Even to speculate half-way knowledgeably on an answer requires a patient probing of Iranian politics, policy-making, and its likely military and diplomatic ambitions. But note: as soon as such probing begins, it bumps head-on into the all-encompassing secrecy and repression that pervade clerical-fascist Iran --- which means that reliable information about the regime's policymaking processes and military and diplomatic ambitions is very hard to come by. The same is equally true about the regime's risk-taking propensities, especially in the Ahmadinejad era. These points need to be underscored. There's simply no way around this informational obstacle. As our initial buggy article observed, even the CIA and its counterparts in Britain, France, and Israel have to grapple with it all the time.
To be candid again, when this long buggy series is finally over, the best we can hope for is to offer up a tentative iffy answer to our pivotal concern about Iran and effective deterrence. Hopefully, though, this doesn't mean the series is futile. At the very least, anyone who reads its numerous articles --- today's, those in the past, and those still to come --- should come away with a decent working idea of what Iran's nuclear aims imply for Iranian politics, for Iranian foreign and military policies, and for their disruptive impact on the Middle East, South Asia, and the war on Islamo-fascist terrorism way into the future . . . and, no less important, for numerous crackling challenges to American foreign policy way into the future too.
How Today's Buggy Analysis Picks Up and Continues
the Previous Article's Argument
Recall, if you will, that the previous article scrutinized the nature of Ahmadinejad's fanatical brain-jarring beliefs and expectations.
Adding up to a crazed theocratic ideology, these padded-cell beliefs and expectations are shot through with Apocalyptic Showdown mumbo-jumbo and his own megalomaniacal fantasies that he, the President of Iran, is the personal vassal of Islam's long-awaited Mahdi-Messiah --- AKA the Hidden Imam. He even claims to have had several telepathic chitchats with the Blessed Spook, who --- wouldn't you know? --- has been hiding out for the last 1100 years at the bottom of a deep well next to a mosque near the city of Qum, itself not far from Tehran.
Seems rabid bughouse stuff, no? Sure, obviously. . . at any rate for those of us not in strait-jackets and lodged in the local maximum-security loony bin.
But not, like it or not, to Ahmadinejad and lots of Muslims in Iran and elsewhere.
Why? Piety, Pathologies, and Follow-Through Actions
As screw-loose as Ahmadinejad's theocratic abracadabra sounds, it's not just hot-air demagogy or a pipe-dream hobbyhorse he likes to mentally mount and toy around with. On the contrary, look carefully at the displays of his fiery religious obsessions, and what you find is that they ripple with fervid, unquestioned piety and devotion . . . the be-in and end-all of his life's purpose and meaning, especially in office. He even said so in public last year. More to the point, this frazzled theocratic hocus-pocus has already motivated several of his political activities.
Consider the public record.
No sooner did he take over Iran's presidency last summer (2005) than, to repeat, he insisted that his political program has one overriding aim: to reorient Iranian domestic and foreign policies in full-tilt ways to hasten the imminent return of his master . . . the Holy Peek-a-Boo Mahdi-Savior gone AWOL the last 1000 years, brooding in his deep well dugout. Then, too, as the former mayor of Tehran, he spent lavish sums of public money on improving the road access from Qum to the sanctified Spook's dank hideout and drawing up detailed plans, with lots of refinements, to modernize Tehran's own avenues . . . the better, you see, for the true-believing Muslims there to go ape and throng and acclaim the Hide-and-Seek Messiah once he comes sky-shooting out of the well and materializes a split-second later in either Qum or Tehran --- or maybe, given the Hidden Specter's miraculous powers, in both places simultaneously. Messiahs can do that, no? They aren't bound by the laws of nature the way mortals are, are they? Obviously not. Who ever doubted it? Oh, he did huh? Off with his head, the demon!
And ponder something else. Ahmadinejad's apocalyptic voodoo isn't just a matter of bughouse brainwaves cavorting wildly inside his cranium alone. It's the core beliefs of the half-secretive Hojatieh sect in Shiite Islam, whose cadres of elite members Ahmadinejad placed in key government posts last year immediately after his election.
What Follows When the Hidden Spook-Redeemer Shows Up to Redeem?
Apocalypse Now! that's what.
More concretely, all Islamic traditions predict that an Armageddon Showdown
with the infidels will erupt and blaze worldwide the moment the Mahdi-Messiah breezes in. A kind of Gunfight-at-the-Ok-Corral on a Cosmic-scale, the Islamic Apocalypse will initiate a period of chaos, violent upheavals, and wars-to-the-death . . . but not to worry. No! No!
Sooner or later, the planetary shoot-out will end gloriously in Islam's triumph everywhere: one and all, the detested impure infidels will either have been converted to Islam, or forced to settle for humiliating dhimmi-status under Muslim rule, or killed off in slaughterhouse massacres of vast scope. . . exactly, observe carefully, as all Muslims believe is their religion's ultimate Allah-blessed destiny.
And that won't be the end of imminent Muslim joys . . . no way. Under the Mahdi's guidance, sinful Muslims will repent and be generously forgiven. In turn, they and the true-believing purists like the devoted Ahmadinejad himself will find that earthly existence itself will have been rapturously transformed. Forever after --- as certain as the Easter Bunny will show up next April or Linus's Great Pumpkin will hover over your misty backyards this October --- all Muslim devotees will live joyous lives free of misery, conflict, and suffering: and yes, not in Paradise itself, but right here on mundane earth itself.
After which, more joy yet. With 100% religious certainty, benighted angels will swoop down from Paradise and lift pious Muslim upward on their wings to the even greater glories and sensual pleasures of Islam's Eternal Life..
Today's Comments Extend the Early Article's Analysis By . . .
probing the deep-rooted causes of Ahmadinejad's sky-shooting popularity all over Islam: yes, even in Sunni countries . . . at any rate, among the fist-shaking morons who man the Arab street and its ignoramus counterparts elsewhere.
Islam's Latest and Greatest Muscleman Champ
Is it really surprising that that Ahmadinejad's apocalyptic fantasies, chest-thumping swagger, and devious, motor-mouth diplomacy over the last year have set off bouts of hot-wire whoopee in Muslim countries everywhere? Come on, we all know the answer; the surprise would be the opposite. After all, what Ahmadinejad says and does overlaps with what most Muslims in the world currently believe or expect . . . even if his own ways of acting out his crackpot fantasies reflect a fervid hyper-kinetic style and certain Shiite beliefs not shared by all Muslims. Otherwise, the overlap is striking.
In particular, the more Ahmadinejad vents his Jew-hatred, menaces Israel's existence, sneers at the Holocaust, and massively ups his support to Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists while mocking European and UN diplomats as naive patsies, the more the illiterate or poorly educated masses of global Islam will invariably go bananas and hail and extol him the latest in a long line of promising Islamic Strongmen-Saviors . . . the Heaven-Ordained Redeemer Muslims everywhere look forward to who will, at a blow, restore Islamic pride, honor, and power.
As it happens, nothing really new here. The list of these promising World Muslim Champs marks the dismally violent landscape of Middle Eastern politics since WWII: Egypt's Pan-Arab Dictator, Gamiel Nasser in the 1950s and 1960s, the PLO's Yasser Arafat, Syria's bloody dictator Hafez al-Assad in the 1970s, Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini (the clerical-fascist founder of the Iranian Republic in the late 1970s), Iraq's blood-soaked Saddam Hussein in the 1980s and 1990s, Hamas' Terrorist Leader of the Month, and al Qaeda's bin Laden in this decade . . . the list now headed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but --- watch it!
