Category Archives: Islamist terrorists

The long march of sentimentality

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Sudesh Amman

The absurdity of British criminal-justice policy over several decades at the behest of penological liberals

The British criminal-justice system, writes Dalrymple, is one of

elaborate and ceremonious frivolity.

The frivolity

is serious in its effects, not only for its immediate consequences on Britain’s crime rate but also because it undermines the legitimacy of the State, whose first and inescapable duty is to maintain enough order to secure the safety of citizens as they go about their lawful business.

Remission of prison sentences is automatic,

turning all judges into liars. When a judge says, ‘I sentence you to three years’ imprisonment,’ what he means is: ‘I sentence you to 18 months’ imprisonment.’

Appalling as terrorist violence is, the average person in Britain is many times more likely to be the victim of violent common crime than of terrorism, so that Boris Johnson’s announcement that the laws governing the sentencing of terrorists will be made more severe,

by fixing attention on what remains an uncommon problem and ignoring a far more prevalent one, may be doing a disservice.

Dalrymple says that good sense on criminal justice in Britain

will be difficult to put into practice, for a long march of sentimentality has occurred through the minds of the intelligentsia and élites in general. The father of the last man to be murdered by a terrorist recently released from prison said that he hoped his son’s death would not be used as an argument for more drastic sentencing of terrorists.

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Does one laugh or cry?

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.

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’.

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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.

Pœnological 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,

pœnological 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 liberal pœnology 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 pœnology, 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.

Hazards of the terrorist profession

In France, writes Dalrymple, one of them is that

the countries to which former dual citizens might be deported should their French citizenship be withdrawn might not welcome them, to say the least.

François Hollande’s amendment makes it possible to withdraw French citizenship from those holding dual citizenship who are convicted of terrorist offences. The amendment imposes a duty on those who wish to retain their dual nationality that is, Dalrymple points out,

not very onerous,

namely

not to be a terrorist.

It might be useful, Dalrymple dares suggest, to draw a distinction between

a man with dual nationality

and

a man with dual nationality who commits atrocities against one of the two nations to which he owes allegiance.

 

We have this right, you see, to kill large numbers of people without having the threat of deportation hanging over us