This is the disturbing profile of a released prisoner:
An unsuccessful suicide bomber released from prison as part of the deal to free Gilad Shalit, the Israeli conscript, on Wednesday vowed to fulfil a childhood ambition by "sacrificing" her life for the Palistinian cause. As she returned to her family home in northern Gaza, Wafa al-Bis said she would seize any opportunity to mount another suicide mission – and encouraged dozens of cheering schoolchildren to follow her example.
Bis was one of hundreds of Palestinian militants freed by Israel on Tuesday in the first phase of a prisoner swap agreed with Hamas, Gaza's Islamist overlords, to win the freedom of Sgt Maj Shalit after five years in solitary confinement. But as Israel celebrated the return of its captive soldier, her words will chill critics of the deal who argue that many of the 1,027 Palestinians who are to be released from prison will rededicate themselves to violence once they have been freed.
Bis was just 21 when, in 2005, she volunteered to undertake a suicide mission in Israel commissioned by the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a militant group that waged a campaign of violence during the Second Intifada. Her target, Israel says, was a hospital where she had been given permission to seek treatment for burns she sustained in a gas tank explosion. She never got there. Stopped by suspicious Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint on Gaza's border, she was discovered with 22-lbs of explosives sewn into a belt inside her underwear. Bis tried to blow herself up but the detonator malfunctioned.
I remember when she was taken, because of my disappointment with so many aspects of her planned attack -- not the least of which was her choice of bombing an Israeli hospital that was full of innocent people and had offered her medical care in her distress.
While not all Christian women live up to the demands of the vocation to which they are called, John Paul II reminds us that giving life is at the core of our femininity:
Motherhood involves a special communion with the mystery of life, as it develops in the woman's womb. The mother is filled with wonder at this mystery of life, and "understands" with unique intuition what is happening inside her. In the light of the "beginning", the mother accepts and loves as a person the child she is carrying in her womb. This unique contact with the new human being developing within her gives rise to an attitude towards human beings - not only towards her own child, but every human being - which profoundly marks the woman's personality (Mulieris Dignitatem, 18).
Perhaps Ms Bis is not accurately portraying the Muslim ideal of womanhood. In this case, rather than being left with the image of "cheering schoolchildren," I would hope that someone who cares about the image of Islam would correct this misconception -- for the sake of the students and the wider world.