--- with Mahmoud now having to share the No. 1 position on the Islamic Hit Parade with the sky-hooting hero of the moment, Hezbollah's Sheik Hassan Nasrallah. All these earlier Muslim Musclemen Wonders gloriously promised to reverse Islamic decline, slay Islam's demonic enemies, and somehow, with their miraculous powers at full throttle, make Muslims countries wealthy, powerful, dominant, and full of glory again . . . as is their birth-right as devotees of the true religion, right?
Each and every one of these Heroic Muslim Champs turned out to be a Bogus Motor-mouth Chump who led his gullible country or movement to to one disaster after another.
No Matter. Not to Worry, Lads!
Because surely --- surely! surely!
--- this time it will be different. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the rescue! No two ways about it: different and the blessed outcome certain . . . the great Iranian Strongman, together with his glorious, martyr-ready chum in Hezbollah, a Jew-hating racist cut from Nazi cloth, bound to meet with glory and victory where others have failed in the past, may Allah bless and sanctify them; yes, New-Model Saviors of Islamic honor, glory, power, and triumphant global rule! And look, lads!
. . . their whomping grand-slam success all the more guaranteed by the soon-to-be Iranian nuclear force, may Heaven bless it and its Devoted Holy Servants!. Not to mention the equally blessed, more practical use of chemical and biological weapons by Hezbollah's swarming suicide-martyrs, may Allah sanctify and sanction them too in their Holy War to smite the wicked Jew-fiends in Israel and elsewhere.
Boom, take that Jew-suckers! Pow, take it again you fiendish devils!
Oh, what glories lie ahead for currently humiliated and powerless Muslims!
And just think, lads!
Together, arm-in-arm, these two Militarized Wonder-Making Saviors will no sooner triumph over Islam's swarming demonic tormentors than they will employ --- poof-like, faster than you can say 52 skedaddle! --- their super spellbinding powers to surmount Islam's blatantly weak, backward conditions and the ever greater gap between Muslim countries and the dynamic world of infidel Europe, North America, East Asia, and India. What, the infidels more powerful right now?
Ugh! . . . may Allah smite and punish them, their cursed lands the home of impure, morally wretched kafirs who live amid evil ignorance of the one true religion and pollute and corrupt the true believers themselves with their vile ways, their unrighteous violence, and their evil Jew-led tricks and machinations! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!
But what else can you expect from the ignorant enemies of true knowledge and faith? Do they not live in the arid Allah-empty lands of dar al-Harb
. . . known to the Prophet and his followers as the doomed global zone of violence, war, and wicked wicked ways until they are converted to our righteous peaceful ways?
Yes, our ways! The Prophet's ways! For Blessed are We, the Muslim Ummah . . . Our own lands of dar al-Islam themselves full of purity, piety, peace, and righteous knowledge and all destined to triumph again as in the past, only this time, lads and lassies, everywhere on earth, no nook-and-cranny beyond its blessed reach!
Islam means peace after all, right? And salvation, no? . . . the only kind possible. And triumphant Islam everywhere is Allah's plan for all mankind, except those witless evil infidels who stubbornly resist the true faith, is it not? --- their destiny captured in the following well-known Muslim writing:
"O you who believe! be careful of -your duty to- Allah with the proper care which is due to Him, and do not die unless you are Muslim." (Soorah Aal-'lmraan 3:102),
How Today's Topic --- the Causes of Ahmadinejad's Striking Popularity in Islam --- Will Unfold
Given what we've said so far in a fast, top-skimming way, you can see why Ahmadinejad's bursting popularity in global Islam is anything but surprising. The more he and Nasrallah rant against Jews and Israel, menace its extinction, pursue a blessed Islamic nuclear force, make patsies of UN and EU diplomats, tweak the US super-power, and wage Holy War against the Israeli demons --- all promised by the new two Islamic Champs, or actively at work right now --- the more this jihadi hokum and fist-shaking bluster and terrorism are bound to set Muslim hearts pounding with hope and optimism.
Understandably so. Sure, no ifs ands or buts.
Because look . . . whatever else can be said about this hyped-up jihad fascism, the surge of dreamland uplift and excitement that it has incited in the Islamic world performs a crucial psychic function: however temporarily, it has probably eased the emotionally charged sizzle of rampant shame, blistering humiliation, and fast-burn resentments that have scorched and seared Muslim hearts for decades and generations now. Pause a moment. Make sure you grasp this point. When you do, you'll also grasp why these belligerent rants, the crackling Jew-hatred, the systematic Holocaust-denial, and the barely concealed undertow of glorious future wars on behalf of Islamic pride, honor, and conquest --- soon to be bolstered by nuclear weapons --- that this Islamo-fascist stuff entails are so much narcotic balm
for badly dislocated minds, churning with raw distress and bewilderment.
All of which claims will be clarified and backed with hard evidence in the substantive parts that follow.
In particular, the clarifying remarks that dominate Part Two's analysis will unfold in a moment. The hard evidence for its main points --- including lots of up-to-date survey data --- will be set out in Part Three. That leaves Part Four: pulling the various strands of the buggy argument together, it will tease out the key implications of this dangerous mind-set in Islam of fantasized beliefs and searing emotions --- not least, the pathological blame-shifting, conspiratorial lunacies, and rippling urges for revenge --- that will likely dominate much of Islamic life in the near future . . . and especially in the Middle East.
Understand these implications, and whatever else this series on Iran might or might not illuminate for you individually, you should at least come away at the end with a decent working idea of the likely major trends in Middle East conflicts, wars, and diplomacy over the next decade or two.
THE COLLECTIVE MENTAL DISARRAY THAT FLOURISHES ALL OVER ISLAM:
Its Nature, Its Historical Causes, and the Key Psychological Functions Its High-Coiled Pathologies Serve for Angry, Downhearted Muslims World-Wide
The Key Features of This Blistering Flipped-Out Worldview
Against 1500 years of complex historical background --- above all, as the previous article showed, Islam's long and militarily aggressive global expansion from the 7th through the 17th centuries and its sharp decline in relative power, wealth, and prestige since 1700 --- we need to sift out and examine the core component-parts of the screw-loose psychic syndrome that festers and ripples all over the Islamic world. The introductory comments only scratched around the surface of that deranged mental complex. We need to dig much deeper.
Start with the Conspiratorial Idiocies
A mental, emotionally charged snarl full of ignorance, delusive wishful thinking, and analgesic psychological defenses intended to sooth the high-coiled shame and humiliation rife in Islam at Muslim failures and stubbornly entrenched backwardness, this pathological syndrome leads to systematic blame-shifting that scapegoats others --- and certainly not Muslims themselves or their Islamic traditions and cultures, no! no! no! that's inconceivable
--- as being responsible for Islam's lengthy decline, weakness, and flagrant backward conditions. The blame-shifting is bad enough. What's far more crazed and menacing is the manner in which the scapegoating rages all over Islam these days --- its hobgoblin tormentors and evil enemies who have caused Islam's failures and troubles in adapting effectively to the forces of modernity depicted, invariably, in lunatic conspiratorial ways.
Pause and ponder briefly what's what here. To wit: booby-hatch thought let out of its padded-cell confines and rampaging on a vast scale in global Islam.
