Boys of the Taliban
The taboo pathology that fuels the fires of Islamic rage.
The worst mass shooting ever on American soil has now transpired in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mateen, a Muslim who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, opened fire at the Pulse gay nightclub on Saturday night, murdering at least fifty people and wounded another 53. With the issue of Islam's teachings about homosexuality now confronting a shocked world, Frontpage is re-running Jamie Glazov’s article "Boys of the Taliban," from our Jan 1, 2007 issue, to help shed light on a taboo pathology that underlies the structures of Islam -- and that serves as one of the primary ingredients of Islamic rage and terror. The article has been edited and updated.
Just recently, the Taliban issued a new set of 30 rules to its fighters.
Many of the instructions were to be expected: rule No. 25 commands the murder of teachers if a warning and a beating does not dissuade them from teaching. No. 26 outlines the exquisite delicacy of burning schools and destroying anything that aid organizations might undertake -- such as the building of a new road, school or clinic. The essence of the other rules are easily left to the imagination, basically involving what Islamic Jihad is all about: vile hate, death and destruction.
But there is a curious rule that the Western media has typically ignored. Rule No. 19 instructs that Taliban fighters must not take young boys without facial hair into their private quarters.
Aside from the question of what is permitted if a young boy does have facial hair, this new Taliban commandment brings light to a taboo pathology that underlies the structures of Islam. And it is crucial to deconstruct the meaning of this rule -- and the horrid reality that it represents -- because it serves as a gateway to understanding some of the primary ingredients of Islamic rage and terror.
Rule No. 19 obviously indicates that the sexual abuse of young boys is a prevalent and institutionalized phenomenon among the Taliban and that, for one reason or another, its widespread practice has become a problem.
The fact that Taliban militants’ spare time involves sodomizing young boys should by no means be any kind of surprise or eyebrow raiser. That a mass pathology such as this occurs in a culture which demonizes the female and her sexuality -- and puts her out of mind and sight -- is only to be expected. To be sure, it is a simple given that the religious male fanatic who flies into a violent rage even at the thought of an exposed woman’s ankle will also most likely be, in some other dysfunctional and dark secret compartment of his fractured life, the person who leads some poor helpless young boy into his private chambers.
The key issue here is that the sickness that underlies Rule No. 19 is by no means exclusive to the Taliban; it is a widespread phenomenon throughout Islamic-Arab culture and it lies, among other factors, at the root of that culture’s addiction to rage and its lust for violence, terror and suicide.
There is a basic and common sense empirical human reality: wherever humans construct and perpetuate an environment in which females and their sexuality are demonized and are pushed into invisibility, homosexual behavior among men and the sexual abuse of young boys by older men increases. Islamic-Arab culture serves as a perfect example of this paradigm, seeing that gender apartheid, fear of female sexuality and a vicious misogyny are the structures on which the whole society functions.
It is no surprise that John Racy, a psychiatrist with much experience in Arab societies, has noted that homosexuality is “extremely common” in many parts of the Arab world. Indeed, even though homosexuality is officially despised in this culture and strictly prohibited and punishable by imprisonment, incarceration and/or death, having sex with boys or effeminate men is actually a social norm. Males serve as available substitutes for unavailable women.
The key is this: the male who does the penetrating is not considered to be homosexual or emasculated any more than if he were to have sex with his wife, while the male who is penetrated is emasculated. The boy, however, is not considered to be emasculated since he is not yet considered to be a man. A man who has sex with boys is simply doing what many men (especially unmarried ones) do. And this reality is connected to the fact that, as scholar Bruce Dunne has demonstrated, sex in Islamic-Arab societies is not about mutuality between partners, but about the adult male's achievement of pleasure through violent domination.
While secrecy and taboo surround this phenomenon, Amnesty International has reported that, for instance, Afghan warlords routinely sexually victimize young boys and film the orgies. (The sexual abuse of young girls in this environment is also obviously widespread). While she was in Afghanistan in 1961, author and scholar Phyllis Chesler saw homosexuals roaming the streets, holding hands in broad daylight and gazing into each other’s eyes. “One of the pair,” she writes, “might sport a flower behind his ear; another might be wearing lipstick or have rouged cheeks.” At the same time, Chesler observed that everyone, including her Arab husband, was in denial about this common social reality, refusing to admit that this widespread behavior was, in fact, homosexuality.
In the morbid paradigms of this culture, the idea of love is, obviously, completely absent from men's understanding of sexuality. Like the essence of Arab masculinity, it is reduced to a form of prison sex: hurting others with violence. A gigantic rupture inevitably develops between men and women, where no harmony, affection or equality is allowed to exist.
The sexual confusion, humiliation, and repression that develop in the mindset of many Muslim males in this culture are excruciating. And it is no surprise that many of them find the only avenue for personal gratification to be in the act of sexually abusing young boys and, of course, in humiliating the foreign "enemy," whose masculinity must be violated at all costs -- just as theirs once was.
