Woman Bomber Unrepentant
Al-Hayat: Sajidah Mubarak Atrus al-Rishawi, who attempted to detonate a belt bomb at the Radisson SAS hotel in Amman last Wednesday night is still unrepentant. She insists that she is fighting “the infidels and apostates from among the Muslims.”
(Mainstream Sunni Muslim authorities frown on viewing other Sunnis as non-Muslims for lack of strict practice or belief, preferring to see them as simply bad Muslims. Militants who “excommunicate” [takfir] other Muslims set the stage thereby for committing violence against these persons, who are seen by the takfiris to have abandoned Islam and to have given up any right to be treated as human beings.)
Jordanian authorities report that her husband, Ali Husain al-Shamari (who did set off his bomb), had married her only very recently and that the two were childless. They thought it likely that al-Shamari’s purpose in marrying Sajidah was to make it legitimate for her to accompany him on the mission. (In the largely gender-segregated Middle East, for an unmarried woman to travel in close company with an unrelated male would be raise eyebrows and draw unwanted attention.)
The Jordanian officials maintained that Sajidah, who was born in 1970, knows virtually nothing about religion and that she never got beyond sixth grade in school. They say that when she was asked about the turmoil (fitnah) her action would have caused, she asked “what does this word “fitnah” mean?”
All the members of her family were members of al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. She uses terminology that suggests that she is a professional terrorist. In addition to her brother, Tamir Atrus, who was killed at Fallujah, she has a surviving brother, who is still active in the organization around Ramadi.
Western reporting is saying that she had two brothers beyond Tamir, and that both of them had been killed by US forces. On this one, I’d trust al-Hayat until we see further evidence.
Her sister was married to Nidal Arabiyat, a Jordanian explosives expert who was killed in Iraq last year. Nidal had been in Afghanistan in 1999 for explosives training and then came back to join Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq in 2003.
The AP report says that she fled to the couple’s rented apartment in a taxi and arrived with blood on her clothes, and stayed there until she was arrested.
Al-Hayat says that when her belt failed to detonate, Sajidah fled the scene and drove alone in a rental car to Salt, where she tried to find the father of Nidal Arabiyat (her late brother-in-law) in that city. Some reports suggest that the senior Arabiyat promptly turned her over to the Jordanian security. Others contradict this assertion and say that she was caught before she could find the Arabiyat home.
AP agrees that she tried to contact Arabiyat but has her do it from her apartment in Amman near the University.
Sajidah is an Iraqi from the Al-Bu-Rishiyyah clan that lives in the region of al-Tawa near Ramadi. Al-Hayat’s Iraqi sources said that Iraqi Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi belongs to the same clan. It is a sept of the Al-Bu-Kulayb tribe, which is famous for its smuggling activities during the past decade. Some of them settled agricultural land. Some were accused of looting Kuwaiti palaces during the Iraqi occupation of that country.
The four received their belt bombs only once they were in Jordan, though this information does not imply that they received the bombs from Jordanians. Ali Husain al-Shamari and Sajidah rented an apartment behind the University of Jordan in Talal al-Ali.
Al-Hayat says that many activists in the Jordanian Jihadi Salafi (militant Sunni fundamentalist) groups have left their homes for mountainous regions, for fear of the reaction from the Jordanian secret police. Others surrendered themselves to the local police station.
Jordanian security officials said that they more than once discovered information suggesting that al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia was striving to spread its activities beyond Iraq. This alert set off extra surveillance of the jihadis in Jordan, but then Iraqi agents were used.
There is a push in Jordan to outlaw the takfiri groups that believe in “excommunicating” other Muslims who do not agree with their militancy. A new anti-terrorism law would be modeled on British legislation, with the intent of confronting “ideas of excommunication.”