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Mother Sent Sons on Suicide Missions, Becomes Hamas Candidate

Arab mother Um Nidal sent three children on anti-Israel death missions. Now she is the first female candidate on the Hamas list in the upcoming Palestinian Authority (PA) parliamentary elections.
By Baruch Gordon
First Publish: 12/21/2005, 4:20 PM / Last Update: 12/21/2005, 1:57 PM

Um Nidal, also known as Mariam Farahat, became famous when she was filmed bidding her 17-year-old son Mohammed farewell to die through terror. She ordered him "not to return except as a shahid [martyr for Allah]" - and he followed through.

Political observers in the PA are convinced that Hamas' fielding Um Nidal as a candidate will gain the terrorist group votes.

Palestinian Media Watch Directors Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook commented on Nidal's nomination, "It is striking, and indicative of the very nature of Palestinian society as one that accepts and values terror as a way of life, that a woman could be chosen to be a legislator solely by virtue of her celebration of her son's terrorism and death."

Marcus is quick to add that the phenomenon is not limited to extremists in the PA: "We are trying to point out that the adoration of mothers who send their sons to die is not a fringe sentiment in PA society. It is mainstream, promoted by the leaders and the academic infrastructure as well."

In the film that made Nidal famous, she advised her son on combat techniques before he murdered five Jewish students in the Gush Katif town of Atzmona on March 7, 2002.

The five students, who were taking part in a Torah lecture at the time at the local pre-military religious academy, heard explosions and gunfire; they turned off the lights and lay down on the floor. The terrorist then entered the lecture hall, spraying gunfire and throwing grenades at the unarmed students. In addition to the five murdered, 24 others were wounded, including three seriously.

In another interview filmed after the terrorist attack, Nidal explained that it was a mother's love for her son that motivated her to be joyous over his Shahada (martyr's) death. With the distribution of the two filmed segments, Um Nidal instantly became a heroine and role model among the Arabs of the PA.

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) released the video depicting Nidal sending her 17-year-old son to his death, as well as her interview after his attack. The PMW video starts with a short segment of her starring in a new 25-minute Hamas election video released this month.

Click "play" below to view the PMW video
click here if video does not appear



Nidal's son Nidhal was eliminated by the IDF in 2003 while preparing for an attack against Israeli troops.

Her third son Rawad was in a vehicle laden with Kassam rockets earlier this year when an Israel Air Force helicopter scored a direct missile hit on it, abruptly terminating his terrorist career.

Um Nidal has three more sons.

President of Al-Quds University Sari Nusseibeh, hailed as a moderate in the West, had strong words of praise for Nidal during an Al-Jazeera interview:
Sari Nusseibeh: "What comes to mind as I listen to sister Um Nidal is the verse 'Paradise is under the feet of the mothers'. Praise is due to this woman, and to every Palestinian mother..."

Um Nidal (explaining why she sent her son to die): "My son is not dearer than Islam. I have offered him as a gift and a sacrifice to Allah, may he be glorified, and to His true faith..."
[Al-Jazeera, July 14, 2002]


Marcus points out, "Moderation in PA society is relative to people who may be suicide bombers, but relative to western standards, even the most moderate Palestinians have extreme terror-promoting ideology."

Arab society in the PA responded to Um Nidal by dubbing her the "Al-Khansa of Palestine (see Palestine Info website). Al-Khansa is a heroic figure from Islamic history who is glorified and revered solely for celebrating the deaths of her four shahid (martyred) sons. The PA has underscored the importance of joyfully sacrificing sons for Allah in many different ways. In Bethlehem, Jenin, Nablus, Khan Yunis and Rafiah, girls' schools were named after Al-Khansa, sending a clear message to young girls about their future role as the mothers of shahids.

Al-Khansah was honored in a televised play and official sermon by the PA on International Women's Day.

Marcus says, "Transforming Palestinian society into one that unabashedly embraces terror has necessitated terror promotion at all levels of its social, educational and political infrastructure. One of the most important components has been the indoctrination of mothers to see the deaths of their sons as positive - even beneficial - for their sons and their family status."

Armed with numerous examples of video documentation which appear below, Marcus concludes, "The Palestinian Authority has accordingly made it a principle to honor not only suicide terrorists but also the mothers who actively send their sons on suicide terror missions, as well as the mothers who express joy after their sons' Shahada - Death for Allah."

  • In the clip below, a mother describes the suicide death of her two sons as a "wedding."
    Click here to play video.
  • In this clip, a mother describes how she prayed during her pilgrimage to Mecca for her son to die as a shahid. Click here to play video.
  • A Palestinian Authority social welfare official explains how the governing bodies teach "daughters and granddaughters" to celebrate the death of sons as a wedding. Click here to play video.
  • A mother describes how her son sought Shahada in order to marry the "Dark Eyed" - the 72 maidens (or virgins) of Paradise. Click here to play video.
  • A mother describes how she hoped her son would die because "I wanted the best for him," and because it would bring honor to her entire family. Click here to play video.
  • A PA TV video clip, broadcast for years, directed mothers to send their sons to battle. The actress portraying a mother is shown expressing the traditional sound of joy after her son is killed. She then hands his gun to her next son and sends him into combat. Click here to play video.
  • The mother of a murderer of three Israelis describers her joy upon hearing of her son's death, and recounts that he aspired to Shahada because, in the son's words, "72 Dark Eyed [Maidens] of Paradise are waiting for me." Click here to play video.