A Muslim Extremist who is recovering after a near-death experience, has astounded clerics with his extraordinary tale of what happened to him after his near-death.
Would-be suicide bomber, Abdul al-Habiri, aborted his plan only moments before he was due to self-detonate, and then suffered a heart attack. Today, he recounted his story to Muslim Extremist leaders, and told them that, as his body floated weightlessly in the ether, he was met, not by the regulation doe-eyed 72 virgins, but by a plate of chilled raisins.
The horrific image then disappeared in an instant as Mr al-Habiri's mind clouded over, and he was whisked back to a dismal earthly reality, in a Baghdad marketplace.
Scholars have long-since argued that ancient texts have been misinterpreted, and that, many obscurities of the Koran disappear if we read certain words as being Syriac - an Aramaic dialect - and not Arabic.
For example, in Syriac, the word 'hur' - in Arabic 'virgin' - is a feminine plural adjective meaning white, with the word "raisin" understood implicitly. Similarly, the immortal, pearl-like ephebes or youths mentioned in the Koran, are really a misreading of a Syriac expression meaning chilled raisins (or drinks) that the just will have the pleasure of tasting in contrast to the boiling drinks promised to the unfaithful and damned.
The news has come as a major blow to all Muslims, not just those prepared to blow themselves to smithereens in the hope of some 'Nooky Nirvana', although, strangely, even the Koran does not promise this.
The virgin story, even if Arabic is the correct tongue, provides that all Muslims on Earth are entitled to this treat. Only in Traditions, the collected sayings and doings attributed to the Prophet and traced back to him through a series of trustworthy witnesses, is martyrdom spoken of, whilst suicide is forbidden.
The Koran does not refer to suicide anywhere in its pages, although the noblest of all causes, Jihad, a religious duty and a divine institution, is. While suicide may be forbidden, martyrdom is everywhere praised, welcomed, and urged, although presumably, not by blowing oneself up in a crowded marketplace for the reward of a plateful of cold raisins.
Plans were being made this afternoon for Mr al-Habiri to once again be whisked away, this time to a secret destination in a sandy grave somewhere, in order that his revelatory, and, to Fundamentalists, potentially-damaging, tale be buried with him.