Category Archives: Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Islamism is a response to a psychic problem

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Adel Kermiche

Mohammedanism, writes Dalrymple,

rushed in to fill the gap left by the collapse of the Soviet Union and its collateral damage to the prestige of Marxism. How many of us predicted that this current of something that only vaguely approximates thought, and is more like an inflamed state of feeling, would become so important?

From the intellectual point of view,

even gender studies are more interesting than Islamism. No doubt the history of the world is replete with absurd doctrines for the sake of which people have been ready to kill and to die, but one might have hoped that in the 21st century no part of mankind would be any longer susceptible to Münster-Anabaptist-type delusions.

Anyone, says Dalrymple, who has read Sayyid Qutb’s Milestones

quickly appreciates the almost pathetic thinness of the political thought behind it.

The appeal of Islamism

is not to the head but to the gut. Young European-born Moslems who go to join Isis have biographies that are depressingly similar. Often (though not quite always) of poor educational attainment and economic prospects, and resentful of their subordinate place in society, they nevertheless take with enthusiasm and gusto to the less refined aspects of contemporary Western culture. Before conversion, as little boys go through a dinosaur stage, they go through a rap-music, drink, drug and petty-crime stage.

Mohammedanism

is the answer to their impasse, there now being no other on offer. Suddenly they are superior instead of inferior, important instead of insignificant, feared instead of despised; best of all, they are licensed to kill. Better a dead lion than a live rat.

The sadist-moralists

The dehumanisation of people is one of the mechanisms by which atrocities are committed and accepted

The dehumanisation of people is one of the mechanisms by which atrocities are committed and accepted

Committing evil for goodness’ sake, writes Dalrymple,

satisfies the inner sadist and the inner moralist at the same time.

That is why, he says, the beheadings in the Middle East and recently in the Philippines are, for those who conduct them,

such fun.

The latest outrage, Dalrymple reports (though he is sceptical about its veracity), is the

freezing to death by ISIS of 45 of their fighters who retreated, or ran away, before the advance of Iraqi forces; ISIS is alleged to have put the men into a freezer in a forensic morgue in Mosul and then put the bodies by the roadside as a warning to other would-be cowards. For myself, I was a little surprised that as sophisticated an institution as a forensic morgue was still in existence and still functioning in the Islamic State.

Dalrymple is interested in a reader’s comment underneath a report of the alleged atrocity. The commenter describes ISIS as vermin, to be eradicated as such. Dalrymple warns:

There is by now good reason to fear resort to such metaphors, the dehumanisation of people being one of the mechanisms by which atrocities are both committed and accepted. We should fear our own worst thoughts and refrain from giving them expression, for far from assuaging such thoughts, expression of them only goes to make them more frequent and more extreme. By means of such thoughts and such expressions, we become a little more like those who are supposedly the occasion of them, who have also persuaded themselves that there exist human vermin in the world to be eradicated.

This is, he says,

a call to decency and self-control, not to political correctness. Political correctness is the means by which we try to control others; decency is the means by which we try to control ourselves. There is no doubt which is the easier to undertake, and the more pleasurable and gratifying. There is a considerable element of sadism in political correctness.

From Dr Johnson's dictionary

From Dr Johnson’s dictionary

Omertà of the Mohammedan convicts

Bourhan Hraichie

Bourhan Hraichie

Men don’t need ideology to be psychopathic sadists, writes Dalrymple, but it may help.

Against the interpretation of Bourhan Hraichie’s attack on Michael O’Keefe

as a manifestation of purely personal sadism is his previously expressed support for the Islamic State — a case of elective affinity, no doubt.

The Mid North Coast Correctional Centre in Aldavilla, outside Kemsey

The Mid North Coast Correctional Centre in Aldavilla, outside Kemsey

There is also the fact that

no one in the cells nearest to Hraichie called the guards on their emergency bells for fear of retaliation by Hraichie and his acolytes.

In other words,

there was a powerful group of prisoners in the jail who thought and felt as Hraichie did, or would at least obey his orders. The Islamists are thus a kind of prison Mafia, with their own version of omertà.

