Stalinsky: Dealing in Death [Conclusion]

This is the 3rd and final installment of Stalinksy’s article on the Islamic culture of death. Part 1 with my introduction is here. Part 2 is here.

Liberal Egyptian playwright Ali Salem mocked articles such as those by Al-Naggar in the Arab media. In a satiric column published in the London daily Al-Hayat, Salem sarcastically suggested opening a kindergarten to teach terrorist values: “You will easily notice that they love life, and that is the weak point that we will exploit. We, in contrast, love death and protect it. Do not believe that Allah created life for us to live, build, and enjoy. [No,] Allah created us to test our ability to rebel against life, to despise it, and to get rid of it at the earliest opportunity. Each and every one of you must seek out your first chance to die — but you must not die for free…You must know, dear children, that our martyrs gain entry to Paradise, while their dead are [sentenced] to the fires of Hell. These idiots do not believe in Paradise, in the fires of Hell, or in the Day of Judgment.” Tunisian intellectual Al-Afif Al-Akhdar asked in an article for the liberal Arabic-language website “Why do expressions of tolerance, moderation, rationalism, compromise, and negotiation horrify us [Muslims], but [when we hear] fervent cries for vengeance, we all dance the war dance?… Why do other people love life, while we love death and violence, slaughter and suicide, and [even] call it heroism and martyrdom?”

As the war on terror continues, the voices coming from the Arab and Muslim world celebrating death over life have been heard more often than those criticizing this philosophy. An editorial in the Lebanese Daily Star on May 13, 2004, warned of what might happen if this issue is not addressed: “The region’s kings, princes, and presidents need to learn a valuable lesson from this abhorrent incident: that fractured societies produce real-life theaters of shame like the Berg murder in a systemic manner, and that similar fractures are infecting their own societies. If the Berg beheading does not catapult the region’s leaders from the world of lethargy to the world of vigorous action to establish law and order in their own societies — and beginning with themselves — then they will be considerably weakened…. What more is needed to galvanize Arab leaders into action? Today, a man named Berg was put to the sword; tomorrow, it could be the Arab nation torn asunder by the same savagery.”


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