Pakistan is facing a steady stream of suicide bombings these days. Just yesterday a mosque was attacked in Rawalpindi that left about 40 people dead. It is crucial to understand the motivations for why people are willing to blow themselves up and kill indiscriminately. Our next speaker in the Hampshire College Science & Religion Lecture Series is Scott Atran and he will be addressing this topic on Thursday, March 25th (if you are in the area, please mark your dates). The title of his talk is For Friends and Faith: Understanding the paths and Barriers to Political Violence. He has written extensively on the topic and we are thrilled to have him as our speaker. I will post more details as the date of his lecture gets closer.
In the mean time, here is an interview with an arrested suicide bomber in Pakistan. Note that he doesn't know much much about Islam nor can even name the person whose fatwa he is supposedly following. But then this is not surprising. It is quite likely that he went to a madrassa (not in the meaning of any school, but rather the setups in contemporary Pakistan) - where education is usually limited to the Qur'an and everything is presented in absolutes. Note this black & white worldview in this interview - and this is directed against the Pakistanis (hence, mosques are justified targets). Good probing questions by the interviewer. Well...all I can say is that these guys are complete nuts, but those activating them certainly know what they are doing.
Please also see earlier posts on Madrassas in Punjab and the Recruitment of Suicide Bombers, Suicide Bombings and the Taliban in Pakistan and Understanding Female Suicide Bombers.
Here is the interview clip - its about 5 minutes long (tip from 3quarksdaily):