Denis MacEoin: "Suicide Bombing as Worship"
I read an insightful article yesterday by Denis MacEoin on suicide bombing as a form of worship, and since I want to share it -- and keep a link for myself -- I'm interrupting my posts on Hwang Sok-yong to briefly blog about MacEoin's article this busy morning.
In "Suicide Bombing as Worship: Dimensions of Jihad," Middle East Quarterly (Fall 2009, pp. 15-24), MacEoin tells us:
Preeminently, the bombers are referred to as "martyrs" (shuhada', sing. shahid) or "those who sacrifice themselves" (fida'iyun, sing. fida'i).The latter term especially interests me, for I don't recall seeing this term "fida'iyun" translated before as "those who sacrifice themselves," and -- not knowing Arabic -- I didn't realize the religious connotations of the term, though I've posted a couple of entries specifically on Islamist praise for martyrs as sacrifices: sacrifice" for more on this issue. I'm curious to know, by the way, if the term "fida'i" is ever used by Christian Arabs in a theological sense to describe the crucified Jesus.
Be that as it may, MacEoin's article is very interesting, albeit rather depressing, for it places the "suicide bomber" squarely within the jihad tradition of Islam in order to make sense of the act, an analysis implying that this form of 'worship' might be difficult to discourage.