Understanding It– It’s not Poverty, folks

Michael Coren in the National Post–Canada writes about a former Islamo-fascist who reveals a lot about the “root causes” of this worldwide movement.  Dr. Hamid clarifies that it’s about Muslim imperialism, it’s about an ideology of hatred and violence:


Hot for Martyrdom – Michael Coren (National Post-Canada)

  • Dr. Tawfik Hamid is a medical doctor, author, and activist who once was a member of Egypt’s Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Arabic for “the Islamic Group”), a banned terrorist organization. He was trained under Ayman al-Zawahiri, the bearded jihadi who appears in Bin Laden’s videos.
  • He’s determined to tell a complacent North America what he knows about fundamentalist Muslim imperialism. “Yes, ‘imperialism,'” he tells me. “The deliberate and determined expansion of militant Islam and its attempt to triumph not only in the Islamic world but in Europe and North America. Pure ideology. Muslim terrorists kill and slaughter not because of what they experience but because of what they believe.”
  • He is now 45 years old, and has had many years to reflect on why he was willing to die and kill for his religion. “The first thing you have to understand is that it has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with poverty or lack of education,” he says. “I was from a middle-class family and my parents were not religious. Hardly anyone in the movement at university came from a background that was different from mine. I’ve heard this poverty nonsense time and time again from Western apologists for Islam, most of them not Muslim by the way.”
  • The extreme brand of Sunni Islam that spread from Saudi Arabia to the rest of the Islamic world is regarded not merely as one interpretation of the religion but the only genuine interpretation. The expansion of violent and regressive Islam, he continues, began in the late 1970s, and can be traced precisely to the growing financial clout of Saudi Arabia.
  • “We’re not talking about a fringe cult here,” he tells me. “Salafist [fundamentalist] Islam is the dominant version of the religion and is taught in almost every Islamic university in the world. It is puritanical, extreme, and does, yes, mean that women can be beaten, apostates killed, and Jews called pigs and monkeys.”
  • “I can tell you what it is not about. Not about Israel, not about Iraq, not about Afghanistan. They are mere excuses. Algerian Muslim fundamentalists murdered 150,000 other Algerian Muslims, sometimes slitting the throats of children in front of their parents. Are you seriously telling me that this was because of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians or American foreign policy?”
  • “Stop asking what you have done wrong. Stop it! They’re slaughtering you like sheep and you still look within. You criticize your history, your institutions, your churches. Why can’t you realize that it has nothing to do with what you have done but with what they want.”

3 Responses to “Understanding It– It’s not Poverty, folks”

  1. Keren Says:

    It is so important to note, here and in general that the obsesive need of american to understand what America did wrong is not only misguided, but simply useless. Misguided – As Dr. Hamid states, it is not their experience that shaped them, but their belief system. Uselss – regardless of what caused these people to loose their human soul and to behave like wild animals, it is certainly too late to fix now, and at this rate, if we try fixing future generations without dealing with the problem now, there will be non of us left to receive any benefit…

  2. S.H. Says:

    Ideology – it’s more menacing than the sword itself. I think ideologies of any kind are dreadfully insidious, in part because they supplant otherwise rational, common sense thought.

    Naturally, a person doesn’t become a servant to an ideology for no reason at all. Every follower, however loosely, of an ideology is not an abstraction, and is not a mere “brainwashed pod” and is not “evil”. Too simple – these are (convoluted idiosyncratic) people we are considering, albeit on a massed-up scale.
    Let’s use clear thinking sense. What is the “hook” that brings them to it? And how “sticky” is the cement that binds them to it? These answers will differ for each “adherent”, of course.

    For some, poverty WILL play at least some role…what if Hamas and Hezbollah are bringing the food around, the jobs? What if the Americans were doling out the money? Did the Marshall Plan not weaken communist feeling post-WWII?

    For some, if them bad Americans “do something wrong” (as is put above), then maybe the followers WILL connect the bad act with the pervasive ideology. Haggerty’s pre-election follies apparently made some people lose some respect for their church — fair? probably not, but realistic. Movements – even nations – get tarred by the brush of a perceived ‘bad act’. On the other hand of course ain’t nothing wrong with good PR. American actions will impact people’s susceptibility to ideologies that target America. If the Americans were to go to Indonesia and spend $20B building bridges, growing food, giving out freakin’ candy (which I don’t necessarily advocate, just a quickie example), wouldn’t it make the population feel a little less hostile toward the U.S.?

    Anyway, my 2 cents. Here’s some quotes I like about ideological thinking…

    “One becomes infatuated with abstractions when one is afraid or unable to care for human beings. In the name of ideals, life becomes dehumanized. Never has life meant so little as in these times of vociferous ideals.”
    [Capt. Tom Wintringham, Spanish Civil War Diary, 1938]

    “Since opposed principles, or ideologies, are irreconcilable, wars fought over principle will be wars of mutual annihilation. But wars fought for simple greed will be far less destructive, because the aggressor will be careful not to destroy what he is fighting to capture. Reasonable people will always be capable of compromise, but those who have dehumanized themselves by becoming the blind worshiper of an idea or an ideal are fanatics whose devotion to abstractions makes them the enemies of life.”
    [Alan Watts]

    “There’s no limit to the amount of damage an idealist can do.”
    [William S. Burroughs]

    ” . . . he began to fear that the commitment to abstract ideas could be far more maleficent than the commitment to the gross materiality of property had ever been. The very stupidity of things together with the old unthinking virtues has something human about it, something ameliorative, something even liberating.”
    [Lionel Trilling, re: George Orwell]

  3. TruthJustice Says:

    S.H.’s comments point out correctly that a radical ideology doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There is a context in which that ideology finds acceptance. In the Islamic world, radical ideologies fill a need to empower individuals who feel powerless due to their totalitarian governments and impotent in comparison to the successes of the Western world. Therefore S.H.’s comments are consistent with the democracy tenet of the Bush Doctrine which simply stated is that we can no longer be satisfied with “moderate” dictatorships in the Arab/Muslim world, but must encourage the short and long-term development of an alternative to this, i.e. representative government and its associated “liberal” or tolerant tendencies. However, as to grievances, the manipulation of the grievance is deeply ingrained in this ideology of Islamo-fascism. I remind S.H. that the US has repeatedly come to the aid of Muslims in numerous conflicts over the past twenty years (Afghanistan vs. Russia, Kuwait, Bosnia, bombing Serbia, Palestinian state advocacy and financial aid, Indonesian tsunami, etc.) and despite this is soundly criticized by the Islamo-fascists and their allies as anti-Muslim. Yes, part of this war against Islamo-fascism is clearly communicating who we are and what we do more clearly and effectively. But we must also understand there is a wall of propaganda to climb and a wall of self-delusion to crack in that world.

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