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The Detonator

November 24, 2006

“I am very proud of what she did. Allahu Akbar (God is greatest),” one of her sons, Fuad, 31, told Reuters.On a video released by Hamas, the woman read out a statement saying said she wanted to dedicate her death to Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails and to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas.

She wore a black suicide belt and had an M-16 assault rifle slung over her neck.

“I offer myself as a sacrifice to God and to the homeland,” she said.”

There is no doubt that what the Palestinians go through is awful.  There is no doubt that some Israeli policy causes psychological impacts that assist in the creation of suicide bombers.  Stress and trauma of this conflict coupled with economic despair is fertilizer for these bombs, there is no doubt about that, but it is not the sole reason these bombs explode.  There needs to be a detonator.

No, these acts are not acts that are tolerated by Islam, yet they are acts that are tolerated by Muslims.  How is it that these same people that will five times a day face the same kaba as I will also name a street after a suicide bomber?  How is it that these families of these suicide bombers will be given payment each month for the “honorable” loss of their loved one? 

Moreso, why is it that I feel like I can’t do anything about this? 

18 Comments leave one →
  1. November 24, 2006 2:40 pm

    No one can do anything about it! I feel so ashamed. We can however denounce it like you have and like just did on my blog.

    God, do I hate this!

    Thanks for sharing this, kind soul.

  2. November 24, 2006 7:48 pm

    I just read your post – love it!

  3. November 24, 2006 8:23 pm

    The only thing you can do I guess is when someone in a gathering praise these acts, quietly but firmly argue why these acts are unIslamic and make them aware.

  4. November 24, 2006 8:26 pm

    “As long as there is injustice in the world taking place by oppressors there will be retribution carried out by the oppressed” I wish clerics, even famous ones like Zakir Naik would stop trying to justify suicide bombing with nonsense like these. Two wrongs don’t make a right and Islam never believes in ‘the end justifies the means’.

  5. November 25, 2006 12:10 am

    I didn’t hear about this until today. Suicide bombing disgusts me as much as indiscriminate (but always termed “accidental”) killing by the Israelis.

  6. November 25, 2006 1:52 am

    the muslim reaction is because of what they see as onesided views presented in the media. Obviously doesnt make it right though …

    However, the issues for me is not suicide bombers, which is a method, its the targets. If civilians are attacked, no matter if its with an axe, a shovel, a bomb from a fighterbomber several thousand feet above or a suicide bomber … its wrong. Its wrong if Hamas does it, but by God its wrong when Israel does it also.

  7. November 25, 2006 7:06 pm

    “Some slaughter a bull, some kill a human being…all these people have chosen their own way and take delight in their disgusting practices. I shall bring what they most fear down on them, because I have called and no one would answer, I spoke and no one listened. They have done what I regard as evil, have chosen what displeases me.”
    – Isaiah 66:3-4

    The Qur’an says that if you kill an innocent person, it is as if you have killed the whole world.

    And as much as I want to see a Palestinian State, suicide bombing of civilians, or planes killing civilians by accident, proves the truism that “All War is a Crime.”

    What we all can do is speak up about it, write about it, pray for it to end, and never, never, never give in to the endless cycle of murder and revenge that leaves the whole world blind and deaf to God calling us to Him in peace and love.

    Ya Haqq!

  8. November 26, 2006 4:27 am

    Why is it that not many of us can condem suicide bombings without somehow retorting to the wrongs that Israel commits? I even did it in my post.

    Shoaib – if we look at suicide bombings as a method – a guerilla method, fine it is a method. One that is not sanctioned by Islam and the taking of one’s life is forbidden in Islam. In war, we are supposed to fight stay alive, defend ourselves, not blow ourselves up. Now, religiously or militarily the killing of civillians is wrong.

    Irving – agreed! I just wonder in this particular situation if any of what we say reaches Palestinian ears.

  9. November 26, 2006 10:20 am

    If a person is serious about condemning the injustice, immorality, and indiscriminate killing in that part of the world one cannot be taken seriously without condemning both.

    Just look at President Bush, his common refrain is that the Palestinians must do more to stop terrorism while saying Israel has a right to defend itself. He has zero credibility on the issue since his position is that one side must restrain itself and does not have a right to self-defense but the other one is given a free hand.

    Now, if you are talking about more isolated cases as in Britain, Bali, Sri Lanka, 9/11, etc. it is more credible to say suicide bombing as a tactic is immoral by itself.

  10. November 26, 2006 1:38 pm

    subhanallah! very interesting post.

    Haleem said:
    “The only thing you can do I guess is when someone in a gathering praise these acts, quietly but firmly argue why these acts are unIslamic and make them aware.”

    I would have to agree with him on that.

  11. November 26, 2006 2:16 pm

    “If a person is serious about condemning the injustice, immorality, and indiscriminate killing in that part of the world one cannot be taken seriously without condemning both.”

    Not so Muslim Apple. I think it is harder to be taken seriously when a person can not make a condemnation without turning the argument around and then utilize it to paint another in a bad light.

    I wrote my post in the manner that I did because I was once condemned for “being so pro-Israel” while all I did was inform a poster that the statistics they were using were incorrect. However, now that I’ve reread my post and read all of the comment on here, I won’t be doing that again.

