Category Archives: Islamic fundamentalists

The hackneyed all-our-thoughts formula

Usman Khan

Dalrymple points out that whenever high-profile murders take place in the West,

someone in high authority is bound to say something like All our thoughts are with the victims (or the relatives of the victims).

He points out that

this is a lie, and by no means a noble one: all the high authority’s thoughts ought not to be with the victims or with the relatives of the victims. The authority ought rather to be thinking of whether there are means to prevent similar attacks in the future. It is perfectly possible to express decent condolences without resort to obvious and insincere exaggeration.

Islam’s omnisufficiency

Dalrymple writes that for young Muslims,

an ideological and religious solution that is flattering to self-esteem and allegedly all-sufficient

is ready to hand. The problem is that this religio-ideological solution

is in unavoidable conflict with a large element of each individual’s identity.

How young French Muslims are abandoned by society

Dalrymple writes, by way of understatement, that France has not been especially successful in integrating its immigrant population into the mainstream of national life. This, he points out,

need not be because of any higher levels of xenophobia or racial prejudice: a more rigid labour market will prevent integration quite successfully. Laws to protect the employed have the effect of enclosing unskilled immigrants not merely in ghettoes, but in workless ghettoes. Anyone who has visited the ring of Le Corbusier-style ghettoes around Paris (or other French cities) will soon realise that by comparison with their inhabitants the average Brixton drug-dealer is a model of integrated respectability.

Dalrymple explains that Islamic fundamentalism is not much in evidence among the disaffected young prisoners of France,

and is therefore of not much importance, at least numerically.

The problem is that Islamic fundamentalism

has its attractions for the more intelligent, or at least the more intellectual, among them, who seek a total explanation for, and solution to, their predicament. And as we have seen, it doesn’t take many people to disturb the peace of the world.

Muslim prisoners in France are

not deeply religious, or indeed deeply anything.

France has successfully secularised the Muslim younger generation,

but without having replaced the religious ethic by any other. They are left in a vacuum, suspended mentally and culturally somewhere between the Maghreb and France, but belonging fully to neither, and therefore at home nowhere.

The rigidity of the labour market

makes it more difficult for them to redeem themselves by work,

and modern culture,

which holds out easy enrichment as a solution to existential dislocation, makes crime a permanent temptation.

French prisoners of North African origin feel that French society is fundamentally unjust.

They do not so much deny that they have done what they are accused of having done, as justify it as a revenge upon, or at least the natural consequence of, that primordial injustice.

This resentment, Dalrymple notes,

is simultaneously a powerful provoker of crime and an obstacle to rehabilitation. What these prisoners need, apart from the passage of time that in itself cools the ardour of criminality, is not what they get in prison — antidepressants and tranquillisers by the bucketful — but a Socratic dialogue that will help them to overcome their resentment. If the principal cause of crime is the decision to commit it, then the removal of a justifying sense of grievance is of great importance. In addition, prisoners, and those who will soon become prisoners, need real opportunity, not chimerical equal opportunity, which is to say government of bureaucrats, by bureaucrats, for bureaucrats.

Riddle of the Manchester bomber’s evil depravity

Salman Abedi, writes Dalrymple,

might genuinely have believed that in killing the people in the Manchester Arena, he was bringing forward heaven on earth (as well as his access to heavenly virgins). But it is perfectly legitimate to ask how he came to believe such a thing, which is so completely fatuous from a more rational point of view. Let us disregard the evident absurdity of his ideology, which hardly deserves the trouble of refutation.

One might point, Dalrymple says, to such factors as Abedi’s

  • cultural heritage
  • experience as a refugee
  • lowly status
  • economic prospects
  • genes
  • level of testosterone

Terrorists, Dalrymple notes,

may have certain demographic characteristics or biographical features in common, certain psychological traits, that others do not have: ergo these things in common are supposed to have caused them to become terrorists. And yet, when all is said and done, we still do not feel that we have understood.

