Eating Hearts II

Prof. Jeffrey Kaplan, Distinguished Fellow, Danube Institute

On 26 October, the Jerusalem Post published a picture of an Israeli soldier holding a scrap of paper which Israel claimed to have taken from a dead Hamas terrorist. On the paper were instructions to Hamas fighters to kill Jews, behead them and to eat their hearts and livers. It was an appalling instruction, but not one that is unique to Hamas. In 2013, Khalid al-Hamad, a Syrian resistance leader, did exactly the same on a battlefield in the Syrian Civil War. The victim was a soldier fighting for the Assad regime, which has indeed retained power. The act was filmed and distributed throughout the Middle East. The act was redolent in Islamic history, though not as a positive example. Hind, whose name is still cursed in the Islamic world, ran onto the field of battle in the sixth century, during the time of the Prophet Mohammad, and cut out and ate the heart or liver (sources differ) of a fallen enemy fighter. The battlefield repast disgusted both sides, and women were no longer allowed to accompany fighters into battle, which was the practice for centuries in the tribal world of ancient Arabia. Eating hearts and livers thus has a considerable history...

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