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Apologia for Suicide: Martyrdom in Contemporary Jihadist Discourse


The litany of suicide attacks perpetrated by militant Islamists against security forces, civilians, and even their coreligionists no longer astonishes their observers. Suicide bombings are reported dispassionately by the news media, and the shocking terror they once evoked in the mass public has gradually faded, as they have become common place around the globe. Even in the Muslim world, where the vast majority of these attacks occur, the targeted populations have become resigned to their devastating effect. More perplexing, perhaps, is the seemingly endless supply of “martyrs” who hail from all parts of the world, eagerly willing to kill so many as they kill themselves. This once controversial tactic that defies the instinct of self-preservation—and one that violates so many moral taboos—has become the new normal for militant Islamists.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Hafez, Mohammed M. 2018. "Apologia for Suicide: Martyrdom in Contemporary Jihadist Discourse." In Martyrdom, Self-Sacrifice, and Self-Immolation: Religious Perspectives on Suicide, ed. Margo Kitts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 126-139.  https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=oVVYDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&ots=tlAdvOE-BC&sig=aN9OXAg1cavVE6gQSkEwOzFgB9M#v=onepage&q=hafez&f=false

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