August 19, 2005 Special Dispatch No. 961

TV Program on the Culture of Martyrdom and Suicide Bombers on Al-Arabiya

August 19, 2005
Special Dispatch No. 961

The following are excerpts from a show about the culture of martyrdom, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on July 22, 2005. To view this clip, visit

Reporter: "The martyrdom-seeking campaign by Hamas and Islamic Jihad may have come as a response to the Hebron massacre, but the ideological basis of this campaign is deeply rooted in Hamas' declaration of Jihad against Israel.

"These films were not intended to be broadcast. Hamas made them for internal use, and they provide a rare perspective on the movement's efforts to teach its principles to new recruits."

Children singing: "Rejoice, oh Bitah, cheer in merriment, oh Nujud, our occupied homeland will be restored through Jihad."

Crowd: "Allah Akbar. Allah Akbar. Allah Akbar."

Male voice on loudspeaker: "What is your goal?"

Crowd: "Allah."

Male voice on loudspeaker: "What is your constitution?"

Crowd: "The Koran."

Male voice on loudspeaker: "Who is your leader?"

Crowd: "The Prophet Muhammad."

Male voice on loudspeaker: "What is your path?"

Crowd: "Jihad."

Male voice on loudspeaker: "What is your greatest desire?"

Crowd: "Death for the sake of Allah."

Reporter: "If Jihad is the goal, the self-sacrifice operations against the Israelis were the weapon chosen in the mid-nineties. In a series of operations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad hit the major Israeli cities and caused the deaths of dozens. This was part of the strategy."


Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: "These operations do not target civilians. The Israeli society is a military society. It is well known that they have militarized their society. All Israeli society, its men and its women..."

Reporter: "Hamas' strategy of targeting Israelis has gained the support of must Muslim clerics, to the point that Sheik Al-Qaradhawi appeared on Al-Jazeera TV and issued a fatwa permitting the killing of Israelis in these operations."

Sheik Al-Qaradhawi: " I said, when a brother blows himself up today... The brother who blows himself up at the bus station, where all the soldiers who come back are gathering... He does not intend to kill a child or anything, but rather tries to kill people who are soldiers - either soldiers on active duty or soldiers on reserve duty."


Reporter: "Indeed, prominent scholars have described suicide operations for the sake of the homeland as martyrdom operations."

Sheik Muhammad Hussein Fadhlallah: "The martyrdom operations are a part of the war movement, since the issue of war differs from the issue of suicide. Suicide is the killing of oneself for personal reasons. On the other hand, the martyrdom operation means that a person dies for a greater cause."

Reporter: "The culture of Hizbullah is the culture of martyrdom, with which it nurtures the minds of others. Every year, Hizbullah celebrates Martyr's Day. On Hizbullah's Al-Manar TV we see actors playing the role of scared Israelis and Americans who are banished from the Middle East."

Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah: "These martyrdom operations are the shortest way to Allah. They are the must exalted and magnificent way of martyrdom in our generation. The martyrdom operation is the weapon Allah gave this nation, and no one can take it from us. They can take away our cannons, our tanks, and our planes, but they cannot take away our spirit, which yearns for Allah and which is determined to achieve martyrdom."


Reporter: "Salah Ghandour a soldier in Hizbullah's martyrdom army..."

Maha Ghandour, Salah Ghandour's widow: "I met Salah in 1990 and we got engaged seven months later. We were married in 1991, early 1991. Even in his final days he stayed at home with us and told me: 'Say goodbye to me. I am bidding this world farewell.' From when I just married him, I expected his martyrdom at any minute. When we had three children I told him that he was taking his time. I didn't expect to live with him for five years."

Interviewer: "Was it important to you that he worked for the resistance?"

Maha Ghandour: "Of course. Of course. If we had not defended our land, who would have liberated it? Unless women sacrificed their husbands and brothers, this land would never have been liberated. Praise Allah, our homeland was liberated by the blood of the martyrs and the efforts of the mujahideen, some of which are fighting the Jihad to this day."

Reporter: "Hizbullah filmed Salah's operation and final message, and the entire program was aired on Al-Manar TV, which belongs to Hizbullah."

Salah Ghandour's son: "This is the operation that daddy carried out. This is the convoy that came from here, from Palestine. This is his operation..."

Salah Ghandour's daughter: "This is the place of the operation in which he was gone."

Salah Ghandour's son: "This is the car daddy blew up."

Maha Ghandour: "Of course I miss him and remember his words. Sometimes it saddens me, but I love to watch him."

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