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A Monument to Evil By: Micah Halpern
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mind games. Some personalities are so strong that even after death their colleagues, cohorts and supporters are able to successfully manipulate the deceased's spirit so that it continues to haunt, to torment, to plague those same people the person haunted, tormented and plagued in life.

Take, for example, one of the greatest masterminds of terror this millennium has known. Arch terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Metaphorically speaking, Zarqawi is reaching out from the grave in order to agitate the people around him - his enemies and his supporters. Why metaphorically? Because the subject of Zarqawi's grave is precisely the haunting question.

Where should Zarqawi be buried?

Zarqawi lived in Jordan. He was also sentenced to death in absentia by Jordan for his role in planning terror attacks that shook the capitol city Amman. Many members of Zarqawi's family still call Jordan home and it was there that, in accordance with Muslim tradition, family members mourned the loss of their loved one. Paying a condolence call is another Islamic tradition.

Several members of Jordan's parliament, representatives of The Islamic Action Front, paid a condolence call to Zarqawi's family in Jordan, their countryman. In paying their respects to the family of the man targeted and killed by the United States Air Force these members of parliament, members of the government who had sentenced him to death in absentia, remembered him fondly, they recalled his heroic deeds, they praised his life. They called the deceased terrorist a "martyr."

The Jordanian parliamentarians were censured for their actions. There was a public call for their party to be expelled from politics and ousted from the political process, they were even detained and interrogated. Everything that Zarqawi stood for, his actions, his ideals, his values and ideology, his every breath, was antithetical to all that the Hashemite Kingdom's values.

No lesson was learned from the antics of the parliamentarians. The Zarqawi issue has not yet been put to rest. Zarqawi supporters want the devil to be remembered - if not as a martyr, then at least as a saint.

The brother of Zarqawi, a resident of Jordan, has made public a request to have the body of his brother - which was still under the control of the United States Armed Forces - brought to Jordan. The claim is that if the body were transferred to Jordan the Zarqawi family would be able to pay the proper respect to their fallen family member. They would be able to properly mourn Abu Musab al Zarqawi.

The United States military and the current Iraqi government are saying no to the request. Jordan has not yet commented, but I am certain that they would echo the United States and Iraq and are wisely removing themselves from the fray for the moment to minimize the validity and legitimacy of the request.

Where is the body right now? After the Americans killed Zarqawi they removed his body from the building in which he was found and took it to a medical examiner for DNA confirmation. That probably took place in Iraq. The Iraqi National Security adviser, Mouwafek al Roubai, is quoted by AP as saying that Zarqawi was buried in a "undisclosed location." He says that the body was buried according to Muslim custom. A U.S. spokesperson has confirmed that Zarqawi has been buried.

In Islam, respect for the dead, proper burial and condolences are major dimensions of the final life cycle event. It is in death and in burial that Muslims are careful, cautious and punctilious. That is the only way to insure that the body will properly pass on and enter heaven.

Even Osama bin Laden, through the release of his latest tape, has reached out from his own netherworld and added his voice to the discussion on Zarqawi's last resting place and his place in Muslim history and lore. The tape pays tribute to Zarqawi, the tape proclaims him a hero. On the tape bin Laden beseeches the president of the United States to allow the body to be brought to Zarqawi's family in Jordan.

Who cares where Zarqawi is buried? We should all - Muslim fundamentalists and lovers of freedom and democracy - care. What one group fears, the other covets. The obvious concern is that the grave of Zarqawi will become a center for terrorist ideals and a focal point for galvanizing hate. The fear is that the gravesite of Abu Musab al Zarqawi will become a monument for evil. A monument to monster Zarqawi may yet be erected, but the United States, Iraq and Jordan need not assist the architects of the edifice.

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Micah Halpern maintains The Micah Report.

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