Once a target has been identified, a recruiter moves in, establishes rapport, and then with Machiavellian cruelty plays upon her depression to convince her that her situation is hopeless and shameful; so she might as well do something that will bring her and her family honor and glory by striking a blow against the Jews.
What he offers her, then, is redemption,[iii] a powerful palliative for the clinically depressed. Suicide, normally shameful and reprehensible, becomes in jihad a glorious way to end her seemingly interminable angst, with but a moment of pain, and then an eternity of bliss.
The depth of the depravity of such a callous manipulation of an emotionally damaged person is exemplified in some anecdotes of young women lured to their suicide by terrorist recruiters. Some were sexually seduced and then threatened with exposure and the shameful fate of an honor killing. Others were seduced into an adulterous situation after which the seducer-recruiter threatened to reveal her actions to her husband who would, undoubtedly, kill her. In one case the husband was complicit in the whole process, and actually drove his wife to the place where she blew herself up.
In Muslim Palestinian society, known for its fiercely strict patriarchal morality and brutally harsh misogyny, a woman’s options are limited; so much preferable is a death with honor than a death that brings shame.
The case of Wafa el-Bas illustrates how Hamas recruiters vitiated gratitude with hatred. El-Bas is a Gaza woman who tried to blow herself up and take with her the doctor and his staff who had saved her life only months before her attempt. Her body had been badly burned and her face disfigured in a home cooking accident. As a result, her fiancé rejected her. Despite her successful life-saving treatment at the Soroko Medical center in Beer Sheba, she became despondent and depressed about her future without marriage. Then the Hamas recruiters moved in. During interviews in jail after her failed attempt, one of her comments was: “I believe in death.”
What kind of psychosis erases the most basic of human instincts, the instinct for life itself, the instinct of a mother’s love for her children, or the instinct for gratitude to those who have saved your life? How are these basic human instincts for good transmogrified into evil?
The answer to those questions is horrifyingly simple: the ideology of Hamas.
The ideology of Hamas is unique in world history. Its sole defining paradigm is terrorism, and its uncompromising ultimate goal is the genocide of all Jews and the global supremacy of Islam. Like a venomous reptile, Hamas infects its Palestinian victims with its warped morality of “martyrdom” in which death is good, murder is better, and mass murder is best. Hamas justifies its cruel exploitation of its followers, and legitimizes its lethal pathological Jew-hatred, by means of a carefully contrived curriculum of hate-teach, hate-speech, and hate-preach that permeates the Gaza Strip like elevator music. Pace Hannah Arendt, there is no banality in this evil.
[i] For description and analyses of honor killings, see http://www.meforum.org/2067/are-honor-killings-simply-domestic-violence ; http://www.meforum.org/2745/problem-of-honor-killings; http://www.meforum.org/2646/worldwide-trends-in-honor-killings; http://www.phyllis-chesler.com/915/honor-killing-threats-harry-potter-actress; and http://www.islam-watch.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=886 .
[ii] For accounts of this debate see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Istishhad ; http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/article/review/review-869-p71.htm ;http://muttaqun.com/suicide.html ; and especially professor John Esposito’s summary, What Everyone Needs to Know about Islam, 2nd edition, Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 142 ff, available on line at http://www.scribd.com/doc/76994209/105/Does-Islam-permit-suicide-bombers.
[iii] Despite the fact that female suicide bombers have grown in number over the last ten years, there is still no official Muslim religious ruling as to what reward in the afterlife awaits the Muslim female jihadist martyrs. What they would do for all eternity with seventy-two dark-eyed virgin women is left unexamined.
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