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I agree that Albahri is typical of one who dares not question Allah’s true words. So in my analysis, Horowitz is seen as a target to project all her rage, envy, and repressed sexuality onto — as she follows the verses which have been prescripted and programmed for her to follow. Only when she feared her crucifixion on the cross did she have a moment of “truth.”
Levin: First I’d like to join the others in commending David Horowitz on his responses to Albahri.
However we construe the nature of Albahri’s particular pathology as indicated in her exchange with David Horowitz and in her attempts at self-exculpation cited by Robert Spencer, her performance brings to mind a number of key attributes of the current Islamofascist assault.
Islamofascist indoctrination is focused on cultivated hatred of the “other,” particularly – but hardly exclusively – the Jews. In advancing this hatred, it plays upon whatever elements in the host culture predisposes its members to looking outward for the source of all woes, and it channels this into construing all difficulties as emanating from the “other.” As Dr. Sennels notes, there is much in Arab and broader Islamic culture, including its Koranic sources, that lends itself to this comprehension of reality.
In addition, the message of Islamofascist indoctrination will be particularly appealing to those who are psychologically vulnerable. Dr. Kobrin discusses what she detects as paranoid elements in Albahri’s performance and speaks of the paranoid individual’s predilection to hatred as a projection of his or her own “shame-filled” sense of self and concomitant self-loathing. As she notes, the traditional devaluation and abuse of women in Arab and other Muslim societies add a further layer to this negative sense of self and to the allure of negative projection. Dr. Lachkar notes characteristics of borderline personality in Albahri’s verbal and non-verbal responses and rightly observes that defining an object of hatred is a virtually ubiquitous element in such individuals’ organizing of their world. As Dr. Kobrin had said of those suffering from paranoid disorders, with borderline personality disorder as well hatred of another is used to create boundaries for one’s self to buttress what is experienced as a painfully, existentially threatening, amorphous self.
One could add other forms of psychopathology, and cultural contributions to or amplifications of such pathology, that make for particularly ripe responders to the Islamofascist catechism of hate.
But not only do the purveyors of such hate find ready recipients among the psychologically compromised, they also seek out such compromised individuals in their recruitment of, for example, suicide bombers, as well as other agents of their murderous agenda. Those whose social integration has been impaired by their psychological difficulties, as well as those who are ostracized for somehow transgressing the rigid cultural strictures of their societies, are offered not only acceptance but recognition, honor and glory in exchange for embracing the hatred purveyed by their Islamofascist mentors and martyring themselves in the service of that hatred.
Dr. Sennels points out that while, in Western societies, a premium is placed on the individual perceiving himself or herself as largely in control of his or her destiny and responsible for his or her life, Muslim societies commonly foster a predilection to see one’s situation in life as shaped by external forces and so predispose their members to be receptive to any targeting of the “other” as responsible for the problems in one’s life. There is no doubt much truth to this point. But Western totalitarian movements, such as Nazism and Soviet-style Communism, have also been very successful in getting their target populations to perceive their own and their society’s woes as due to external enemies and in mustering popular hatred of those “enemies.”
Also, Western totalitarian movements, like Islamofascism, have been particularly attractive to the psychologically compromised, those whose personal Psychopathology has led them to be particularly drawn to absolutist ideologies with defined objects of hatred. And, again like Islamofascism, Western totalitarianisms have widely made use of the psychologically damaged in their searching out of agents for their murderous agendas.
Of course, one way that those in the West with totalitarian agendas have sought to undercut and redirect the Western valuing of individual acceptance of responsibility for his or her decisions and the direction of his or her life has been through “education.” By seeking control of education systems and shifting their mission from education proper to indoctrination, those promoting totalitarian goals have striven to inculcate in students a vision of their lives as beset by demonic external forces against whom they must wage wars of annihilation if they are to survive and prosper.
