Monday, June 12, 2006

"You mean we don't get 72 virgins?"

Nope. Instead, Islamonutjobs get a plateful of...grapes. Observe:
"The virgins are calling you," Mohamed Atta wrote reassuringly to his fellow hijackers just before Sept. 11.

It has long been a staple of Islam that Muslim martyrs will go to paradise and marry 72 black-eyed virgins. But a growing body of rigorous scholarship on the Koran points to a less sensual paradise -- and, more important, may offer a step away from fundamentalism and toward a reawakening of the Islamic world.
For example, the Koran says martyrs going to heaven will get hur, and the word was taken by early commentators to mean "virgins," hence those 72 consorts. But in Aramaic, hur meant "white" and was commonly used to mean "white grapes."

Some martyrs arriving in paradise may regard a bunch of grapes as a letdown. But the scholar who pioneered this pathbreaking research, using the pseudonym Christoph Luxenberg for security reasons, noted in an e-mail interview that grapes made more sense in context because the Koran compares them to crystal and pearls, and because contemporary accounts have paradise abounding with fruit, especially white grapes.
The obstacle is not the Koran or Islam, but fundamentalism, and I hope that this scholarship is a sign of an incipient Islamic Reformation -- and that future terrorist recruits will be promised not 72 black-eyed virgins, but just a plateful of grapes.
"Aw, son of a motherless goat! Allah, where in the Detroit are my concubines? Holy shiite, I didn't blow up myself and the infidels for some you-forsaken fruit!"