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Book about Suicide Bombings - Jihad or terrorism

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Book about Suicide Bombings - Jihad or terrorism
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Liittynyt: 16 Syy 2004
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UK based writer and political commentator Yamin Zakaria has written a new book entitled Suicide Bombings - Jihad or Terrorism?

The book's promotional blurb reads:

"The primary aim of this book is designed to provoke thought on the subject which is obscured by the propaganda of conflict. It is divided into two parts. The first part analyses the various political arguments around the issue of suicide bombings, and examines corollary subject of terrorism and Jihad. In the second part, it examines the Islamic text with a view to establishing the legality of using suicide bombing as a weapon of conflict. It has been written in a manner that is aimed at Muslims and non-Muslims who are unfamiliar with the mechanism of deriving Islamic opinions. This section makes the book unique. Elaboration in this area has been lacking, the existing material is barely inadequate for Muslims let alone non-Muslims."

Below is an excerpt from Chapter 11

Chapter 11

Popular Myths of Suicide (Human) Bombers

In the West, even the most depraved serial killers are scientifically studied in great depth, yet the suicide bombers from the Muslim world are instantly dismissed as mindless killers. Suddenly the scientific West becomes very unscientific in its approach to the issue. Eventually, the critics have to answer the question: why do they do it? What possible factors can propel someone to sacrifice his or her life, overruling the basic human instinct of survival? Is it an act of vengeance for the loss of their home, land, and family members? Perhaps, they are vulnerable people; thus, easily brainwashed by radical preachers to commit such acts.

Alternatively, they are the product of a desperate situation created by occupation, and subjected to daily humiliation. Maybe they are inspired by the spiritual idea of receiving immense reward in the afterlife. Perhaps a combination of factors produces suicide bombers. Regardless, the motive of the suicide bomber is distorted by the propaganda machine of war. For that reason, various myths have been manufactured and popularised, the most prominent ones are examined here.

a) Inspired by Islam

Devout Muslim s will naturally seek inspiration from Islam. The inspiration is only sought, if the prevalent condition provides the impetus for it. Otherwise, the assertion is that Islam permits the followers to use suicide bombing regardless of the circumstances. If that were the case, suicide operations would have been widespread in all parts of the Islam ic world throughout history. In reality, it is predominantly found in places under foreign occupation, and in conflict zones.

Many of the suicide bombers in the past were not deeply religious, and came from ordinary families. Some of them were subscribers to the secular ideology of Arab Socialism. The Syrian Socialist Party Lebanon in the 1980s. It is a fact, that various nations have used suicide bombings, from the Japanese Kamikaze pilots to the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka . Therefore, it is not the reserve of any specific religion, race, or nation. The claim that suicide bombers are exclusively inspired by Islam is simply a myth, manufactured by the hostile media. was one of the first groups to carryout suicide attacks, against the Israeli occupiers in

b) Promises of Virgins (‘Houris’)

This is a popular spin peddled by the mass media, especially by those elements suffering from Islamophobia. They imply the central motive of the suicide bomber is the lustful desire for the promised virgins in heaven. If a man wants to satisfy his carnal desires, he is more likely to engage in self-indulgence, rather than self-destruction. For a devout Muslim , this means getting married, rather than getting himself fitted with an explosive belt.

There is no shortage of virgins in the Islam ic world, where it is seen as a virtue, and not a source of shame! The Muslim youths do not need to become martyrs to find virgins. They would counter argue, by pointing out the scarcity of virgins in liberal West; thus, allegation regarding Houris is in reality driven by envy.

Furthermore, translation of the word Houris is not the virgin women on earth, pleasures of heaven are described in the worldly language, nobody knows how literal or metaphorical these are. These are promised to all who enter paradise, and martyrdom is not the only route to acquire these pleasures. The media projection of such acts in sexual terms shows their sexually obsessed mindset, everything has to be analysed for its sexual utility. Therefore, in describing Islam , they have transformed the Harems into brothels, Houris into lustful virgins. They see the four wives only in terms of sexual pleasures, ignoring the huge legal, social, and economic responsibilities that come with it.

c) Brainwashed by the Imams or the Media

Most Imams are apolitical; they do not even refer to local matters, let alone international affairs. Nevertheless, some imams and scholars do give legal, political, and moral justification for suicide bombing, but that is only because the situation exists in the first place. Moreover, this does not equate to incitement to carry out such acts. They are simply expressing their opinion on the matter, and far from engaging in the process of brainwashing the youths to undertake suicide missions.

It is difficult for anyone to lecture others to engage in suicide operations, as it is reasonable to suppose that the candidate must ask himself why this person is not leading by example. The sacrificing of life has such a complete finality, it will always be an individual’s decision, and therefore, it can only be conducted by those who volunteer willingly.

What impact the images from Iraq , Afghanistan , and Palestine have on individuals, nobody can accurately predict. Every individual has their own tolerance threshold; once this is crossed, it can drive people to retaliate with suicide bombing. Asif Hanif, the Tel Aviv bomber from the UK , was not known to be involved with any radical group, and had no radical Imam lecturing him. Perhaps, the images from the theatre of conflict that pushed him over the edge. This is corroborated by the video that he left behind to broadcast.

On the contrary, the suicide bombers would argue, it is the masses in the West that are brainwashed by the media, which is constantly inciting much greater level of violence against innocent Muslims. In their eyes, journalists, editors, and commentators in the West are writing with the ‘ink’ drawn from the blood of the innocent women and children of Iraq , Afghanistan , and Palestine . They see the media as constantly legitimising state-terrorism against the Muslim s, preaching a message of hate, under the toxic influence of militant liberalism.


The author is a British Educated Muslim, graduated in Chemistry from Queen Mary College, London University in 1988. He is working as an IT professional, married with four children. The author frequently comments on the political issue and events related to the Islamic world
(, His articles have appeared in numerous websites, and newspapers, particularly in the Islamic World. He has been involved with the Islamic movements from his University days. In the early years he was active with several Islamic movements prior to joining Hizb-ut-Tahrir (Liberation Party) in the late 80s. He was an active member with the movement until 2002. Since that time, the author has become an independent commentator, regarded as a controversial author by many for expressing his views so candidly.

"The one who is (truly) imprisoned is the one whose heart is imprisoned from Allah, and the captivated one is the one whose desires have enslaved him." Ibn Taymiyah
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