An exaggeration? Hardly. The wilder and more preposterous these crazed, paranoid fantasies turn out to be, the more fervidly, it seems, they're devoured by the illiterate or poorly educated Muslim masses around the world desperate, to a man, to escape the raw tormented sense of shame and humiliation that eat away at their pride and hope --- and, for that matter, devoured no less eagerly by lots of what passes for intellectuals in Muslim countries too. To cite just one nutbin instance for which the survey evidence will be set out in Part Three, the vast majority of Muslims world-wide --- 84% in the four biggest Muslim countries in the world --- deny right now in mid-2006 that Arabs ever carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks on US soil . . . this psycho-pathological denial, mind you, clung to almost four years after bin Laden boasted openly in a video that al Qaeda had masterminded the massacres. As for bin Laden himself, a majority in some Muslim countries also think he's living incognito in the USA and some Muslims are convinced that he's hiding out on George Bush's ranch. You can't deny blame for horrid things much more flagrantly or systematically than that, can you?
Why has this unhinged Dark-Age worldview spread so widely and rapidly the last few decades?
We'll answer in depth in a few moments. For the time being, keep in mind that the few western-oriented intellectuals still living in almost all Muslim countries have been silenced, intimidated, killed-off, or forced into exile since the 1970s, and most of the remaining journalists, scholars, and writers are hack servile types who have sided with the rigid moss-backed clerics, sheiks, and radical Islamists who ram the unglued dementia day-in, day-out, into the brains of Islam's volatile, poorly educated masses --- all of them, it seems, left bewildered and full of dismay and shame at Islam's all-encompassing backwardness. Note too, if only in passing, that there is nothing in Islamic traditions that encourages notions of free will, individual responsibility, and independent inquiry outside the sacred texts of the Qur'an, Hadith, and Sira . . . let alone mass educational systems anywhere in Islamic countries that foster such inquiry and a sense of personal responsibility. At most, you get divergent Islamic schools and legal tradtions that interpret these sacred texts differently, often with violent repercussions as between Shiites and Sunnis in the past and at present.
Small wonder, then, that all of the Muslim groups just mentioned --- the medieval clerics, the hack intellectuals and publicists, and the swarming, emotionally dislocated masses --- are eager to make sense of Islam's non-stop failures and weakness in ways they understand: by means of blame-shifting and conspiratorial scapegoating, followed by violent vengeance . . . yes, wrathful revenge and payback over and again until Islam completes its majestic Allah-ordained destiny and rules gloriously and triumphantly everywhere.
The Blame-Shifting and Paranoia Lunacies to the Rescue
Start with a key point. The blame for Muslim countries' economic and technological backwardness and its ever greater weakness and lack of prestige and awe world-wide can't lie in Islamic credos, traditions, and dogmas --- rigidly held and defended --- can it? Of course not. Any more than it inheres in the failures of Islam to nurture critical skepticism and a secular heritage the ways that Christian and Jewish communities have for centuries now, can it again? Obviously not. Even to think that would be unimaginable --- heresy, apostasy, and total psychic disarray. In plain, to-the-point language, it would shatter much of Muslim self- and collective-identity and set off soul-searing psychological traumas everywhere in Islam.
But how about blame lying elsewhere?
In particular, can the faults causing Islamic failures to grapple effectively with the disruptive challenges of modernity and globalizing forces be traced back to the local conditions that fragment ever Muslim country world-wide into rival and markedly mistrustful families, tribal-clans, and mutually suspicious Muslim sects . . . not to forget the closed and corrupt patron-client hierarchies that dominate all economic, financial, political, and administrative life? Possibly. At least it's imaginable, and lots of the western-oriented Muslim intellectuals used to argue that openly --- but they're no longer a force in Muslim countries and haven't been for decades.
Well, then, how about the markedly dysfunctional institutions that have emerged out of these age-old local conditions ---which have been rendered all the more dysfunctional by Islamic of intellectual rigidity and authoritarianism --- can't they be isolated as the causes of Islamic weakness and backwardness either? Sure, provided the stuff about Islamic rigidities and authoritarian mentalities and political rule is pruned off. But alas. Run by people in authority who are there because of mutual back-scratching in the major patron-client networks, rather than by virtue of professional talent, hard-work, and performance, these blatantly ineffectual institutions that dominate all public and most private life can't be criticized openly either. After all, bad as they are in changing the backward stagnation in their countries, they do perform one function with remarkable flair: they underpin and prop up the dictators and their top-dog crony allies --- usually family and tribal-clan members --- that manage the closed networks while milking the national economy and monopolizing all authority and power in the country. Needless to say, to criticize them openly would be tantamount to signing your death—warrant.
Which Leaves What Other Home-Grown Causal Explanations to Account for Islamic Failures?
Closed-mindedness to secular knowledge and science developed elsewhere maybe . . . the 320 million Arab peoples, for instance, translating fewer books from abroad over the last 1000 years
than Spain does yearly
for its 40 million people? Sounds like a good causal influence, doesn't it? The self-inflicted, walled-in ignorance even pointed out and underscored by a tiny group of Arab scholars and international civil servants back in 2003, who couldn't be slapped down by the local dictators because they were sponsored by the UN. But that's it. The dictators and local imams and sheiks had no reason to worry; the report had no impact anywhere. As for the systematic subjugation of women that exists everywhere in Muslim societies with some local variations, it surely --- surely!
--- has couldn't it have a major impact on Islamic backwardness? But note: to assert that is to affront Islamic traditions and credos that are 1400 years old. Worse, there are clear power motives that are served by female subjugation. Muslim men might not lord it over the infidels any more, let alone the Jews, and they might not have many dhimmi inferiors to keep in their place, and they might burn with a sizzle of shame and dishonor at Islamic weakness --- but at least they can keep Muslim women in their place and lord it over them with solace.
Note What Follows
Amid this delusional mental vacuum --- made all the more empty by the collapse of western-oriented intellectuals in Arab life and elsewhere since the 1970s --- the frazzled, freaked-out worldview that we've been analyzing today has flourished everywhere in Islam with little or no resistance.
Small wonder why. Its malignant blame-shifting and conspiratorial scapegoating are perfectly suited to soothe mentally dislocated and shame-filled minds. These psychic pathologies not only prop up systematic denial and provide an encompassing if lunatic set of ideological beliefs that account for Islam's failures in a suitable, self-serving manner, they also hold out a tangle of luring, paranoid-packed hopes for desperate and religiously sanctioned revenge against Islam's turnip-ghost malefactors . . . the villains who are responsible for its teeming weakness and backward conditions. Nor is that all. There's another delusive pathology at work here. Smite the evil tormentors as this twisted mentality encourages as a course of action, and immediately --- if only in miraculous ways --- Muslim honor and hope for ultimate global triumph need not look like the crazy fizzled-out fantasy that it has for centuries now.
Who Are These Demonic Turnip-Ghost Tormentors and Miscreants?
By Now, The Answer's Self-Evident:
It's Jews, Jewish Israel, Jewish-dominated America, and Jewish-run and Jewish-manipulated globalizing forces . . . along with their infidel running dogs like Christians, Hindus, Confucians, Buddhists, and despised Secularists. Sound preposterous, a re-run of Nazi racist gibber? Hardly.
