Category Archives: Arabia (7th century)

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.

The ‘potential space’ of Islamism

With its ready-made diagnosis and prescriptions, writes Dalrymple, it

opens up and fills with the pus of implacable hatred for many in search of a reason for and a solution to their discontents.

According to Islamism, Dalrymple notes, the West can never meet the demands of justice, because it is

  • decadent
  • materialistic
  • individualistic
  • heathen
  • democratic rather than theocratic

Only

a return to the principles and practices of 7th-century Arabia will resolve all personal and political problems at the same time.

This notion, he points out, is

no more (and no less) bizarre or stupid than the Marxist notion that captivated so many Western intellectuals throughout the 20th century: that the abolition of private property would lead to final and lasting harmony among men.

The Gramscian Islamists

Allahu akbar!

Allahu akbar!

It would be simplistic, writes Dalrymple, to ascribe the violence of Muslim fundamentalists

to Islam itself, by citing those verses from the Koran that seem to justify or even require it. Selective quotation does not explain why extremism is the province of the young, and why, for example, the first generation of Muslim immigrants to Britain (and elsewhere) were not at all attracted to it.

Even in Islamic countries, fundamentalists

are not mediæval throwbacks, however they may see themselves. They derive their ideas, even if they do not acknowledge it, at least as much from Lenin, Gramsci, and Mao as from Mohammed. They claim to want to return to seventh-century Arabia, but this is no more realistic or sincere than the wish of Victorian admirers of the Gothic to return to the Middle Ages.

Most Muslims in Britain, Dalrymple points out, are of Pakistani origin.

They were encouraged to come to Britain largely as a source of cheap labour, to prop up declining industries that had not adapted to the modern economy. But no labour in Britain could ever be cheap enough, without technological superiority, to compete successfully with labour in much poorer and cheaper countries. Originally, the idea was that the imported labour would be shipped back home if ever it became surplus to requirements. The opposite happened: each immigrant established a beachhead for others.

The immigrants

tended to congregate in certain areas, and they often met with hostility. Their children, growing up in virtual ghettoes, were neither fully of the host country nor fully of their parents’ culture. They were betwixt and between, in effect left to develop their own culture. Insofar as they encountered the hostility of the surrounding society, they developed resentments.

The Muslims were not the only immigrants to Britain.

There were Sikhs and Hindus as well, who fared much better, on the whole: their rates of unemployment are much lower than Muslims’ (indeed, lower than their white contemporaries’); they are underrepresented in prison, unlike Muslims, who are increasingly overrepresented; and they never developed any propensity to violence.

Islamism

provides a utopian and violent ideology of the kind that appeals to disgruntled young men facing all of the existential difficulties of youth. Moreover, Islamic society provides young men with another incentive for Islamism: the maintenance of the domination of women.

The British government

promoted ‘leaders’ of the Muslims, thus giving a golden opportunity to fundamentalists to establish themselves as controllers of government funds and to establish networks of patronage. Not knowing what it was doing, the British government spread Islamic fundamentalism.

Multiculturalism

has been another unwitting ally of Muslim extremism. Multiculturalism has created an informal system, like the late Ottoman empire’s millet system, in which various groups receive their privileges but are expected to live separately and distinctly from everyone else. This serves to prevent the various groups from developing any common identity and stimulates the ascent of political entrepreneurs whose power depends on the maintenance, aggravation, and inflammation of supposed grievances. Islamists are political entrepreneurs with a plausible doctrinal reason for violence. They are now able to extract from society the kind of respect that street muggers demand, and multiculturalism has become the ideological wing of sheer cowardice.