The two forms of jihad coalesce in one apocalyptic action

The Occident is a formidable enemy, writes Dalrymple, because

it exists not only in the cities, the infrastructure, and the institutions of Europe and America but in the hearts and minds of those who oppose it and wish to destroy it.

The Muslim suicide bomber is

as much a product of the West as of Islam; his tastes and desires are largely Westernised. He dresses no differently from other young men from the slums; and in every culture, appearance is part, at least, of identity. In British inner cities, what you wear is nine-tenths of what you are.

The aspiring Muslim mass murderer leads a

highly Westernised life, availing himself of all the products of Western ingenuity to which Muslims have contributed nothing for centuries.

Indeed, it is impossible for a modern Muslim to expunge the West from his life.

It enters the fabric of his existence at every turn. He speaks, for example, of the West’s having stolen Arabian oil, but of what use would oil have been to the Arabs if it had remained under their sands, as it would have done without the intervention of the West?

The Muslim who rejects the West is

engaged in a losing jihad to expunge everything that is not Muslim from his breast. It cannot be done: the technological and scientific dependence of the Muslims is necessarily also a cultural one. You cannot believe in a return to 7th-century Arabia as being all-sufficient for human requirements, and at the same time drive around in a brand-new red Mercedes. An awareness of the contradiction must gnaw in the dullest fundamentalist brain.

The would-be suicide bomber must be sufficiently self-aware to know that he

will never be willing to forgo the appurtenances of Western life: the taste for them is too deeply implanted in his soul, too deeply a part of what he is as a human being, ever to be eradicated. It is possible to reject isolated aspects of modernity but not modernity itself.

The Muslim fundamentalist is a

modern man—a modern man trying, impossibly, to be something else.

He has at least a nagging intimation that his chosen utopia

is not really a utopia at all: that deep within himself there exists something that makes it unachievable and even undesirable.

How, then, to persuade himself and others that his lack of faith, his vacillation, is really the strongest possible faith?

What more convincing evidence of faith could there be than to die for its sake? How can a person be really attached or attracted to rap music and cricket and Mercedes cars if he is prepared to blow himself up as a means of destroying the society that produces them? Death will be the end of the illicit attachment that he cannot entirely eliminate from his heart.

The two forms of jihad, the inner and the outer, the greater and the lesser,

coalesce in one apocalyptic action. By means of suicide bombing, the Muslim overcomes moral impurities and religious doubts within himself and strikes an external blow for the propagation of the faith.

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