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Malik Faisal Akram’s Quest for a “Bride”

Malik Faisal Akram’s family reportedly told investigators that he had simply gone to America in order to find a bride. It is crucial to understand the jihadi use of the word "bride" concerning this near fatal terrorist attack on the Jewish community's Colleyville's Beth Israel Synagogue.

*Wikicommons - the Police at the Colleyville Synagogue on the day of the attack

On the face of it, the proffered family's rationale for their son's trip to America sounds so innocent, wholesome even routine and utterly harmless. However, in the reverse world of jihad, its meaning and intent are violently lethal.

In Malik’s world women are merely objects to be hunted, found and taken hostage -- bride stealing. There are no rights.

Indeed the word “bride” in jihadi slang connotes the act to carry out a terrorist attack. This should have been apparent to the family, had they wanted to stop him. Jihadi attacks are known to be family affairs. Even brother Gulbar's reported conversation, his “allegedly” attempt to talk Malik down from killing himself rings hollow.

It also remains unclear if authorities connected the dots when family rationale was given to them concerning Malik's trip. Questions abound . . .

Can proof be found for decoding the meaning of “bride” in jihadi slang? Yes, if we revisit the term “wedding” used by the death pilots of 9/11.

Here are just three examples of the jihadi "wedding" and its "bride" which are excerpted from my first book The Banality of Suicide Terrorism:

Bassamat al-Farah = The Wedding Smile preceding a jihadi attack:

In seeking to reconquer Europe and reestablish the caliphate, marriage, martyrdom, and blood are intimately linked together for the terrorist group. Like the two sides of a coin, the terrorist group has a true self and a false self. The true group self is oriented toward the umma, or private Islamic community. It calls the suicide bomber a shahid, his act the Ars al-Shahada, and his nuptial smile, or bassamat al-Farah. Indeed, Mohammed Atta explicitly wrote about the wedding in the detailed instructions he gave to his fellow Death Pilots so they could prepare themselves for the 9/11 attacks: “8. Let your breast be filled with gladness, for there is nothing between you and your wedding but mere seconds.” p. 37

. . .

Ars al-Shahada = The Martyr’s Marriage:

The Tunisian psychoanalyst Abdelwahab Bouhdiba noted that Muslims love to marry, but he failed to mention this particular kind of marriage, which is called Ars al-Shahada, or the “martyr’s marriage.” p. 62

. . .

The Martyr’s Marriage of the Suicide Attack:

Phone calls aside, an Arabic poem Hezbollah made popular when Jarrah [one of the 9/11 death pilots] was a boy in Beirut tells of a mother who busies herself with her son’s wedding plans. The son abruptly tells her that he will not marry; instead, the appointed day will mark his death: “The day I meet the black-eyed virgins [will be] my wedding, in this world [it] is my day of martyrdom; and the blood on my face is my decoration.” Lacking the capacity for metaphor as well as the ability to contain his rage, Jarrah and the others literally acted out the poem in their martyrs’ marriage of suicide and homicide. p. 76

Malik Faisal Akram was merely following the well-worn, predictable path of jihad, which is known in Arabic as fi sabil Allah, fighting in the path of Allah. This path has been traveled for more than a thousand years. It is the bridal path which leads to their wedding of death.

Melanie Phillips has written eloquently about the unspoken rampant Islamic antisemitism found in Blackburn, Malik Faisal Akram’s home town. Jew hatred starts in the home.

But why did the Brits drop Malik from being under surveillance given that he was a hardened criminal? And why did the US allow him into the country?

The answer is actually simple – psychological denial. Jihadi behavior is terrifying. We still fail to admit it. It has its own unique sadomasochism which is so perversely alluring that it causes one to turn a blind eye.

Unfortunately, Malik Faisal Akram’s terrorist attack will not be the last launched against the Jews. Undoubtedly other jihadis will go in search of their “bride” but at least now the blinders have been lifted on the meaning of the term. Malik Faisal Akram’s coming to America meant killing Jews. After the jihadi come for the Jew, then he comes for you.

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Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin, Ph.D.

Psychoanalyst Counter Terrorist Expert

Psychoanalyst Counter Terrorist Expert

The aim of this blog is to promote and advance an understanding of the relationship of early childhood to the jihadis’ violent behavior and externalized hatred. Many aspects of culture will be addressed in order to do a deep dive and a deep dig into the unconscious behavior behind all the political ideologies and the verbiage. 


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