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How Jihadis Decide Who Becomes the Suicide Bomber

Choosing who gets to be a suicide bomber is a particularly thorny issue that has been completely unexplored. Until now. In an unprecedented coup, we gained access to a meeting that illustrated the complicated procedure involved.

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The world of jihadis is fraught with ethical dilemmas and complex questions. This is particularly evident in operational matters, but there has so far been very little coverage of the intricate methods that jihadis employ. Choosing who gets to be a suicide bomber is a particularly thorny issue that has been completely unexplored. Until now. In an unprecedented coup, we gained access to a meeting that illustrated the complicated procedure involved. The transcript of this fascinating encounter is below.


Jihadi Commander: I have called you all in today so we can decide who gets to be the suicide bomber in the operation tomorrow. Any volunteers?


Typical. Where is your zeal? Do we have to go through this every time? Why can’t one of you volunteer?

Jihadi Recruit 1: Why don’t you volunteer?

Commander: I’m the commander! Someone needs to be in charge.

Jihadi Recruit 2: Who died and made you boss?

Commander: Abu Omar! You know that. He said I should be the boss before he went to do his suicide operation.

Recruit 1: See, he didn’t mind even though he was the commander.

Commander: It’s different.

Recruit 1: How’s that different?

Commander: You don’t understand these things. Now we need to decide quickly. The blessed one needs to get measured for the suicide vest. We don’t have these in all sizes.

Jihadi Recruit 3: Why don’t we pick names out of a hat?

Commander: That’s gambling, you idiot! We’re not allowed to gamble.

Recruit 3: I’m sure Allah would understand this one time.

Commander: You can’t even write your name, and you want to become a theologian? We’re not doing that!

Recruit 1: How about eeny, meeny, miney, moe?

Recruit 2: What are you, six? We are al Qaeda! We can’t play eeny, meeny, miney, moe.

Recruit1: Let’s do it by alphabetical order.

Recruit 2: Now wouldn’t that be convenient? Your name is Ziad, and my name is Amjad.

Recruit 1: It is written.

Recruit 2: Don’t go all Sufi on me. Your real name is Andrew, anyway; you chose the name Ziad. Converts.


Recruit 1: What’s that?

Recruit 2: Nothing.

Commander: Shut up, both of you. The infidels are laughing at us. Look at them sniggering in the corner. This was supposed to be a professional PR exercise; you’re ruining the whole thing.

VICE: No, no, we weren’t…

Recruit: Let’s just kill them—that’s easier.

When did this become about us?

Commander: We’re not killing them. Why don’t you go? You don’t want to serve Allah? There are beautiful maidens waiting for you in heaven.

Recruit 2: I want to, but there are a few things I want to do before.

Commander: Like what?

Recruit 2: I’ve never been skiing.

Commander: We’re in the middle of the desert!

Recruit 2: I don’t have to do it here. I could go to Europe one day.

Commander: You’re making long-term plans? Maybe you don’t understand what being a jihadi is.

Recruit 2: I do! I just want to go skiing before I die. Can’t a mujahid live out his dream?

Recruit 3: Actually, I saw this thing on TV once—they were skiing on the sand in Dubai.

Commander: That wouldn’t work.

Recruit 3: It totally did! It looked really, really fun.

Recruit 1: Maybe we should try it. Then he can go.

Recruit 2: No, I want to do it on snow, like the real thing.

Recruit 1: Let’s try it anyway. It sounds like fun.

Commander: We’re not trying anything! We need to prepare for the operation!

Recruit 1: Relaxing is important for morale. You should employ some modern-management theory.

Commander: I’m old-school. How about a religious knowledge quiz?


Recruit 2: I’m not so into that.

Commander: You’re in al Qaeda!

Recruit 2: I’m more into practice than theory. I’m a hands-on guy.

Commander: I am going to decide who goes then. This is not a democracy.

Recruit 1: I think you are a wise man, you should choose.

Commander: I know what you are doing.

Recruit 3: Let’s play a video game and the loser goes.

Commander: We’re not playing games! Who are you? American teenagers? How did I end up with you lot? I’m going to decide.

Recruit 2: Wait, how about we send Ahmad?

Commander: Where is Ahmad?

Recruit 2: He went to the market to buy beard cream. You know he snores so loudly and keeps us all awake? Two birds with one stone. Give him the gift of martyrdom, and let us all get some decent sleep. We need it; we have important work.

Commander: I have made my decision. We are sending Ahmad.

Recruit 1: Now, who’s going to tell him the news?

Commander: Any volunteers?

Karl Sharro is an architect, writer, satirist, and commentator on the Middle East. He has written for a number of international publications and writes a blog, Karl reMarks, about Middle Eastern politics and culture, with occasional forays into satire. You can follow him on Twitter at @KarlreMarks.