There is a sense in which many college students – far beyond the numbers of those suffering from what is formally recognized as psychopathology – share some of the characteristics of the psychologically compromised. In particular, they are typically at an age and position in life when what has until then been a very structured and directed existence is about to end and they are going to be launched into a world in which their place, their status, the possibilities opened to them, are much more amorphous, undetermined, undefined; and many respond to this with trepidation and are receptive to indoctrination into ideologies that provide definition and direction for them – that offer them, as totalitarian ideologies do, clearcut identification of what is good and what they should hate and how they should embrace the one and attack the other.
All that is required are ideologue-educators, such as those of the far Left who dominate so much of Western university pedagogy today, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, and who are very often sympathetic to Islamofascism as sharing with themselves common enemies – to make our university campuses less places of education than places of hate-indoctrination proffering their toxic messages to readily receptive audiences.
This phenomenon has been a virtual constant in the history of totalitarian creeds. Whether Nazi brown or Communist red or Islamist green, university students have always been in the lead in donning the fashionable totalitarian colors of the day.
So it is hardly surprising that David Horowitz’s efforts to fight totalitarianism in whatever form takes him particularly to university campuses, and that it is particularly there that he encounters the likes of Albahri.
Kobrin: The infiltration of the universities has had devastating consequences for fostering the Islamofacist doctrine as Dr. Levin stresses. Developmentally college students go through another adolescent “growth” spurt and hence are particularly for becoming extremists, especially if they already come from cultures of hatred and if they lack a healthy psychological “infrastructure.” For many, the university is the first time they separate from their families. Like the jail the university provides fertile soil for recruitment to jihad, to borrow the title of Patrick Dunleavy’s forthcoming book on prison recruitment in New York.
As for Albahri, Drs. Lachkar and Sennels have correctly cited – locus of control, thoughts without a thinker, childrearing practices and psychodynamics of a cult. But I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage all of us to remember to “read” such incitement to violence functionally — that is by expanding the context and to include current events such as the Gaza Flotilla. Why? Because it is the chronic, accumulative daily effect of hate speech which facilitates a recalcitrant identification with the aggressor. To take one small example, Albahri’s condoning of genocide, makes more “acceptable” within this bizarre universe of Islamofascism, to call the Israelis pirates as “Spanish MEP María Muñiz De Urquiza of the Socialist group described the Israeli raid as an act of “piracy,” for instance, and called for an end to the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.”
Having grown up under a death threat, Albahri merely turns the tables to decree a death threat. She has identified with her aggressors by becoming one. She is a willing executioner in this tsunami of genocidal hatred.
FP: Yes, thank you Dr. Kobrin, so: devalued as a female in her own culture and religion, and facing barbaric punishments for certain threatening ways that, if she dares, she may exercise her own self-determination (i.e. the sexual realm), Albahri identifies with the tyrants who would abuse and kill her by demonizing and working for the genocide of her oppressors’ scapegoated “enemy.”
Dr. Sennels, aside from your other thoughts in your concluding thoughtd on this discussion, kindly touch on this theme, thank you.
Sennels: Several of my colleagues in this panel discussion have touched on sexuality and suppression. The mechanism that lets suppressed and abused individuals end up as abusers has been known since Freud. Albahri seems to be no exception. As the vast majority of Muslim woman, Albahrij does not have such basic human rights such as the right to chose her own clothing, sexual partner, life style, religion etc. The Somali writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali has described the resulting emotional immaturity among Muslim women in several of her books: Insecurity, lack of individual responsibility, increased aggression and the crude experience of the world as being black and white, us and them, good and bad, and the need to project one’s undesirable emotions on outer enemies, becomes dominant.
Islam and Muslim culture are to a wide extent centered around sexuality. I have written extensively about this issue in my article “Sexual abuse widespread among Muslims“. The direct consequences of the Islamic view on women’s sexuality is visible and known to all: Beside the psychological consequences mentioned above, veils, genital mutilation and extreme limitations of personal freedoms are the reality of most of the wrld’s 700 million Muslim women. Such facts should leave no honorable woman or man passive. But I would like to draw the reader’s attention to the fact that the Islamic distortion of the relationship between the sexes also has severe consequences to Muslim men.
