“Before September 11th, Islamist fundamentalist groups had sponsored human bombings not only in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and Israel but also in Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, Chechnya, Croatia, Kashmir, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Panama, Tajikistan, Tanzania, and Yemen. The targets have ranged from ordinary people to world leaders, including the Pope, who was to have been assassinated in Manila in 1995. Dressed as a priest, the assassin presumably planned to detonate himself as he kissed the Pontiff’s ring.
In 1988, Dr. Fathi Shiqaqi, a founder of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, whose assassination, in 1995, was attributed to Mossad, Israel’s secret service, wrote a document in which he laid out the importance of penetrating enemy territory and set down guidelines for the use of explosives in martyrdom operations. These rules were aimed at countering religious objections to the truck bombings that had become almost routine in Lebanon in the nineteen-eighties. Shiqaqi encouraged what he called “exceptional” martyrdom as a necessary tactic in jihad fi sabeel Allah (striving in the cause of Allah): “We cannot achieve the goal of these operations if our mujahid”Â—holy warriorÂ—”is not able to create an explosion within seconds and is unable to prevent the enemy from blocking the operation. All these results can be achieved through the explosion, which forces the mujahid not to waver, not to escape; to execute a successful operation for religion and jihad; and to destroy the morale of the enemy and plant terror into the people.” This capability, he said, is “a gift from Allah.”“
Nasra Hassan, “An Arsenal of Believers”. A German article by Hassan on the same subject (slightly different from the English version) can be found here.
Nasra Hassan, an international relief worker, spent several years in the Gaza Strip, where she also did research about suicide operations of islamist fundamentalists. Between 1996 and 1999, she interviewed about 250 people involved in suicide attacks – prospective bombers, trainers, family members. The article calmly presents conversations, describes scenes, summarizes experiences and shows where these depart from common assumptions – most prospective suicide bombers are far from being mentally or emotionally instable, uneducated and economically deprived young men; they are socially integrated, mostly well educated guys from the middle classes.
Several conservative online papers and magazines in the US cite Hassan’s article – mainly in two contexts: First, Hassan is chastised for not outspokenly condemning the suicide attacks – talking to suicide bombers and describing these conversations is understood as implicitly condoning their acts. Second, the episodes narrated by Hassan, such as celebrations of martyrdom in the Gaza Strip, are cited in support of the demand that no tolerance should be granted to Muslims living in the US (the enemy within!).
Not fundamentalists, not islamists, but Muslims.