Denouncing Terror Too Late

Rabbi Reuven Mann

To the Editor:

I applaud Muhammad Hisham Kabbani's (Islam Hates Terror, 5/24/02) clear denunciation of suicide bombing as a severe violation of the tenets of Islam. Still, I wonder why he and others like him remained silent for so many years and especially during the 20 months of the latest Intifada when suicide bombings assumed epidemic proportions. Why were Islamic voices reticent when harsh condemnation may have thwarted the killers who wreaked so much destruction?

There is no physical deterrent for someone who is willing to sacrifice his life for a "cause". However the Islamic bombers are not prepared to destroy their souls. They act in the belief that "martyrdom" will earn them eternity in some "paradise". This is the "life" they aspire to and the fear of losing it would certainly deter them. The moral obligation of Islamic theologians is to convince potential killers that their "martyrdom" is actually a heinous crime, which will only bring them eternal damnation. Had this teaching been forcefully proclaimed from the time that suicide bombing first reared its ugly head, 9/11 and many other tragedies might have been prevented.
Rabbi Reuven Mann
Cong. Rinat Yisrael of Plainview, NY