April 12, 2002


Saudi Telethon Raises Millions for Palestinians (Associated Press, 4/12/02)
A princess donated her Rolls-Royce, one woman gave up her dowry and other Saudis poured millions of dollars into a fund to help families of Palestinian "martyrs" in a nationwide telethon Thursday.

Wheelchair-bound children braved unseasonable rain in Riyadh, the capital, to drop cash into plastic boxes outside the state-run television station, which, along with the radio, was organizing the drive. Long lines of cars jammed the area, with drivers giving cash, gold jewelry and clothes to volunteers with collection bags.

In the first five hours of the 11-hour fund-raising campaign, $11.9 million had been donated. "We love you," said Sheik Saleh bin Hussein Ayed, a member of the Islamic Affairs Ministry, addressing the Palestinians during the telethon. "We cannot forget you or ignore what's happening to you by the [Israeli] aggressors."

The event, ordered by King Fahd and broadcast live by local and Saudi-owned satellite channels, aims to help relatives of "martyrs," a term that has been used by the Palestinians to refer to anyone killed by Israelis or in operations against Israel--including suicide bombers.

You'll have to forgive me if I'm a little confused here, but as a Christian I'd like nothing better than to enter Heaven one day. If you promised me that's where I was headed and the wife and kids could either go with me or meet me there, I'd be ready to go.

In Islam, we're told, martyrs get to go straight to Paradise. And the entire Islamic world apparently considers anyone the Israelis kill to be a martyr. So maybe you can explain this to me, if we're being respectful of Islamic beliefs, why is it a bad thing for the Israelis to kill them?

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 12, 2002 3:08 PM
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