    Also, Muslim Apple, suicide in Islam is immoral. Millitarily it should be immoral as well as no group should send out people as bombs. Any group that does so without trying to deter the person is immoral. You also have to take into consideration how suicide bombing is promoted, naming of streets after bombers, shehid payments to family, Imam’s praising, so on and so forth. It’s shameful.

    Sheryza – thank you and yes, Haleem was right on target.

  12. November 26, 2006 2:32 pm

    I’m not disagreeing with your points Samaha, rather I am saying that in the condemnation game (and it is most certainly a game) a person that only condemns one side lacks credibility especially in the Palestinian/Israeli issue due to its unique history as this is not so much the case for suicide bombings in other areas.

    I think language is important in any condemnation so it is important to say “I condemn suicide bombing AND all other forms of terrorism” and to NOT say “I condemn suicide bombing BUT also state-sponsored terrorism” because the word “but” negates whatever statement preceded it.

    A person can say in isolation “I condemn suicide bombing” which begs the question, “and then what?” What are we supposed to do with that piece of information.

  13. November 26, 2006 5:38 pm

    Muslim Apple, actually, the point of this post was to condem the bombing, but moreso condem the Muslim “acceptability factor” to PALESTINIAN suicide bombings. There really should be no if ands or buts to condeming a suicide bombing, as long as we continue to do so, Palestians such as this grandmother will feel like they are justified in their act.

    Now, in regards to “I condem suicide bombings” – well with that information – you can join the person in that condemnation. You can question why these people say that they are doing it in the name of Islam. Several discussions can ensue, but unfortunately as Muslims it is usually the case that we find fault with Israel for these instances and shift the discussion to that or feel the need to include those faults. I think we are quit capable of discussing what it is that Palestinians are doing wrong without having to bring Israel into the conversation.

  14. dawood permalink
    November 27, 2006 11:59 am

    You rock samaha. That’s all I can contribute to this thread. 🙂

  15. November 27, 2006 12:45 pm

    I think we are quite capable of discussing the morality or immorality of actions without regard to the gene pool or political milieu from which they have arisen, because we are not relativists. We are talking about principles here, and those don’t change depending on who your parents were or where you live; only your motivations and circumstances do, but morality is not circumstantial.

    We can indeed say “I condemn suicide bombers” and “I condemn the killing of civilians.” We can also say “a society which sees these as a good is wrong.” Those statements are universally applicable, are they not? We don’t even have to personalize them to Palestine and Israel; in my own context, we’ve got the IRA. One quality of the divine is that it is universal. Let us aspire to see things that way ourselves.

  16. November 27, 2006 6:25 pm

    awwwwwww, thanks Dawood!

    Raincoaster, I agree, we should be able to do those things, but often our conviction of principal tends to soften when it comes down to specifics. By no means is this an exclusive trait to one group of people, it exists amongst many groups. It is human nature. It becomes hard to acknowledge faults. Human nature can change though and it is through these discussions and by people making valid attempts of breaking the chain that it will happen.

  17. theylion permalink
    November 27, 2006 7:28 pm

    Really interesting post/thread! It seems like things cut a few different ways here. There are principles at play, but I’m not sure they help us get at the heart of the Palestine/Israel conflict.
    Sometimes I find that principles, which can be articulated fairly cleanly, don’t reflect the messiness of the situation on the ground. So, even though at first glance I’m comfortable with condemning the killing of civilians, I’m not sure I can do so across the board.
    For example, in South Africa under apartheid, if Black guerilla organizations had killed white civilians as a part of seizing power from the apartheid regime, the deaths of those civilians would make me extremely sad, but I don’t think I’d be comfortable condemning their killings. Similarly, I’m not comfortable condemning most of the violence that Native Americans waged against white settlers here in the U.S., even though some of that violence was extremely brutal and directed at white civilians.
    I know there are material differences between the situation in Palestine and the historical examples I just listed. But there are also important similarities. And to be clear, I’m not a relativist. I’m totally comfortable condemning apartheid, colonial rule, and all of the violence that came with them. The principles of self-determination and participatory democracy are sacred to me.
    All of this, however, doesn’t seem to help move the discussion forward. Condemning things that are inevitable (like a government’s use of the military to oppress people, or the killing of civilians in a war zone) doesn’t help us understand the situation where these things occur. For those of us on the outside of the conflict lookin in, how do we develop a better method for talking about conflict in the middle east? Is there a way that we could approach these problems that would make us feel less hopeless, less powerless?

    (Sorry for the super-long post, and thanks to all for their really throught-provoking contributions.)

  18. November 27, 2006 8:26 pm

    theylion – don’t worry about the length of your reply.

    I try to apply the Geneva conventions whereever I can to the conflict. I think that with the adaptation of those conventions the world has decided what is not only fair, but humane and there are now principals and morals established even for war and conflict. I am deeply disturbed when those principals are broken or countries (such as our very own US) decide that they are not going to go by the conventions.

    In regards to South Africa, if everything was not done to spare civillian life, then those acts must be condemed as well. It is understandable that with war and conflict that shit will just happen, but when it just keeps happening over and over, there is a serious problem, but no matter how small, disregard for innocent life needs to be condemed.

    As for your question about whether there is a way for us to approach these problems without feeling hopeless and powerless. Of course, civilized debate without non-stop finger pointing and analysis will help the situation by being informed and with that doing something about it, whether it be voicing your opinion to your representative or through electronic media you can do something about it.

    I’m going to try to post later a thread to which I can make you all happy and we can just discuss the current developments.

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