Radio Interview with Bill Warner
July 10, 2008, 12:00 PDT, 3:00 EDT on the Web, BlogTalkRadio.
From the Bookshelf
The Last Night of a Damned Soul http://www.amazon.com/Last-Night-Damned-Soul-Novel/dp/0802117805 by Slimane Benaissa.
Slimane Benaissa, an Algerian Berber living in France, is an author, playwright, and actor. He wrote The Last Night of a Damned Soul in reaction to the suicide bombings of 9/11. It is a noble and courageous response for a Muslim, as his intent is to tell the painful but illuminating truth about the Islamic jihad ideology of death.
The protagonist, Raouf, is a computer programmer living in Northern California. His father, now deceased, was from Egypt and his mother from Lebanon. His well-educated parents are professionals and barely a cultural Muslim as is he.
Raouf has become depressed, fearful and emotionally empty after his father’s death. When his devout Muslim friend and co-worker, Athman takes him to the ranch of a wealthy Saudi to celebrate the Feast of the Sacrifice, Raouf’s life takes a sharp turn. He is touched by the sheik’s sermon and feels that perhaps he can be saved from the void his life has become by submitting to the will of Allah and returning to the practice of Islam.
Raouf formally repents and is welcomed by the community of Believers. Little by little, he divests himself of all western ways, his Christian girlfriend, his beloved dog, and secular pleasures such as the use of alcohol. Even his treatment of his mother changes as he turns to religion for comfort and direction. His devotion leads him to make jihad but he still asks philosophical questions about the path he has chosen.
In retreat for two months, Raouf purifies his body by fasting and prepares his mind by prayers, Koran readings and sermons from the imams. Secure in his intent, he joins a terrorist cell to become a suicide bomber and takes an oath of loyalty to his Muslim brothers. His jihadi training to overcome the fear of death and to focus his concentration consists of sleeping in a shroud, stimulus deprivation and detachment from the material world, extreme fasting, drugs, chanting Koran suras and repetitive prayers to induce trance states, and quasi-mystical ceremonies. The jihad these mujahidin will make is the flying of hijacked airplanes into a tall building . . .
This book has been criticized for a lack of literary merit and didacticism including the inclusion of many sermons, quotations from the Koran and prayers. It is the last category that is the reason I recommend it. Benaissa shows us step by step how the process from Muslim “hypocrite” to mujahidin happens, how the religion of Islam is the catalyst for its politics, and how the pattern of jihad is contained in the Islamic trilogy of the Koran, the Hadith and the Sira. Benaissa gives us a chilling blueprint for the training of the jihadi, a key that unlocks the door of the psychology of the making of a suicide bomber.
CSPI’s criticism of the book is due to the use of the words God for Allah and heathen for kafir. Allah is described in the Koran as anthropomorphic, misogynistic, a plotter and deceiver who delights in the torment and suffering of the kafirs. He is nothing like the God of the Jews, the Christians and Hindus. Muslims call their god Allah and that is how we should refer to him. In the same way, the word kafir is translated as heathen. Heathen is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as an “uncivilized” or” irreligious” person, while the Islamic term kafir defines a person who is despicable, hated and sub-human.
The Last Night of a Damned Soul is a look into the indoctrination of a jihadi and as horrifying as any Stephen King novel. True, it is not a literary work, but it is well worth the read.
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