March 16, 2005 // by admin

Obscene phone call

Your brother has been killed in a martyrdom operation.  Congratulations.

— an anonymous caller claiming to represent an anti-Iraqi group called “Brothers in the Gulf”

According to the NYT’s Dexter Filkins, the al-Banna family of Jordan received this call three days after the February 28 bombing at Hilla, Iraq, which killed more than 130 people.  When Iraqis heard reports that a Jordanian perpetrated the atrocity, hundreds protested in front of the Jordanian embassy in Baghdad, burning a Jordanian flag.  (For more on this story, and some peculiarities of the flag, see Power Line.)

According to Mr. Filkins’s story, Mansur Banna, father of the suspected bomber,  Raad, claims that his son was a pro-American youth who enjoyed the 18 months he spent in southern California, from 2000-2002.  As for Mr. Mansur himself, he denied any hostility toward the U.S.  “The Americans are in Iraq, trying to make a new Iraq.  Please tell the Americans we support them.”

Nevertheless, the al-Banna family reportedly composed an obituary in a local newspaper for Raad, which described their son as a “martyr” who had died doing God’s work.

Update:  The inestimable Baghdad Dweller offers a translation of the Jordanian news article that incited the Iraqi rioting.  I have to admit, I did not know about the  phenomenon of “divine weddings,” but BD’s assessment of the moral repugnance of the practice seems precisely on-target.  This is perversity on a frighteningly profound level.

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