Fight the Ladenite heresy

Posted: Sep 26, 2001 12:00 AM
We are told about the rewards that hypothetically await the Ladenite (as in disciples of Osama bin Laden) if he meets death in inflicting death on the infidel. There is immediate entry into the next world, to which he will be welcomed by 70 virgins. That is a considerable incitement to Ladenite duty and brings reflection on attendant questions.

(1) Is there an order into which one is ceremonially introduced, an order that marks the ultimate Ladenite from those others who merely serve Allah in menial capacities? If so, why do we not know of it? If there is no such noble order, how is the sacramental mandate passed on? Are the suicide terrorists formally recruited? How is this done? What numbers do the Ladenites have in mind?

(2) Five hundred years ago the Aztecs conducted ritual sacrifices to propitiate the gods and woo their good favor. There were categories of victims who prostrated themselves on convex altars, permitting the executors broad targets for knives that plucked out the living hearts. Children were commonplace on those altars, as also captive warriors. But many were volunteers. Anthropologists inform us that in a typical year, 250,000 live sacrifices were done, representing 1 percent of the population.

We don't know the size of the Ladenite ministry, but if we think in terms of the Arab whole, 1 percent would be about 200,000 people. To be sure, that would include women and children. On the other hand, the Aztecs used a lot of children.

(3) If the legend is that instant divine gratification is in order for a Ladenite aspirant, how is the extent of the terrorist act defined? We have to assume that killing merely a single infidel in a suicidal venture would be less than enough to earn endless life with the virgins. If it were otherwise, the Ladenites would be like the Narodniki in the anti-czarist terror movement of the end of the 19th century, where one person armed with a gun or hand grenade would seek death to a local tyrant; but without any otherwordly reward, inasmuch as Christianity (the national religion in Russia) forbids extemporaneous killings. But we should certainly be informed on the matter, assuming that students of Ladenite theology can give us the answers.

(4) The deployment of a sophisticated defense against the terrorists depends substantially on knowledge of key questions. It is widely held that the Japanese kamikaze who dived down on U.S. naval ships in the last months of the war did so because they had surmised that Japanese capitulation was foreseeable and wished to make the ultimate oblation to god and emperor. Suicide of that nature is more like hara-kiri, the ultimate individualization of sacrifice, affecting only the person who plunges the knife in his entrails, no one else.

The Ladenites, we must assume from a study of their past practices, are not given to such platonic sacrifices. They go in for major exchanges -- their own lives for 100, 200 at this embassy or that; a destroyer put out of commission with over 17 dead sailors; and now more than 6,000 dead in the heart of the greatest city in the world. To reduce damage to the infidels on that scale would appear a mincing retreat from effective Ladenite practice. A single militant approaching a single infidel for mutual assured destruction would certainly take a toll, but our attention would then be given to the size of the Ladenite pool.

And here, (5) a final consideration. For all that we accept suicidal practice as more or less historically workaday, we should remind ourselves that suicide is contra naturam, a violation of natural impulses. People go through hell to stay alive, enduring days and weeks of freezing cold, hunger, thirst, heat. Since we are committed to calling upon Islam for legitimate transcriptions of the Koran, we should diligently work to expose and rebut the anti-Koranic themes of the Ladenites. The Koran, after all, teaches that to kill a woman is always wrong, and to kill a man is only excusable if he is armed.

It would be a long psychological and educational enterprise, but hardly one that should be postponed. If the Word of Allah can be got through to active or aspirant Ladenites, endeavoring to spare them, and us, from their noxious doctrines, that would indeed be an effective preachment of the Word of God.