Consider here --- as a prime exhibit of virtually all these intellectual frauds and the dementia and how pervasive they are in Islam --- the head-spinning speech offered up by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, to the Islamic Summit Conference of 2003 held in his country. The speech was shot through with conspiratorial lunacies and fantasized Jewish world-dominance that has caused so much confusion, dismay, and other emotional dislocations in Islam . . . at the end of which luminous harangue, note quickly once more, the heads of 57 Muslim countries and communities leapt to their feet and clapped jubilantly for a couple of minutes:
"I will not enumerate the instances of our humiliation," Mr. Mahathir said. "We are all Muslims. We are all oppressed. We are all being humiliated. . . . Today we, the whole Muslim [community], are treated with contempt and dishonor. . . . There is a feeling of hopelessness among the Muslim countries and their people. They feel that they can do nothing right . . . Our only reaction is to become more and more angry. Angry people cannot think properly." -- Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia in the Keynote Speech at the Islamic Summit Conference of 2003
Enter now, in Mahathir's view, the causes of this blazing sense of shame and enraged humiliation over the oppression and sense of hopelessness rampant in Islam. According to him, the poor Muslims --- all 1.3 billion of them world-wide, living in 57 Muslim-majority countries (many oil rich) --- couldn't compete with Islam's alleged chief adversary, 15 million Jews, their arrogant all-powerful enemy and apparent tormentors. "We are," he said,
"Up against a people who think. They survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking. They invented and successfully promoted Socialism, Communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so they may enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power.
"We cannot fight them through brawn alone [read: military struggle]. We must use our brains also."
How Many Muslims Share This Delusive Paranoid Complex?
As it happens, it's easy to come up with a fairly solid estimate, and later on, in Part Three of today's commentary, we'll cite lots of hard, up-to-date evidence --- including opinion surveys --- to underpin the estimate.
For the time being, just take it for granted that somewhere between 70% and 80% is generally accurate. To recall one nutbin instance mentioned earlier, these surveys find that the vast majority of Muslims world-wide deny with deranged, self-deluded intensity that Arabs carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks on US soil . . . this, mind you, almost four years after bin Laden boasted openly in a video that al Qaeda's had masterminded the massacres. As for bin Laden himself, a majority in several Muslim countries think he's living incognito in the USA, and a near-majority claim he's living on George Bush's ranch.
What's at work here should be obvious: popping herd-mentality on a vast scale with little --- or no --- open challenge from the 20% to 30% of Muslims around the world who show some independence of thought.
They're not many, alas --- at any rate in positions of power or influence; and they've counted for little . . . especially with the destruction and silence of the few outspoken western-oriented intellectuals who existed in Arab and other Muslim countries until the 1970s. Since then, with the connivance of the Muslim dictators, the shape and tempo of Islamic views of the world --- including the reasons for Islamic failures, backwardness, and repeated defeats in war --- have been monopolized by an ever greater throng of crude, increasingly unhinged clerical manipulators, obscurantist sheiks spouting 7th century dogmas, hack servile journalists, and swarms of mediocre intellectuals . . . not to mention the extremist leaders of radical jihadi movements and their suave double-talking PR-fronts in Europe and America like CAIR. It's the radical Islamists who have been the biggest beneficiaries, and not just intellectually --- financially too. Both the demagogic extremists who direct the radical Islamist movements and their terrorist wings have drawn on lavish oil-money, with the Saudi profligates in power dishing out huge amounts to the Sunni versions and the Iranian mullahs to their Shiite equivalents.
Conceivably --- note in passing, nothing else for the moment --- that this two-pronged front may have changed on the Sunni side, and for a couple of reasons: in the last three years, al Qaeda began launching terrorist tactics on Saudi soil itself, and bursting Shiite terrorism in the Middle East masterminded by a belligerent Iran --- led by a manic religious nutcase with nuclear weapons soon at his disposal --- has spawned the worst nightmare scenario possible for the Sunni governments in the region.
Enter The Basic Psychological Functions That This Primitive Snarl
of Mental Nonsense and Paranoia Serve for Dismayed and Disoriented Muslims
Above All Pain-Killing Solace and Reassurance
In brief, to-the-point terms, the manic, half-crazed worldview now infesting most of Islam is the analgesic mental narcotic --- adhered to with a frenzy of conviction and rippling emotions --- that Muslim publicists, clerics, journalists, religious scholars, and so-called intellectuals have concocted for decades now to account for 300 years of Muslim failures to grapple effectively with the challenges and dislocating forces of modernity and globalization . . . and hence for Islam's ever worsening troubles and backwardness. Its readily ingested opiate works with a double-whammy. Swallow the stuff, and bang! right off it promises to banish the emotional sizzle of rife bewilderment, shame, and humiliation that eat away at Muslim minds over Islam's teeming failures and rickety condition. Wait a few seconds, and with equal impact, bang! bang!
it promises to salvage the individual and collectively shared sense of honor, self-respect, and hopes for a more glorious, power-laden destiny in the future that Muslims all long for, but that have been very much in short supply for generations now.
Look carefully at these two narcotizing functions, however pathological their nature.
Note how, when psychically unhinged Muslims elect to see the world in these crudely demented, paranoid-charged terms, they are assured by the snake-oil purveyors of this crazed and addictive mental hokum that their gnarly doubts will be exorcised, their flaring shame and dismay at Islam's earthly conditions will vanish, and their frayed hope and optimism for Islam's ultimate earthly triumph will flourish once more. That's the magical promise. Drug-dealers everywhere ballyhoo their wares with equally lavish promise. The reality? Millions of junkies who consume the poison daily are testimony to human wreckage . . . their daily lives exhausted in an obsessive, self-destructive search for ever larger doses of the stuff, hoping against hope to still the pain and emptiness that continue to gnaw away at their conscious minds.
In the long run --- maybe even much sooner --- will it be any different for the mental opiate being consumed daily by hundreds of millions in the Muslim world?
Enter Another Key Function of This Inflamed, Schizzed-Out Syndrome
Suppose the self-serving, self-entangling delusive beliefs of this unhinged mentality in Islam --- choc-a-bloc as it is with denial, blame-shifting, and paranoid scapegoating --- never emerged and overran most of the Islamic world in the last few decades. What, then, would have likely happened in Muslim societies?
Well, the unimaginable! In the mental vacuum, there would likely have emerged growing doubts and disbelief about Islam's central credos and certitudes themselves.
The chief danger for Muslims in the modern world, you see, isn't just earthly and mundane . . . a future filled with more and more frustration, shame, and humiliation at Islamic weakness and backward conditions. The real danger lies in the religious fall-out. How so? Because, look . . . from the start, you have to remember, the truths of Islam were bound up with militarized conquest, imperial expansion, and ever greater rule over inferior dhimmi-subjects who refused to accept Islam's dogmas. No other religion is like that. Then too, despite certain setbacks to the Arab empire from the 13th century on and to the Tatars in Russia not long afterward, that mundane success went on for a 1000 years. Since 1700, success has vanished. Totally. Everywhere in Islam, backwardness, weakness, and conquest by the infidels have shot up and multiplied without respite, and the emotionally forged link between Islamic truths and Islamic power and expansion began snapping apart in the last few decades.
Nor is that all. Look as far ahead into the future as you want, and what you can see with near certainty is further Islamic failures to modernize and catch up with the West, Hindu India, China, and the rest of Pacific Asia. Seen in these mundane
terms, Islam looks like a perfect formula for permanent underdevelopment.
So we ask again: without the rapid spread of the delirious, narcotizing worldview everywhere in Islam to solace and reassure Muslims who have been reeling from shame, humiliation, and resentment at their societies' flagrantly weak, backward conditions, what would likely have happened in religious
terms? In all probability, even the true-believers themselves would have had to confront at some point the scary prospect of growing doubt and disbelief spreading in their societies . . . with the age-old, hitherto unchallenged dogmas and certitudes of Islam as the one true religion, blessed by Allah to dominate the world, looking more and more like a hallucinatory chimera. Whether, of course, the addictive power of the mental narcotic could conceal the truths of ever greater Islamic weakness, backwardness, and declining power in relative terms is another matter.
