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Difference between Jewish Martyr and Islamic Martyr

Reader comment on item: Do Radical Islamists Run the Middle East?
in response to reader comment: Yes, the polar opposites...

Submitted by Dr RJP (United States), Sep 21, 2006 at 09:17

Rabbi Akiva, who lived during the Roman Occupation of Jerusalem (circa 130 CE, when the Emperor Hadrian forbade circumcision and made the study of Judaism a capital crime). By the way, we have Hadrian to thank for all the past and current troubles in the Middle East between Israel and the Arab world.

After the defeat of the Jewish rebellion against the ban on circumcision, led by Bar Kochba, Hadrian tried to get rid of everything Jewish. He banned not only the teaching of the Torah but also owning Torah scrolls. Israel was renamed Syria Palestina, Jerusalem was renamed Aelia Capitolina. Pagan sanctuaries were erected right over places of Jewish worship: the temple to Jupiter was erected on the site of the Jewish Temple, Hadrian's equestrian statue being placed in the Holy of Holies, and before the southern gate of Aelia, the Romans erected a marble statue of a pig (pigs were an affront to Jews long before they were to Muslims). Even worse, the Jews were not even allowed to see Jerusalem.

Rabbi Akiva violated this edict, and the old man was tortured to death along with nine other rabbis.

Rabbi Akiva's death was especially cruel. He was burned to death, but to slow the death and make it more painful, Akiva was wrapped in Torah scrolls that had been soaked in water. While he was dying, he recited the Jewish S'hema over and over again (the S'hema is the call to God, "Hear O' Israel, the Lord Our God, the Lord is One.").

Now, compare that martyr to the typical suicide bomber who straps explosives filled with shrapnel and rat poison to his chest, walks into a public place filled with innocent Jewish women and children whom the bomber never met, shouts "Allah Akbar" (God is Great) and then shatters the lives of hundreds, all for the right to gain entrance into a pornographic heaven filled with 72 virgins, young boys, and tons of gold and jewels.

"Martyr," is just one of many concepts that Islamics have corrupted.


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