November 23, 2005 Special Dispatch No. 1032

Reformist Saudi Author: Religious Cassettes Advocate Jihad by Emphasizing Martyr's Sexual Rewards

November 23, 2005
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 1032

In a November 15, 2005 article in the Saudi daily Al-Iqtisadiyya, Sa'ad Al-Sowayan, a reformist Saudi researcher and columnist argued that religious cassettes, which are widely available in Saudi Arabia, advocate Jihad by emphasizing the sexual reward awaiting the martyr in Paradise. This is aimed at tempting teenagers who can find no sexual release in conservative Arab society. An English translation of the article was published in the Saudi Gazette on November 17.[1]

The following are excerpts from the translation:

Religious Cassettes Promoting Jihad

"So ubiquitous are the religious cassette shops that they are outnumbered only by groceries… The bulk of cassettes sold in these stalls are motivational. On closer scrutiny, you will realize that their contents are confined to a system of thought that serves to prepare youth to accept its ideas, yield to them, and adopt its Jihad program.

"These cassettes mostly urge people to carry out Jihad through taking up arms, without specifying the zero hour or the Jihad battlefield. As such they advocate Jihad for Jihad's sake. It's a mobilization campaign in which Jihad becomes a state of mind, a mode of living. They want you to give up this foul and mean earthly life, renounce worldly pleasures, devote your life to Jihad, and seek to die in the Jihad battlefield so as to win martyrdom."

Spiritual Martyrdom is Reduced to Jihad for Lust

"The basic Islamic issue – carrying out Da'wa (Islamic propagation), calling people to Allah, spreading monotheism (Tawheed), security and Islam, establishing justice, and treating people on equal terms – is reduced to a marginal matter in comparison to the pleasures in the Hereafter that the martyr can win, pleasures that supersede worldly pleasures and must be given up.

"The modern martyr has thus reduced spiritual martyrdom [for the sake of Allah] to a Jihad for lust, for the utmost pleasure and intoxication a Nirvana state of mind.

"The Jihad cassette describes the path that must be followed in order to win martyrdom and deserve the Hoor Al-Een fair females with wide, lovely eyes. It reduces the lofty objective of spiritual martyrdom to mere lust and a selfish search for sexual pleasure, regardless of what martyrdom can achieve for the public interest or for upholding Allah's word.

"In their call for giving up this world in preparation for the hereafter, and through their description of the martyr's reward – they are trying to program the mind to accept as principle the idea of committing suicide by blowing up oneself. Whoever is convinced of the reward of lust awaiting him will not hesitate to commit suicide: He will seek death with no fear, focused on the pleasures of the hereafter as compensation for the worldly pleasures abandoned.

"The sweetest thing for a teenager, especially in a conservative society like ours, is sex, and the discourse of the religious cassettes is directed toward these very youngsters in their sexual peak of life. They access these youth through the Hoor Al-Een, just as how the youth of our time were drawn to slide pictures of actresses and female singers. So should we not consider sexual suppression in conservative societies as one of the factors leading to such deviation?…"

A Magical Prescription to Join the Hereafter: Blowing Yourself Up

"You never hear them speaking about worldly matters of so much concern to the people. The only reform program they offer is for the Hereafter. They speak as if they – and not the all-forgiving and merciful God – have the keys to Paradise in their hands. They have a magical prescription with which you can join their program of the Hereafter; that is, by blowing yourself up.

"Listen carefully to what these religious cassettes convey and you will find that the mythical supersedes the religious intent. They have converted this world to a filthy and mythical place and the Hereafter into a fabled utopia… They first divide the world into two parts: one belonging to God, which you are for, and the other to Satan, which you are against. The next step is to step up the value of the myth and draw the recipient into a world of mythical thinking in which rational thinking stops and the mind becomes receptive to suggestions and irrationalism."

Arab Culture Suffers from Sexual Phobia

"Then again, maybe the phenomenon of Jihadists seeking martyrdom in order to win the Hoor Al-Een is just a symptom of a vein-deep disease within society, which is ravaging the cultural system. The disease I mean is the sexual phobia that Arab culture is suffering from. Before the Arabs solve their problems with their governments or before their governments solve their problems with terrorism, they must first solve their problem with the other sex."

[1] Al- Iqtisadiyya (Saudi Arabia), November 15, 2005; The Saudi Gazette (Saudi Arabia), November 17, 2005.

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