“Salaam, Aziz ! I understand you plan to blow yourself up, along with the Eiffel Tower and a few hundred tourists. Could you tell me how you came to make this decision ?”
“Praised be Allah and His Prophet for allowing me to explain the most important decision in my life. It is kind of you to take time out from your busy schedule here in the mosque to listen to me. But I must first ask you, my dear Imam, to respect my secret which I suppose you learned from my brother, who had however sworn to say nothing to anybody.”
“Your brother unfortunately is not a good Muslim but he does love you.”
“Well, actually, it’s pretty simple. I just turned nineteen and have done my best all my life to be faithful to our religion. I want to please Allah by punishing His enemies and join Him as soon as possible in Paradise.”
“But why give up all that life offers, for one that many say does not exist ? Not only atheists – may Allah enlighten or destroy them according to His holy will – but half-baked believers in our own faith would say you are giving up a life that is real, for one that at best is uncertain, if not a pipe-dream ?”
“I pity such people. I have Allah’s word for it in the Koran. I want to be a martyr. All my life I’ve been waiting for a chance to show how much I believe that God is great and how much I hate His enemies.”
“Praise His name ! Aziz, you have chosen the path of perfection ! If you could arrange to perform this sacred act on July 14, it would be something that France and the whole world will never forget. I just wanted to make sure you knew what you were doing.”
Aziz got his short-cut to Heaven, but not the way he expected. He was sitting with friends outside a café across the road from the Pantheon when it was blown up by other jihadists. They each got their promised seventy-two virgins, but Aziz got none. It is not enough to have good intentions.