“Zarqawi Driven by Emotion,” from Reuters, with thanks to Romy:
AMMAN, Jordan – During their years in a Jordanian prison, inmates remember Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in his Afghan dress weeping uncontrollably in the courtyard whenever he knelt to pray.
“Abu Musab cried constantly. He was very emotional, almost like a child,” said 35-year-old Yousef Rababaa as he recalled the young militant.
Zarqawi, you big lug. All you need is a few hugs and you’ll be ready to drop that AK-47.
Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born one-time street thug who is now the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, is remembered as a gentle man obsessed with Islam’s past glory.
His intense loyalty, his former cellmates say, went hand in hand with a fanatical adherence to his religion.
He dreamed of an Islamic utopia where people would relive the puritanical lifestyle of the faith’s early founders.
The Arab Bedouin whose fanaticism condones the killing of fellow Muslims and is blamed by Washington for the beheading of foreign captives and suicide bombings that have maimed and killed hundreds, was a gentle almost stoic figure, his cellmates remember.
Why do they describe this city kid as an “Arab Bedouin?” A gentle, stoic, weepy Arab Bedouin street thug, eh? Ah, the glorious complexity of Zarqawi!
But note his obsession with “Islam’s past glory,” and determination to restore it.
They say his ability to mesmerize the closest people around him was another facet of a shadowy elusive character who has so far evaded capture.
Rababaa who left prison with Zarqawi after an amnesty in April 1999 recollects how Zarqawi stood out among his peers for his piety.
“Abu Musab would be as preoccupied with writing letter after letter to his old mother as spending long hours reciting the Koran,” said Rababaa.
It was piety of an extreme nature that molded Zarqawi’s militancy, according to Islamists and experts who follow many of the young adherents of the Salafi brand of Islamist jihadis….
Another cellmate, Khaled Abu Doma, 36, recalled the young Zarqawi’s long days spent kneeling with another inmate on a mat in the prison courtyard as he patiently helped him memorize verse after verse from the Koran….
Funny how this gentle, tear-streaked stoic missed all the gentle verses about peace and harmony while he was memorizing the Qur’an. Funny how so many millions of Muslims seem to miss them.