My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Monday, November 28, 2005

The culture of martyrdom...

Why suicide bombings are not OK.
This culture is embraced by people who ought to know better. The Egyptian scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, a frequent visitor to London, finds it difficult to condemn Palestinian suicide bombers. Various prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain have condemned suicide bombing elsewhere but have supported its use in Palestine.

Their argument is simple. The sheer helplessness and despair of the Palestinians justify the use of the human body as a weapon. They have little else to fight with. And killing civilians in a bus or a restaurant is also considered OK - the Palestinians are only taking revenge for what is done to them.

I have four things to say to those who, however reluctantly, support suicide bombings in Palestine. One, if suicide killing was a viable weapon of a just war, however conceived, then the Prophet Muhammad himself would have used it. He had ample opportunity to do so. Two, a Muslim community cannot really be in a state of despair - however bad its situation. Indeed, despair in Islam is a cardinal sin. As classical Muslim scholars have repeatedly pointed out, despair signifies rejection of God's mercy and abandonment of hope. The very raison d'etre of Islam is to provide hope. Three, suicide is also a cardinal sin in Islam. Life is the ultimate gift of God: nothing signifies ingratitude more than taking your own life - whatever the cause. According to Islam, suicide is one thing that God may never forgive. Four, taking one innocent life is, according to the Koran, like murdering all humanity. Indeed, even in a fully fledged state of war, killing innocent women and children is forbidden. You can fight only against those who fight against you on a battlefield.

The great and good scholars who support suicide bombings in Palestine know all this better than I do. Which makes their position even more perverse. They practise double standards: it is OK there but not here. And they provide legitimacy for the likes of Khan to take an inductive leap - from Palestine to London to everywhere.

Khan, as many Muslim leaders in Britain have rightly pointed out, is an anomaly. But the only way to prevent recurrence of such incongruity is to stand up unambiguously against all suicide bombings everywhere - in Palestine as elsewhere. And to denounce, loudly and clearly, the vile culture of martyrdom. Suicide bombers are not heroes but murderers, pure and simple.


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