Monthly Archives: January 2015

Ali, Boutros, Chadli, Daud, Ekram, Faisal, Ghulam, Habib, Ishmael, Ja’far, Khalid, Lutfullah, Malik, Nusrat, Omar, Quddus, Rashad, Sadik, Tariq, Uday, Wajdi, Yakub and Zafar.

Upon the occasion of his seventeenth birthday, Ali was taken to the tent of Hassan-i Sabbah, King of Assassins. The old man greeted him with an affectionate kiss on the head.

‘You are the most blessed of the blessed,’ he said. ‘You have pledged your life to Allah the most merciful. Your reward will be great.’

Ali bent his knee. ‘I thank you, my lord, for giving me the chance to show my love for Allah and my fellow muslims.’

‘Put this on. It is your passport to Paradise.’ Hassan-i Sabbah, the Old Man of the Mountains, handed Ali a suicide vest. It was pure goat skin packed with high explosive. ‘Die as Allah wills it and when you arrive in Heaven, you will have forty virgins waiting for you.’

Gladly, Ali donned the vest then followed Hassan-i Sabbah into an adjoining tent where other boys his own age were lined up. All of them wore passports to paradise.

‘Ali,’ said Hassan-i Sabbah, ‘let me introduce you to your fellow martyrs. Here is Boutros, Chadli, Daud, Ekram, Faisal, Ghulam, Habib, Ishmael, Ja’far, Khalid, Lutfullah, Malik, Nusrat, Omar, Quddus, Rashad, Sadik, Tariq, Uday, Wajdi, Yakub and Zafar. They, like you, have sworn to kill as many infidels as Allah permits. They will join you in Paradise…’

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Ali was smiling serenely as he boarded the subway train. He was smiling partly in anticipation of the forty virgins he knew would be waiting for him in Paradise, but mostly he was smiling because of the pills Hassan-i Sabbah had commanded him to swallow before setting out on his mission.

In other trains in other cities around the world, the boys he had met in Hassan-i Sabbah’s tent had already taken their places.

Ali sat between a pregnant woman and a heavily made-up girl with pierced lips and a crucifix dangling from her neck. ‘Whores,’ he muttered, by which he meant every woman on the train.

As the train left the station, a bony finger pressed a button in Afghanistan and sent a signal that bounced off satellites and fed into the mobile phone systems of the world. In less than a second, the signal reached its many targets and unleashed the wrath of Hassan-i Sabbah.

Ali was blown to Kingdom Come at the exact same moment as Boutros, Chadli, Daud, Ekram, Faisal, Ghulam, Habib, Ishmael, Ja’far, Khalid, Lutfullah, Malik, Nusrat, Omar, Quddus, Rashad, Sadik, Tariq, Uday, Wajdi, Yakub, Zafar and hundreds of innocent people.

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As Hassan-i Sabbah had promised, death didn’t hurt one bit. Dressed all in white, Ali found himself standing on a large fluffy cloud.

‘Welcome to Paradise,’ said a bearded man in a white suit. ‘I am the Angel Gabriel and it falls to me to see that you get your just reward.’ He waved a hand and a tent appeared. ‘This is to be your home for all eternity. I trust you will find it comfortable.’

‘And the forty virgins I was promised?’ asked Ali.

‘They will be your sole companions for now and forever. This way, please.’

Ali followed Gabriel into the tent, wherein forty virgins awaited his arrival.

‘Ali, here are your virgins,’ said Gabriel. ‘Meet Boutros, Chadli, Daud, Ekram, Faisal, Ghulam, Habib, Ishmael, Ja’far, Khalid, Lutfullah, Malik, Nusrat, Omar, Quddus, Rashad, Sadik, Tariq, Uday, Wajdi, Yakub, Zafar…’

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