Suicidal Entry

In my class tonight (Sociological Theories) we discussed – at length – the subject of suicide, specifically as it relates to Emile Durkheim's writings on the subject, and as it related to a film/movie that we watched called “Human Weapon.”  The movie is

For those unsatisfied with sensational television coverage featuring “terrorism experts,” HUMAN WEAPON provides the first sober, in-depth examination of the complexities of the suicide bombing phenomenon.

The movie itself did provide an insight into the rationale behind suicide bombers, and their belief that their actions will provide a pathway to paradise.  It was a little frightening to see calm individuals explain what they were planning, and how their actions were being praised by Allah.

It is this last part that I had (have) a great deal of difficulty understanding.  During another course that I took while at CCCCD, I learnt that Islam is an extremely peaceful religious tradition, and that the followers of Islam, and the prophet Mohammed believed in the writings of the Koran.  One of those writings is that Islam forbids suicide.  In the movie, we learn that some Islamic spiritual leaders have clarified this part of the Koran to enable suicide bombers to do what they are doing.  They say that what Mohammed meant was that if a person had lost the will to live (selfish suicide), then this is the suicide that is against the teachings of Mohammed.  If a person was willing to give their live in the name of Islam, then this was okay and that person would be deemed a martyr, and granted entry to paradise.  (I may not have done justice to the commentary given in the movie, but this is a very raw gist of it.)

What this movie highlighted to me – I guess I was naive – was how clerics and spiritual leaders appear to be using their position to justify their political actions, and if something doesn't quite fit with the actions, and the teachings of Mohammed, then a clarification will be issued that makes it right.  I don't profess to understand the Islamic tradition very well, but as the most recent, and most pure of the traditions (pure in the sense that it has not been interpreted and rewritten many times), it is saddening to see the Koran being misused like it is.

Of course, what I also realized is that the Israelis have been abusing their religious writings as well, just as much.  Don't even get me started on the Christians 🙂