All of which brings us directly to the next topic, an elaboration of what we've just said:
The Historical and More Recent Causes of This Fiery, Freaked-Out Psychic Turmoil
The previous buggy article, recall, dealt with these causes at length. Click here if you want to see what it argued, along with the supporting evidence. Right now, for present purposes, prof bug will assume that you've read that argument, and very little will be repeated here beyond establishing two or three links to that earlier article . . . at any rate, enough to provide you with a context for the rest of today's analysis.
How the Truths of Islam and Muslim Power, Conquests, and Glory Have Been Intertwined
The key point to grasp here by way of clarification? It's simple to grasp: as religion, Islam promises its followers that it will triumph world-wide one day, and until about 1700 that meant overwhelmingly by the sword.
In contrast to Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism, Islam erupted into existence as a militarized conquering religion in the mid-7th century. Christianity, to stay with it momentarily, spread for three centuries in opposition to the Roman Empire, which systematically persecuted its believers. Not so Islam. The militarized Arab state was its initial aggressive power, quickly overrunning the Persian Empire, the Christian Middle East and Christian North Africa, Southern Italy, and Spain. Later, the Tatars --- a mix of Mongolian and Turkish peoples --- conquered and ruled Orthodox Russia from the 12th to the 14th century; the Ottoman Turkish Empire destroyed the remnants of the Byzantine Empire in the 15th century, expanding everywhere in the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe . . . at one point Greece, Bulgaria, Rumania, parts of Russia, Hungary, and Yugoslavia all under its imperial control. Then came the Moguls. In the same bellicose, blood-splattered manner, they overran and ruled Hindu India from the 16th century on.
The wider political outcome?
Down until 1700, and for that matter for another couple of centuries, Muslims became accustomed to ruling over large numbers of inferior dhimmi subject peoples: Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, Hindus, and pagans.
Small wonder then that Muslims --- unlike Christianity, which existed and spread for 3 centuries before it became the official religion of the Roman Empire, and in contrast to Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and others --- were also habituated by the first 1000 years of their history and by their religion's credos and eschatology to associate the truth of Islam's certitude and promised-destiny with Muslim power, military expansion, influence, and prestige. And not only its certitudes, truths, and destiny, mind you --- but their own sense of honor, personal power, and hopes for the future . . . matters crucial not only for religious reasons, but also wider socio-cultural ones. Meaning? Meaning that except for Muslims living in Europe or the English-speaking democracies elsewhere, Muslims have lived only in societies marked by a dominant culture of Honor-and-Shame, and avoiding shame --- to yourself, to your family, to your tribal-clan, and to your religion --- and avenging wrongs to it are the primary motive-force in social and political life . . . a claim that we'll explain in depth later today in Part Four.
Since then, it's all topsy-turvy in Muslim communities. The last 300 years have administered one jolting shock after another to these internalized beliefs and expectations. For the average Muslim, it's a world turned weirdly and disastrously out of sync . . . a source of rankling bewilderment, slow-burn shame, fast-burn humiliation, and invariably in such mentally tumultuous circumstances, reinforced by local cultures, of a desperate search for ways to ease this unhinging dismay and distress. Not surprisingly --- a point clarified in Part Three today --- blame-shifting and paranoid scapegoating, which are part and parcel of all shame-honor societies of the sort that flourish in every Muslim country, are the preferred means to that end.
A question quickly prompts itself:
Why the Near Universal Spread All Over Islam of This Blistering, Bughouse Mentality Since 1975 or So?
Here again, to simplify what the previous buggy article argued, the answer is fairly straightforward: the pervasive, speeded-up intrusions everywhere in the world, not just in Islam, of globalizing forces --- and especially Western and above all American media: 24 hours Satellite TV, movies, music, advertising, the Internet . . . what have you. Well, come to think of it, the "what have you" should include Arab and other satellite TV like Al-Jazeera; their beamed imagery of Arab weakness and setbacks, usually presented in inflamed, biased ways, makes it impossible for Arab dictators ruling with secret police to censor all news any longer and hence to control the hot-headed eruptions of the Arab street and its counterparts elsewhere. In short, even in the remotest corner of a poor Islamic country, there's been no escaping the constant bombardment of images and information that underscore Islam's weakness, backwardness, and lack of prestige.
Note the implications here.
These frazzled, humiliating conditions are being rubbed in Muslim faces day-in, day-out, with dismaying intensity full of mind-jolting shocks. They have been doing so for decades now. They are very likely to go on doing so way into the future, or maybe forever.
An exaggeration? Not likely. On all the evidence, the chances of a Muslim country developing an institutionally grounded democracy full of corruption and crony patron-client relations --- and insecure protection of civil liberties --- are much greater than it or any other Islamic country nurturing a rich, technologically advanced economy and impressively creative advances in secular knowledge. Turkey, the only constitutionally secular country in the Islamic world, already has such a distorted democracy. Its per capita income? A good 20% below Mexico's.
Finally, Recall Too That the Globalizing Media Also Reinforce the Rippling Identity-Crises That Rage
in All Islamic Societies,
Islamic Dogmas and Certitudes at Risk
Most of these identity-crises derive from the causal forces just analyzed, the relentless shocks imparted daily for decades and longer to age-old mental habits and expectations: Islam isn't powerful, just the opposite, it's weak, backward, and almost totally uncreative in science, technology, and economic development; and contrary to its theocratic claims and its initial 1000 years of expansion, it won't --- as we observed a while back --- likely triumph world-wide at all . . . very much the opposite: weakness, backwardness, and ever greater decline in status shooting up and multiplying in the future.
Enter our crucial point. What's on trial here, mentally anyway, are the unquestioned certitudes of Islamic truth and destiny.
Plainly put, in a religion that is unique in lacking self-critical secular traditions and other necessary mental and social adaptations to the forces of modernity and their globalizing spread, any questioning on a wide scale about accepted Islamic norms and practices --- especially among populations that are rampantly illiterate or semi-literate --- is bound to be disruptive to individual beliefs and expectations and dislocate what has been historically a traditional, firmly anchored sense of meaning and purpose on earth . . . both personal and collective.
And There's More: Allurement vs. Revulsion or Why Muslims Suffer from
Painfully Torn Minds
Recall what we said a moment or two ago: the jarring shocks to personal identity, whether individual or collective in Islam --- the two virtually impossible to separate clearly --- derive in large part from intrusive, globalized media beyond the reach of imams, mullahs, sheiks, muftis, and even the dictators in power.
These jarring intrusions, as it happens, are full of image-laden incitements to fantasies of a very un-Islamic nature. Daily, without stop, satellite TV, Hollywood movies, Madison Avenue advertising, American and European music, and the Internet all hold out constant allurements and enticements of an alien cultural and religious sort . . . sexual freedom, the free availability of alcohol, female liberation, open homosexual acceptance, teeming affluence for the masses, bursting new technologies, and not least the freedom of individuals, women too, to shape their own lives. These dreamland lures are bound to tempt people, especially the young and middle-aged, and set them to dreaming too . . . doubly so among frustrated young men without normal outlets for highly repressed sexual energy --- premarital sex itself not just immoral in Muslim countries, but criminally punishable. Small wonder, then, as the previous buggy article noted, that Muslim countries dominate the use of Internet porn . . . a statistic that a researcher found with the help of Google. Simultaneously, though, the tempted dreamers are bound to be frustrated because the allurements and enticements are alien and, more to the point, unavailable except to the rich and very well-to-do.
