----- Original Message -----
From: BFP-UPDATE, Jerusalem
Sent: Wednesday, March 20, 2002 11:09 AM
Subject: Assassins and Suicide Bombers - History Does Repeat Itself
A large portion of the media is intent on making Islam more palatable to Western masses. In their program some very important questions are being left unanswered. What about suicide bombers? The Western mind cannot fathom someone who would strap himself with explosives and take his own life for any cause. Individual psychotic conditions in which such an event would take place are easy to pigeon-hole, but a more widespread societal psychosis is too unnerving for Westerners to process mentally.
Suicide bombing is certainly not a new idea. The seeds of its past are in the history of the Fertile Crescent; specifically Persia. A brief history of its origins is enlightening. Today's spreading problem of terrorism is not a new one. In 1080 AD, in Alamut, a castle taken by force on a high plateau, a "new propaganda" as it was called by its secret members shook the population of Persia. Al-Hasan ibn-al-Sabbah, a Persian Muslim from Tus, who was descended from the Himyarite kings of South Arabia, allowed his dark side to birth what we now know as "assassination." Fueled by a desire for vengeance, and overwhelming ambition, Hasan ushered terrorism into the world. Hasan was an Ismaili missionary, (an unpopular minority sect of Islam) dedicated to bringing deeper truths to a secret circle of followers. The word "assassin" is a Hellenization of the Arabic "hashashin," or hashish eaters. Hashish was the drug of choice with which to numb young men's moral ethics to the point that they could easily kill on command.
Often Hasan's violence is attributed to reprisals against the Crusaders, lending justification to the assassin's behavior. But, the first Crusade did not happen until November 1095, some 15 years after Hasan began his reign of terror. Hasan's attacks were not aimed at Crusaders until much later. They were aimed at rival leaders in the Islamic world. Hasan claimed a "higher" spiritual source of information that emancipated his followers from traditional Islamic doctrines, already fraught with enough violence. In effect it was carte blanche to live as debauched a lifestyle as could be imagined; violence, murder, and even moral lasciviousness were included. The Assassins lived above civil law by reason of the fact that they were initiates in the secret society.
Raids by the Assassins on neighboring castles netted the secret society a broad-based foundation from which to work. Europe and the Crusaders felt the blows of the Assassins later. The idea of paradise for suicide bombers had its genesis in the castles of Hasan's assassins. Young recruits would be drugged during their initiation ceremony with a potion that when consumed left them comatose for hours. Carried into a beautiful garden in the confines of the castle they awoke to erotic pleasures until they were sated. Later the experience was likened to the reward of the "martyr" should he lose his life during an assassination. (from "The Book of Sir Marco Polo, the Venetian" translated by Henry Yule, 1875).
This brings us up to the present. What would cause a young man to strap himself with explosives and sacrifice his life to murder other innocent civilians? Is it really fighting oppression and humiliation as the Palestinian Authority claims? Three suicide bombers seem to spring up for every one that dies at his act of terrorism. Parents of these young men, and now young women, do not express regret during television interviews. Instead they convey their pride for their sons' or daughters' Acts of violence against a supposed arch enemy. Israel used to suffer almost alone in this phenomena but since September 11th, the world has been ushered into a new phase. Things changed that day and have not returned to normal as of yet - and they may never return to what they were before that ignominious act of terror.
Are these suicide bombers stupid half-wits recruited by wicked men? Actually, almost half of the bombers that statistics are available on have a high academic education. Their ages seem to hover between 18-23, the age when unshakable ideals have not been tempered by the test of time. More than half of the suicide bombers have come out of the Gaza Strip. These suicide bombers are the pride and joy of Arafat's military arm since there is almost no defense against them. Someone who is willing to lose his life to take the lives of others is as good as the best missile.
Hamas admitted in a report on MSNBC recently that suicide bombers undergo months of indoctrination to prepare them for attacks. The parents of recruits often do not know until the day of the suicide attack that their sons or daughters have been involved in training. This smacks too closely of Hasan's secret society of assassins to be comfortable. The clincher is the God connection. All suicide bombers believe with the depth of their beings that they are on a mission from God.
The arguments within the ranks of Islamic leadership itself as to whether suicide bombers are good Muslims is swept away with comments like those of Sheik Yousef al Qaradawi, an Egyptian cleric considered to be moderate. He says, "They are not suicide operations. These are heroic martyrdom operations, and the heroes who carry them out don't embark on this action out of hopelessness and despair but are driven by an overwhelming desire to cast terror and fear into the hearts of the oppressors." Splitting of hairs over where to blow oneself up simply underlines the absurdity of the issue. Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, a leading doctrinal authority in the Sunni Muslim world, wrote in Egypt's Al Ahram that "if a person blows himself up, as in operations that Palestinian youths carry out against those they are fighting, then he is a martyr. But if he explodes himself among babies or women or old people who are not fighting the war, then he is not considered a martyr."
