Suicide Jihadists have struck in the U.S. and all over the Middle East, and they cause much horror and death, so in a recent book “The Smarter Bomb”, criminologist Anat Berko decided to study woman and children who become suicide bombers.
What she found goes against stereotypes of the fair sex:
Most male terrorists I interviewed claimed they didn’t want to kill Israeli civilians. Most of the women, on the other hand, told me enthusiastically that they preferred killing civilians, including children. The women’s participation in attacks meant that they might never marry and fulfill themselves as mothers, and their anger was clear: “why should your children have everything and ours have nothing”
Talking about family and children makes female terrorists very angry. When Arab men kill woman and children, it makes them seem less masculine, but when Arab women, whose biological clocks are ticking, kill women and children, they seem to feel that if they can’t have children, then no one else should either.
One woman terrorist said: “see what happens in Gaza and the territories every day – the parents of those who die aren’t in pain? They are in great pain! Look at what’s going on, we don’t have a home and we don’t have children and we don’t have anything. That hurts…”
In my view, there is some illogic here. These women are not prevented from having children – they have made the decision to be martyrs and sacrifice themselves – it wasn’t a Jewish decision.
The women who do the bombings have no doubt that what they are doing is right, and that Allah wants them to do it. It’s just the actual sacrifice that is at issue – the losing of their lives. They believe Allah will reward them with paradise. In paradise:
There is no hatred, no bad things, and there are only Muslims. In paradise the woman is the princess of the houris (the seventy-two black-eyed virgins) The prophet Muhammad is there…
The above was said by a woman, here is what a 17-year-old male terrorist says:
There is a paradise for every good man, for every shaheed. Seventy-two virgins for every man who was a hero in battle…Allah said, ‘Sacrifice yourself’…[there is] a river of milk and honey and alcohol
Interestingly, the Muslim paradise is not all that spiritual – it is full of temptations of the flesh.
Motivations vary. One motivation we can understand is revenge: Hanadi Jaradat blew herself up in Maxim restaurant in Haifa in 2003. First she had a meal, then she looked at her victims (leaning over one, according to a survivor) just before she activated the detonator. Jaradat was an anomaly in Palestinian society. She was well-educated and very attractive…her fiancé, Muhammad Jaradat, and her brother were killed by the IDF. “Muhammad Jaradat was handsome and considered a hero, a fighter, a knight in shining armor…She was in love with him and he died in her arms, and with him died her dreams…”
Another woman named Akhlas faced the families of her victims and said defiantly, “I do not ask forgiveness from the Jewish family here, because many of us also lost those who were dear to us. With help of Allah I will be lucky, if not here on earth then in paradise, when I see you and him [pointing to the judge] in hell. And if my smile gets on your nerves, I will smile it forever because I won…”
At trial, other terrorists have made remarks such as, “It’s a pity Hitler didn’t finish the job.”
This reminds me of what Steven Plaut, an economist at Haifa University said about Gaza, where some of these people come from. He said it should be re-occupied and “de-Nazified.” Myself, I do not think this is possible, but letting people who hate you spend their lives devising ways to destroy you is not such a good idea either.
An Israeli Arab said to Anat that a terrorist can be identified “by his eyes. He isn’t thinking about the present. There is excitement in his look, and a smile, It is a nasty smile which says that he who laughs last laughs best, that he’s going to get the best of you…”
The shaheeds feel themselves to be omnipotent, like a deity, like Allah. They decide when they will die, and, moreover, when others will die. ..That sensation of power and control gives the terrorists a sense of capability and self-worth while scorning others who do not make the sacrifice.
In my view they are indeed like a deity. A person who in his or her own society was nothing special, can become, with the help of a little technology and organization, a creator of mass death, fear, horror, and despair.
Now for the less idealistic aspects of all this:
Some of the women who decide to attack Israelis are trying to escape a bad home life. Some feel they have more freedom in jail than at home. In jail they can speak their minds. Women who cannot leave their parents’ or husband’s home can walk around the prison yard without asking permission, they can watch TV and wear what they like.
Sometimes they are worried that their husband, if they have one, will marry a second wife while they are in jail, and this does happen.
A suicide bombing is a way to cleanse yourself of sin and dishonor. So an Israeli Arab lawyer told Anat: “..I heard about a twenty-year-old girl who slept with someone, so they told her ‘Go cleanse yourself.’ So she blew herself up.” Likewise: “If someone’s father beats him, he goes to a terrorist and says, ‘give me a belt, I want to sacrifice myself.'”
There was one prisoner who had slept with her entire neighborhood and even had an affair with a policeman. She wanted to stab someone (an Israeli) to clear her record.
Women receive contradictory messages: on one hand, a woman has to participate in the “struggle,” and on the other, if she does participate, she is regarded as “damaged goods”. She’s been around men, and prospective husbands think twice about having anything to do with her. They may even wonder what sin she committed to have to cleanse herself.
Anat Berko says that some suicide bombers have obsessive thoughts that never leave them: all they can think about is blowing themselves up — She calls it shahadamania – and says its a mixture of euphoria, sexual appetite, and extreme hunger.
Some suicide bombers are petty criminals who can get sudden notice, and honor, by killing Jews by the ultimate sacrifice. In reality though, their names are often forgotten rapidly.
One Israeli Arab policewoman described Muslim women and their society:
The Arab woman is like a cat trapped in a box…Arab society is false and falling apart, and people try to imitate the bad things about Jewish society, not the good things…Superficially it is a religious, conservative community with robes and head coverings, but underneath there is nothing.
Anat Berko is not hopeful for the future. She even says that as more European women convert to Islam, you will have terrorists who are totally unsuspected. She gives the example of Coleen Larose (Jihad Jane) who aided terrorists. I would add that if Lynne Steward, a leftist Jewish female attorney could pass messages from her client, Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian cleric convicted of planning terror attacks, to his followers, and if a Jewish lesbian such as Judith Butler can support (verbally) the very anti-gay Hamas, that this tells me that malcontents in our midst will join the party of death.
I should say too that those who think that solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict (usually by asking the Jews to give up territory in their already tiny state), will stop the phenomenon of anti-West terror are wrong. In fact some Jihadists have said as much.
After Jihadists crashed airplanes into the World Trade Center, President George Bush referred to them as “evil, deluded men”. The “evil” reference interests me – did these men think they were doing what Allah wanted them to do? And if so, did overriding human feelings so that they could cut the throat of a Stewardess to intimidate the passengers so that they could have control of an airplane to smash the men, women and children of those airplanes into such enemy targets as the Pentagon and the World Trade Center qualify as evil? If they did not have the religion – would they have led normal lives?
As far as doing something about all this, there is this slight ray of light: Most Muslim parents do not want their children to be suicide bombers. For instance in Britain, the London police were appealed to in 2005 before the series of attacks on the London underground. These appeals should have been taken more seriously.
Anat Berko is on friendly terms with some of the women who tried this short-cut to paradise, some are somewhat sympathetic types, though with one huge moral blind spot, but they actually like her.
But Anat Berko warns “The Western world should prepare for what is coming…”
It ain’t good.