The result is jolted out-of-sync psyches on a vast individual and society-wide scale, in which ambiguities, doubts, and temptations war daily with accepted norms, practices, and the need above all to avoid shame in the eyes of others. Nor is that all. Don't forget that these sharp mental conflicts are unfolding in the most inflexible, dogmatically stand-pat and authoritarian societies in the world --- which facts, of course, largely explain Muslim weakness and backward conditions, not that 95% or more Muslims are willing to acknowledge this; just the contrary.
Add These Diverse Causes Together, and What Follows?
Essentially this: in a globalizing world that the dictators and coo-coo clerics, sheiks, and Islamist movements can't control, the masses of Muslim peoples suffer --- it seems increasingly clear --- not only from growing identity-crises caused by shame and humiliation at Islam's backwardness and by the rankling two-way tug between traditional norms and Western-generated mental lures beyond their reach, but also, observe carefully, from relentlessly gnawing doubts about Islam's Allah-ordained destiny to triumph everywhere on earth.
That's the first upshot. Another upshot follows.
In particular, what with all the bewilderment and psychological distress that afflict their mass flocks, is it any surprise that imams, mullahs, ayatollahs, sheiks, muftis, and the leaders of radical Islamist movements are filled with fury and rage daily at these Western intrusions that threaten their own power and self-identities as guardians and warriors of the true faith? Hardly; just the opposite. Hence the redoubled pace of their frenzied demagogic efforts to add more delirious ingredients to the mental opiate, all intended, so their snake-oil promises go, to ease once and for all Muslim psychic pain in a world that is increasingly at odds with Islamic pieties, dogmas, and traditional hopes for Islam's triumphant destiny.
True, there are some variations here across Muslim societies: Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, and Algeria are not so rigid and intolerant of some female freedom as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, and Pakistan. Even so, none of the more western-influence Islamic countries have been able to grapple effectively with these alien cultural intrusions while relieving the frustrations, doubts, and shattered hopes for the future that their backward conditions, dictatorships, rigid family and tribal-clan traditions, dominant patron-client networks, and their own recent Islamist revivalist trends clash with head-on.
THE CORE TENETS OF THIS RABID, SCREW-LOOSE SYNDROME DISENTANGLED, ILLUMINATED, AND BACKED WITH HARD EVIDENCE
So Where Are We in Today's Argument?
Where? Well, right here: if you strip away the psychological ornaments of the rabid, widely shared worldview that infests global Islam these days, what'll you find popping and snapping at its delusional hard core is a snarl of five or six self-entangling mental pathologies.
Each of these frazzled, emotionally charged doctrinal tenets is held dogmatically, without doubt or questions --- at any rate, in the initial psychological stages once the disoriented Muslim faithful seek solace and reassurance from their addictive and collective narcotizing effects; and once initially embraced, each tenet works with the others to resist and reject any discrepant information. In this way, the constantly disruptive intrusions of the world that conflict with Islamic dogmas are fully re-interpreted in analgesic, walled-in ways.
Suppose, to get down to cases, some dramatic events that collide head-on with Muslim honor, self-identity, or material interests suddenly erupt somewhere --- say, the 9/11 terrorist attacks on US soil
--- and all the evidence or information about the mass-murdering perpetrators makes it clear that they were Arabs one and all. Overwhelmingly, such information is a direct threat to Islamic beliefs and Muslims' emotionally excited sense of personal and collective honor. Islam is supposed to mean peace, no? Muslims aren't supposed to attack innocent civilians either, right? Does it follow that Muslims are self-deluded on these scores? Of course not! That's not possible --- at any rate, for the true-believers in the thrall of this delusional psychic syndrome with its systematic denial of all threatening or disagreeable news. What then? You already know the answer. Instantly, all over the Muslim world, the information needed to explain the events in fully reassuring doctrinal terms will be quickly conjured up with bursting zeal --- however fantastic or crazed the reinterpretations happen to be --- by the controlled media, ranting medieval clerics, pliable hack intellectuals, or the unglued idiot gossip-mongers swarming the Arab street and its ignoramus equivalents elsewhere in Islam.
The 9/11 terrorism is a particularly startling example of such systematic pathological defenses. As you'll soon see, a good 84% of Muslims living in the world's four biggest Islamic countries who were recently surveyed in a Pew Global Attitudes survey deny that any Arabs were among those 9/11 terrorists.
The Predictable Global Diffusion
In short, we're not talking about a few schizzed-out Muslims who have internalized this aberrant ding-a-ling psychic syndrome and need long-term treatment in a psycho ward. As you'll see later, roughly three-quarters of the world's Muslims are under its spell to one degree or another.
Small wonder. In an era of the global media these days like the Internet and Satellite TV, there's instant diffusion to every nook-and-corner in the Islamic world of the latest lunatic fabrications, and almost as swift acceptance of their hard-core truth . . . anything, anyway, that will sustain Muslim confidence in the hard-core truth of their dogmatically held worldview. Remember here. The whole functional thrust of the deranged, emotionally crackling mindset at work here is to provide analgesic balm to otherwise dismayed, disoriented, and shamed Muslim populations faced with Islam's teeming, non-stop failures to grapple effectively with the disruptive, high-pounding forces of modernity and its globalizing transmissions.
Take the 9/11 terrorist assaults again.
Within hours or days of their shocking eruption --- Arabs have attacked innocent civilians in New York and Washington DC --- you can safely bet that not only have there been ding-a-ling fabrications of disconfirming evidence concocted by the usual media hacks, hate-spewing clerics, and the volatile mobs of the Arab and other Muslim streets, you can also be sure that their whacko mental inventions have been swiftly diffused everywhere in Islam and are quickly believed with credulous fervor . . . all this, you understand, no matter how lunatic these fantasized re-interpretations of the shocking events happen to be. And not just lunatic, mind you. The fabricated evidence and hogwash interpretations will invariably ripple with conspiratorial paranoia and collectively projected urges of a violent sort to take revenge against the "real" perpetrators --- such as the fantasized certainty that Arabs weren't involved in the 9/11 terrorist massacres, that Jews were warned the day before to stay home from the Twin Towers, and that the arch-villains were the world-Jewish cabal and its running dog servants like the CIA and George Bush's White House . . . the larger Jewish scheme here, of course, to prepare Americans and others for a militarized assault on the Islamic world.
Prof bug's favorite of these raging lunacies, at any rate making the rounds in the Muslim world recently?
The belief held by a majority of Arabs in Dubai who were polled this spring that bin Laden --- naturally an American agent --- is hiding out in the US. The more crazed of the respondents were convinced that his hideaway was on the George Bush Texas ranch. (Note, before you read the press summary, that tiny Dubai is the 2nd most literate of the Arab countries, and one of the two or three that's the most western-oriented.)
In the Gulf News online survey done on May 7, 30 per cent of the responders [in Dubai] said Pakistan was the terrorist's likely hiding place. Only 12 per cent said Afghanistan, while 51 per cent said it was the United States.
"To double check whether people on the streets are equally paranoid and think on the same lines, Gulf News caught some unwary shoppers and asked them the question. While some people said they would rather not comment on the subject, a large number also believe he is in the United States, as according to them, Bin Laden was once "created" by America. A Dubai resident said people think he is in the United States, "because he was working for them before", said Daniella Paderi. "And now he has gone back home." The expatriate said catching Osama was not important. "There are more important things to worry about, as the war in Iraq," she said.
