Ever since I began doing this work publicly my point has been simple and consistent: that the jihad terrorists are working from mainstream traditions and numerous Qur’anic exhortations, and that by means of these traditions and teachings they are able to gain recruits among Muslims worldwide, and hold the sympathy of others whom they do not recruit. This explains why there has been no widespread, sustained, or sincere Muslim outcry against the jihad terrorist enterprise in general.
The mainstream media, both liberal and conservative, does not want to face these facts. They think that by speaking about the Islamic roots of jihad violence they will undercut moderate Muslims. But in fact, no reform in Islam can ever take place without an acknowledgment of what needs to be reformed. The near-universal refusal to provide that acknowledgment is just one reason why that reform is virtually certain not to be forthcoming.
Anyway, here is yet more evidence that it is the Qur’an that is inspiring jihad terrorism. “Inside the Mind of an Iraqi Suicide Bomber,” from Time, with thanks to Effractor:
One day soon, this somber young man plans to offer up a final prayer and then blow himself up along with as many U.S. or Iraqi soldiers as he can reach. Marwan Abu Ubeida says he has been training for months to carry out a suicide mission. He doesn’t know when or where he will be ordered to climb into a bomb-laden vehicle or strap on an explosives-filled vest but says he is eager for the moment to come. While he waits, he spends much of his time rehearsing that last prayer. “First I will ask Allah to bless my mission with a high rate of casualties among the Americans,” he says, speaking softly in a matter-of-fact monotone, as if dictating a shopping list. “Then I will ask him to purify my soul so I am fit to see him, and I will ask to see my mujahedin brothers who are already with him.” He pauses to run the list through his mind again, then resumes: “The most important thing is that he should let me kill many Americans.”
At 20, Marwan is already a battle-hardened insurgent, a jihadi foot soldier in Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi’s terrorist group, al-Qaeda in Iraq. Like the bulk of insurgents, he is a Sunni Muslim from the former ruling minority community. In his hometown, Fallujah, he is known for his ferociousness in battle and deep religiosity. Marwan asked his commander to consider him for a suicide mission last fall but had to wait until the beginning of April for his name to be put on the list of volunteers. “When he finally agreed,” Marwan recalls, “it was the happiest day of my life.” There are, he says, scores of names on that list, and it can be months before a volunteer is assigned an operation. But at the current high rate of attacks, Marwan hopes he will be called up soon. “I can’t wait,” he says, rubbing his thumbs with his fingers in nervous energy. “I am ready to die now.”…
Marwan’s journey toward suicide murderer began just a few weeks after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Before the war, he had been one of Fallujah’s privileged young men: his father’s successful business earned enough–even during the difficult years when the West imposed economic sanctions on Iraq–to provide a good life for Marwan and his six brothers and four sisters. In high school, he was an average student but excelled in Koranic studies at the local mosque….
Like other Iraqis who have joined extremist religious groups during the insurgency, Marwan severed connections with his family when he joined up. He says he will call them once before his suicide mission to say goodbye. Even though one of his brothers fights for another insurgent group and other siblings help the rebels with money and shelter, he says they all believe he has gone too far. “My family are not happy with my choice,” he says. “But they know they can’t change my path.”
For the deeply pious Marwan, his colleagues in Attawhid are now closer to his heart than his family or former friends. “The jihadis are more religious people,” he says. “You ask them anything–anything–and they can instantly quote a relevant section from the Koran.” Like them, Marwan works Koranic allusions into his speech. He has also embraced the jihadist worldview of one global Islamic state where there is, in Marwan’s words, “no alcohol, no music and no Western influences.” He concedes that he has not thought deeply about what life might be like in such a state; after all, he doesn’t expect to live long enough to experience it. Besides, he says, he fights first for Islam, second to become a “martyr” and win acceptance into heaven, and only third for control of his country. “The first step is to remove the Americans from Iraq,” he says. “After we have achieved that, we can work out the other details.”
FROM WARRIOR TO “MARTYR” Marwan says waiting is the hardest aspect of a jihadi’s transformation into a suicide bomber. Volunteers have to undergo a program to discipline the mind and cleanse the soul. The training, supervised by field commanders and Sunni clerics sympathetic to the insurgency, is mainly psychological and spiritual. Besides the Koran, he says, “I read about the history of jihad, about great martyrs who have gone before me. These things strengthen my will.” One popular source of inspiration for suicide bombers is The Lover of Angels, by Abdullah Azzam, one of Osama bin Laden’s spiritual mentors, which tells stories of jihadis who died fighting Soviet occupying troops in Afghanistan. And Marwan is listening to taped speeches that address subjects like the rewards that await warriors in heaven. In recent months, jihadist groups have also begun showing recruits lurid videos of successful suicide hits. A U.S. official in Baghdad who studies suicide terrorism says some volunteers even visit the sites of previous bombings for inspiration.
Marwan says would-be “martyrs” may use their waiting time to take care of business–paying off debts, resolving family matters, saying farewells. Some destroy any photographs of themselves; extremist Islamists regard pictures as a sign of vanity and therefore taboo. Others compile lists of the 70 people Islamic tradition says a “martyr” can guarantee a place in paradise. “I haven’t got my 70 names yet–I don’t think I know that many people,” Marwan says, allowing himself a rare smile. Some dig graves for themselves and leave instructions on the way they should be buried–generally with simple headstones. Marwan says he won’t need a grave: “If I am lucky, my body will be vaporized. There won’t be anything left of me to bury.”…
Marwan says the occasional bomber may ask to be chained to the wheel to make sure he doesn’t flinch at the last moment. “If you have any little doubt in your mind about your own ability to carry out the mission, you do that to make sure you don’t lose your courage,” he says. He scoffs at reports that some suicide bombers are intoxicated. “Those who go on these missions know that they are about to see their Creator,” he says. “Do you think we would meet Allah in a state of drunkenness or drugged? It is unthinkable.”
Toward the end of the cleansing period, a bomber may ask a fellow jihadi, one better versed in religious doctrine, to help with the final spiritual preparation. Marwan says he was asked to mentor a friend intent on martyrdom earlier this year. He expects his final weeks to be a period of euphoria rather than penance. “My friend was happier than I had ever seen him,” Marwan says. “He felt he was close to the end of his journey to heaven.” (The friend, he says, blew himself up two months ago at a checkpoint manned by Iraqi soldiers near Ramadi, capital of the turbulent Anbar province, and six were killed. “We made a pact that we would meet in heaven,” Marwan says.)
“I AM A TERRORIST” Marwan seems certain he is on a “pure” path. Unlike many other insurgents, who reject the terrorist label and call themselves freedom fighters or holy warriors, Marwan embraces it. “Yes, I am a terrorist,” he says. “Write that down: I admit I am a terrorist. [The Koran] says it is the duty of Muslims to bring terror to the enemy, so being a terrorist makes me a good Muslim.” He quotes lines from the surah known as Al-Anfal, or the Spoils of War: “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the enemy of Allah and your enemy.”…
That would be Sura 8:60.
“It doesn’t matter whether people know what I did,” he says. “The only person who matters is Allah–and the only question he will ask me is ‘How many infidels did you kill?‘”