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Truck Bomber Turns Against Jihad

MSNBC story:

(edit to add link - duh!)

The last time Ahmed al-Shayea was in the news, he was in the hospital at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, being treated for severe burns from the truck bomb he had driven into the Iraqi capital on Christmas Day, 2004.

Today, he says, he has changed his mind about waging jihad, or holy war, and wants other young Muslims to know it. He wants them to see his disfigured face and fingerless hands, to hear how he was tricked into driving the truck on a fatal mission, to believe his contrition over having put his family through the agony of believing he was dead.

This is very encouraging. The lunatics' message is not just being accepted -- despite the claims of some on the right who seem to believe that every Muslim is a terrorist just waiting for a chance to earn his virgins. The United States needs to nurture relationships with moderates in Islamic countries because, as Iraq has shown, we cannot expect to invade our way to peace.

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Comments (9)


So which is it? First it's alleged he's had a change of heart and no longer wants to wage jihad....

THEN the claim is he "was tricked," if he was tricked he never wanted to in the first place.

I smell a rat, or is he having a "Sen Schumer moment" and was "duped" before he wanted to be a jihadist-cut-throat?

Paul Hamilton:

I'd compare it to the tactics used at a tent revival. You're sitting there getting caught up in the emotion of the moment and suddenly a group of people surround you and convince you that you need to make a commitment to the cause RIGHT NOW.

For a few days or a few weeks, you'll be all excited about it -- been there, done that, made a fool of myself to all the people in my dorm -- but if you wait, the odds are you'll go back to your old ways.

And I bet that the Jihadists did the same thing to him. He was duped into being their tool of destruction and after he paid the terrible price, he's realized that they played him for a fool and now he's telling others not to be tricked or stampeded into a similar mistake.


I'd compare it to the tactics used at a tent revival.

They ask you to die at those?

As my grand mother used to say, "you're off your rocker."

Paul Hamilton:

Have you ever been to a revival? I mean a real, old-fashioned, sawdust on the ground tent meeting? If not, I don't think you realize how serious the atmosphere, the level of commitment and the feeling you get after you've been to the altar.

I wasn't born into a religious family and didn't get exposed to this sort of thing 'til I started dating a girl whose dad was a preacher. Of course I had to go to church three times a week, and believe me, their methods get into your head. And a revival is an amazing experience. When you go up to the altar and find yourself surrounded by about twenty people laying hands on you and praying in tongues, it really is a life-changing experience.

Would I have been willing to die for Christ that night? Absolutely! And in one sense, they did ask me to die -- they expected me to give up all the things which had defined my being prior to that night and to be a new man. And yes, I did so not only willingly, but enthusiastically.

So there are more similarities than you might think. Young people are especially vulnerable to the message because they haven't really internalized the idea of death and so they're willing to blow themselves up for glory. When you wrap any idea with religion, there are people who will go for it hook line and sinker, especially if the message comes from someone with sufficient skill.


"When you go up to the altar and find yourself surrounded by about twenty people laying hands on you and praying in tongues, it really is a life-changing experience."

"...but if you wait, the odds are you'll go back to your old ways."

So I guess it really wasn't a life changing experience.

Paul Hamilton:

Not directly. That was an emotional manipulation that wore off in a few weeks.

But it wasn't wasted -- it got me involved in Christianity and twelve years later I made a personal commitment -- all by myself in a clearing in a woods -- that's lasted for 25 years now and hopefully for the rest of my life.

P. Bunyan:

Interesting comments Paul, and very insightful with regard to your personality.

I too dated a preacher's daughter. I too have been to the tent meetings. The difference being, I could see them for what they were. The propaganda and manipulation were obvious, if you wanted to see them. It reminded me of books I read about Hitler's rise to power and how his handlers manipulated the populace.

Of couse, they were not able to convert me at those tent meetings I tend to be one who thinks and sees.

But as I said, I now understand better how you can be a leftist and eat up and love all the swill that they are feeding you.

Paul Hamilton:

I knew NOTHING about that sort of thing. I probably hadn't been inside a church a dozen times in my life before that and they pulled out every trick in the book on me. And it worked like a charm -- I could practically feel the hellfire on my face...

I admire your ability to resist that sort of thing from the beginning. I will say that I've gotten a lot more cynical about all things religious through I'm glad to say that I've retained my faith despite the best efforts of the churches to destroy it by their corruption...

But don't kid yourself -- I'm just as cynical about politics as I am about religion. And the Dems are not exempt. I almost got run off my own chat board when I went after Howard Dean in 2004. And I don't like Hillary either, which lots of folks find offensive...

P. Bunyan:

I agree it was a very powerful experience Paul, and I admit I was extremely sceptical going into it. (My beliefs about born again pentecostals are similar to my beliefs about leftists.) Still it takes a certain type of personality to fall for that...

Of course millions upon millions have over the years.


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