The official Palestinian Authority daily reported that a 23-year-old wished to die as a Martyr because he would then marry the 70 Virgins of Paradise.
Saba Abu Obeid, who was shot during violent clashes with Israeli soldiers and later died of his wounds, had told his grandmother he was hoping to die because “70 beauties are waiting for me.” According to Islam, one of the Martyr’s rewards is to marry 72 Dark-Eyed Maidens, and the PA in fact describes Martyrs’ funerals as weddings.
Obeid’s grandmother recounted:
“He asked me to sound cries of joy if he died as a Martyr. I told him: ‘Everyone who seeks Martyrdom-death (Shahada) is entitled to achieve it, but I want to marry you off and rejoice in your happiness.’ He told me: ‘Grandmother, 70 beauties are waiting for me in Paradise, why should I replace them with the women of this world?’” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 25, 2017]
This story reflects years of PA indoctrination to its people that Shahada – Martyrdom – is “sweet.” During the PA’s terror campaign 2000-2005 (the Second Intifada), PA TV targeted kids with this message, telling them that Martyrdom was an ideal to strive for.
In 2002, today’s young man of 23 was eight years old and possibly watched the following program for youth on PA TV, which Palestinian Media Watch exposed at the time. Two 11-year-old girls explained that “Shahada is beautiful” and that “everyone yearns for Shahada.” They stated that “going to Paradise” is “sweet” and that what really matters is “the Afterlife.”
Another girl who called in to the program said that it was “natural” that 17-year-old suicide bomber Ayyat Al-Akhras “blew herself up.”
Children were talking like this because of the intense PA Martyrdom promotion at the time, such as the religious figure who demanded:
“The believer was created … to be a Shahid (Martyr) or intend to be one. If the believer doesn’t hope for Shahada (Death for Allah), he will die a Jahiliya death (without faith). We must aim for Shahada and request it from Allah. If we truthfully ask for it, [Allah] will grant us its rewards, even if we die in bed.” [Official PA TV, Mar. 22, 2002]
PA TV also broadcast music videos specifically targeting children, telling them that “Martyrdom is sweet.”
Therefore, it is not surprising that today’s 23 Palestinian – who grew up on these messages – wished to die as a “Martyr.”
By: Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch