Category Archives: secularisation

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.

Young Muslim males in Britain have a problem of personal, cultural, and national identity

Dalrymple writes that these young men are

  • deeply secularised, with little religious faith, even if most will admit to a belief in God. Their interest in Islam is slight. They do not pray or keep Ramadan (except if it brings them some practical advantage, such as postponement of a court appearance).
  • Their tastes are for the most part those of non-Muslim lower-class young men. They dress indistinguishably from their white and black contemporaries, and affect the same hairstyles and mannerisms, including the vulpine lope of the slums. Gold chains, the heavier the better, and gold front teeth, without dental justification, are symbols of their success in the streets, which is to say of illicit enrichment.
  • Many of them, unlike the sons of Hindus and Sikhs who immigrated into Britain at the same time as their parents, take drugs, including heroin.
  • They drink.
  • They indulge in casual sex.
  • They make nightclubs the focus of their lives.
  • Work and careers are at best a painful necessity, a slow and inferior means of obtaining the money for their distractions.

But if in many respects their tastes and behaviour are indistinguishable from those of underclass white males, there are nevertheless clear and important differences.

  1. Whatever the similarity between them and their white counterparts in their taste for sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll, they do not mix with young white men, even in the neighborhoods devoted to the satisfaction of their tastes. They are in parallel with the whites, rather than intersecting with them.
  2. Young Muslim women are absent from the resorts of mass distraction. However similar young Muslim men might be in their tastes to young white men, they would be horrified, and indeed turn extremely violent, if their sisters comported themselves as young white women do. They satisfy their sexual needs with prostitutes and those whom they quite openly call ‘white sluts’. And they do not have to suffer much sexual frustration in an environment where people decide on sexual liaisons within seconds of acquaintance. However secular the tastes of the young Muslim men, they strongly wish to maintain the male dominance they have inherited from their parents. A sister who has the temerity to choose a boyfriend for herself, or who even expresses a desire for an independent social life, is likely to suffer a beating, followed by surveillance of Stasi-like thoroughness. The young men instinctively understand that their inherited system of male domination—which provides them, by means of forced marriage, with sexual gratification at home while simultaneously freeing them from domestic chores and allowing them to live completely Westernised lives outside the home, including further sexual adventures into which their wives cannot inquire—is strong but brittle, rather as communism was: it is an all or nothing phænomenon, and every breach must meet swift punishment.

Thus young Muslim males have a strong motive for maintaining an identity apart. And since people

rarely like to admit low motives for their behaviour, such as the wish to maintain a self-gratifying dominance, these young Muslims need a more elevated justification for their conduct toward women. They find it, of course, in a residual Islam: not the Islam of onerous duties, rituals, and prohibitions, which interferes so insistently in day-to-day life, but in an Islam of residual feeling, which allows them a sense of moral superiority to everything around them, including women, without in any way cramping their style.

This Islam, Dalrymple explains,

contains little that is theological, spiritual, or even religious, but it nevertheless exists in the mental economy as what anatomists call a ‘potential space’. A potential space occurs where two tissues or organs are separated by smooth membranes that are normally close together, but that can be separated by an accumulation of fluid such as pus if infection or inflammation occurs. And, of course, such inflammation readily occurs in the minds of young men who easily believe themselves to be ill-used, and who have been raised on the thin gruel of popular Western culture without an awareness that any other kind of Western culture exists.

Expect many more Moslem ‘martyrs’

Dalrymple lists the factors that ensure fertile ground for the recruitment of further ‘martyrs’ for years to come:

  • a highly secularised Moslem population whose men nevertheless wish to maintain their dominance over women and need a justification for doing so
  • the hurtful experience of disdain or rejection from the surrounding society
  • the bitter disappointment of a frustrated materialism and a seemingly perpetual inferior status in the economic hierarchy
  • the extreme insufficiency and unattractiveness of modern popular culture that is without value
  • the readiness to hand of an ideological and religious solution that is flattering to self-esteem and allegedly all-sufficient, and yet in unavoidable conflict with a large element of each individual’s identity
  • an oscillation between feelings of inferiority and superiority, between humiliation about that which is Western and that which is non-Western in the self
  • the grotesque inflation of the importance of personal existential problems that is typical of modern individualism

Muslim zealotry and embittered materialism

Screen Shot 2015-12-06 at 14.39.01Dalrymple writes of Islamic proselytising in prisons:

An outside observer might conclude from the religious literature that he sees there that Britain is more an Islamic than a Christian country.

Prisoners are susceptible to religious conversion, by which, Dalrymple says,

they do not feel that they have simply surrendered unconditionally to society, meekly accepting its law-abiding, middle-class norms after years of flouting them. They do not simply slink away from crime, defeated by the system; they have actively chosen a new life.

A life without boundaries

is a life of torment. It is without form, a void. Islam, with its daily rituals and its list of prohibitions, is ideally suited to those who are seeking to contain their lives.

Mahometanism, Dalrymple points out, has this great advantage:

It is feared by society at large. By adopting Islam, prisoners are killing two birds with one stone: they are giving themselves boundaries so that they can commit no more crimes — of the ordinary kind — and yet do not feel that they have capitulated to the demands of society.

