Umm Nidal: ‘I would tell them, 'My sons, I pray to Allah that I will see you in Paradise and that Allah will accept your Shehada. You have carried out the [commandments] of honoring your father and your mother [in the best way].' I did not expect that my children would carry out [the commandment] of honoring their father and mother [in a better way] than Shehada for the sake of Allah.’


Question: ‘What is your message to the mothers of Shahids?’

Umm Nidal: ‘I hold their hands and ask them to be patient and to remember that death by martyrdom grants the martyr entrance into Paradise. I pray to Allah to strengthen them because the pain is hard and not easy to forget; but I say to all of them: 'Despite the pain and the battles and the blood that is shed, we must continue in the way of Jihad until victory or Shehada, until the entire homeland is liberated. The reward of the believing Muslim will never end. . . . Allah be praised that he chose my two sons to be among the Shahids. Every Palestinian mother or wife must be proud and lift up her head because Allah chose her husband or her son to be among the Shahids. This is the best thing in this world and in the next world.’  (MEMRI Feb. 28, 2004)


Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris preacher of Ijlin Mosque was quoted as saying ‘Are we terrorists? We, terrorists?! We face burning rockets that leave the martyr no flesh, bone, head, or foot. When the news of the death of her son reached the martyr's mother, she said to the youths: 'I want to see my son.' They were patient with her and took him to the cemetery to be buried. She learnt of this, and went there, asking: 'Where is my son?' Her son is a pile of flesh in a container, in a small sack. She watched while they buried him, and she said: 'If only a foot remained, I would kiss it.' Allah Akbar, is she a terrorist?! A terrorist, this woman who wants to find the foot of her son so she can kiss it before he is buried?! With these statements, Umm Muhammad broke the hearts of those present.’ (MEMRI March 16, 2004)


Fathers

A father whose son died as a suicide bomber said: ‘I ask, on my behalf and on behalf of every father and mother informed that their son has blown himself up: 'By what right do these leaders send the young people, even young boys in the flower of their youth, to their deaths?' Who gave them religious or any other legitimacy to tempt our children and urge them to their deaths?’


‘Yes, I say 'death,' not 'martyrdom.' Changing and beautifying the term, or paying a few thousand dollars to the family of the young man who has gone and will never return, does not ease the shock or alter the irrevocable end. The sums of money [paid] to the martyrs' families cause pain more than they heal; they make the families feel that they are being rewarded for the lives of their children.’

‘Do the children's lives have a price? Has death become the only way to restore the rights and liberate the land? And if this be the case, why doesn't a single one of all the sheikhs who compete amongst themselves in issuing fiery religious rulings, send his son? Why doesn't a single one of the leaders who cannot restrain himself in expressing his joy and ecstasy on the satellite channels every time a young Palestinian man or woman sets out to blow himself or herself up send his son?"  (MEMRI Oct. 10, 2002) ‘

This culture of death is based on a theory of leadership that includes a strategic design based on their beliefs and way of life that supports their political and social support system.


CULTURE OR THEOLOGY

Sayyid Qutb, the major theoretician of modern Islamic fundamentalism believed he heard God speaking to him.20  He said 'The role of the white man came to an end. . . his role ended whether he was Russian or American, English or French, Swiss or Swedish. . .   If they follow God's way of life, then they are within God's religion. If they follow another way of life, they do not follow God's religion’.’'  He believed his unchanging God created unchanging laws written in an unchanging book. Some believers in my Book - the Hebrew Bible - have the same belief. Why would God defined in the Qur'an as 'the most merciful and the most compassionate' do this to His creatures - all of humankind. Why not give us all valid messengers?


Qutb chose his God words. All words uttered by human beings are chosen, God words when accepted by believers can be uplifting or tragic. The words he chose became the Islamic fundamentalist’s mottos. That is tragic for the Islamic ummah as well as for the rest of us.


