Category Archives: Islamist terrorism

American justice

Joe Jones, 1933. Columbus Museum of Art. Dalrymple writes: ‘There were Communists among the American artists in the 1930s who probably would have become socialist realists à la Stalin, if (as was, in reality, impossible) the US had turned Communist; but in the US political context, theirs was an art of protest, not unjustified in itself but ill-assorted with their blindness to the incomparably worse horrors of Soviet Russia. The working-class, self-taught Jones painted his powerful work to protest lynchings and the continued existence of the Klu Klux Klan. This was perfectly justified; lynchings, though not numerous given the size of the US population, must have exerted an influence far beyond their statistical importance, not unlike Islamist terrorism today; yet even lynchings were a minor phenomenon compared with the mass executions and starvation synonymous with Communism from its inception. Despite his obvious and sincere sympathy for the impoverished and downtrodden, Jones could not imagine that anything was worse elsewhere—least of all in his imagined utopia-on-earth.’

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Judicial leniency and the terror threat in France

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 07.02.38Un petit délinquant devenu djihadiste

The perpetrator of the Nice outrage, Dalrymple relates,

was born and raised in Tunisia and, a totally unskilled man, was given leave to enter and stay in France because he had married a French citizen of Tunisian origin in Tunisia. The decision to allow him into France was based on an abstract doctrine of human rights—in this instance, the right to family reunification—rather than on France’s national interest, which is never allowed to enter into such decisions.

Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel

was very violent to his wife and she divorced him, but it was impossible to deport this père de famille, for to do so would have been contrary to his children’s right to a father. His children therefore acted as his permis de séjour, which was renewed when the original ran out.

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Paterfamilias: Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel

Trivial little offences

The public prosecutor of Paris

described him as a petit délinquant, though his offences included damage to property, robbery, making threats and repeated acts of violence.

He hit a man

with a baseball bat (which he happened to have with him, though baseball is not played in France) because the man asked him to move his van, which was blocking traffic.

He was sentenced to six months in prison. The sentence was suspended. Dalrymple asks:

Is a state that cannot bring itself to punish a man who attacks another with a baseball bat one with the will to thwart terrorism?

From strumming guitars to decapitation in three months

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 08.49.34Dalrymple notes that in the Dhaka cafe terror attack, the six Islamist killers

were not downtrodden, like so many of their countrymen. They were scions of the small, rich, and educated local élite. They were privileged as only the rich in poor countries can be privileged.

Vice

knows no class barriers and education is often more an aid than a hindrance to evil committed in the name of ideology.

Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 08.50.21The Soviets recruited their useful idiots in the West

not from the supposedly ignorant proletariat but from the ranks of the educated.

But even such pitiless people as the Soviets

did not expect their recruits personally to hack people to death if they could not recite the Communist Manifesto—and go straight to heaven as a result.

1Some of the Bangladeshi perpetrators

fanaticised themselves only recently. The parents found it difficult to believe that their sons—previously polite and without apparent problems, indeed with ‘humanitarian’ sentiments of the modern kind—should have suddenly turned so psychopathically brutal.

The killers

could not have expected anything but a smooth passage through life. Lack of prospects was certainly not what impelled them.

After the downfall of Communism, Islamism

is the only ideology that supposedly answers all life’s questions and can appeal to the adolescent search for certainty about what life is for. It appeals only to born Muslims and a small number of converts. It has none of the cross-cultural appeal that Communism did. But why person x rather than person y falls for it—that is a question that can never be fully answered.

The Magnanville killer

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Abballa entered the home of a policeman and stabbed him to death, then slit the policeman’s wife’s throat in front of her three-year-old son

Larossi Abballa, a common petty criminal like many of his kind, had, writes Dalrymple, a weak intellect which

seized on the supposed glories of religious crime, the solution to his accumulated frustrations, resentments, and personal insignificance.

Abballa had spent two years in prison for jihadist activity,

having refused to answer the questions of his accusers because he considered them, from the great height of his moral authority, to be unbelievers and evildoers to whom no duty was owed other than to kill as many of them as possible.

While in prison he acted as an evangelist for jihad, but after his release he was, says Dalrymple,

lost to follow-up, as we doctors so elegantly put it.

How penological frivolity spurs terrorism

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 13.02.33Dalrymple writes of one of the Belgian bombers:

Before he turned murderously religious, he had been a bank robber. He fired a Kalashnikov at the police when they interrupted him in an attempted robbery, for which crime, or combination of crimes, he received a sentence of nine years’ imprisonment. Of those nine years he served only four, being conditionally discharged. The principal condition was that he had to attend a probation office once a month: about as much use, one might have supposed, as an igloo in the tropics.

No doubt

he underwent various assessments before release establishing his low risk of re-offending; he probably also said before his release that he now realised that shooting policemen with Kalashnikovs was wrong, that he was sorry for it, etc.

One of the causes, then, of terrorism in Europe is, says Dalrymple,

penological frivolity. A 40-year sentence would have been more appropriate.

Penology

is increasingly opposed to the rule of law: it favours the arbitrary and the speculative over the predictable and the certain.

