Bizarre stories regarding the fundamentalist beliefs adopted by members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have become commonplace, but there are some stories that seem unbelievable, yet, given the intensity of those beliefs, show the seeming fanatical dedication -- at least to Western sensibilities -- of those that follow that particular brand of radical Islam. Such is the story out of the conflict raging in Syria and Iraq where a captured ISIS suicide bomber ordered his captors to kill him -- and not because he was fearful of torture or imprisonment.
Fox News reported on May 13 that an ISIS militant, a wounded suicide bomber captured near Mosul, Iraq, demanded that his Peshmerga captors (military from the autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq) kill him immediately. He was under the impression that he would be late for a commemoration celebration in heaven if he remained alive on Earth.
The ISIS militant was uncovered in the aftermath of the battle for Telskuf when a Peshmerga soldier was recording with his cell phone. He saw an ankle move and a subsequent check proved that one of the downed ISIS fighters was still alive. The ISIS fighter still had his explosive belt on him but hadn't been able to detonate it due to being wounded by a comrade's explosive device. He quickly told the Peshmerga not to care for him, because they were infidels.
According to The Clarion Project, the suicide bomber told the Peshmerga fighter, Lieutenant Colonel Salim al-Surji, who not only discovered him, but was assigned to watch him, that he and his comrades were supposed to be in heaven by a certain time. As it turned out, the ISIS suicide bomber was one of 50 fighters sent to fight on the day of the Muslim festival of Isra and Mi'iraj, the celebration of Islam founder Muhammed's night journey to Jerusalem, and his temporary ascension to heaven, where he was given instructions by Allah. The wounded man admitted he wanted to attend a commemoration ceremony for the holy event in heaven. He did not want to be late, and the celebration started at 4 p.m.
Al-Surji told Rudaw media the suicide bomber's story following the battle. The ISIS militant had been from Samarra in Iraq, he told them, and all of the fighters were set to kill themselves.
"They were supposed to commit suicide using their suicide belts because today is the anniversary of the Isra and Mi'iraj celebration. He told me 'all of us must be in heaven by 4pm, kill me.'"Al-Surji noted that he simply ignored the fighter's pleas to not administer aid and went ahead and bandaged the injured man's wounds.
The ISIS suicide bomber and his colleagues are just the latest in a long line of men and women willing to kill themselves in the name of Allah. They do so because they have become convinced that heaven awaits their martyrdom and that not only will they receive a fast-track to heaven, they will reap seven rewards.
According to a Daily Mail report, the seven rewards -- at least for men -- include an assured place in heaven and the forgiveness of all sins, the awarding of 72 virgins for eternity, no passing through the Day of Judgment, and an assured spot in heaven for 70 of the martyr's relatives.
But what of female suicide bombers? According to a Slate post, women also gain certain rewards when dying as a martyr for Allah. They will be rewarded with their husbands (and if they had multiple husbands, then the choice the one they preferred) and will gain preferred status over all the virgins in heaven. (Note: Some female suicide bombers believe that, should the female suicide bomber have been married to a suicide bomber, she would take the head position over her husband's 72 awarded virgins.) Female martyrs would also find that, according to some Islamic scholars, "paradise will make them beautiful, happy, and without jealousy."
Unfortunately, the effects of the bombs of the inspired ISIS (and, throughout time, other Islamic fighters) suicide bombers leave devastating consequences among their victims still in the corporeal realm. In the two battles that have been waged for the predominantly Christian town of Telskuf, a second Clarion Project report noted that the entire area is in ruins. Suicide bombers, during the second attack, drove into town in modified "digger" trucks filled with explosives and detonated them, killing Peshmerga defenders. The ISIS fighters that followed came in explosives-laden vehicles and many of those on foot wore explosive belts.
Where once 10,000 lived there, now only about 2,500 still make their homes among the shot-up and bombed town. Most of Telskuf's citizens have fled the country.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]