Leaders of terrorist organizations incite people to martyrdom through suicide bombing. Yet no terrorist leader in the world is known to have led one of his own children to a martyrdom operation. These leaders are willing to sacrifice their followers but not their own children for their absolutist messianic/utopian vision.


These acts are not suicides. A suicide is based on individual pathology. The individual who performs suicide bombing (with the possible exception of female suicide bombers) does not commit suicide; they are involved in a culture of death.


This form of Jihad and its terrorism will not end until moderate Islamic clerics lead a movement against this terrorism. Radical Islam must be declared as a form of Marcionism; an ancient Christian heresy and not a holy war.


This article has concentrated on the Palestinian killing of Israelis however today Muslim suicide bombers now kill more of there own brethren – Iraqi’s, Saudi Arabians and Pakistanis. In the first three months of 2004 eight suicide bombs occurred in Israel and twenty eight in the rest of the world by Arabic oriented persons This culture of death has now extended far beyond the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

This ‘ideology is an extreme case of borrowing; some elements from Sunni Islam, some from Shi’a Muslims, and mixing both with modern nihilism, a cult of extreme heroism, self-sacrifice, anti-globalization rhetoric and nationalism.  It is an ideology that thrives on its intoxicating incoherence’ 21 and is based on existential despair.


Arab/Muslims claim the inheritance of Abraham – calling him an ‘Imam to the nations (Sura 2:124). The key event in Abraham’s life was the sacrifice of his son. The Qur’an does not mention the name of the ‘son’ (Sura 37:101-111) but notes the sacrifice. This was according to Qur’anic commentary a trial of Abraham and of the son’s faith (Sura 37:106). The intended sacrifice was ‘a complete human sacrifice like those to Moloch’ (Sura 37:104). 22 It is clear that ‘child sacrifice’ to Moloch was an abomination.  Are not suicide bombings by children and teenagers an equal abomination?

One of the more puzzling commandments in the Torah (part of the Abrahamic inheritance) is the one describing the procedure to be followed if a murdered dead body is found outside of city limits and the murderer is not found (Deut 21:3-4).


The elders and judges of the closest city must go to the spot where the person was killed, behead a young heifer and wash their hands as they confess that they were not personally responsible for this person's death. From that day on, the spot where the calf was beheaded would never be cultivated. The place where a man was murdered becomes an eternal reminder that a society failed to prevent a crime or bring those guilty to justice.  This perversion of justice must never be forgotten and never allowed to happen again.


In commenting on this strange ritual, the Mishna asks, ‘Why would it ever occur to us that the elders of the court were murderers?’ (Sotah 9:1,6)  That is not the real question. The Torah is teaching that a murder occurring without compensating justice is unacceptable. Every citizen must investigate his own responsibility.


How did Muslims respond to the beheading of the Jews Daniel Pearl and Nicholas Berg? The heifer beheading rite described above would suggest crying out to heaven and imploring us to act proactively in the future so that innocent blood would never again be spilled. This concept would be consistent with the Qur’an.

How does the Quran respond to murder?

‘We ordained for the Children of Israel [for believers] that if any one slew a person - unless [or except] it be for murder or for spreading mischief [or corruption] in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land (5:32).

This appears to be a clear prohibition of murder confirming the importance of every single human being. The problem is that the words ‘unless’ or ‘except’ when combined with the words ‘spreading mischief’ or ‘corruption’ are problematic. The murderers of Nicholas Berg claimed; ‘We tell you that the dignity of the Muslim men and women in Abu Ghraib and others is not redeemed except by blood and souls’ a form of spreading corruption in a Muslim land. This can be a justification for any ‘jihad’ operation, quite different from the Mishna quoted above. This appears more like ‘honor’ killing and vengeance.

In the recent words of a prominent London-based Muslim cleric, Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad: "We don't make a distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non- innocents. Only between Muslims and unbelievers. and the life of an unbeliever has no value. it has no sanctity."  This not what the Qur’an stated.

