August 22, 2006
A Look at the Muslims' MindsetBy Amil Imani
Defusing the present dangerous confrontation between Islam and the West demands rational, impartial and cool heads to untangle facts from myth. We must seek to understand the Muslims' mindset in comparison with that of the West, acknowledging vast individual and cultural differences within each group, while seeking outlines of meaningful distinctions.
The Muslims' perennial complaint is that the imperialist West—all colonial powers of the past, as well as the United States of America today—have victimized them for decades and even centuries and continue to do so in every conceivable way. The litany of the alleged wrongdoings by the West is encyclopedic. To begin with, the West has shown utter contempt for the legitimate rights of the Muslim nation by arbitrarily dividing much of the Islamic land into fractured entities, plundering its resources, and topping these crimes by installing in its midst its illegitimate stepchild, Israel—a huge thorn in their side, so they complain.
'A grain of truth is needed to make a mountain of lies believable,' is an old saw. In fairness to Muslims, there is some substance to their claims against the West. For now, let us focus on the general mindset of Muslims which bears heavily on the hostility toward the West—a serious hostility that may bring about the dreaded Armageddon.
* Patriarchy and authoritarianism. The Muslim's mind is imprinted with authoritarianism which starts with the supreme authority, Allah, through his one and only prophet, Muhammad, his Caliphs or Imams, and the high—ranking religious divines all the way down to the village clergy. This authoritarian mentality encompasses all aspects of life for the Muslim. The king and his dominion as the viceroy of God, the Emir and his despotic ways, the Khan and his unchallenged rule over the tribe, the village headsman and his extensive power, and finally the father and his iron grip at home over the women and children. All these authority figures are male.
* Blind obedience. A dangerous feature of authoritarianism is the relative lack of independent thinking. This deficiency makes the person highly amenable to manipulation. Islam, by its rigidly authoritarian make—up, discourages Muslim independent thinking to the extent that the believer blindly adopts it as his infallible system of belief. Hence, the religion of Islam is guilty of conditioning masses of people as easily manipulate—able instruments in the hands of authority figures.
* Focus on goal. To Muslims, the goal is everything. Islam condones any and all means to achieve its goals. The ultimate objective of Islam is the rule of the entire world under the Islamic Ummah—never mind that these life—in—hand soldiers of Allah disagree with one another regarding the Ummah itself and who is going to reign over it. That's a 'family dispute' that they will resolve by their usual favorite method—brute force.
Each Islamic sect believes that it has the Prophet and Allah on its side and it will prevail over the other. For now they have to work diligently to achieve the intermediary goal of defeating all non—believers. There are countless instances that substantiate Muslims' 'end justifies the means' guiding principle. This policy dates back to Muhammad himself. Muhammad repeatedly made peace covenants with his adversaries, only to violate them as soon as he was in advantageous position to do so. Betrayal, deception and outright lies are fully condoned in furthering the work of Islam. In the present—day world, the work of Islam is defined by a deeply—entrenched and influential clergy who issue fatwa—rulings—that become directives and laws to the faithful.
Khomeini, the founder of the Iranian Islamic state, for one, made extensive use of the fatwa. Widely—known in the west is Khomeini's fatwa condemning Selman Rushdie to death for his book. A less known fatwa of Khomeini during the last Iran—Iraq war led to the slaughter of thousands of Iranian children. Children, nearly all under 15 years of age, were given plastic keys to paradise as they were commanded by the fatwa of the imam to rush forward to clear minefields for the tanks to follow. The Islamic murderers, in obedience to the fatwa of a bloodthirsty man of Allah, had no problem in deceiving the clueless lads with made—in—China plastic keys to paradise.
Such is the existential threat of Islam. It is a rigid authoritarian system with a stranglehold over many of the nearly one and half billion people under its command.
* Fatalism. One of the greatest subtle, yet important differences between the Muslim's mindset and that of the people in the West is the extent to which Muslims are fatalistic. There is hardly a statement that a Muslim makes without being conditional—conditional on the will of Allah. 'I shall see you tomorrow, Allah willing,' 'You will make it home, Allah willing,' 'Things will work out, Allah willing,' and on and on and on. To the Muslim, Allah is on the job—on every job. Allah, with his invisible mighty hand literally does and runs everything. 'Allah's hand is above all other hands,' adorns every imaginable space in Islamic lands—a telling point about the Muslim's fatalism and submission to the omnipotent omnipresent hand. If something happens, it is Allah's will. If it doesn't, it is Allah's will. The rank and file Muslim has little will of his own. It absolves him of any and all responsibility. This mentality is in stark contrast with the 'take charge' and 'can do' mentality characteristic of Americans and others.
* Psychological uniqueness. People as a group or as individuals are different and none are perfectly healthy psychologically. We all encounter a loose wheel or two as we travel the bumpy road of life. Yet, most people manage to stay on course most of the time, with perhaps a stop or two at a repair shop of one sort or another.
Most psychological disorders are exaggerations, deficits or surfeits of the generally accepted norm—whatever the norm may be. When caution, for instance, is practiced past suspicion, then we have paranoia; when reasonable fear is exercised beyond any justification, then there is phobia. The degree and severity of a condition frequently determine the presence or absence of psychopathology.
Over the years, too many Islamic leaders have found it expedient to feed the masses mainly the toxic ingredients to further their own interests. Individuals and groups, for instance, have used the immense energizing power of hatred to rally the faithful; the cohesive force of polarization to create in—group solidarity; and, the great utility value of blaming others for their real and perceived misfortunes. Jews have been their favorite and handy scapegoats from day one. In this day, as true fascists like the Nazis, too many Muslims blame just about everything on the Jews.
Providing a comprehensive inventory of the psychological profile of the Muslims is beyond the scope of this article. Yet, there is no question that the psychological make up of a Muslim, depending on the extent of his Muslim—ness, is different from that of non—Muslims. This difference, often irreconcilable as things stand presently, is at the core of the clash of Islam with the West.
* Conclusion. Admittedly, the non—Islamic Western culture is no panacea. It has, however, one outstanding feature the Islamic lacks—it allows for liberty with all its attendants— good, bad, or indifferent. For those who have experienced liberty, no inducement is likely to make them give it up—particularly not the fictional promises of the Islamists that have failed in the past and are doomed to fail even more miserably in the future.
The best, yet difficult resolution of the conflict is to do what hundreds of thousands of Muslims have already done. They have abandoned the slaveholder Islam: they broke loose from the yoke of the exploitive clergy, renounced Islamofacism, purged the discriminatory and bizarre teachings in the Quran and the Hadith, and left the suffocating tent of dogmatic Islam for the life—giving expanse of liberty.
Within the emancipating and accommodating haven of liberty, those who wish to remain Muslim can retain and practice the good teachings of Islam but renounce intolerance, hatred and violence. It takes great effort and courage to ascend from the degrading pit of slavery to the mount of emancipation. Yet, it is both possible and exhilarating to do it, since many have done so successfully and happily. As more and more people leave the shackles of religious slavery, more and more will follow and the long—suffering Muslims, victimized by Islam itself for far too long, will be a free people in charge of their own life and destiny. It is a painful process of growing up, of asserting one's coming of age, and marching lockstep with the free members of the human race.
Slavery of the mind is as evil as the slavery of the body. Islamofacism enslaves them both.
Amil Imani is an Iranian—born American citizen and pro—democracy activist residing in the United States of America. Imani has been writing and speaking out for the struggling people of his native land, Iran. He maintains a website.