Warning: Parents, do not let your children read this.
In Palestine, just like anywhere, sex sells. Only what sex is selling is the temptation to kill oneself.
An article in Front Page Magazine cites Arabic sources that are used to convince young people that the reward for martyrdom is sex in heaven. It is surprisingly effective. Some teen-age boys have been recruited for suicide bombing on the promise of sex. One was found with a towel wrapped around his genitals, to protect them from the blast so he could use them in Paradise. Only the best in heaven - sex to blow your head off.
The idea of virgins in heaven is based on Qur'an 55:71-74, in which those who make it are promised beautiful companions "whom no man or Jinn has touched." Another source of Muhammad's teaching fixes the number at 72.
Moreover and here young and sensitive readers are warned to stop reading as Ibn Warraq of The Guardian quotes the renowned Koranic commentator Al-Suyuti (who died in A.D. 1505), in Paradise the penis of the Elected never softens. The erection is eternal; the sensation that you feel each time you make love is utterly delicious and out of this world, and were you to experience it in this world you would faint. Each chosen one [i.e., Muslim] will marry seventy [sic] houris, besides the women he married on earth, and all will have appetizing vaginas.
- Lowell Ponte, "Palestinian Paradise," Front Page Magazine, April 3, 2002.
How delicious! The martyr in heaven can look forward to... one humongous case of priapism!
But the joke is not really funny. The article continues:
As one 16-year-old Hamas youth leader in a Gaza refugee camp told USA Today last June, "I know my life is poor compared to Europe or America, but I have something awaiting me that makes all my suffering worthwhile.... Most boys can't stop thinking about the virgins."
We may not take this notion of 72 virgins seriously, but apparently they do.
Feldner, Yotam. "72 Black Eyed Virgins": A Muslim Debate on the Rewards of Martyrs." Middle East Media Research Institute, Inquiry and Analysis Series, No. 74, October 30, 2001.
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