Good News: Media Decides Islamic Terrorism is a Mental Illness

The growth in Islamic terrorism is leading the media to even more bizarre realms of propaganda. So unable to deny Islamic terrorism, they insist that it has nothing to do with Islam. It's a mental illness.

The Nice attacker appears to fit a pattern. In the last two years, multiple terrorist attacks in the West have involved a blend of radicalization and mental health factors, a category of terrorist some analysts such as Max Abrahms have termed "loon-wolves."

Terrorism analysts are grappling with the reasons behind the spate of such attacks, but there is some consensus that psychological disorders can narrow the pathway between radical thought and action.

One such case was Man Haron Monis, who carried out a hostage attack in Sydney in December 2014 after pledging allegiance to ISIS. At the inquest into the attacks, he was described as unpredictable and a "dangerous psychopath" suffering from narcissistic personality disorder.

Another case in point was Mohammad Abdulazeez, a naturalized American who shot dead four U.S. Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in July 2015. Investigators established Abdulazeez was radicalized online, but according to his family he also suffered from bipolar disorder and depression, which were aggravated three months before the attack with his arrest for a DUI.

Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, who claimed his attack was on behalf of ISIS, was described by his ex-wife as "mentally unstable and mentally ill."

Note that these diagnoses are mostly being made by family members. They're also besides the point.

Hitler and much of his inner circle were mentally unstable. That didn't mean that we shouldn't take Nazism seriously during WW2, both as an enemy and an ideology. Stalin was quite unhinged. So was Mussolini.

This is of some interest to psychiatrists, but it's not a novel idea that charismatic leaders are often unstable or that their movements attract foot soldiers who can be equally nuts. That's not a revelation and it does not change the problem in any way.

Islamic terrorists who are willing to die may in many cases be unstable. It doesn't change the reality of Islamic terrorism. If we determined that Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was a sociopath, would that change the parameters of the problem in any way?

Hitler's mental problems didn't change the fact that he held sway over huge numbers of people. Likewise, we didn't spend time diagnosing the mental state of the average SS officer. We killed them.

This nonsense is yet another effort to obstruct any serious plan and conversation about Islamic terrorism. If Islam is indistinguishable from mental illness, then the problem we face has not changed in any way.

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