Eleven-month-old Shmuel Zargari was buried in Israel this week with only his 14-year-old brother in attendance from his immediate family. His parents and three other siblings missed the funeral, having been grievously wounded by Shmuel's murderer, a 29-year-old Muslim cleric named Raed Abdel-Hamid Mesk, who believed Allah would invite him to paradise for self-detonating a Jerusalem bus packed with the Zargaris and other young families.
Mesk's ultimate destination is debatable, but the number of people he murdered on Tuesday is not. Twenty Jews died in the wreckage, among them five Americans; scores more, including some 40 children, face recovery from injuries exacerbated by metal shards packed among the explosives. No further suffering will pain Shmuel Zargari, a murder victim before his first birthday, but the desolation of his funeral accentuates the trauma of the crime. No bright side here; no silver lining and no light at the end of the tunnel -- unless you are the killer-cleric's widow. "I thank God that my husband has become a martyr," said pregnant Arij Mesk, who is also the mother of the couple's two- and three-year-old children. "God gave Raed something he always dreamed of. All his life he dreamed of being a martyr."
We may expect celebrations of such murderers in the Arab world -- Reuters reported on one in Lebanon this week in which hundreds of Palestinian men took to the streets to celebrate the bus attack -- but that doesn't happen here, right? Following the bus bombing, however, SoundVision.com, an avowedly Muslim Web site originating in Bridgeview, Ill., some presumably young and presumably North American Muslims mainly blogged approval of, and even sadistic delight in, the Jerusalem carnage.
Most chilling was the theological justification for "martyrdom operations" that cropped up on the Web site. A blogger from Canada identified as "Egyptian Guy" (with a Hezbollah logo) quoted at length from a fatwa originating from an organization of Islamic scholars called the European Council for Fatwa and Research. "Martyrdom operations are not suicide and should not be deemed as unjustifiable means of endangering one's life," wrote the council's Sheik Faysal Mawlawi. Indeed, they "are a sacred duty carried out in form of self-defense." (Self-defense against 11-month-old bus passengers?) "Whoever is killed in such missions," concluded the sheik, "is a martyr, may Allah bless him with high esteem."