According to Minnesota based psychoanalyst and Arabist, Dr. Nancy Kobrin, Arabism is a culture in which shame and honor play decisive roles and in which the debasement of women is paramount.

The Torah teaches us about ‘honor’ killing.

In Genesis (but not in the Qur’an) there is the story of the ‘defilement’ of Dinah the daughter of Jacob and the ‘honor’ killing preformed by Simeon and Levi. We are told that ‘Schechem loved Dinah – his soul cleaved to Dinah’ (Gen. 34:3). He defiled her (34:2) by approaching her without her father’s permission, required under Mid Eastern culture. He asked his father Hamor to speak to Jacob for permission to marry Dinah. During the negotiation Jacob’s sons deceived Hamor and after he agreed to circumcise all the males Simeon and Levi slaughtered them. Jacob rejected his son’s honor killing; a rejection that remained with him for a lifetime.  Decades later at his deathbed he cursed their action. ‘Simeon and Levi are brothers instruments of cruelty. . . cursed be their anger’ (49:5,7). Levi apparently repented, Simeon did not. When Moses, grandson of Levi blessed the tribes shortly before his death Simeon does not even appear (Deut. 33:6-25). Honor killing was rejected by both Jacob and Moses.

How can one inherit the mantle of Abraham, his grandson Jacob and then Moses (all prophets according to the Qur’an) and justify the abominations noted in this article?

However it should be noted that all of the holy scriptures have statements suggesting that under certain circumstances killing is acceptable. The Book of Joshua seems to justify genocide. According to the Gospel of Matthew a crowd of Jews state ‘his [Jesus'] blood be on us and on our children' (27:25). This statement has been used to justify the killing of Jews.

CONCLUSION

Islam is a religion with a system of beliefs, doctrines, rituals and answers for the believer of questions of morality, mortality and final destiny. This is based on the Qur’an, the Hadith and its commentaries. In this way it is similar to Judaism based on the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud and its commentaries. Islam as a culture and a social and political system while influenced the Qur’an, the Hadith and the commentaries is more influenced by nationalism, ethnicity, geography and the history of the separate Islamic groups. The same is true of Judaism.

Throughout the history of Islam there were periods when tolerance, pluralism and respect of multi-ethnic groups were prevalent. This was true for several hundred years in each of the following periods: the Ottoman Empire, the Muslim Spanish Empire (known by Jews as their Golden Age), the Indian subcontinent and the Muslim control of the Bosnia. During these ages Muslims excelled in mathematics, the sciences, astronomy and philosophy. The Islamic world was scientifically intellectual and ahead of the remainder of the world. On the other hand the Christian world has in almost its entire history been more intolerant than Islam.

What are the origins of Islamic fundamentalism?  It began shortly after the death of Muhammad with a group known as the ‘khawarji’ the Rebels. They surfaced from the village of Najd in Arabia. They believed that anyone not holding their belief was an apostate and subject to death. They were puritanical heresy hunters. They declared Caliph Uthman (one of the four righteous Caliphs) and Ali the son-in-law of Muhammad as apostates. There is a Hadith alleged from Muhammad that says ‘the one who kills them or is killed by them is blessed. They are dogs of the people of hell’.23 They created the first theological civil war within Islam which lasted for hundreds of years.

Ibn Taymiyya (1263-1328) was a fundamentalist who opposed the ‘khawarji’ and is considered the spiritual ancestor of modern day Islamic fundamentalists. He only recognized the first four righteous Caliphs as legitimate; the Caliphs who ruled for 600 years after these four and until his lifetime he considered ‘illegitimate’. He declared war on the Shi’as, the Sufi’s, Greek philosophy and the Mongols who had by then converted to Islam.