"Hassan Ali, an Egyptian expatriate in Abu Dhabi, said Bin Laden was most probably in Texas (home of US President George Bush). "That's where he is running his family business now," he said. "All the media fuss is make-believe. He probably has coffee daily with American officials."
The Need to Dissect the Base-Tenets One by One
In what follows --- at any rate, after a few more preliminary observations of a fast-moving sort --- each of these core psychic abnormalities will be set out briefly and, more to the point, our chief task here, will be supported with solid evidence . . . especially opinion poll data where they exist.
A Caution Though
As you read through the analysis of these daft mental aberrancies one by one, don't lose sight of how they interact to form a severely impaired, whacko whole . . . a closed, self-reinforcing psychic complex full of systematic denial, crude wishful thinking, endless, hyped up self-pity, and a frenzy of demented fantasies that are shot through with wild ruminations, lunatic conspiratorial paranoia, and searing urges for revenge against hobgoblin enemies and tormentors.
Sound oddly familiar? Sure, if you're old enough to have lived through the Nazi period down to 1945 and all the conflicts with the monstrous Communist countries until the end of the cold war. For like Communism and Nazism, this dogmatic, all-encompassing Muslim worldview is a rigid totalistic ideology held with fervent and unquestioning conviction by its true-believing adherents --- with everything that occurs in the world fully explicable and predicted by it, no matter how many mental contortions are needed to reinterpret actual events to achieve this delusion, or however ding-a-ling the reinterpretations happen to be.
There is a difference though. This daft, pervasive, and rigidly walled-in Muslim worldview isn't just ideologically political and social like Communism and Nazism, but religious through and through as well. Still, it's equally dangerous . . . and maybe more so if the more violent jihadis in Islam, whether terrorists or a terror-state like Iran, get hold of weapons of mass destruction. Like all totalistic ideologies, to clarify this point, the inflamed, religiously inspired worldview sizzling away in Islam is intended not just to explain why things have gone wrong for the world of the true-believers, but to underscore that the causes are wholly external to their own beliefs and convictions and what, therefore, they need to do to prevail and bring about a triumphant future utopia.
Invariably, that means destroying Islam's multitude of hobgoblin enemies by violent means.
A Revealing Example, Full of Unintended Irony
That we are clearly dealing with such a walled-in, markedly self-entangling pathological syndrome of a totalistic sort --- which, as you'll see in a few moments, serves as the worldview of somewhere between 70% to 80% of the world's Muslim populations --- is brought out in a strikingly revealing, if unintended way in a recent article (August 2006) by a Pakistani scholar and journalist who's connected with Cambridge University . . . in short, a thoroughly western-oriented Muslim.
"The Muslim Delusion
"In the 21st century, when the world is moving fast and some nations have already reached the stars, Muslims remain far from the horizons. Decadence, illiteracy and orthodoxy are the pronounced facets of the current Muslim culture. Deluded by their fantasies they are entrenched in illusions, vanities and misconceptions. Illiteracy, sectarian strife, and misconceived perceptions have further added to their despair.
The delusion that besets the Muslim mind represents a deep psychological betrayal that leaves severe scars on the body politic of the Muslim Ummah. It is a period of anguish, despair and delusion, which many Muslims fail to recognize. They brush aside the realities by declaring that they are the darlings of God and everything will be resolved in their favour.
The issues are varied and the situations are challenging. Muslims are entrapped in the cobweb of their fantasies and imaginations. It is from this premise that we have to take a start and pursue our quest for truth and insight. We have to see where we are wrong and how we are being undermined by a growing wave of fanaticism and distorted perceptions.
The Muslim delusion based on past achievements is not likely to play any significant role in the transformation of our destiny but consciousness of present experiences and the quantum of concrete contributions will be the driving forces to impact our destiny, politics, economy and civilization ."
---Iqbal Syed Hussain, The [Pakistani ]Nation, August 2006.
Why Quote Him?
Essentially for a double-barreled reason.
We lack any opinion polls that have directly probed the delusional mental complex treated in its entirety
as a self-entangling systematic whole: which is to say, once someone subscribes to one of its core pathologies, the others automatically fall into line.
Note that this absence of survey data doesn't apply to the core dogmas that comprise the deranged mindset itself. In most instances, each of the axiomatic tenets has been found in opinion polls carried out in several Muslim countries ---- big and small, Arab and non-Arab --- to be believed in by large majorities. These survey results, note again, are about as reliable as any opinion polls could be that are carried out in cultures notorious for their built-in mistrust and secrecy and, to boot, ruled by dictators and their secret police henchmen where slips-of-the-tongue can be deadly. As to whether Hussain's views are exceptional, the answer is a striking No! --- at any rate, among Western educated or Western-oriented Muslim intellectuals. If you doubt this claim, run a Google search with the following topics: "Islam OR Muslim, shame, humiliation, fantasy" or "Islam OR Muslim, fantasy, delusion, denial" and so on. That, by the way, is how prof bug uncovered Hussain's up-to-date article.
Hold on though! There's more that may throw you for a loop. It did so when prof bug read on through the rest of Hussain's article.
The flash of surprise that you find? Hussain's own paranoia and militarized Holy War views. Specifically, near the end of his article, you'll find a paragraph that shows in an eye-popping manner just how hard it is even for a western-oriented scholar to escape the pull of this totalistic self-entangling worldview that festers and radiates magnetically all over the Islamic world.
"Religion and violence ought not to be mixed in modern age, which merits new strategies and new technologies. Riding camels, living in caves and deploying Dark Age weapons cannot help us defeat the enemies. Muslims may be good warriors of Allah, but employing wrong policies in varying situations may not merit divine blessings, and could lead to fatal consequences. [Italics added by prof bug]
Reading this stuff about THE ENEMIES, VIOLENCE, and GOOD WARRIORS OF ALLAH, you're reminded of another westernized, fairly cosmopolitan Muslim with similar views --- Mahathir Mohamad, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia, who harangued the Islamic Summit Conference of 2003 with his own similar views.
Mahathir, recall, noted the shame, humiliation, and angry resentments in Islam that have inspired the fantasized escapes of Muslims into an imaginary world, only --- in the end --- for his harangue to crackle with the same conspiratorial paranoia about all-powerful turnip-ghost enemies and the need for jihadi warfare in the future
. . . which is to say, only after Muslim societies somehow learn to match the technologies and weaponry of the world-Jewish cabal and its Jewish elites in the US and West who, having learned to THINK BIG, use their demonic thoughts to control and manipulate the Muslim world and go on humiliating it.
More specifically, he fully implied, the poor Muslims --- all 1.3 billion of them world-wide, living in 57 Muslim-majority countries (many oil rich) --- couldn't compete with Islam's alleged chief adversary, 15 million Jews, their arrogant all-powerful enemy and apparent tormentors. Why? Because "we are . . .
". . . up against a people who think. They survived 2000 years of pogroms not by hitting back, but by thinking. They invented and successfully promoted Socialism, Communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so they may enjoy equal rights with others. With these they have now gained control of the most powerful countries and they, this tiny community, have become a world power.
