Saddam Hussein Died A Muslim

The title of this post is a statement of fact. Before the hate mail starts to pour in, let me explain…No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

When I wrote my previous post, the ghastly cell phone video [CNN’s sanitized version is here] of Saddam Hussein’s execution had not yet surfaced. I had argued then that the execution would make a martyr out of Saddam. Now I am certain of it.

Saddam died reciting the Shahada, which is the first of the Five Pillars of Islam. The Shahada is the Muslim testimony of faith: "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his messenger." Saddam recited the longer form: "I testify that there is no god but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is his messenger." To become a Muslim, one has to recite the Shahada, usually in front of two other Muslims. Muslims will also recite the Shahada, as Saddam did, moments before death.

Every Muslim, including myself, knows the Shahada, in its original Arabic, by heart. The spectacle of Saddam Hussein, while he was being taunted by masked men moments before his death, reciting the Shahada had the effect of humanizing him to the Muslim world. The fact that the execution took place on Eid-ul-Azha did not particularly help his executioners’ cause with the Muslim world. The timing of the execution was an affront to Muslims – protestations that it was the Iraqis, and not Washington, who decided the timing will fall on deaf ears in the Arab and Muslim world.

Before Saddam’s execution, I did not think it was possible to humanize the Butcher of Baghdad – I was wrong. During Saddam’s rule, he sent many people to the gallows and torture chambers. His cruelty was well known throughout the Arab world. Yet, by putting him to death in such mafia fashion, with his executioners in death squad garb, the thugs of Iraq and their benefactors in the Bush Administration have managed a Herculean feat. Through the power of video, they have managed to humanize a tyrant.

Perhaps it is a sign of the times. Already in Iraq many long for the stability of Saddam’s rule. It is not difficult to imagine that the men who executed Saddam, while chanting "Moqtada! Moqtada! Moqtada!", are the same men who deposit tortured corpses of Sunni men, with drill holes in their heads, all around Iraq. The grainy execution video made it quite clear to anyone who was not paying attention that George W Bush has handed Iraq over to sectarian militias and death squads.

By some estimates, this new Iraq has already cost over 650,000 lives. Those numbers suggest that the thugs that rule Iraq today are far outpacing the deaths caused by Saddam Hussein’s regime. By comparison, Saddam looks good. This is a fine legacy for George W Bush and his war of choice.


This entry was posted in Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Iraq, Islam. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Saddam Hussein Died A Muslim

  1. Robbie says:

    This made me sick to my stomach. Many of us know the circle of violence will not end with Saddam’s death. Rather, it will escalate. All Americans –red, blue, left, right– have acquired a bullseye between their shoulder blades, courtesy of our money-grubbing leaders who are willing to sacrifice our lives for their financial gain.

  2. Mash says:

    Robbie, it kind of makes you wonder why Mr. Bush is involved in an Iraqi episode of the Sopranos.

    Miraz, good to hear from you. Haven’t seen a post on your blog for a while – I am curious about the situation there after the execution.

  3. MysticSaint says:

    Only God knows best!

  4. miraj says:

    May I suggest this summary about Saddam’s hanging written by Iraqi bloggers.

    Personaly I don’t think it will change anything if not increase the violence.

  5. Mash I didnt know you wuz a Islam!

    I will alert AG Gonzalez to your condition…

    I am sorry that you wont be in Heaven with me and GW…

    THere is still time to take up the snakes and repent! Jez let me know…

  6. Mash says:

    jeremiah, tell Ali G Gonzalez that I am yet to be saved :d

    Do I have to eat the snakes or can I just play with them?

  7. is that snake thang a euphemism? :-?:-?

  8. Mash says:

    Hmm…er…umm…look what time it is!…got to go….:-&

Comments are closed.