Our Wild East: Where Martyrdom is as Cheap as a Fatwa……….


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Martyr: 1: a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion  2: a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle  3: victim; especially : a great or constant sufferer…….. “
“Person who voluntarily suffers death rather than deny his or her religion. Readiness for martyrdom was a collective ideal in ancient Judaism, notably in the era of the Maccabees, and its importance has continued into modern times”
Merriam Webster Dictionary

[Middle English, from Old English, from Late Latin, from Late Greek martur, from Greek martus, martur-, witness.] The Free Dictionary

Aljazeera network (of Qatar) announced that one of its correspondents in Syria was “martyred” the other day.
Now I don’t recall a fatwa that news reporters are to be considered “martyrs” if they die on the job. Several reporters have died in Syria, killed by both sides, but nobody has declared them martyrs. Okay, most of these reporters have been “heathens” who can’t go to Paradise anyway, unlike the rest of us good and pious Muslims. But still, there is some injustice here. I would suggest to international news agencies and networks that they hire in-house shaikhs to issue a fatwa each time one of their correspondents dies near a war zone. He would fatwa that he or she died a martyr. That would be the equalizer. After all, if a Salafi terrorist suicide bomber can be called a “martyr”, then I can call my BFFF a martyr if she ever gets run over by a car or a horse or gets mauled by a bear, heaven forbid.
Martyrdom has important implications: it means the ‘subject’ goes straight to heaven, with all the attendant perks and benefits, and no more responsibilities. Al-Jazeera also bestows martyrdom on anyone on any side of any conflict that it sees fit. Most of the Middle East does that (except perhaps for the Israelis, although they probably do have their own Jewish fatwas). If a Bahrain or other potentates crashes his car into a cement wall while drunk, some palace shaikh can pronounce him a “martyr”, and all transgressions are forgiven. A few years ago there was a fire at a tribal wedding inside a huge tent in a GCC state. Dozens of people, mostly women and children died. The fire was set by a jealous earlier wife of the groom. Some shaikh came out with a fatwa that all who died in that fire are “martyrs”. That was fine by me, I agreed in that case: it comforted the bereaved families of the innocent victims of that act or vengeance.
Every day tens of Iraqi civilians are murdered by Salafi terrorist bombs, yet not a single Arab news agency of network would call these innocent victims “martyrs”. Possibly it is probably hard for some “Muslim” media to call a dead Muslim of another sect a “martyr”. Maybe it all depends on who killed them, but it goes beyond that.
Many Lebanese have died at Israel hands during their wars, and no doubt Israeli Jews (and Druze) are considered heathen by most if not all Muslims. Yet no palace shaikhs, and hardly any Arab networks, came out and called these “martyrs”. On the contrary, I know, that some of them thought otherwise. Yet unlike the Iraqi victims, these Lebanese were not killed by decent Wahhabi suicide Jihadists. Which makes me wonder if these Lebanese, like the innocent Iraqi victims, are also considered “heathens”.

Ich glaube we should call all those who die in any conflict ‘martyrs”. That simple but practical would solve the problem for me. Better yet: why not declare anybody who dies anywhere of any case a “martyr”. Then, someday we’ll all be martyrs.


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