Like everyone else since the 9/11 attacks I've heard this story of the 72 virgins awaiting Islamist terrorists in the paradise their religion has in store for them.
So I wanted to know whether that was true or a totally fictitious reading of the Qur'an by western media.
After a few seconds I landed on WikiIslam which, I suppose, is as reliable as Wikipedia. A few more seconds and I found here what I was looking after.
Indeed it seems there's a passage in the Qur'an which alludes to the possibility of a reward for Muslims sacrificing their lives for the cause of Allah. The rest is all made of interpretations by Muslim commentators who also believe there are God given eternal truths.
WikiIslam isn't extolling about this issue; it simply does the job Wikipedia does: The articles are neutral and documented.
Here is another article by an American with a typical American sense of humor that I'm very fond of. He makes very good points and isn't at all specifically critical of Islam per se. Actually, for what I understand the guy is an atheist.
"nonfundamentalist Muslims don't take the cosmological parts of the Koran any more literally than nonfundamentalist Christians take the biblical story of Genesis"
"But don't be too quick to judge. Christianity, after all, invented the idea of paradise in the first place."
Now the point I wanted to make is that I find it hard to believe that Muslim suicide-bombers engage in terrorism just because of this tall story of 72 virgins they'll get as reward.
To so believe amounts to deliberately ignore the deep political and historical reasons why fundamentalist Islamists engage into the Jihad.
I don't think the 17 terrorists who committed the 9/11 attacks did so for the sole purpose of getting 72 hotties in their afterlife. And the same applies for the Iraqis or Afghans who blow themselves up when fighting what they rightly consider invaders and occupiers of their country.
No, these guys aren't that dumb although you can't exclude the possibility that one simpleton is. But even Zaccharia Moussaoui wasn't that stupid. He was brainwashed but for what we know he wasn't enrolled by al-Qaeda with the promise of getting 72 big breasted babes after he dies.
So if it appears that there's some truth in this 72 virgin story, I suspect there has been some manipulation of these readings of a tiny part of the Qur'an in order to downplay the real motivations of Islamist terrorists.