Monday, September 26, 2016

Holidays, Motivation and Shaheeds - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

These holidays are the culmination of a period in which religion, faith in Allah, stringent observance of the commandments and the avoidance of sin, in addition to the vilification of infidels, are paramount.

The new wave of knife stabbing terror in Israel this past week, almost in sync with the terror attacks in the USA, raises the question: "Why now?" The most facile answer is pointing to  the Muslim "Id al Adha" - "holiday of offering" – that also took place last week.  The holiday has great significance for Muslims because their entire calendar has only two holidays, both of them at the end of a period of trying to come closer to Allah: Id al Fitr at the end of the Ramadan month of fasting and Id al Adha at the close of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

These holidays are the culmination of a period in which religion, faith in Allah, stringent observance of the commandments and the avoidance of sin, in addition to the vilification of infidels, are paramount.

Terror attacks against Jews are justified numerous times in Islamic sources. For example:

1. Muslim hatred for Jews is high because in the Koran, Jews are defined as the worst enemy of true believers. "You will surely find the most intense of the people in animosity toward the believers [to be] the Jews." (Sura 5,verse 82)

2. Jews wish to convince Muslims to abandon their fate. "Many of the People of the Scripture wish they could turn you back to disbelief after you have believed, out of envy from themselves [even] after the truth has become clear to them." (Sura 109 verse 2)

3. According to Islam, Jews can only live under Islamic subjugation as dhimmi – protected ones – with partial rights, and therefore can never rule Muslims. That is the reason the attempts to destroy Israel began before the 1967 Six Day War.

4. Islam is described in the Koran (29:9, 33:9 and others) as the true religion, while every other religion is false.  This means that there is no way Jews, whose faith is false, can rule over Muslims, who adhere to the true religion.

5. Islam arrived in the world in order to conquer other religions (26:48 and 61:9) and therefore a situation that has Jews ruling over Muslims goes against the basic tenets of Islam.

6. Jews are described as monkeys and pigs in the Koran (60:5) and are thus impure, so how can they possibly rule over pure Muslims?

7. Islam believes that "Falestin" is a sacred land for Islam alone, and therefore must always remain under Islamic rule. Jews attained sovereignty in the land for the first time in 1948 and every faithful Muslim must take part in the Jihad against them.

It is important to note that some of the negative messages in Islamic sources are meant for Christians and idol worshippers as well.

To these must be added the promises that whoever sacrifices himself for Allah will be richly rewarded:

"Do not think that those who die for Allah are dead, they are alive, and receive their sustenance from Allah."(169:3).

" They sit in Paradise with rivers flowing beneath them(100:9)  and Allah weds them to houris of Paradise." (22:56, 20:52, 54:44).

The Hadith – Oral Law – describes the beauties of Paradise lavishly, the presents given to the Shaheed and the pleasures to which he is entitled. In contrast, there is a dark and detailed description of the punishments meted out to whoever does not follow Allah, those who go to hell and suffer the tortures of the damned.

During the holiday season the intensive religious activity: prayers, sermons, Koran and other readings, festive family meals, religious programs on the media, holiday signs in the streets, colored lighting on homes, books for sale, fliers and pamphlets, holiday clothes and a festive atmosphere are felt everywhere. The stories of past Islamic glory are told at every performance and  in television series, and pride wells  in the hearts of listeners at the tales of the conquest of infidels.

The Muslims' constant reiteration of past glories leads them to yearn to go back to the days of pure faith that motivated their forebears and enabled their ancestors  to empower Islam until it ruled an empire. The pitiful condition of the Islamic world today adds anger to their emotions accompanied by a strong desire to take revenge on whoever brought the Muslims from their powerful position in the past to the wretched misery that defines their status today. The religious "adrenaline" coursing in the veins of individual Muslims and their co-religionists pushes some of them to acts of extremism.

Stabbing Jews in Israel as well as terror attacks against infidels in the US or anywhere else during the Muslim holiday season are usually the result of a mixture of the old and new messages described above, and the motivation to perpetrate them comes from the religious material floating in the public space during that period.

Another reason has been added to the list – the humiliating consecutive military failures of IS – the organization that once called itself ISIL – in Syria and Iraq. The growing strength of the Syrian and Iraqi armed forces and the massive aid they are receiving from Russia, the US and a long list of countries are a source of worry to a large number of Muslims who identified with IS for the past two years and took pride – albeit in secret – in its accomplishments and ability to sow fear in the hearts of its opponents, Muslim or otherwise. Now, as IS is being defeated on the battlefield, its supporters are out to take revenge on anyone responsible for this defeat, first and foremost the United States.

When the Muslim holidays coincide with Jewish or Christian festivals, the maelstrom in the heart of potential terrorists is at an even higher level than usual, because the two religions which monopolize the  public space  were supposed to have disappeared, according to Islam. The gap between reality and the Islamic message of the destruction of Christianity and Judaism drives some of the jihadists to the point of madness in their readiness to attack and bring about the realization of the Koranic ideal "the religion of Allah is Islam." (19:3)

It follows that the common denominator of all Jihadists today and the topic that feeds their frenzy, is the commandment to take part in Jihad. Each terrorist feels – whether he is part of a cell or one of those called lone wolves – that his individual duty is Jihad for Allah in order to eliminate the heretics, whether or not he can complete the job and even if he pays with his life.

As far as he is concerned, this is the right and logical thing to do. Who would not sacrifice temporal life in a miserable and cruel world for eternal life in a world of pleasure?

Despite all this, there are other considerations that motivate not a few attackers, such as the desire for revenge or a need to prove courage and manliness. Women terrorists usually are trying to escape a cruel fate at the hands of family who feel their honor has been sullied because of the liberal behavior of the women of the family.

There are a good many internet sites that support the idea of the paradise awaiting the shaheed and color it with green grass, blooming trees and blue waters. When juxtaposed with the arid deserts that characterize most of the Arab and Islamic world, that verdant picture can exert a good deal of influence.

The world must own up to the truth about the terror attacks perpetrated by Muslims, admit the motivation behind them and the goals which bring them to go out to war against those whom they perceive as enemies.

Islamic Paradise INN:MK
The text below the illustration reads: "A glimpse of the Paradise awaiting believers, filled with rivers of fresh water, rivers of milk whose taste remains unspoiled, rivers of wine for the enjoyment of imbibers and rivers of pure honey. They find there all the fruits and forgiveness from their Lord."
Written in Hebrew for Arutz Sheva, translated by Rochel Sylvetsky, Op-ed and Judaism editor.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel.


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