Cult of death breeds terror

Today is Yom Kippur, and Jews everywhere are fasting and praying for a healthy, happy new year. In Jewish tradition, it is the day God decrees who will live and who will die. In stark and sickening contrast to the Jewish plea for life is the relatively new but increasingly vociferous cry for death resounding among Palestinians.

The appeal for life is universal — the most basic human instinct. The mass yearning for death, especially when it’s accompanied by the goal of murdering as many people as possible, reflects a society that is unimaginably depraved.

Palestinians who have perverted Islam find it strange that most people in the world cherish life.

“We are not afraid to die and do not love life,” the chairman of the Islamic University of Gaza’s history department said on Palestinian Authority television (PATV) two years ago.

Islam / Islamism

Islamism is a totalitarian ideology adhered to by Muslim extremists (e.g. the Taliban, Wahhabis, Hamas and Osama bin Laden). It is considered to be a distortion of Islam. Many Islamists engage in terrorism in pursuit of their goals.

Adherents of Islam are called “Muslims.” The term “Arab” describes an ethnic or cultural identity. Not all Arabs are Muslims, and not all Muslims are Arabs. The terms are not interchangeable.

The tragedy is that the cult of death is not being promulgated by just one crackpot but by Palestinian leaders of all stripes. The message that murder-suicide is a religious obligation has suffused Palestinian society to such an extent that it will take a generation to erase. And that’s only if the civilized world is able to convince the Palestinians to make peace with Israelis instead of glorifying bloodshed.

Peacemakers have a long road ahead. Last week, the Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported that two Palestinian Authority religious leaders openly called for the genocide of Jews.

The PMW is a privately funded group that monitors and translates virtually everything broadcast or published by the Palestinian Authority. It highlights the contradictions between the image the Palestinians present to the world in English and the messages they spread to their own people in Arabic.

It’s necessary to promote peace efforts, such as the summer camp that brought together Israeli and Palestinian teens in Ottawa recently, but acknowledging the “darker side” of the conflict is also crucial, says Barbara Crook, PMW’s North American representative. “I believe that all the peace-building and the common ground and the bridge-building activities are very important,” Crook says. “But we have to be aware of (PA-promoted hatred) because that’s the only way the problem’s going to be dealt with from all sides.”

Last summer, when the the so-called road map for peace was being pushed, the PA broadcast a seven-minute peace video — once. In comparison, says Crook, Palestinian leaders have been inciting their people to kill Jews for years.

In English, Palestinian Leader Yasser Arafat is quick to condemn the murder of Israelis. In Arabic, however, he praises kids bent on murder-suicide.

“Is it not the greatest message to the world when that hero becomes a (martyr)? We are proud of them,” Arafat said on PATV in 2002.

The indoctrination of children to seek death for Allah is particularly insidious, says Crook, noting that PA music videos disseminate the repugnant idea that killing and dying for Allah is better than making peace. A lust for death — not despair — is driving Palestinian young people to commit terrorism. And the blame lies entirely with the Palestinian leadership.

Confronted with this grim scenario, we’re facing an uphill battle, but continuing to expose the PA’s ideology of hate and celebration of death is a step in the right direction. Cutting off foreign aid linked to terror is also necessary.

Is Canadian money funnelled through the UN going to support Palestinian summer camps and soccer tournaments named after suicide-bombers?

“I don’t yet know the answer to that,” says Crook.

Perhaps it’s time Canadians found out.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Winnipeg Sun, Canada
Sep. 25, 2004 Opinion
Mindelle Jacobs

Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday September 25, 2004.
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