if marriage customs changed – Suicide bombers are recruited through a sad kind of conspiracy: According to promises made in the Quran, “When a martyr for Allah takes his place in Paradise, he will marry beautiful-eyed young women, will be spared the torments of the tomb, will not submit to the Day of Judgment and will have one of the world’s best precious stones adorn his crown.” Those are attractive prospects for a man who is unattractive, poor, low on the social rung (or all three), and some Islamic extremists use those promises as a recruiting tool when seeking suicide terrorists. To Westerners, these ideas seem so naive that we assume that most suicide bombers are uneducated but alas, this is not the case.

Conventional wisdom assumes that investments in education and economic development should reduce support for suicide attacks, but a new study raises questions about that approach. In an analysis of public opinion data from six predominantly Muslim countries that have experienced suicide bombings, M. Najeeb Shafiq and Abdulkader H. Sinno discovered that the relationship of education and income levels to support for suicide bombing is complicated at best. Support for bombings and the influence of education and income vary greatly from one country to another, and attitudes differ significantly by whether the attacks target civilians in one’s own country or foreign militaries.

While many Islamic scholars dispute the terrorists’ interpretation of Islam, fundamentalist terrorists and their sympathizers use their religion for inspiration and justification for suicide terrorism. The scriptures used to recruit these bombers, besides condoning suicide in the name of righteousness, can be a powerful lure by offering sexual gratification for a person with slim chances of marriage (This may be one of the reasons they are now recruiting young girls).

In Islamic culture, a man is expected to be financially able to support a family, so a man with limited means loses some of his appeal as a mate. In Egypt from 2000 to 2004, wedding costs rose 25%. Families of young men save 5 to 7 years to pay for the marriages. And in poverty-stricken Afghanistan, wedding costs for young men average $12,000 to $20,000. In Islamic cultures, young men who cannot afford to marry feel ashamed and emasculated. Also, in a society where the practice of having more than one wife is accepted, wealthier men are likely to have multiple wives, leaving a smaller pool of women for men in society

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