I read a story today in which it was claimed that a Russian suicide bomber who planned to kill hundreds on New Year’s Eve died from a premature explosion. Apparently the detonator for the bomb was her cell phone, and a spam message triggered it while she was still home.
Suicide bombers are a foreign concept to Americans. We believe that when an authority figure demands, Stop, or I’ll shoot!” people stop to avoid being shot. When Dirty Harry says, “Go ahead, make my day,” we perceive the threat. Not so with suicide bombers.
Westerners believe and honor those who make the ultimate sacrifice, and in the Christian belief system we’re taught “There is no greater love than this, than to lay down one’s life for a friend.” On the other hand to intentionally destroy one’s self in order to inflict suffering on others is just abhorrent. For these terrorists it’s not the suicide that is the intended outcome; it is the physical destruction of some and the mental anguish and intimidation of countless others. The great deed, in their minds, apparently is that destruction; their own death is just a means to that end. That is why some believe these people are misnamed – they should be called homicide bombers.
We’ve all heard the stories about how some of these extremists believe that they’ll be immediately transported to paradise, met by 72 virgins and such. I have two problems with that concept. First let me clearly state that I claim no expertise in the writings of the Q’ran. I have had Muslim friends tell me that it does not sanction such acts, and that may well be true. Having said that, as a Christian who has studied the Bible, I know that my understanding of it is extremely limited. I suspect that there may be no human who is capable of fully understanding the mind of God. However, I have seen many people point to the Bible and claim that they do comprehend it and the meaning they find is very different from the one I understand. Usually their interpretation involves why a particular person, place, animal or thing is evil and will be damned to eternal torment. I believe that among Muslims there are those who use the Q’ran to justify their personal or political purposes. People who use their scripture to justify hate or to inflict destruction, pain and death worship a different God than I do.
The second issue that I have is that those who advocate and preach martyrdom seem to focus on getting others to do the dying. Great leaders lead from the front. If I was convinced that it was an immediate transfer to eternal happiness, bliss and such I think I’d be the first in line, along with my entire family. One might have doubts about their sincerity.
My personal belief is that there is a God, He is good and He loves us. All of us. Even those who can’t say “Shibboleth,” or look different, or whatever. I also believe that things end up going His way no matter what we do. It does not surprise me that there is good in the most unlikely places and unlikely circumstances can result in hundreds of people being spared; even spam can result in good.
So (in alphabetical order), Peace, Salaam, Shalom.