On the eve of the Sochi Winter Olympics, Russian authorities are on high alert for female suicide bombers who may already be in Sochi. These “Black Widows” represent business as usual for the violent Islamists.

Islamic constructs of martyrdom are distinct from those of other faiths because of the success of Islam’s rapid spread from its very beginning. Historically, Islam was rarely divorced from power. While Islam’s genesis does record violence against early Muslim believers, those who were “martyred” were slain on battlefields, engaged in warfare. Precisely because of their success, Muslims sought alternate models for martyrdom, because few Muslims suffered for their beliefs in the way Christians and Jews had historically experienced.

This deficit of “accessible martyrdom” came to be filled by the lives lost (usually of men) in war, or occasionally those who died of disease.

Yet an oft-quoted verse from the Koran has become the foundational mantra for contemporary Islamist terrorism.

“And do not think those who have been killed in the way of Allah as dead; they are rather living with their Lord, well provided for. Rejoicing in what their Lord has given them of His bounty, and they rejoice for those who stayed behind and did not join them, knowing that they have nothing to fear and they shall not grieve” (Surah 3:169-70).

Non-Islamist Muslims understand this verse is to comfort those bereaved during just warfare. In contrast, the jihadist literature take the opposite to be true. Islamists use this verse to justify preemptive acts of terror, inferring martyrdom status on those who perpetrate terror including through premeditated suicide attacks.

Scholars of Islam agree only God confers martyrdom status on a Muslim, a detail the modern political Islamist is glad to overlook. Instead, Islamists adopt the wholesale, self-directed martyrdom as mainstream, an ideology skillfully popularized by the ayatollah of Iran, who claimed the seeking of martyrdom the highest form of sacrifice in the service of religion for both men and women.

Pakistan witnessed the rise of militancy amid Islamist women during the Lal Majid Crisis in Pakistan’s Capital.

Since 2002 Russia has been confronting female jihadists, beginning with the 2002 Dubrovka Theater siege in which over 100 hostages died. The Sochi Black Widows are merely the latest in a global pursuit of Islamist martyrdom.

All societies see women as life-giving, rendering the taking of life through the act of female suicide bombing additionally repugnant.

Jihadists speak of martyrs giving “blood transfusions to anemic societies,” perversely infusing the wake of their carnage with renewed life.

Some of the most intelligent work on the female suicide bomber has come from Israel’s Dr. Anat Berko.

Her painstaking, decades-long findings are published in her book The Smarter Bomb based on her personal interviews of Palestinian female jihadist operatives in their native Arabic.

Dr. Berko found the lives of these women and children populated with divorce, bereavement, childlessness and other themes of loss. But always these females, like male would-be martyrdom operatives, are in pursuit of the fictional narrative of honor through death.

Even though these women have fully adopted the Islamist ideals of honor through martyrdom which is supposed to bring them eternal divine life, after their death, their dismembered remains are often looked upon with disgust by their fellow Islamist sympathizers. Even in martyrdom, the honor they so crave is denied them by their fellow Islamists.

Instead, their acts as suicide bombers earn them special scorn reserved for the female suicide bomber, when in her place her male counterpart would be unfailingly lauded and canonized.

We are over a decade beyond the events of 9-11 which first brought martyrdom ideology into the American consciousness. As we fear terrorist events unfolding in Sochi, it’s not the gender of the suicide operatives that should consume us, but the myriad factors seducing so many Muslims – men and women – into Islamist martyrdom that should be the focus of our energies.

Unless we dismantle those elements, more and more Muslims will find resonance in the Islamists’ manmade martyrdom ideology and continue to hold us all hostage in their ghoulish thrall. Its time we finally became smarter than the smarter bomb.On the eve of the Sochi Winter Olympics, Russian authorities are on high alert for female suicide bombers who may already be in Sochi. These “Black Widows” represent business as usual for the violent Islamists.

Islamic constructs of martyrdom are distinct from those of other faiths because of the success of Islam’s rapid spread from its very beginning. Historically, Islam was rarely divorced from power. While Islam’s genesis does record violence against early Muslim believers, those who were “martyred” were slain on battlefields, engaged in warfare. Precisely because of their success, Muslims sought alternate models for martyrdom, because few Muslims suffered for their beliefs in the way Christians and Jews had historically experienced.

This deficit of “accessible martyrdom” came to be filled by the lives lost (usually of men) in war, or occasionally those who died of disease.

Yet an oft-quoted verse from the Koran has become the foundational mantra for contemporary Islamist terrorism.

“And do not think those who have been killed in the way of Allah as dead; they are rather living with their Lord, well provided for. Rejoicing in what their Lord has given them of His bounty, and they rejoice for those who stayed behind and did not join them, knowing that they have nothing to fear and they shall not grieve” (Surah 3:169-70).

Non-Islamist Muslims understand this verse is to comfort those bereaved during just warfare. In contrast, the jihadist literature take the opposite to be true. Islamists use this verse to justify preemptive acts of terror, inferring martyrdom status on those who perpetrate terror including through premeditated suicide attacks.

Scholars of Islam agree only God confers martyrdom status on a Muslim, a detail the modern political Islamist is glad to overlook. Instead, Islamists adopt the wholesale, self-directed martyrdom as mainstream, an ideology skillfully popularized by the ayatollah of Iran, who claimed the seeking of martyrdom the highest form of sacrifice in the service of religion for both men and women.

Pakistan witnessed the rise of militancy amid Islamist women during the Lal Majid Crisis in Pakistan’s Capital.

Since 2002 Russia has been confronting female jihadists, beginning with the 2002 Dubrovka Theater siege in which over 100 hostages died. The Sochi Black Widows are merely the latest in a global pursuit of Islamist martyrdom.

All societies see women as life-giving, rendering the taking of life through the act of female suicide bombing additionally repugnant.

Jihadists speak of martyrs giving “blood transfusions to anemic societies,” perversely infusing the wake of their carnage with renewed life.

Some of the most intelligent work on the female suicide bomber has come from Israel’s Dr. Anat Berko.

Her painstaking, decades-long findings are published in her book The Smarter Bomb based on her personal interviews of Palestinian female jihadist operatives in their native Arabic.

Dr. Berko found the lives of these women and children populated with divorce, bereavement, childlessness and other themes of loss. But always these females, like male would-be martyrdom operatives, are in pursuit of the fictional narrative of honor through death.

Even though these women have fully adopted the Islamist ideals of honor through martyrdom which is supposed to bring them eternal divine life, after their death, their dismembered remains are often looked upon with disgust by their fellow Islamist sympathizers. Even in martyrdom, the honor they so crave is denied them by their fellow Islamists.

Instead, their acts as suicide bombers earn them special scorn reserved for the female suicide bomber, when in her place her male counterpart would be unfailingly lauded and canonized.

We are over a decade beyond the events of 9-11 which first brought martyrdom ideology into the American consciousness. As we fear terrorist events unfolding in Sochi, it’s not the gender of the suicide operatives that should consume us, but the myriad factors seducing so many Muslims – men and women – into Islamist martyrdom that should be the focus of our energies.

Unless we dismantle those elements, more and more Muslims will find resonance in the Islamists’ manmade martyrdom ideology and continue to hold us all hostage in their ghoulish thrall. Its time we finally became smarter than the smarter bomb.

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