Homosexuality in itself is not considered a perversity according to Western psychology – as long as it is not a result of unhealthy psychological circumstances. An American military report recently disclosed, that it is completely common among Afghan men to “have sex with other men, admire other men physically, have sexual relationships with boys and shun women both socially and sexually.” A recent study in Pakistan shows that “At least 95 percent of truck drivers in Pakistan consider indulging in sexual activities” with young boys. Other studies show that there is a clear connection “between people who were followers of theocracy and Islamic fundamentalism, and their use of child porn.” Google seems to confirm that the interest in the most perverted and traumatizing kinds of sex is largest in the Muslim world. Google Trends allows you to see in which countries and languages a certain word is most frequently searched for. If you write “children sex” in Google Trends, Muslim countries take up four out of five places on the top-five. The languages, in which “children sex” is most often searched for are Indonesian and Arabic. If you search for “rape sex,” Muslim countries take up three out of four on the top-four. And again Indonesian and Arabic are the languages in which this type of sex is most frequently searched for. As an experiment, I tried searching for “donkey sex” and again it turned out that Muslim countries take up four out of five places on the top-five.
Being told that women are impure and reinforcing this impression for oneself by treating women badly leaves male sexuality in a disturbed state: Almost all women and men have a sex drive but if your culture prevents you from having a natural meeting with the opposite sex, the sexual drive will find other – and often less constructive – ways of expressing itself. All cultures have their ways of allowing the individual to express his or her suppressed sexuality – and as we see the Islamic is no exception. The ability to fully enjoy sex while at the same time enjoying to bring one’s partner as much bliss as possible, is both the necessary basis and pleasant result of a healthy mind. Through its view on sex and the relationship between the sexes, no culture prevents emotional maturity more than the Muslim.
Seen from the psychological point of view, freeing Muslim women and Muslim sexuality is a main tool in fighting Islamofacism. Setting up countless refuge homes for Muslim women in both the Muslim world and the West is crucial. The same goes for sex education of both genders. The banning of the suppressive Muslim veils and hard punishment on families that do not allow their women to leave their homes, learn our Western languages and join our work markets are necessary. We have to make it standard that authorities in the West visit Muslim homes to interview the women and check if they are allowed the same freedoms as everybody else.
The question is of course: What is left of Islam and its aggressive, intolerant and non-empathic culture, if we take away their control of women and sexuality? And would Albahri condone genocide if she had not been taught that women are less worthy than men, if she had been allowed to dress sexy and join sports to enjoy her body and look better? Would she be so insecure, aggressive and non-empathic if she had had the same maturing experiences with love, sexuality and freedom as her non-Muslim sisters? I am sure: no.
Lachkar: I am pleased to receive the validation from Dr. Kobrin and Dr. Levin noting characteristics of borderline personality embedded in Abahri’s verbal and non-verbal responses as she represents the embodiment of many collective group Islamic fantasies. This is so fitting with the borderline’s defenses of shame/blame/ attack/paranoid society. Levin explains how Islamics shape their life making the “other” responsible for all the wrongdoings in life. He mentions that those who have been psychologically compromised make them particularly susceptible to rebellion or Islamofascism. He seems to address the puzzling dilemma why students in the West who seek out an education suddenly shift to taking over the system. Students who are vulnerable will suddenly defend against their feelings of impotence and suddenly lash out to defend a cause whereby the cause becomes more pervasive than life itself or even their education.
“Rebellion Uber Alles!!” or “Islamofascism Uber Alles!” In psychological terms this is referred to as omnipotent fantasies. It is like the little boy who tries on daddy’s shoes but then realizes he can’t walk in them because they are too big. I believe this is what happened to Albari when she tried to stand up to Horowitz and found herself in deep waters.
Islam and the West are in a clash of civilizations. The dysfunctional Muslim family displays this contrast, the Muslim Mind of Jihad. To this point I am adding here a fantasy analysis of what it would be like for a Western therapist to treat someone like Albahri:
Th: Hi Albahri.
