My dear Ahmed,

You are not only a devout Muslim; you want to be a martyr for Allah.  When I was your age I was a fervent Christian who became not a martyr but a member of a religious Order, dedicating my whole life to God.  I even became a Catholic priest, and for seven years ministered to those we called the People of God.  Forty years ago I abandoned my faith, because I began to ask myself a number of questions, and realized that I had been totally mistaken.  Before you pursue what you feel is your vocation, to fulfill the will of Allah by sacrificing your life as you destroy that of as large a number as possible of infidels, I would like you to consider the following questions :

  1.     You put absolute trust in the Koran and the ‘ahadith’, the deeds of the Prophet, and his ‘sunna’, his example.  You are faithful not only to the five precepts but have prepared yourself for a suicide mission which is to be the supreme expression of your faith in Allah and your loyalty to His Prophet.  You believe that what you intend to do is the will of God, not because some mollah or imam told you about the 72 ‘virgins’ (raisins ?), part of your eternal reward for the ultimate sacrifice, but because you believe in the precepts of the Koran.  But have you ever wondered WHY you believe the Koran is the very word of God ?  Like you, when I was young, I believed what I was told, by my family, my teachers and my priests.  (Had you been born into my family, and I in yours, I would be Muslim and you would be Christian !).  The Bible is the word of God.  The Koran is the word of God.  How can both be true ?  What if neither was true ?
  2.    Now that you and I have grown up, we should wonder what personal reasons we have for believing in our sacred books.  Most believers believe because people around them believe.  They never question what personal proof they have that your Koran or my Bible is the word of God.  What proof, in fact, do we have ?  What if our sacred books were the work of pious, well-meaning religious teachers who THOUGHT they were transmitting the word of God, but in reality were as much inspired by God as I am in writing this !
  3.    You know that most Muslims do not take literally the Koran’s precepts to kill infidels.  They prefer to ignore (as we ignore such precepts in our Old Testament) Sourate 5, verse 51, which insists that a believer cannot be a friend of a Jew or a Christian, and especially Sourate 2, verse 193 : “Fight them until there is no longer sedition and until the sole religion is that of Allah alone”, and, even more so, verse 191 of the same Sourate : “Kill them wherever you meet them.  Such is the retribution of the evil-doers.”  They are more comfortable with the texts which contradict the justification of the mass-murder you intend to commit, Ahmed, texts like those of Sourate 2, verse 62, which preach tolerance of other religions.  Why do you reject such appeals for peace and mutual acceptance ?  Are you sure you want to sacrifice your life by choosing a call to assassination rather than peaceful cohabitation ?
  4.    I am not suggesting, Ahmed, that you abandon belief in Allah.  I became an atheist because I realized that “God” is an invention of men, a figment of imagination to fulfill our wishful thinking about an afterlife.  If you arrive at the same conclusion, you would be an atheist like me.  But you can remain a practising Muslim and remain a member of your community and find a certain fulfillment in your religion.  Why waste all that life offers you by commiting suicide as well as murder, terminating your own life but also that of innocent victims and inflicting unbearable suffering on their families ?  Do you really think that Allah could be so vicious as to want you to do that ?     May peace be with you.