Allahu quackbar!

Civilised people, writes Dalrymple,

must defend to the death the right of satirists to mock, bait, and needle Muslims.

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Even the Moslems of ISIS might demur

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 08.46.38Dalrymple goes to the opera — Verdi’s The Fallen Woman at the ENO. He confirms that

of course there is an orgy scene.

He notes also that

when Germont sings his aria requesting Violetta to forgo the love of Alfredo for his daughter’s sake, who will not be able to marry the man she loves if Alfredo continues to live with a woman of such ill-repute as Violetta, the daughter is actually made to appear on the stage, unceremoniously and unlovingly pushed to the fore by her father.

The daughter is

Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 08.39.57dressed in a beret and grey gabardine Mackintosh, and wearing thick glasses. She looks about 12, an awkward pubertal age, and more likely to grow up a bluestocking than a sensualist.

Dalrymple comments:

Even the most ferocious Moslems of ISIS would hardly have considered her old enough to marry.

More their type

More their type

The Savonarola of atheism

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 07.15.38Richard Dawkins, the atheist proselytizer, has tweeted that the destruction of the ancient Semitic city of Palmyra by the desert-tribal warriors known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant demonstrates the doleful

power of religion.

Dalrymple points out that it seems to have escaped the notice of Dawkins, whom he describes as a Savonarola of atheism,

Screen Shot 2015-09-05 at 06.45.12that temples are generally built in the first place from a religious impulse, and that Palmyra had survived for two millennia in a region to which religion was by no means entirely unknown.

Dalrymple notes that

Satellite image confirming the destruction of the Temple of Baal (dedicated 32 A.D.)

Satellite image confirming the destruction of the Temple of Baal (dedicated 32 A.D.)

such destructiveness is not confined to the fanatically religious. The greatest outburst of cultural vandalism in recent history was probably Mao’s Cultural Revolution, which had nothing cultural or revolutionary about it—nor anything religious.

Of course, it is always gratifying for Dawkins

to contemplate the stupidity or barbarism of others.

Actually the destruction of Palmyra ought to warn Dawkins to turn his gaze inward and consider himself. And what he will discover when he does so is less than reassuring.

OK, so they joined Isis. It could’ve happened to anybody

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 08.15.02Liberal intellectuals, writes Dalrymple,

want to divide humanity into the tiny minority of people with agency (perpetrators) and the vast majority without it (victims)—the latter requiring salvation by liberal intellectuals. The rich and powerful are perpetrators with agency; everyone else is a victim without agency.

Asked why they started taking heroin, addicts say they

fell in with the wrong crowd,

Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 07.45.50passively,

as if by some kind of natural force.

Isis happens

A newspaper describes some ‘Portsmouth lads’ of Bangladeshi origin as ‘falling into Isis’s hands’.

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Victims of circumstance

The use of the word lads is intended to imply that there is nothing special or different about these young men. Its use is a manifestation of wishful or even magical thinking. The men fell into the hands of Isis as an apple falls to the ground by gravitational force. It could have happened to anybody, this going to Syria via Turkey to join a movement that delights in decapitation in the name of a religion—their religion. Joining Isis is like multiple sclerosis; it’s something that just happens to people.

The word fell

denies agency to the young men, as if they had no choice. They were victims of circumstance by virtue of their membership of a minority, for minorities are by definition victims without agency.

Islamic vice advanced by Western gutlessness

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 07.45.02The problem, writes Dalrymple,

lies at least as much with us as with them. By our cowardice, often inadvertently, we support and encourage Islamism. There are many stories of Christmas decorations being taken down, no reference to Christmas being made in case it should offend, etc., when no demand from the Muslim population that these things should be done has been made. It is an anticipatory cringe that encourages the extremists to push a little harder at what they think is a half-open door.

A fine US example of this genre, he notes, is the bowdlerisation of Yale University Press’s book on the Jyllands-Posten Mahomed cartoons affair.

Many Islamist terrorists, Dalrymple points out, have gone through a libertine phase. Muslim men in the West very often immerse themselves in libertinism, but if at all reflective, may come to discover that

libertinism is not the answer to life’s dissatisfactions, and will then find a ready-made utopian ideology at hand, one which emerges from their own background and is therefore a source of pride to them.