A: I really don’t want to be here.
Th: Then why are you here?
A: Because I don’t want to go to jail.
Th: But I thought in your culture you will do anything and everything to fight for your cause.
A: I would go to jail in that case, but didn’t do anything wrong.
Th: Threatening Jews is doing nothing wrong?
A: I am angry.
Th: You are not angry, you are enraged and full of hatred (expression of Islamofascism).
A: I have a right to be enraged and to hate – all I do now is eat (symptom of repressed society/deprivation).
Th: Eating takes the place of other needs that are not being met.
A: I do get my needs met. I fight for my country and my cause. Those are my needs (clash of civilization).
Th: Your needs are not healthy. Look at the trouble you got yourself into.
A: How dare you say my needs are not healthy. Look at you (attack/blame). All you care about in your society is money, wealth, materialism (envy).
In this armchair fantasy analysis we see how this cultural clash is contrasted to the contaminated “Muslim woman’s mind.” This is quite fitting with Dr. Sennel’s comments on sexuality and suppression, how suppressed and abused individuals end up as the abusers. He reinforces the theme of deprivation noting how Albahri does not have the same basic rights to choose her own clothes, sexual partner and life style.
I thank you Jamie for giving me the psychological liberty to incorporate these concepts from my psychological couch.
FP: Dr. Levin, last word goes to you sir.
Levin: My co-panelists have all elaborated in very insightful ways on the cultural factors and concomitant psychological scars that make individuals within Arab and much of broader Islamic society particularly ripe for indoctrination to genocide. As Dr. Kobrin points out, the denigration and abuse of women in that society almost inevitably leads to manifestations of “identification with the aggressor,” in which female victims embrace the biases and hatreds of their society in order to feel closer to it, a part of it, and not merely its victim.
Dr. Sennels discusses the link between the devaluation and sequestration of women in Arab and many other Muslim societies, the associated suppression of women’s sexuality in those societies, and the high prevalence of homosexuality and pederasty in them. Where women are at once denigrated and sexually secluded, men are more likely to find other males not only more available but also more fitting as partners in intimacy. To the degree that this involves pederasty, which, along with the physical abuse of male children, is widespread in those societies, the culture generates another large sub-population predisposed to “identification with the aggressor” and thus to embrace the culture’s hatreds of others as a vehicle to such identification.
Dr. Lachkar’s imagined therapeutic exchange with Albahri effectively highlights the playing out of dynamics that figure in her embrace of Islamofascism’s genocidal hatred.
Dr. Sennels poses the question of whether Albahri would still support genocide if she had not been subjected to the abuse of women, including suppression of their sexuality, that pervades her culture. He answers in the negative. I’m less sanguine.
Certainly we all regard the psychosexual scars that are almost invariably products of growing up in societies such as Albahri’s as providing fertile ground for indoctrination to genocidal hatred. But groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah, which explicitly, openly, advertise their genocidal intent, have won many supporters and sympathizers among people with Western backgrounds, people who – whatever the vagaries of their individual experience – were reared in societies dramatically different, less systemically abusive and demeaning, than Albahri’s.
Again, hate indoctrination will invariably find particularly fertile ground among people subjected to early, and perhaps ongoing, abuse. But the histories of totalitarian ideologies such as Islamofascism and their promotion of genocidal hatred strongly suggest that they are able to find a receptive audience beyond those with backgrounds of growing up under abusive and repressive conditions.
Whatever can be done to lessen the systematic denigration and sexual suppression of women, and abuse of boys, will be, of course, all to the good; not least because it will decrease the production of moral monsters. But recruiters for monstrous causes will still find willing followers – especially when their cause seems to be in the ascent and when those who ought to know better seek to close their eyes to the threat, or to appease it, or in other ways to shrink from opposing it.
FP: Dr. Nancy Kobrin, Kenneth Levin, Dr. Joanie Lachkar and Nicolai Sennels, thank you for joining Frontpage Symposium.
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