American televangelists don’t look so bad after taking a glance at the religious sermons being broadcast with the implicit approval of America’s favorite “man of peace,” Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Authority. As reported on Y-net News:
In a sermon broadcast on PA television, Ismail al-Radouan, a prominent Palestinian sheikh, declares, “When the Shahid [martyr] meets his maker, all his sins are forgiven from the first gush of blood. He is exempted from the torments of the grave; he sees his place in paradise, he is shielded from the great shock, and marries 72 Dark Eyed (Virgins).”
This is part of a lengthy series of sermons given with government approval in Palestine encouraging martyrdom.
In addition to great sermons, the Palestinian TV station under control of Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party also appeals to pop culture (or is that BOOM culture?) with multimedia marketing efforts. While the production quality is not up to LDS Mormanad standards (perhaps we could send a BYU TV crew to help out?), the Palestinian Authority has generated some inspiring religious commercials to encourage proper religious action by its people. One such spot, a music video you can view at Palestinian Media Watch, shows a Palestinian woman who is shot in the back by Israeli soldiers and then taken to paradise to join other smiling maidens dancing in white robes while standing in water, waiting for a nice male martyr to marry them. I think the special effects need a little work, frankly, but it is touching. (Hat tip to JihadWatch.org.)
In another recent video discussed at Y-net News, a Palestinian man about to blow himself up among Jewish civilians offers a prayer:
Angels of mercy, escort our souls to Heaven after we fulfill this duty of crushing the descendents of monkeys and pigs. Dear father and mother, blessings of honor and respect to you, while you escort me to the Maidens of Paradise as a Martyr.
I’m sure our government has correctly identified Mahmoud Abbas, former right-hand man of Yasser Arafat, as “a man of peace” and a true ally, as we heard this week from President Bush, who has been sending Mahmoud a lot of your money and some of mine. The only questions remaining are how much more of your money should we give him to help him promote peace, when will he be on Oprah, and when will he get the Nobel Peace Prize? And could there be a music video award in his future?
I also listened to the first part of the President of Iran’s carefully reasoned speech to the United Nations this week, and was touched to hear him make so many references to religion and God, describing their cause as one based on peace and mercy. Yes, it’s all about peace. Of course, it might be the Marxist definition of peace: “the elimination of all opposition.” I’m not sure that eliminating Israel or other peoples and religions is the best path toward peace, but at least peace is the goal. And world peace at that.
Peace. Do we really need it?
Anyway, maybe we need to keep up with the global competition with some new glitzy music videos of our own. Perhaps we can show a 19-year-old young man getting a haircut, putting on a white shirt and nametag, and then strapping some Books of Mormon to his chest and running into a crowd of atheists – perhaps an ACLU office party – or even more moving, a crowd of anti-Mormon ministers waving underwear over their heads at General Conference. Then, after his martyrdom, he gets a Macintosh laptop. OK, it’s not all that scriptural, but that’s marketing. And good co-branding as well.