The next group of Islamic fundamentalists was founded by Abd al-Wahhab (1703 - 1792) and became known as the Wahhabis. He was born in Najd (as were the ‘khawarji)’ and he considered them as his spiritual ancestor. He was anti-Turk and anti-Shi’a. He stated ‘if you did not follow him you would be killed, your women and daughters raped and your possessions confiscated.’ Another Hadith alleged from Muhammed about the city of Najd stated from that place will come only earthquakes, conflicts and the horns of Satan’. 24  Al-Wahhab contracted with tribal leader named al Saud for a totalitarian marriage. When they conquered Kerbala (the Shia holy city) they slaughtered all the residents and scattered the bones of Hussein, the grandson of Muhammad. Decades later when they re-conquered Medina (with British help) they slaughtering one half million persons and scattered the bones of Muhammad’s son Ibrahim (who died very young), Hussan the grandson of Muhammad and the mother, grandfather and the first wife of Muhammad.  The only body they did not desecrate was Muhammad himself. The same ‘spirituality’ helped create the Muslim Brotherhood, the father of Hamas and Al Quada. The fundamentalists in Central Asia and Southeastern Asia were trained by the Wahhabis.

The latest movement adopting a fundamentalist ideology is in Iran. Iranians are Persian and not Arabs.  They are very close geographically to Arab lands but are Shi’ites considered by most Sunni theologians and lay people as an heretical sect.  The Shi’ite modern version of Islamic martyrdom - suicide bombing - can be attributed to the Ayatollah Khomeini. He elaborated on the Shi’ite tradition using the Qur’anic term ‘mustazafin’ – the weak, the disinherited and the enfeebled who in Christian language will inherit the earth. They became the leaders of his revolution. During the Iraq-Iran war (1980-1988) he convinced ten of thousands of defenseless boys and teenagers to go through fields mined by the Iraqi’s to die yelling ‘Ya Hussein’. There deaths became a form of redemption earned through works – the works being death by suicide/martyrdom. 

Despite these martyrdoms Khomeini lost the war to Iraq and signed a ceasefire of February 15, 1989.  To hide his bitterness and shame of this defeat on the previous day February 14, 1989 he signed a ‘fatwa’ against Salmon Rushdie seeking his death. 

Khomeini developed a theology of death from a fringe shi’ite theology.  In this he goes back to the beginning of Shi’ism begun in Kerbala in the year 680.  In the 1300 years since Kerbala however the vast majority of Shiite thinking has been of a ‘quietists’ nature. This school does not believe in a totalitarian theocracy run by clerics. This is the position of the current Grand Ayatollah al Sistani (Iraq) and the Grand Ayatollah Ali Montozeri (Iran) and their century’s long predecessors. The other three Iraqi Grand Ayatollahs are also of the ‘quietist’ school as are most of the ten current Iranian Grand Ayatollahs.

Thus all of the Sunni fundamentalists in the Islamic world are based directly or indirectly on Arabic culture. 25 The Shi’ite theology despite its current influence is from a fringe shi’ite movement.

Spengler a columnist for the Asian Times noted that ‘culture is the stuff out of which we weave the illusion of immortality ... Frequently, ethnic groups will die rather than abandon their 'way of life'. . .  assimilation implied abandoning both their past and their future. Historic tragedy occurs on the grand scale when economic or strategic circumstances undercut the material conditions of life of a people, which nonetheless cannot accept assimilation into another culture. That is when entire peoples fight to the death’ (May 17, 2004). 

When a ‘nativist’ culture seems threatened by another ‘certain current or remembered elements of culture are selected for emphasis and given symbolic value. The more distinctive such elements are with respect to [the] other culture . . . the greater their potential value as symbols of the society’s unique character’. 26 Everyone chooses what symbols to use as a culture’s unique character. Some choose life some death; the choice is noted in the Torah (Deut.30:19). Japanese Kamikaze’s, Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers, and the Marxist oriented Kurdistan Workers Party, none religious but explicitly secular entities all chose self sacrifice as a symbol of their culture. Khomeini chose as a symbol for Saddam his being an agent the ‘Great Satan’ - the United States and Saddam chose as a symbol of Khomeini his being the agent of the ‘Little Satan’ - Israel.

