They blew themselves up, in exchange for paradise. But now many Al-Qaeda martyrs say it is something of an anti-climax.
‘I shouldn’t complain, it is the heaven I wanted,’ says Mohammed Atta, the Egyptian fanatic who piloted a hijacked plane into one of the twin towers on 9/11. ‘The trouble is that once you’ve spent a day in the garden sipping sherbet, you sort of wonder ‘Is that it?’.
Many were not prepared for the lack of exclusivity. Ziad Jarrah, the Lebanese national who hijacked United 93, said groups of American fundamentalist Christians had made life uncomfortable by floating by on clouds singing hymns. ‘It must be excruciating for the poor old Jews in the next garden,’ he said.
Many envy the Hindus, who briefly pass through paradise and disappear after reincarnation. ‘But it’s impossible to get on the waiting list,’ said one.