A religion of peace

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 08.21.04It’s just that Muslims choose strange ways of showing it

At Sousse, 38 people — 25 of them British — were murdered by a Mohammedan fundamentalist gunman at an hotel (in an atrocity prefigured in the 2001 Michel Houellebecq novel Plateforme).

The attack possessed, writes Dalrymple, logic from the Islamo-Leninist ‘the worse the better’ point of view. Tourists

like sun, sea and sites, but not at the cost of their lives. Tourism can survive a dictatorship such as that of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, but not a democratically elected government that cannot guarantee security.

After the attacks, David Cameron

made a statement in which he reiterated, among other things, that Islam was a religion of peace. He was under no pressure, except that of his own pusillanimity, to say any such thing, which is in flat contradiction both to history and to the state of the world today. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt would not have said anything as stupid or as cowardly.

Leadership, says Dalrymple, should not

propound blatant untruths. It is true that most Muslims are peaceful and want to get on with their lives; the same is true of almost everyone, including Marxists. It is blatantly obvious that not all terrorists are Muslim; but when they are Muslim, their religious ideas are a necessary precondition of their acts.

Ordinary Yorkshire lads. An ah’ll tell thee that fer nowt

Ordinary Yorkshire lads

Ordinary Yorkshire lads then

Ey-up!

Eeh, by gum, summat’s ‘append. ‘Assan Munshi ‘n Talha Asmal, Yorkshire lads — reight gud sooarts, ‘n tha’s nowt wrong wi ’em — av left Yorkshire ‘n are i’ Syria, wheear thee av joined t’ Islamic State o’ Iraq ‘n t’ Levant. ‘Appy as pigs in muck.

Well, I’ll go to t’ foot of t’ stairs. That caps owt, ah seer.

Daft fowk at t’ Grauniad quote thea families as sayin:

Ordinary Yorkshire lads now: Hassan Munshi, left, and Talha Asmal. Hassan's elder brother  Hammaad Munshi is the youngest person in the country to be convicted of terrorism

Ordinary Yorkshire lads now: Hassan Munshi, left, and Talha Asmal. Hassan’s elder brother Hammaad Munshi is the youngest person in the country to be convicted of terrorism

These were just two ordinary Yorkshire lads who enjoyed the things that all young people enjoy at their age. Both Hassan and Talha had a promising future, as an apprentice and an A-level student respectively, and we are praying they will be back with us soon and are able to realise that future.

Arse over tit! ‘N it’s a reet bloody nuisance. Tha’ can allus tell a Yorkshireman, but tha can’t tell ‘im much. Theodooar Dalrymple, t’ bloody shrink, sez:

The elder brother of one of the ordinary Yorkshire lads, Hassan Munshi, was another ordinary Yorkshire lad called Hammaad, who, as it happened, was the youngest person ever to be convicted of terrorism in Britain. Apparently he conspired to murder non-Muslims: and you can’t get more ordinary than that.

Coney Street, York, 1979

Ordinary Yorkshire policemen on Coney Street in the county town, late 1970s

Bur t’ gran’ news is ‘a’ t’ police are workin’ ‘ard on it. Gran’ fowk. Thee av bin supportin t’ missin teenagers’ families. Families’re reet chuffed. T’ Theodooar sez:

It was a relief to know that the police were carrying out, promptly and assiduously, their main duty of expressing sympathy.

Ah reckon nowt ter that. ‘N About t’ county, t’ Theodooar sez (‘e speyts all bloody ‘ighfalutin’):

What is ordinary in Yorkshire has evidently changed out of all recognition in my lifetime. In my day, ordinary Yorkshire lads didn’t go to Turkey, let alone to Syria, no doubt to the benefit of both.

Bradford today

Ordinary Yorkshire place of worship, in Bradford

Halifax, probably just before the First World War. Yorkshire lads in the foreground

Halifax, probably just before the First World War. Ordinary Yorkshire lads in the foreground