The bottom line then is that Israel is not so much the bully on the block causing an underdog society to rebel against an oppressor. Like Hasan's time, the accusations of the assassins fighting against an overwheling oppressor did not fit. In Israel as well, the accusations of a downtrodden populace rising up against oppression does not fit. In light of the history of assassination, and the philosophy thereof, Israel is only a victim of an age-old philosophy with its roots in Islam. Suicide bombing by Islamic militants also terrorized Sudan under the umbrella of the British before it came to Israel. The wool over the eyes of viewers of major media is being lifted as we uncover the roots of the problems.
Israel has been loathe to use methods that the British used in Sudan, i.e., wrapping the suicide bombers body parts in pigskin to assure that no ceremonially proper Islamic burial could take place. This assured the assassin would miss his trip to Paradise. It also was credited with bringing suicide terrorism to a halt in Sudan under the British colonial government.
With more puzzle pieces in place, it becomes easier to see the slant being placed on events in Israel. Should you wish to read more about Hasan and the Assassins, I have listed two web sites here that have much more information on a little known slice of history.
Shalom from Jerusalem
Publications Department, Bridges for Peace For further study, two "Assassins" sites:
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conditioned to act
Why Hesham Hadayet may be scarier than al Qaeda
Jewish World Review July 11, 2002
According to news reports, the administration, the FBI and every other relevant official agency cannot yet determine whether Hesham Mohamed Hadayet's murderous attack on El Al Airlines customers at Los Angeles International Airport last week was an act of terrorism. They are not sure whether Hadayet's murders were a hate crime, terrorism or an act of personal anger. They even claim not to be sure about Hadayet's motives.
The American government sure is easily baffled. An extremist Egyptian Muslim chooses July 4th to murder Americans and Israelis who are flying from an American airport on Israel's national airline -- and the official line is that we can't call this terror or even identify the murderer's motives?
This country's officials are in a state of denial and confusion that is almost as frightening as the terrorism they are supposed to be fighting. The FBI says that unless Hadayet is linked to a terrorist organization, he did not commit an act of terror. But if that is now America's criterion for defining terrorism, Timothy McVeigh did not commit an act of terrorism. He wasn't linked to a terrorist group.
This absurd definition is worthy of the Keystone Cops, not the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Of course, we need to know if this man was linked to a terrorist organization, but the absence of such a link in no way lessens the fact that this was terrorism.
By confining our definition of terrorism to acts committed by those with links to terrorist organizations, we may be ignoring the most frightening aspect of Islamic terror: There are many individual Muslim extremists without any links to any terror organizations who are prepared to slaughter Americans and Jews.
Only Allah knows how many Hadayets there are. But based upon what we humans can know, millions of Muslims, especially Arab Muslims, have been raised with a hatred of Jews and Americans whose intensity is unique in the world. According to a former employee of Hadayet, Abdul Zahab, 36, a Syrian immigrant, Hadayet had told him that "the Israelis tried to destroy the Egyptian nation and the Egyptian population by sending prostitutes with AIDS to Egypt."
Hadayet learned this grotesque libel from the Egyptian government's controlled media, which, like other Arab media, routinely spread such lies about Israel and Jews. Millions of Arab and other Muslims believe that Jews kill non-Jewish children to use their blood for Jewish holidays and that 4,000 Jews avoided working at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 because they knew about the attack in advance. No wonder Hitler's "Mein Kampf" is a best seller in the Arab world and the anti-Semitic forgery "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" is widely reprinted and read there.
And this hate is taught here, too. The Washington Post and The New York Times have reported on Islamic schools in America that teach hatred for America and Jews. That is why this debate about whether to call Hadayet's act "terror" or merely "a hate crime" is not only foolish, it is suicidal. If al Qaeda is destroyed tomorrow, it will hardly mean the end of Islamic terrorism. There are so many Muslims filled with a diabolical hatred of Israel, America and Jews that no terror organization is needed for Americans and Jews to be murdered regularly.
Were it not for the fact that Israeli security people were armed and spectacularly capable, Hadayet would probably have murdered and maimed dozens of innocent people. How many Hadayets must there be before America calls their actions terror and awakens to the dismal reality that a frightening number of such terrorists are created daily?
This is not a call to hate Muslims. It is a call to acknowledge Muslim hate. This hatred, the most virulent in the world today, created both 9-11 and Hesham Hadayet. Denying this serves no one, and it breeds contempt for those entrusted with protecting us from Islamic terror.
JWR contributor Dennis Prager hosts a national daily radio show based in Los Angeles. He is a director of Empower America and the author of "Happiness is a Serious Problem". Click here to visit his website.
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