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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘martyrdom’

Charismatic, ‘Folksy’ Egyptian Politician Incites Followers to Martyrdom

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Egypt’s political landscape is dotted with people and issues that, from a reasonable distance, are  incomprehensible.

Unfortunately, when you share a neighborhood with some of those people, you can’t always afford the luxury of trying to comprehend “root causes” and socio-demographic dynamics. The dangers are existential, not intellectual and so you need to first take defensive measures and then try to understand. People who fail to understand this tend – usually – to be those who live far from the threats, or think they do.

The Dubai-based Al Arabiya news site carries a report from Egypt today. It focuses on a televised sermon delivered Friday by Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a “holy man” and lawyer who is “the country’s most charismatic Salafist politician” and a front-running candidate in Egypt’s 2012 presidential election. He was reckoned to have a serious chance up until his electoral run was forcibly ended by the disclosure, denied by the candidate but subsequently confirmed by the Egyptian authorities, that his mother was a citizen of the United States. It appears he is still laboring to overcome that disgrace.

He favours lowering the legal age of marriage to puberty (for girls, of course); chopping off the hands of thieves, naturally; ending the 1979 Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty; supports the veiling of women and their segregation from men in the workplace (according to the L.A. Times). He calls Iran a successful model of keeping your independence from the United States. And about the 9/11 massacres, he said

I am one of those who believe these events were fabricated from the outset as part of the global groundwork for the distortion of Islam’s image. I mean, this is part of a comprehensive global plan that includes a media aspect. [Interview on a 2004 Saudi TV program]

There’s an eye-popping selection of other public pronouncements of this person here.

On Friday, according to Al Arabiya, the ultra conservative Abu Ismail preached that

The only way to build a strong Egypt is to have tens of thousands fight and be “martyred” under the name of God, a prominent Salafist politician told worshipers during a televised sermon on Friday. “So what if a hundred or a thousand, or even ten thousands are martyred to build a long-prevailing nation,” Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, a former presidential candidate, said. “There is no other plan but to be martyred.”

A lunatic, right? Yes, and/or a cynical manipulator. But that’s not necessarily the impression you would get from the mainstream Western media coverage he has enjoyed during this past year.

A handful of examples from just one source: the L.A. Times:

* Abu Ismail’s is “a robust voice in the fractious political Islam” of post Mubarak Egypt;
* He embodies “a new Egypt searching for a religiously resonant yet pragmatic brand of politics that can fix the nation’s deep economic and social problems“;
* “He’s a favorite on talk shows and internet videos, a charismatic speaker who can charm a university crowd as easily as he can raise cheers from mill workers in the provinces”;
* “He skims the edge of fundamentalism — he once suggested that he and Osama bin Laden shared the same ends, if not the means, to create an Islamic state — but connects with Egyptians’ everyday worries.

The Economist has said he is “committed to replicating the seventh-century ways of the Prophet Mohammed [and]could be the country’s next pharaoh.” More recently, it has also called him a man with “folksy charm putting the dour Mr. Morsi in the shade.” He’s a politician whose followers are “rowdy enthusiasts.

There is no suggestion that Abu Ismail himself has any intention of embracing martyrdom. It’s a near certainty that his inspiration will bring less discerning Egyptians (aka rowdy enthusiasts) to that end. Martyrdom-minded religious fanatics have a bad reputation in this part of the world, so this “folksy” sermon is less than good news.

Visit This Ongoing War.

From a Soldier’s Mother to a Martyr’s Mother

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Mariam Farhat died recently in Gaza. She had 10 children, six sons. Three of her sons died committing terrorist attacks for Hamas; one is in an Israeli prison. The night before her 17 year old son, Muhammed attacked a school and murdered five students, Mariam joined him in a pre-suicide video in which she wished him well on his journey to be a martyr. She was so proud of him. When she heard that her son had died, she handed out sweets and proudly proclaimed, “Allah Akbar” which translates to Allah is great in Arabic (and sounds awfully close to “Allah is a mouse” in Hebrew).

After Israel withdrew from Gaza, Mariam visited the village where her son had killed people and took a piece of the outer fencing to mount on her wall as a symbol of his life…I mean his death. Another son was killed while driving in a car with a rocket which exploded when an Israeli jet identified the target. Israeli lives were saved; Mariam had herself another martyr.

In case you haven’t figured out how I feel about her, let me share some of her words:

“I protect my sons from defying Allah, or from choosing a path that would not please Allah. This is what I fear, when it comes to my sons. But as for sacrifice, Jihad for the sake of Allah, or performing the duty they were charged with – this makes me happy. There is no difference. This is Islamic religious law. I don’t invent anything. I follow Islamic religious law in this. A Muslim is very careful not to kill an innocent person, because he knows he would be destined to eternal Hell. So the issue is not at all simple. We rely on Islamic religious law when we say there is no prohibition on killing these people. The word ‘peace’ does not mean the kind of peace we are experiencing. This peace is, in fact, surrender and a shameful disgrace. Peace means the liberation of all of Palestine, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. When this is accomplished – if they want peace, we will be ready. They may live under the banner of the Islamic state. That is the future of Palestine that we are striving towards.

And more…here is an interview with Mariam – in her words.

She died in a hospital of health complications at the age of 64 – lung ailments and kidney failure.

There is something incomprehensible to me in this story; something that makes me wonder if I have anything in common with this woman. I am a mother of three sons. I have watched two grow and marry and my greatest fear for them would be the very thing this woman wished on her sons. She wished them to die – yeah, sure – as a martyr…whatever the heck that is.

Muhammed was 17 years old. She encouraged him to die – her greatest fear was not his death, but that he waste the opportunity of not dying as part of an act to murder others.

As a writer, I am forever trying to adhere to the laws of grammar and to use (and sometimes abuse) them for the good of a post, article, or manual I write. And here, I add a paragraph and laugh at myself. I don’t even want to mention my son David in the same paragraph as Muhammed. Davidi was raised with love – not just to receive it, but also to give it. He was taught that he is part of a community and so he volunteers with a local youth group and with the local ambulance squad.

Davidi, my precious Davidi is 17 years old. He’s tall; he’s so beautiful – and he goes out all the time, not waiting for a chance to attack, as Muhammed was taught from the time he was 7 years old. Instead, Davidi goes out with ambulances, trying to save lives…and in truth, the lives he saves are sometimes Jewish lives and sometimes Arab lives. This woman dared to call herself a mother?

I thought to write a message to this Mariam but in the end, the truth is that she turns my stomach. I cannot call her a “mother” because she thinks being a mother means only the act of giving birth. There is so much more to being a mother than that. If you are blessed, as I was, your births are not to difficult and you move on – on with that baby that wants to learn so much. What you teach them is what counts so much more than the physical act of having them leave your body.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/from-a-soldiers-mother-to-a-martyrs-mother/2013/03/19/

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