The extent of the secularisation of young Muslim men in prison

can hardly be exaggerated. They do not pray or keep Ramadan, or perform any other religious duties. Like their white and black counterparts, they are interested in sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

Their difference is that, thanks to their cultural inheritance, their abuse of women

is systematic rather than unsystematic as it is with the whites and blacks. That is the way they intend to keep it, for it is a very gratifying system.

Dalrymple explains that

the match that puts the flame to the combustible mixture is a general sense of grievance and of grave injustice.

By injustice,

they do not mean that they did not do what they were accused of having done. On the contrary, they know perfectly well that, like most other prisoners, they have committed between five and 15 times more crimes than they have been accused of, and celebrate the fact. No, by injustice they mean social injustice.

Their justice, says Dalrymple, is

an ideal state of affairs which includes an effortlessly acquired, endless supply of women and BMWs. Much religious zealotry is disappointed and embittered materialism.

The politico-religious fanaticism

of which we are rightly afraid is not the product of Islam alone, but of an amalgam of Islam with sociological ideas according to which people are victims of structural injustice, of the modern equivalent of djinn, such as institutionalised racism.

Hitch’s smug, adolescent exhibitionism

A spotty record, to put it most kindly

Self-satisfaction seeping from every pore: the slightly sickening forms of cheap dissent exhibited by Hitchens went down well with certain sections of the US public. Rather than following Brecht and making one of the people’s paradises, such as the GDR, his home, he preferred the capitalist hell that is America, where as it happens he lived very comfortably indeed

Christopher Hitchens, writes Dalrymple, fell prey to the illusion that the striking of trivial attitudes was generosity enough for a lifetime. He

commodified his dissent, albeit in a niche market (though niches in America are larger than entire markets elsewhere).

While his brother Peter has thoroughly repented, Christopher retained

an emotional sympathy for his former views. In others, he would no doubt espy in this intellectual dishonesty and historical distortion; in himself, he sees truth to his own generous principles.

His review of a reissue of Isaac Deutscher’s three-volume biography of Trotsky, for example,

presents Trotsky principally as a gifted journalist and sage — a little like Hitchens himself, in fact — the force of whose ideas, or phrases, made the unjustly powerful tremble everywhere.

Why Hitchens’s unusual delicacy over this moral monster? Because, says Dalrymple, he

Guaranteed gentle handling: Hitchens knew the pleasures and glories of ultra-low-risk Western protest

Guaranteed gentle handling: Hitchens knew the pleasures and glories of ultra-low-risk Western protest

was himself once a follower of Trotsky and does not want to admit that he was, by implication, a supporter of mass murder, the ruthless suppression of opponents and the kind of tyranny that made all previous tyrannies appear bumbling and amateurish.

It was not that Hitchens wanted

to bring about such a tyranny, let alone live under one (anyone who did would hardly decamp to the US). Rather, he fell prey to the adolescent illusion that the striking of attitudes is generosity enough.

Other people had only

Self-regarding to the end

Self-regarding to the end

walk-on parts

when Hitchens was striking attitudes, which was most of the time, and his hatred of religion

strikes me as adolescent. We most of us know by now that religious bigotry is a bad thing — though the record of hardline secularists in the 20th century is not exactly spotless — but only an adolescent sees in the religious history of mankind nothing but intolerance. Compulsory attendance at school chapel must have been a traumatic experience for Hitchens.

Screen Shot 2015-05-23 at 11.31.20

Theodore on Theodoor

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 09.01.26

Submission, the 2004 film for which Theo van Gogh paid with his life

The source of Mohammedan rage against the Dutch filmmaker

Theodoor van Gogh, writes Dalrymple, was

a brash and combative man, who took his freedom of expression for granted.

But such freedom, Dalrymple points out,

is an historical exception rather than an historical rule, a reversible achievement rather than a free gift of God. There are many who would rather kill than brook contradiction of their opinions or beliefs, even while they live in the most tolerant of societies.

Dutch confidence

that unconditional tolerance can be on its own the unifying principle of a viable society has been dented. For tolerance to work, it must be reciprocal; tolerance appears to the jihadist mere weakness. Unilateral tolerance in a world of intolerance is like unilateral disarmament in a world of armed camps.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 09.24.46Van Gogh’s work exposed

a raw nerve of Muslim identity in Western Europe: the abuse of women.

This abuse is

essential for people of Muslim descent for maintaining any sense of separate cultural identity in the homogenising solution of modern mass society.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 09.28.45Were it not for the abuse of women, Islam would go the way of the Church of England.

Mohammedanism

is as vulnerable in Europe to the forces of secularisation as Christianity has proved to be. The majority of Muslims in Europe, particularly the young, have a weak and tenuous connection to their ancestral religion. Their level and intensity of belief is low; pop music interests them more. Far from being fanatics, they are lukewarm believers at best.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 09.29.49The abuse of women appeals to men because

it gives them a sense of power, however humiliated they may feel in other spheres.

The oppression of women by Muslim men in Western Europe

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 09.39.44gives those men at the same time a sexual partner, a domestic servant, and a gratifying sense of power, while allowing them also to live an otherwise westernised life. For the men, it is convenient. Religious sanction for the oppression of women (whether theologically justified or not) is the main attraction of Islam to young men in an increasingly secular world.