Sunday Times reported Even by the stupefying standards of Iraq’s unspeakable violence, the murder of Atwar Bahjat, one of the country’s top television journalists, was an act of exceptional cruelty. Nobody but her killers knew just how much she had suffered until a film showing her death on February 22 at the hands of two musclebound men in military uniforms emerged last week. Her family’s worst fears of what might have happened have been far exceeded by the reality.
Bahjat was abducted after making three live broadcasts from the edge of her native city of Samarra on the day its golden-domed Shi’ite mosque was blown up, allegedly by Sunni terrorists. Roadblocks prevented her from entering the city and her anxiety was obvious to everyone who saw her final report. Night was falling and tensions were high. Two men drove up in a pick-up truck, asking for her. She appealed to a small crowd that had gathered around her crew but nobody was willing to help her. It was reported at the time that she had been shot dead with her cameraman and sound man. We now know that it was not that swift for Bahjat. First she was stripped to the waist, a humiliation for any woman but particularly so for a pious Muslim who concealed her hair, arms and legs from men other than her father and brother.
It sounds like she was a good Muslim. I wonder if the men who killed her ever read Surat an-Nisa,093 (Quran 4.93) which says "If a man kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell, to abide therein (For ever): And the wrath and the curse of Allah are upon him, and a dreadful penalty is prepared for him."Then her arms were bound behind her back. A golden locket in the shape of Iraq that became her glittering trademark in front of the television cameras must have been removed at some point — it is nowhere to be seen in the grainy film, which was made by someone who pointed a mobile phone at her as she lay on a patch of earth in mortal terror. By the time filming begins, the condemned woman has been blindfolded with a white bandage.
It is stained with blood that trickles from a wound on the left side of her head. She is moaning, although whether from the pain of what has already been done to her or from the fear of what is about to be inflicted is unclear. Just as Bahjat bore witness to countless atrocities that she covered for her television station, Al-Arabiya, during Iraq’s descent into sectarian conflict, so the recording of her execution embodies the depths of the country’s depravity after three years of war.
A large man dressed in military fatigues, boots and cap approaches from behind and covers her mouth with his left hand. In his right hand, he clutches a large knife with a black handle and an 8in blade. He proceeds to cut her throat from the middle, slicing from side to side. Her cries — “Ah, ah, ah” — can be heard above the “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) intoned by the holder of the mobile phone.
Do they think that by saying “Allahu akbar” they will avoid the penalty called for by Quran 4.93?Even then, there is no quick release for Bahjat. Her executioner suddenly stands up, his job only half done. A second man in a dark T-shirt and camouflage trousers places his right khaki boot on her abdomen and pushes down hard eight times, forcing a rush of blood from her wounds as she moves her head from right to left. Only now does the executioner return to finish the task. He hacks off her head and drops it to the ground, then picks it up again and perches it on her bare chest so that it faces the film-maker in a grotesque parody of one of her pieces to camera. The voice of one of the Arab world’s most highly regarded and outspoken journalists has been silenced. She was 30.
Robert Spencer blogged Anyone who thinks that God's greatness is established by such acts of barbaric cruelty must be resisted at all costs. Yet those who hold to the same ideology, and who think that God Himself will grant Paradise to those who "kill and are killed" for Him (Qur'an 9:111), are streaming into Western countries, by the design and forethought of Western leaders, with no attempt whatsoever made to determine whether or not they approve of such slaughters and the ideology that motivates them. This is insane.
Greyhawk blogged Regardless of which side in the conflict killed her (and I have my own thoughts on that - in the eyes of her killers her greatest crime was most likely being a woman outside of a kitchen) the London Times reporter can't resist a mild apology for their act:
Just as Bahjat bore witness to countless atrocities that she covered for her television station, Al-Arabiya, during Iraq’s descent into sectarian conflict, so the recording of her execution embodies the depths of the country’s depravity after three years of war.In truth, it represents a depth of depravity achieved over centuries. From the description, her killers hadn't just conceived or improvised their method execution on the spot - they seem to have been well practiced. But such is the nature of the enemy in this war, and perhaps this is their most sacred and well honed knowledge: if a brutality can be inflicted that exceeds all human ability to comprehend, the humans will find a way to deny it. Or excuse it. Or simply look the other way.
Michelle Malkin blogged Insanely evil.