The alienated suicide bomber

Theodore Dalrymple today has the best analysis of the psychology of suicide bombers that we have seen.

"Young Muslim men in Britain — as in France and elsewhere in the West — have a problem of personal, cultural, and national identity. They are deeply secularized, 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 ... 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 ... Gold chains, the heavier the better, and gold front teeth, (the) symbols of their success in the streets ...

Many young Muslims, unlike the sons of Hindus and Sikhs who immigrated into Britain at the same time as their parents, take drugs, including heroin. They drink, indulge in casual sex, and 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."

Dalrymple's piece should become required reading in the growing literature of Islamic fascism. It explains a basic puzzle ——— why the Jihadis we know about are often educated in Western universities, with no personal experience of poverty or material deprivation. Bin Laden grew up in a millionaire Saudi household and has an engineering degree; Al Qaida's second in command Al Zawahiri is a medical doctor. They are today's versions of Vladimir Lenin and Adolf Hitler, the ideologues who led other alienated young men to join in previous fascisms.

Their "deprivation" is not material but psychological and spiritual. They feel worthless inside, and direct their rage at the larger society, emboldened by the rhetoric of the dominant media ——— the victim rhetoric that blames everything on group persecution and nothing on individual responsibility.

If Dalrymple is right, Islamic fascism has a lot more to do with fascism than with religion. Nevertheless, Muslims have a responsibility clean house, just as Germany in the 1920's and 30's, in retrospect, should have cleaned out the radicals of Left and Right who meant to impose dictatorships of their own.  The alienation of Westernized young men is not new. We can recognize it because we have seen it before.  If we have any sense, we will learn not to indulge it.

Dalrymple has given us a classic—to—be for understanding Islamic suicide bombers.

Theodore Dalrymple today has the best analysis of the psychology of suicide bombers that we have seen.

"Young Muslim men in Britain — as in France and elsewhere in the West — have a problem of personal, cultural, and national identity. They are deeply secularized, 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 ... 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 ... Gold chains, the heavier the better, and gold front teeth, (the) symbols of their success in the streets ...

Many young Muslims, unlike the sons of Hindus and Sikhs who immigrated into Britain at the same time as their parents, take drugs, including heroin. They drink, indulge in casual sex, and 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."

Dalrymple's piece should become required reading in the growing literature of Islamic fascism. It explains a basic puzzle ——— why the Jihadis we know about are often educated in Western universities, with no personal experience of poverty or material deprivation. Bin Laden grew up in a millionaire Saudi household and has an engineering degree; Al Qaida's second in command Al Zawahiri is a medical doctor. They are today's versions of Vladimir Lenin and Adolf Hitler, the ideologues who led other alienated young men to join in previous fascisms.

Their "deprivation" is not material but psychological and spiritual. They feel worthless inside, and direct their rage at the larger society, emboldened by the rhetoric of the dominant media ——— the victim rhetoric that blames everything on group persecution and nothing on individual responsibility.

If Dalrymple is right, Islamic fascism has a lot more to do with fascism than with religion. Nevertheless, Muslims have a responsibility clean house, just as Germany in the 1920's and 30's, in retrospect, should have cleaned out the radicals of Left and Right who meant to impose dictatorships of their own.  The alienation of Westernized young men is not new. We can recognize it because we have seen it before.  If we have any sense, we will learn not to indulge it.

Dalrymple has given us a classic—to—be for understanding Islamic suicide bombers.