Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Making of Muslim Murderers

A consensus is emerging that "home grown"muslim terrorists have little religious faith, few skills and low social status. They use terror to force their host societies to grant them respect and allow them to continue to subjugate women. They'll lose.

Theodore Dalrymple is a Brit doctor who works with the Brit underclass, including Muslims. His conclusions are here (my ellipsis).

Young Muslim men in Britain—as in France and elsewhere in the West—have a problem of personal, cultural, and national identity. They are deeply secularized, with little religious faith, even if most will admit to a belief in God. Their interest in Islam is slight. They do not pray or keep Ramadan...They dress indistinguishably from their white and black contemporaries, and affect the same hairstyles and mannerisms...(They) take drugs, including heroin. They drink, indulge in casual sex, and make nightclubs the focus of their lives.

However secular the tastes of the young Muslim men, they strongly wish to maintain the male dominance they have inherited from their parents. A sister who has the temerity to choose a boyfriend for herself, or who even expresses a desire for an independent social life, is likely to suffer a beating, followed by surveillance of Stasi-like thoroughness.

The young men instinctively understand that their inherited system of male domination—which provides them, by means of forced marriage, with sexual gratification at home while simultaneously freeing them from domestic chores and allowing them to live completely Westernized lives outside the home, including further sexual adventures into which their wives cannot inquire—is strong but brittle, rather as communism was: it is an all or nothing phenomenon, and every breach must meet swift punishment.

These savages are despised by their host societies and so are discontented and full of rage.

A man in prison who told me that he wanted to be a suicide bomber was more hate-filled than any man I have ever met. The offspring of a broken marriage between a Muslim man and a female convert, he had followed the trajectory of many young men in his area: sex and drugs and rock and roll, untainted by anything resembling higher culture. Violent and aggressive by nature, intolerant of the slightest frustration to his will and frequently suicidal, he had experienced taunting during his childhood because of his mixed parentage. After a vicious rape for which he went to prison, he converted to a Salafist form of Islam and became convinced that any system of justice that could take the word of a mere woman over his own was irredeemably corrupt.

I noticed one day that his mood had greatly improved; he was communicative and almost jovial, which he had never been before. I asked him what had changed in his life for the better. He had made his decision, he said. Everything was resolved. He was not going to kill himself in an isolated way, as he had previously intended. Suicide was a mortal sin, according to the tenets of the Islamic faith. No, when he got out of prison he would not kill himself; he would make himself a martyr, and be rewarded eternally, by making himself into a bomb and taking as many enemies with him as he could.

Enemies, I asked; what enemies? How could he know that the people he killed at random would be enemies? They were enemies, he said, because they lived happily in our rotten and unjust society.

Surveys suggest that...between 98,000 and 208,000 (of Brit Muslims)..are sympathetic toward Islamic terrorists and their efforts...a sufficient...number of sympathizers to make suspicion and hostility toward Muslims by the rest of society not entirely irrational...

This is the tightrope that the British state and population will now have to walk for the foreseeable future; and the sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced, in a single day, by the nightmare of permanent conflict.

Frances Fukuyama offers a similar analysis from a US perspective (WSJ, subscription):

We profoundly misunderstand contemporary Islamist ideology when we see it as an assertion of traditional Muslim values or culture. In a traditional Muslim country, your religious identity is not a matter of choice; you receive it, along with your social status, customs and habits, even your future marriage partner, from your social environment. In such a society there is no confusion as to who you are, since your identity is given to you and sanctioned by all of the society's institutions, from the family to the mosque to the state.

The same is not true for a Muslim who lives as an immigrant in a suburb of Amsterdam or Paris. All of a sudden, your identity is up for grabs; you have seemingly infinite choices in deciding how far you want to try to integrate into the surrounding, non-Muslim society. In his book "Globalized Islam" (2004), the French scholar Olivier Roy argues persuasively that contemporary radicalism is precisely the product of the "deterritorialization" of Islam, which strips Muslim identity of all of the social supports it receives in a traditional Muslim society.

It is in this context that someone like Osama bin Laden appears, offering young converts a universalistic, pure version of Islam that has been stripped of its local saints, customs and traditions. Radical Islamism tells them exactly who they are -- respected members of a global Muslim umma to which they can belong despite their lives in lands of unbelief.

The real challenge for democracy lies in Europe, where the problem is an internal one of integrating large numbers of angry young Muslims and doing so in a way that does not provoke an even angrier backlash from right-wing populists. Two things need to happen: First, countries like Holland and Britain need to reverse the counterproductive multiculturalist policies that sheltered radicalism, and crack down on extremists. But second, they also need to reformulate their definitions of national identity to be more accepting of people from non-Western backgrounds.

I doubt European societies will reformulate themselves to respect people who brutalize women. So their peoples will have to get used to conflict - it won't be permanent, since the savages produce nothing and will succumb to post-industrial technology wielded by free people.