Tota shares a conversation he had with a friend about religious fanatics and extremists.
A Malay friend, well-educated, well read and politically knowledgeable, discussed with me the issue of jihad.
We discussed the psyche and mindset of suicide bombers. My Muslim friend maintains that jihad in Islam is not about killing people but an inner battle within every human being to slay the demons within us and remain religiously good and virtuous.
According to him suicide bombers are so indoctrinated and brainwashed that they lose not only their ability to think rationally but also their humanity and conscience. When they reach that stage, blowing themselves up and in the process killing many more innocent men, women and children is justified in fulfilling a religious duty.
My friend is unsure what the rewards for women suicide bombers are in heaven, but the men believe they will get a harem of 72 virgins. My friend thinks that it is not easy to stop suicide bombers. He feels that perhaps if the would-be suicide bombers are made to realise that the so-called virgins awaiting them in heaven do not have sex organs, then they may think twice and desist from blowing up themselves and others because there is nothing to die for.
When it came to discussing Al Qaeda, my friend observed that its hungry members were hunted down, driven from cave to cave by American cluster bombs and finished off by drones. But their great leader, Osama bin Laden, was living in comfort in Pakistan with his three wives and their children. He reportedly had two goats delivered to him every week to satisfy the family’s protein needs. The American Seals reportedly shot him and buried him at sea.
My friend believes that religious fanatics and extremists are hypocrites.
According to him, we have our local ‘jihadists’. Embattled Shahrizat called for a “jihad” to prevent Anwar Ibrahim from returning to Parliament in a by-election in 2008.
Then we have another zealot, Zaini Hassan, assistant chief editor of Utusan Malaysia, who called on the Malays to undertake an ‘economic jihad’ against others who were controlling or monopolising the economy.
Tota is the pseudonym of an occasional contributor to our Thinking Allowed Online section.