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April 25, 2002

An Interview With Prof. 'Adel Sadeq, Head of the Psychiatry Faculty at 'Ein Shams University in Cairo on the Psychological Structure of Suicide Bombers
Host: Let us begin at the beginning and ask, what is the psychological structure of the martyr? Who is the martyr? Who is this 17-year-old girl, planning to marry in 2 or 3 months, a beauty queen, who straps on an explosive belt and turns herself into a human bomb? What is the psychological structure of the martyr?

Prof. 'Adel Sadeq: The psychological structure is that of a person who loves life. Praise Allah, he is seeking death! This is the thing that may appear peculiar to people who see the human soul as the most supreme thing. They are incapable of understanding this because their cultural structure has no concepts such as self-sacrifice and honor. These concepts do not exist in some cultures and thus they find themselves, in the face of these models (suicide bombers), in a state of denial, in a state of total denial they think that this is impossible, and therefore they begin to present idiotic and silly interpretations.

Interviewer: You mean that the martyr is a person who loves life!

Prof. 'Adel Sadeq: Of course. When he is martyred, he reaches the apex of happiness. He reaches the height of ecstasy, a level of (ecstasy) that you and I do not know. We feel happiness when we pray to Allah, or, for example, when we win a large sum of money or have a great success. Then you feel happiness, joy, as if you are flying. The height of ecstasy and happiness - and I am talking to you as a professional, a psychiatrist - comes the moment just like the producer told you: ten, nine, eight, seven, six, two, six, five, four, three, two, and then he presses the button to blow himself up. The most beautiful moment, for which he would have time speed up, is the moment he says "one - hop" - this man explodes, and he feels that he is flying, because he is completely convinced that he will not die, and this is the difference between us and the West. [The Westerner] thinks that he turns into a corpse that burns and flies through the air. Look what kind of culture they have... But, in fact, this is the act of transition to another and more beautiful world and he knows very well that within seconds he will see the light of his Creator. He will be at the closest possible point to Allah. On the strategic level, there must be a pan-Arab plan to reach our goal. The goal of all of us is to liberate Palestine from the Israeli aggressors. To use words that people do not like: we will throw Israel into the sea. This phrase, by the way, is the truth. Either they will throw us into the sea, or we will throw them into the sea.
There is no compromise. Coexistence is all (nonsense)...

Interviewer: No, either us or them. Either us or them.