This painting of a suicide bomber was created because Bert felt the need to make a statement about the hideous idea of killing in the name of God. As an atheist he finds the idea that humans will take a religious point of view and then use that to kill others absolutely abhorrent.
Suicide bombing is a recently new atrocity, and much of it (but by no means all) is perpetrated by people of the Islamic faith. Having read the Koran Bert believes that it is a discriminatory, intolerant, violent and often contradictory piece of writing. He chose this particular quote because it is just the sort of thing that would have been taught to this young man. The artist believes in non-violence and freedom of speech (amongst many beliefs) and what he has done is take an image from rotten.com and added the Koranic text to create the final composition.
Bert neither perpetrated this foolish act nor wrote the Koran, so if any Muslim’s find themselves offended then so be it. It wasn’t created with the intent of insulting any person at all (offence is always taken never given). It was however created with the intention of saying the following – Stop this disgusting violence in the name of God.
When the artist first came across this suicide bomber image there was some text explaining the story behind the image. The photo was taken in Iraq by the soldier who shot him. The suicide bomber was walking up to a roadside checkpoint shouting “Allah akbhar” (god is great) and despite being given several warnings he continued. The result is as you can see.
Bert spent 215 hours painting this and he thought a lot about the human whose name he didn’t know, who’s ‘portrait’ he was now painting. And he genuinely felt sorry for him because he has made a stupid (and very morally wrong) decision at the point he has decided to put on that bomb vest. He’ll never achieve his martyrdom, and he’ll make little impact on the occupancy of the American armed forces and worst of all in the name of God he actually thought he was doing God’s will. Bert does not support the war in Iraq (or almost any war) in any way, shape or form. The artist understands that he wanted the American’s out but suicide bombing isn’t the answer.
Source image: rotten.com
Chapter 9:111, The Koran
God has taken from the faithful their lives and worldly goods, and in return has promised them the Garden.
They will fight for the cause of God, they will slay and be slain.
Such is the true promise which He has made them in the Torah, the Gospel and the Koran.
And who is more true to his pledge than God?
Rejoice in the bargain you have made.
That is the supreme triumph.
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