BEIRUT — Al-Qaida members may be asked to give up their life in the name of jihad, but their job benefits were historically considered sacrosanct. With its leadership now splintered and resources stretched, the terrorist organization has been forced to make cutbacks in their once generous offerings.
The family of the late Majid Al-Majid, former commander of a Sunni militant group linked to al-Qaida, filed an official complaint with the group’s office of martyr resources after he died while in Lebanese custody this past Saturday.
“My husband died protecting the principles of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades,” said al-Majid’s widow, referring to the al-Qaida-linked Sunni militant group he headed. “The least the organization could do is provide the life insurance payout we were promised.”
Prior to Osama bin Laden’s death in 2011, al-Qaida “functioned really like a multinational,” said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert at Georgetown University.
Married members were entitled to a monthly salary and a week of vacation for every three worked under the old regime. This is in addition to the 72 virgins promised to jihadist martyrs, according to some interpretations of the Quran.
A representative from the office of martyr resources acknowledged that “current circumstances compelled a reduction in benefits,” but refused to provide updated policy details.
“Al-Majid’s preexisting kidney condition contributed to his death,” the unnamed representative explained. “We cannot be held responsible for his ultimate demise. At best, he’s looking at 12 virgins in the afterlife.”
The leader’s kidney troubles brought about his demise in more ways than one. Al-Majid was originally detained in an ambulance after he had undergone dialysis late last year.
Lebanese state-run media reported that al-Majid died “after his health conditions deteriorated” in a central military hospital.
The hospital’s chief nephrologist Farid Faysal explained that, “most deaths I see follow some sort of a deterioration of health. In fact, all of them do.”
Continued Faysal, “Fortunately, my union fights to ensure that my insurance would cover such eventualities. They make it clear to my employers that they’re either with us or against us, in terms of our insurance and 401(k) plan.”