"We cannot fight them through brawn alone. We must use our brains also." [Italics added by prof bug]
Well, if Hussain's and Mahathir's views show anything at all, they show just how hard it is for even western-oriented Muslims to escape the dangerous bughouse dogmas that flash and rumble with little or no challenge in Muslim communities worldwide. With few exceptions, they dominate the media and virtually all intellectual discourse for public consumption, entailing by now all the axiomatic pathologies at the core of this psychic derangement: massive blame-shifting, scapegoating, conspiratorial paranoia, and bellicose beliefs and hopes that Holy War will one day triumph over Islam's hallucinatory enemies and somehow, as if by magic, restore and multiply Islamic wealth, power, and rule everywhere in the world.
Virtually all Muslims taking it for granted, you need to understand, that the one true religion is destined by Allah and His Prophet to dominate all of humankind. Are there exceptions? If so, they are likely not to be very religious.
Time Now for the Delusional Syndrome's Crux Tenets to be Disentangled and Backed with Solid Evidence
Five or six key pathologies ripple away at the psychic core of this mental derangement, starting with
(1.) An Intolerable Sense of Flaring Dishonor and Shameful Weakness That Call
Into Question Islam's Allah-Ordained Destiny on Earth
The Crackling Centerpiece of the Entire Syndrome, Even If Consciously Suppressed
By now, what with all we've said before, it'd be superfluous to do more than note here how a sense of rankling shame, humiliation, and angry resentments over its backward conditions --- economic, technological, military, and lack of awe and prestige --- rages and eats away at Muslim minds and, what's more, has been doing so for decades and generations now even if it's only become fully dominant since about 1970.
Less superfluously, we need to explain briefly why it has flourished so malignantly these last 36 years. The overarching reason is clear enough: the overwhelming impact of rapidly globalizing media forces. Their dislocating effects on Islamic life cannot possibly be exaggerated. Daily, without stop, Islamic weakness and pitifully backward conditions --- blatantly at odds with ingrained Muslim beliefs and expectations --- have been rubbed into Muslim minds by the jolts and shocks of what they see and hear on TV, in films, and now on the Internet, all of which underscore the ever greater gap between their countries and those of the West . . . and, perhaps even more dismayingly, with the dynamic countries of Pacific Asia and India since the 1970s too.
Observe carefully what we're saying here psychologically.
This blistering sense of raw gnawing shame, humiliation, and resentments is itself not part of the consciously held
dogmas that enter into the dangerous ding-a-ling worldview rife in Islam.
How could it be? The whole point of the deranged worldview is to deflect this inner torment outward and redirect it at scapegoated enemies who are the real culprits responsible for Islam's swarming failures and troubles and who, consequently, have to be destroyed by force if Muslim power and hence Muslim honor and optimism are be restored. That's the overarching psychological function of this demented mental complex as we saw earlier: to administer narcotic psychic-balm and release the furious energy of this gnarly, non-stop emotional distress in Islam-sanctioned ways, which means directed at destroying Islam's fantasized bogeymen enemies.
Only . . . Well, Certain Hard, Ineluctable Realities Will Stubbornly Live On In the Unconscious Realms of Mental Life
Namely? No matter much of the pathological analgesic true-believing Muslims manage to ingest, the haunting, high-pounding inward terror caused by perversely stubborn dishonor, shame, and humiliation can't be fully silenced. It's psychologically impossible. At best, in such emotionally terrifying cases, the inner terrors themselves can only be repressed into the shadowy unconscious sectors of mental life or deflected outward by means of projected paranoia; and such pathological defenses will always work haphazardly and with noticeable degrees of imperfection.
There are no exceptions possible.
Bluntly put . . . the sorts of fearful, high-coiled emotions of shame and dishonor that now beset Islamic minds --- which are at the very base of the shame-honor societies that prevail everywhere in the Islamic world --- will continue to flash and burn away in the mental life of Muslims one way or another: at any rate, note carefully, until dishonor is fully avenged and those responsible for the shame and humiliation in the public eye are destroyed.
This point is pivotal
. Make sure you grasp it fully. It cuts to the very heart of moral life in shame-honor societies; and though Muslim countries have historically had no monopoly of such thrusting cultural norms --- Latin America was and to an extent is still in their grip, Japan was until recently too, and for that matter so were all European aristocracies and their dueling practices until the middle of the 19th century --- Muslim societies are by far the least changed when it comes to the rife practice of such primitive moral codes these days.
So what happens once a terrifying sense of shame and humiliation is unleashed in Muslim minds, individually and on a society-wide scale? The answer: overwrought urges for vengeance against Islam's enemies and tormentors --- whether they're real or fantasized is irrelevant to the convinced avengers --- will pound away in their mental lives obsessively, without much let-up, until those demonic villains are destroyed. Such destruction, you need to understand, is the only way for honor and standing to be salvaged in shame-honor societies --- this, no matter how long or arduous the revenge might turn out to be before it's successful.
Are there any alternatives?
Yes, one --- an overwhelming reality-check. Agitated fired-up avengers will stop their obsessive pursuit when --- and only when --- most of them find it becomes too dangerous to continue. The desire for self-survival, you see, is always the best and most reliable instrusion of reality into closed, rigidly dogmatic mindsets . . . however fanatical or pathologically deranged they might be.
The Evidence for This Pathological Derangement
As we noted before, no public opinion surveys have been undertaken in Muslim societies that directly validate this rife sense of what Prime Minister Mahathir himself described, recall, in these jarring terms at the Islamic Summit Conference of 2003:
"I will not enumerate the instances of our humiliation," Mr. Mahathir said. "We are all Muslims. We are all oppressed. We are all being humiliated. . . . Today we, the whole Muslim [community], are treated with contempt and dishonor. . . . There is a feeling of hopelessness among the Muslim countries and their people. They feel that they can do nothing right . . .
Never mind the absence of such survey data . . . an indication, simply note in passing, of the deficiencies in social science techniques that mar the work of politically correct Middle Eastern and other Islamic specialists in the US and Europe.
Never mind because . . . as you'll see in a moment or two, there are some indirect poll data that are relevant here, particularly in the systematic blame-shifting that Muslim populations invariably resort to in explaining their backward conditions. For the moment, it's enough to re-emphasize what we said before: the legion of Muslim observers themselves who refer now to their humiliation, shame, dishonor . . . what have you, is itself hard testimony to the rampant existence in individual Muslim minds and on a collective society-wide basis virtually everywhere in the Islamic world. Pride, hope, optimism, and self-confidence --- which can only come from owning up to your own failures and finding ways to overcome them by your individual and collective efforts --- are almost totally absent.
As Mahathir Mohamad himself put it much more recently --- early 2006 -- nothing in the Islamic world had changed. Muslim countries were more backward and humiliated than ever:
It is, therefore, not surprising that today the world associates Islam with backwardness. This angers us Muslims. But the fact is that we are backward. We are almost totally dependent upon others for almost all our needs in life. Even in the extraction of the wealth and resources that Allah has blessed us with, we depend on others. The whole Muslim Ummah of 1.5 billion is one huge consumer society, procuring all our needs from outside our community, including our defense and security requirements.
We produce practically nothing on our own, we can do almost nothing for ourselves, we cannot even manage our wealth. We hire other people to do everything for us. When doing this we seem not to have faith in Muslim ability or qualifications.
Oh Oh! Once again, prof bug finds that his splattered ruminations have run on far longer than he had originally intended --- a good 26 pages of single-spaced stuff in Word --- and so we'll stop here for the day and continue the rest of the analysis in a follow-up article . . . the 6th in this strung-out series on Iran and its nuclear weapons programs.