Sheik Ikremeh Sabri, the highest ranking cleric in the Palestinian Authority preached in Al Aqsa mosque ‘They think they scare people. We tell them: In as much as you love life, the Muslims love death and martyrdom’. It is not his Islamic theology that is abhorrent, it is culture. His culture sees death as standing as the appetizer of a lifetime ending it before it really begins. His ‘they’ who are the rest of us accept death as dessert after a lifetime. His ‘they’ are also his despised ‘other’.  The Torah tells us forty one times to treat the ‘other’ as equal.


For the first time after the tragedy in Breslan, Russia caused by the Chechen terrorists mainline Islamic and official newspapers have recognized the impact of suicide bombing on the image of Islam.


Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, former editor of the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, wrote in the daily under the title "The Painful Truth is that All of the Terrorists are Muslims:"

  

"Obviously not all Muslims are terrorists but, regrettably, the majority of the terrorists in the world are Muslims. The kidnappers of the students in Ossetia are Muslims. The kidnappers and killers of the Nepalese workers and cooks are also Muslims. Those who rape and murder in Darfour are Muslims, and their victims are Muslims as well. Those who blew up the residential complexes in Riyadh and Al-Khobar are Muslims. Those who kidnapped the two French journalists are Muslims. The two [women] who blew up the two planes [over Russia] a week ago are Muslims. Bin Laden is a Muslim and Al-Houthi [the head of a terrorist group in Yemen] is a Muslim. The majority of those who carried out suicide operations against buses, schools, houses, and buildings around the world in the last ten years are also Muslims.

  

"What a terrible record. Does this not say something about us, about our society and our culture? If we put all of these pictures together in one day, we will see that these pictures are difficult, embarrassing, and humiliating for us. However, instead of avoiding them and justifying them it is incumbent upon us first of all to recognize their authenticity rather than to compose eloquent articles and speeches proclaiming our innocence...

  

"Islam has suffered an injustice at the hands of the new Muslims... We will only be able to clear our reputation once we have admitted the clear and shameful fact that most of the terrorist acts in the world today are carried out by Muslims. We have to realize that we cannot correct the condition of our youth who carry out these disgraceful operations until we have treated the minds of our sheikhs who have turned themselves into pulpit revolutionaries who send the children of others to fight while they send their own children to European schools." 27


And in an official Saudi Arabian government newspaper Al Watan the columnists Suleiman Al Hadlan wrote “If the 'heroes' of the Muslim violence and terrorism do not represent true Islam, then who does represent it? The painful truth is that the acts of violence and barbarism occurring at present are nothing but the natural consequence of generations of Muslims having been misled and force-fed speeches [filled with] hostility and hatred for others over the course of decades, which deepened the backwardness and the ignorance in the Islamic world. There is no nation on the face of the earth that has not had to deal with oppression and war, but these nations have known how to defend their rights through the use of logic and knowledge ... while in our Islamic world the voices of ignorance continue in their plans to develop the ignorance and backwardness so that backwardness, degeneracy, and lack of direction will reign even more [than they do now]." 28


One would like to believe this is the beginning of a change against this barbaric behaviour, but it can only be a beginning.


Culture and religion differ from each other. Religion can and is intended to purify cultural tendencies. What we have seen represents a culture of death which has developed for a long period of time in the Arabic culture.  Despite Arabs representing only one fifth of the Muslim world there influence is unfortunately  much greater. The Qur’an is written in Arabic and all Muslims pray in Arabic. Islam and the Qur’an do not represent a theology of death; however they have not yet purified the Arabic culture of death


We probably can never imagine the suffering of ‘others’.

We probably can never imagine the pain of ‘others’.

