As sudden death, vengeance and mayhem increasingly grip the Middle East, a young woman has turned her back on the culture of suicide bombings.
Unlike others who had followed in her path, Sarin Ahmad, a 20-year-old computer student, found that memories of past friendships and guilt over her participation in a random killing overcame her own feelings of hatred and her desire for vengeance. Ahmad spoke of her encounter with terrorism – and her rejection of it – in an interview with the Italian news daily La Stampa.
“To those who wish to blow themselves up … I want to say to you – think twice,” said Ahmad. “Now is the time that the two peoples, the Israelis and the Palestinians, should cease killing one another.”
Her involvement with terrorism began when she started her studies at the University of Bethlehem and fell in love with Jad Salem, a 26-year-old fellow student – and terrorist.
Their romance was intense, but brief, and ended with the news of Salem’s death. Ahmad heard that Salem was assassinated by the Israelis, while official Israeli records state that Salem died while attempting to assemble a bomb, La Stampa reported.
The death of Salem was the latest loss for Ahmad, whose father had died earlier and whose mother had moved to Jordan after remarrying.
Salem’s terrorist friends soon visited Ahmad and offered their assistance to her. Ahmad now believes that even before Salem’s death, the terrorist group had targeted her for recruitment.
They offered Ahmad acceptance into their group and urged her to follow “God’s will.”
Soon after the meeting, Ahmad was taken to a rendezvous with others in the terrorist group and met a 16-year-old boy, Issa Badir. In a house that served as the staging area, Ahmad was shown the explosives. She found the bomb she was to carry into a crowded Jewish street to be frightening – and very large. In her interview with La Stampa, Ahmad estimated the weight of the bomb to be some 70 pounds, although the weight was actually around 22 pounds.
Her terrorist handlers urged her to pray and be a “brave girl.” Ahmad stated to La Stampa that she did pray – five times a day, as do all devout Muslims – but she found that her concept of heaven was different from that which was taught to her.
Instead of a sensual Paradise, Ahmad’s concept of the afterlife is “to be in the hands of God.”
Ahmad felt that the attack was “without preparation,” and felt that if she carried out her orders, she was 90 percent sure that she would “go into the Inferno.”
After they were delivered to the area where they were to carry out the assault, both Ahmad and Badir had second thoughts. Ahmad considered that her intended victims “were humans, too.” She recalled friends she once had met at a kibbutz and wondered if she could kill some of her friends “by accident.”
Ahmad and Badir telephoned their contact in the terrorist group and asked not to go through with the attack.
The contact rejected their decision, Ahmad stated. “He said we must die.”
Badir carried out his orders, as the terrorists demanded; three died along with Badir.
Ahmed dropped her bomb in an abandoned car and fled.
Eventually, the Israeli police found Ahmad, and she expects to spend the next five to six years in prison. After her time behind bars, she hopes “to continue her studies.”