Frivolity of Western criminal justice

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A mockery: Palais de Justice, Brussels

How penology fosters Islamist terrorism

Dalrymple writes that the 2016 Brussels bombings

exposed the frivolity of the Belgian criminal-justice system, which it shares with the British and French systems, and several others, and which has turned the fight against crime into an elaborate and expensive—though lucrative—charade.

Ibrahim El Bakraoui possessed and used a Kalashnikov, which

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 08.55.51is not generally a sign of good citizenship or of a momentary lapse therefrom such as we may all from time to time suffer.

And

you would not have to be Sherlock Holmes to surmise that a man who had used a Kalashnikov before he went to Syria might be a dangerous man after returning.

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 09.03.00Khalid El Bakraoui was

left at liberty.

One is struck, says Dalrymple,

not only by the leniency of the original sentence—the violent robbery of cars is not the result of a submission to momentary temptation—but by the iron determination of the system to keep him out of prison.

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 09.06.29Given that

so many Islamist terrorists graduate seamlessly to politico-religious crime from common delinquency, one can say with tolerable certainty that one of the root causes of such terrorism in Europe is liberal penology, with its view that punishment is therapy and prisons are hospitals for the temporarily disturbed or naughty.

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Inside the mind of a Belgian suicide bomber

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 09.11.50Watching some Swiss television

for the first and possibly last time,

Dalrymple views a report on Muriel Degauque, the first white European suicide bomber. Born and raised in Charleroi, she was a child of ordinary working-class parents.

The television underlined this with lengthy shots of her dreary childhood neighbourhood. Even a few seconds looking at it on a screen was almost enough to provoke an existential crisis.

Her life was unremarkable, said the television report.

She was average at school, then worked in a bakery. People who knew her emphasised that she was an ordinary person—the last kind of person to act in such an outrageous way. There was nothing in her life out of the usual. True, she went through a period of sexual promiscuity and drug-taking, but when she converted to Islam—cut to a Muslim area of Brussels—she gave up drugs and was faithful to her Moroccan husband. So really, the commentary concluded, the whole episode was mysterious and inexplicable.

But only, writes Dalrymple,

in the sense that all human conduct is, in the last analysis, mysterious. Actually, the suicide bomber reminded me of the lost and bewildered young whom various Christian sects would look for as they scoured our streets, trawling for recruits into their all-embracing communities. These communities happened to make lots of money for their founders but really did rescue some young people from the gutter.

The television commentary

made no connection between Degauque’s promiscuity and drug abuse on the one hand and her subsequent conversion to a murderously puritanical form of Islam on the other (she wore the most extreme of veils).

Yet it requires little imagination, says Dalrymple, to make such a connection,

for one interpretation of her former life was that she sought to fill a void, a lack of purpose or interest, with sensation. Once the self-defeating nature of this was obvious to her—and nothing suggests that she lacked intelligence, despite her mediocre academic background—she became vulnerable to a ‘complete’ answer to life’s problems. Her death demonstrated, to herself and to others, how deeply (or desperately) she believed in it.

Her problem—a lack of meaning in her life—is

far from unique. Millions of people are in the same or similar position. That is why Europe cannot afford to be complacent about it.

It’s not how immigrants feel that matters

Screen Shot 2015-12-10 at 09.11.08It’s how they behave

No one, writes Dalrymple,

has any idea how British the Polish, Brazilian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and other immigrants (of whom there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions in total) feel, but nobody cares, because none of them is intent upon the destruction of British institutions. This is not true of some unknown and probably unknowable—but possibly not negligible—proportion of Muslims, no matter which part of the Islamic world they come from.

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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Against Islam, the ideological gloves must come off

Screen Shot 2015-11-23 at 08.56.04For the moment, writes Dalrymple,

it will have to be accepted as a regrettable fact that there are substantial numbers of young people in European countries susceptible to the siren song of idiot Islamism.

Obviously,

there must be properly directed surveillance of susceptible types.

But

surveillance will never be enough: criticism of Islam itself must be free and unconstrained and relentless. For example, in the very small town in France near which I live some of the time, there was a demonstration against terrorism. The small and generally well-integrated population of Maghrebis there was conspicuous by its absence. Of course, citizens are free to demonstrate or not demonstrate; but it is at least possible that some of the young Maghrebis did not demonstrate because of fear of denunciation, of accusations of apostasy.

Mohammedans

live in fear of one another more than in fear of others, at least in the modern world, and this is because of a fundamental incompatibility of Islam with the modern world.

The accusation of apostasy in Islam is

potentially fatal to the accused. So long as this is so, so long as Muslims fear to adopt another religion or publicly proclaim their atheism or detestation of Mohammed and Islam, intellectually justified or not, the religion is incompatible with our notions of what our polity should be.

The prevalent

insincere (and cowardly) homage to Islam as a religion of peace and tolerance

must cease. No religion

that makes apostasy a punishable crime is tolerant. On the contrary, it more resembles a criminal conspiracy, at least when the punishment is severe. This is so no matter what proportion of Muslims are decent people (the people of Egypt, for example, have often struck me as among the most charming and hospitable in the world, as did the Syrians in the good old days of uncontested secular dictatorship), or how troubling or hurtful they find the thought.

Aux armes, citoyens! And let your arms, says Dalrymple,

be intellectual ones as well as a good intelligence service.