Don’t mention the Muslims!

screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-10-02-55The religion we dare not name

Lying in bed late one night unable to sleep, Dalrymple resorts to a normally reliable curative: the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Two papers in particular quickly banish the insomnia,

  • one by Jeremy W. Coid, Kamaldeep Bhui, Deirdre MacManus, Constantinos Kallis, Paul Bebbington and Simone Ullrich headed Extremism, religion and psychiatric morbidity in a population-based sample of young men,
  • and one by Kamaldeep Bhui, Maria João Silva, Raluca A. Topciu and Edgar Jones on Pathways to sympathies for violent protest and terrorism.
Bognor Regis Chess Club in the great days

Bognor Regis Chess Club in the great days

Dalrymple writes that in addition to being quite unilluminating, the articles’ conclusions are

as dull as the annual accounts of a local chess club.

The authors

would make Armageddon sound boring.

They are also pusillanimous. We all know, Dalrymple notes,

what kind of terrorism and extremism the authors are thinking of, but the title of neither paper mentions it. We walk permanently on eggshells.

screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-10-33-38What religion are we talking about? The articles do not tell us. The whole subject

is dealt with in so opaque a fashion that it is difficult not to believe that the authors feared retribution—from the politically correct if not from terrorists themselves. They are like those puppies that, being curious, approach a danger, but then retreat, approach again, and retreat again.

Perhaps the authors wished to prevent readers from drawing the obvious conclusion, that

Enoch Powell had been right all along.

screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-10-36-55We should all like to know, says Dalrymple,

why some people become terrorists, other than for the most obvious reason: that to kill, maim, and destroy, supposedly for a good cause or some allegedly higher purpose, is a delight to a certain kind of person, worth even dying for. In addition, I doubt that there are many more self-important people than terrorists.

screen-shot-2016-12-18-at-10-46-45You might think that psychiatry and psychiatrists would be able to shed some light on the matter, but this, Dalrymple points out,

is a manifestation of a modern superstition, that human self-understanding has made great strides pari passu with technical advances such as brain scans and a knowledge of neurochemistry. In fact, we have not advanced beyond Pope’s description of Man as ‘the glory, jest and riddle of the world’.




How the West invites terror

Riaz Khan Ahmadzai

Riaz Khan Ahmadzai

Muslims, writes Dalrymple,

are not deceived by pusillanimous, odious, unctuous, and fatuous expressions of understanding for their feelings that have emerged from official circles, in a vain and cowardly attempt to defuse the situation by a precipitate though insincere abandonment of the best values of the Enlightenment.

Islamic fundamentalists

know perfectly well that the West does not respect them, and that the only way they can cut a figure is by terror. Technologically, scientifically, artistically, philosophically, economically they are nullities: but they know how to be vicious, and that makes up for every other defect. If the world will not listen to their tedious religiose lucubrations, it will at least pay heed to their bloodcurdling threats. Each expression of pseudo-understanding is music to their ears: they know that threats of mass decapitation and killing in the streets have worked. It is an open invitation for more of the same.

Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel

Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel

The Western democracies, says Dalrymple,

have demonstrated a lack of resolve comparable only to that of Chamberlain and Daladier in the face of Hitler.

When, he says,

we see the freedom that the Enlightenment wrought challenged in so intellectually primitive and thuggish a way, we realise how very much we owe the Enlightenment. You don’t really appreciate something until you have lost it.

The problem of the Muslim world is that

it wants the material fruits or benefits of the Enlightenment without the Enlightenment. A considerable proportion of the large migrant population from Islamic countries to Europe has wanted this too, which is why many such migrants are notably less successful in their adopted countries than their Hindu, Sikh, and Chinese counterparts. Muslims have been trying to square this circle for well over a century, since they first became aware of how retarded they were by comparison with a civilisation that theirs once more than equalled. Like the inhabitants of the ghetto, they want the respect of the rest of the world without wishing to do the things necessary to obtain it.

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