Men, Marriage, and Terrorism
by Hal | April 3rd, 2010
The earliest chapters of Scripture, God states “It is not good for man to be alone.” There are many ways this works out in everyday life, but an interesting article in The Deseret News says that marriage even plays a key factor in recruiting — or suppressing — suicide bombers in the Islamic world.
The study by professors at Baylor and Brigham Young University found that Islamic marriage traditions — multiple wives, dowries, and very expensive wedding ceremonies — means younger sons often find themselves short on resources and unable to meet cultural expectations to marry and raise sons. Choosing martyrdom offers social respect, a sensual afterlife according to Islam, and often, monetary compensation for his family when he dies.
For a third or fourth son, there may be no money left for a dowry, [BYU professor Valerie Hudson] explained. Thus he is unable to officially become a man as the head of a household and is racked with feelings of emasculation and humiliation.
“You get an appreciation for how desperate these individuals are,” [Baylor professor Brad Thayer] said. “If you put yourself in their shoes … they are individuals who think that people are going to be better off … when they’re gone.”
This is so well understood in the Middle East that terrorist organizations and governments have encouraged or even subsidized members to marry, in order to tone down uncontrollable elements in their already-radicalized ranks.
(The article appeared in the 3/30 issue of The Desert News, linked here.)