Islamic terror, therefore, is, in part, very much a release of the Jihadist's bottled-up sexual rage in connection to his sexual frustration and desperation -- and to the humiliation connected to his feelings of emasculation, which culminates in the act of striking out against “the enemy” and violating his masculinity. The inner workings of this mindset explain why Islamic terrorists consistently engage in sexual mutilation of their victims. Psychiatrist David Gutmann notes this phenomenon in the context of Arab Jew-hatred:
The Israelis perform in this Arab psychodrama of gender as a potent, destabilizing threat: to begin with, as a people they broke out of the deprecated but tolerated status of Dhimmi - a kind of submissive "woman" - to the "masculine" status of pioneer, rebel, warrior and nation builder. In retaliation, in their wars and Intifadas the Arabs strive to castrate the uppity masculinizing Jew -- and this project is carried out quite literally on the battlefield, where the bodies of fallen Jews have been mutilated in the most obscene ways.
This lust for violence against “the enemy” and the accompanying yearning to die in the process are fueled by the morbid earthly existence that is engendered by Islam. Indeed, there exists very few reasons for males to value their time on earth; their freedom of action and ability to experience joy and pleasure are extremely limited in terms of what is allowed. To be sure, most young Muslim men who abide by Sharia have absolutely no experience in love, sex, affection or friendship with females, and they have no outlet for their libido, which, to further pathologize the mindset, they regard as evil temptation. Killing and dying, therefore, become the only areas where free will can be exercised.
This lust for death is further compounded by the theological underpinnings of Islam itself, which promises the Muslim male sexual treats in the afterlife which are forbidden to him on earth. Indeed, if a Muslim male dies in the cause of jihad, he will enjoy a blissful union with virgins in paradise (Suras 78:31, 37:40-48, 44:51-55). And for those Muslim warriors for whom women are not of interest, there will be young pre-pubescent boys at their service -- and they will be like “scattered pearls” of “perpetual freshness” (Suras 52:24, 56:17, 76:19).
Thus, for the Taliban fighters who are frustrated with the new obstacles posed by Rule No. 19, there no doubt exists an even greater incentive to get to paradise a little faster.
In essence, suicide through jihad represents a form of perverted liberty through which a Muslim can express himself. In so doing, he strikes out at what tempts him, avenges his own emasculation and, through the act of suicide, cleanses himself of his own temptation by ridding himself of his earthly existence.
Theodore Dalrymple offers a profound analysis of this phenomenon in the context of the Muslim fundamentalist’s agonizing hate and self-hate inside a Western society. Analyzing the motivations of the Pakistani suicide bombers who struck in London in June 2005, he unveils how they saw no way out of their confrontation with freedom and modernity except death:
What more convincing evidence of faith could there be than to die for its sake? How can a person be really attached or attracted to rap music and cricket and Mercedes cars if he is prepared to blow himself up as a means of destroying the society that produces them? Death will be the end of the illicit attachment that he cannot entirely eliminate from his heart. The two forms of jihad, the inner and the outer, the greater and the lesser, thus coalesce in one apocalyptic action. By means of suicide bombing, the bombers overcome moral impurities and religious doubts within themselves and, supposedly, strike an external blow for the propagation of the faith.
All of these inter-related phenomena serve as windows of understanding for us, through which we become able to grasp the psychology that creates the need for a rule such as the Taliban’s No. 19. It is a rule that exposes a fanatic mindset that holds the sight and reality of an unveiled woman to be a horrific nightmare and the greatest sin, yet simultaneously considers the forced rape of a young prepubescent boy to be in the normal swing of things.
It is on this eerie plateau that we come to see the factors that spawn the yearning for death and suicide inside Islam. Circumscribed in the most vicious and sadistic of ways, the men imprisoned in these cages long to regain a masculinity and humanity that was violently robbed from them as children. In a setting where healing through contact with feminine affection is denied and considered evil, self-extinction through hurting the “enemy” -- and the tempter -- becomes the only way out.
 David Pryce-Jones, The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs (Chicago: Irvin R. Dee, 2002), p.131.
 Bruce Dunne, “Power and Sexuality in the Middle East,” Middle East Report, Spring 1998. For a further discussion on the widespread homosexuality among men in Muslim societies in North Africa and South Asia, and how married men having sex with boys and other men is considered a social norm, and not “homosexual,” see Arno Schmitt and Jehoeda Sofer (eds.), Sexuality and Eroticism Among Males in Muslim Societies (New York: Harrington Park Press, 1992).
 Chesler, The Death of Feminism, (Macmillan: New York , 2005), p.144.
 Author Nawal El Saadawi gives an account of the horrifying and widespread sexual abuse of young girls in the Muslim-Arab world, a crime for which the perpetrators are exonerated. See Sadawwi, The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World, pp.12-24. While it is obvious that this abuse, as with the abuse of young boys, is connected to the unavailability of women for men in the culture at large, Chesler notes that the widespread sexual abuse of female children in the Muslim world “is one of the main ways of traumatizing and shaming girls into obedience and rendering them less capable of rebellion or resistance when they grow up.” (Chesler, p.145)
 Chesler, p.88 and p.144.
 David Gutmann, “Symposium: Purifying Allah's Soil,” FrontPageMagazine.com, January 27, 2006.
 Theodore Dalrymple, “The Suicide Bombers Among Us,” City Journal, Autumn 2005.