But creating suffering and pain to the ‘other’ can never bring Salvation.

Terrorists kill innocents and cause pain and suffering - a sin by any religious person’s definition. Would a God defined as ‘the most merciful and the most compassionate’ in the Qur’an not only allow them but actually invite these persons into Paradise?


1 April, 23, 2004 at the Findlay Park London Mosque, Quoted in MEMRI, August 13, 2004.

2 Qouted by Eric SvSchechter, The Jerusalem Post Aug. 6, 2004.

3 Editorial in Al Khansaa – A Women’s Magazine published by Al Quada; MEMRI, September 7, 2004, #779 and Asia Times Sept. 15, 2004, by Sudha Ramachandran.

4 Soloveitchik, J., B., Halakhic Man, (JPS, Philadelphia, 1983)  pg. 49.

5 Op cit, pg. 65.

6 MEMRI, August 13, 2004.

7 Al-Akhbar (Cairo), Dec. 4, 2001. This and the next five quotes are quoted from by Haim Malka, Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2003

8 Translated and commented on by Juan Cole at the Yale Center for Genocide Studies Conference on April 9, 2003.

9 Conference at the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago, The Divinity School, December 2000, by Bruce Lincoln, ‘Mr. Atta's Meditations, Sept. 10, 2001: A Close Reading of the Text’.

10 ibid.

11 Rona Fields, Terrorism and Martyrdom: The Psychology of Commitment, Yale Center for Genocidal Studies, October 2003.

12 Quoted by Bruce Hoffman, from a CIA document dated April 3, 2002, in Al Qaeda, Trends in Terrorism, Future Potentialities, pg.12, Rand Corporation, May 20, 2004.

13 Almost everyone is aware of the 72 black eyed virgins that await martyred males as they enter the pearly gates. This is not in the Qur’an. This author has never read or heard of the female reward.

14   By Benedict Carey, LA Times, July 31, 2002

15 Quoted by Eric Schechter in the Jerusalem Post, Aug. 6, 2004

16 Reuters, Christopher, My Life Is A Weapon: A Modern History of Suicide Bombing, (Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2003).

17 Juergensmeyer, Mark, Terror in the Mind of God, (University of California Press, Berkeley, 2000), pg. 241.

18 Qouted by Eric Schechter, Aug. 6, 2004.

19 S.L. Myers, New York Times, September 9, 2004.

20 Jansen, Dual, pg. 52, the next two quotes are from Jansen pgs. 76, and 33..

21 Fred Halliday, Terrorism in Historic Perspective, Open Democracy, April 22, 2004.

22 The Holy Qur’an, Text, Translation and Commentary by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, (Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an Inc., Elmhurst N.Y., 2001) pg. 1205, ft. 4102.

23 Schwartz, Stephen, The Two Faces of Islam, (Doubleday, N.Y., 2002) pg. 36

24 Schwatrz, pg. 73.

25 Indonesia has the largest Islamic population in the world. It has the largest moderate Islamic movement in the world led by the blind cleric and former President of Indonesia Abdurraham Wahim. But it also has Jamal Islamiya a large and dangerous terrorist organization. While there is much that is local to JI it has been influenced by Al Quada. Its goal is to create an Islamic super state including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and parts of the Philippines and Thailand. However its three operational leaders Al Hanbali (arrested), Azahari Husin and Noor Din Mohammad Top (the last two Malaysian citizens) are all Arab trained. Hanbali took his name from an Arabic legal scholar centuries ago.

26 Linton, Ralph, ‘Nativistic Movements’, American Anthropologist, NS, 45 (1943), quoted in Jansen, Johannes, J.G., The Dual Nature of Islamic Fundamentalism (Cornell, University Press, Ithica, 1997), pg. 16.

27 September 4, 2004 in MEMRI, September 8, 2004, #780.

28 September 6, 2004, in MEMRI September 10, 2004, #780.