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Perversion of the term Martyr- my thoughts exactly!

Reader comment on item: Islam and Democracy - Much Hard Work Needed
in response to reader comment: perversion of the term "martyr"

Submitted by sara (United States), Feb 15, 2011 at 17:35

Abu Nudnik,

I too have been taken with the striking difference in the use of the word 'martyr' in Islam vs. Judeo-Christian tradition. I was recently taken aback when reading a Catholic piece about the recent beheading of Bishop Luigi Padovese in Turkey by his Muslim driver (screaming Allah huAkbar of course). The article called him (the Bishop) a martyr and I was struck by the deep significance in the application of the concept.

To kill in the name of Allah is an alien concept in modern society. Secular, rational people interpret such acts of devotion as crazy. Even among the religious in the west it is not acceptable. If someone is killed for their religion, they may consider that person a martyr, a victim, but the comparison ends here. Calling someone who was killed a 'martyr' is quite a different story than calling the killer himself a 'martyr'. There is a distinction between dying in the name of religion and killing for it, "Jihad-fi-sabil-Allah". When we regard Jihadists as crazy, we are diminishing their religious beliefs.

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