The recent Mumbai horror has been yet another chapter in the dark tale of homegrown terror, as evidence indicates that British-born Pakistanis were among the Mumbai terrorists.
In this special edition of Frontpage Symposium, we have assembled a distinguished panel to discuss the problem of the jihadization of homegrown Muslims. Our guests are:
Brigitte Gabriel, a terrorism expert and the founder of ACT! for America. Her new book is They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam and How We Can Do It.
Raheel Raza, a leading Muslim reformer, award winning writer, professional speaker, diversity consultant, documentary film maker and interfaith advocate. She is the author of Their Jihad . . . Not My Jihad. Visit her site at RaheelRaza.com.
Christine Williams, the producer and host of the live current affairs Canadian daily talk show On the Line. The program has been recipient of five international awards. She holds a degree in Research Psychology from McMaster University and has distinguished herself as a political and crime reporter.
Joan Lachkar, Ph.D., a licensed Marriage and Family therapist in private practice in Brentwood and Tarzana, California, who teaches psychoanalysis and is the author of How to Talk to a Narcissist (2007), The Many Faces of Abuse: Treating the Emotional Abuse of High -Functioning Women (1998), and The Narcissistic/Borderline Couple: A Psychoanalytic Perspective on Marital Treatment (1992). Dr. Lachkar speaks nationally and recently presented, "The Psychopathology of Terrorism" at the International Psychohistorical Association, and at the Rand Corporation. She is an affiliate member of the New Center for Psychoanalysis, and writes in the Journal of Emotional Abuse.
Dr. Nancy Kobrin, a psycho-analyst, Arabist, and counter-terrorism expert.
FP: Dr. Joan Lachkar, Dr. Nancy Kobrin, Brigitte Gabriel, Christine Williams and Raheel Raza, welcome to Frontpage Symposium.
Nancy Kobrin, let’s begin with you.
We have myriad terrorist-to-be growing up in the West today and this is a reality, obviously, that poses a major threat to the West’s security. Omar Khadr, a young Canadian kid who sits in Guantanamo today, is but one frightening example.
How do you see the psychic evolution of these kids? What are they taught and how do they become young men in a free society who detest their society and wish to not only perpetrate violence against its citizens, but also to kill themselves in doing so?
Kobrin: It is hard to believe how these extremists are proxies of their parents, parents who instil hatred so intense that they need an enemy to project into as early as the age of three. These children are really proxies. The need to hate and the need to have an enemy is in place by age three. According to the esteemed Turkish Cypriot Muslim psychoanalyst and prolific author Dr. Vamik Volkan, this is a preconditioned and learned behavior in the home. They are inculcated to externalize their rage and aggression outwards on to the target of the enemy, the infidel, as parents applaud and refuel the flames of hatred.
In many of my contributions, I have focused on the devalued female who grows up to be a young mother under such adverse and dire conditions. In particular her son, especially the first born, becomes her only outlet of power. The bitter tragedy is that son is misused only as object and not as a person with his own needs. I am sure Dr. Lachkar will have more to say about the abuses of the children in this regard.
A growing number of these families who raise children who are radicalized early on in the West are embedded in parallel cultures as they have not integrated into Western culture. They see no reason nor do they have a desire to do so. Because they lack the capacity for intimacy, they bond through violence and pain. In my work about maternal fusion, a group of people who have never developmentally separated, remain fused so that everyone must be like them or wiped out.
Often minors are used because they know that under Western law they will not be punished as severely. They are essentially brainwashed. Underlying this is the unspoken dirty little secret that they have been brutally abused by their own parents because they have not been "allowed" to have freedom. They are actually quite terrified but as Dr. Lachkar has put it so well -- they become the terror. It is a hop, skip and a jump back into these families to realize that these kids are mentally "enslaved" to embrace the parental program of hatred of the other. It should come as no surprise that such lack of freedom in early childhood to explore and to have one's own thoughts is deemed intolerable. In a bizarre way they seek to appease their parents' unconsciously by offering themselves up as victim/victimizers.
FP: The only freedom becomes to kill or to kill oneself. Thank you Dr. Kobrin.
Gabriel: To follow up on Dr. Kobrin's analysis of hate indoctrination at home, as a recipient of this Islamic hatred as a Christian (infidel) raised in a majority Muslim Middle East, we have a saying about this passionate hatred: "Children are fed hatred through their mother's milk."
The principle of revenge is so imbedded in Islam, and is so tied to honor, dignity and pride, that parents ensure that their children would take revenge on the wrong that has been done to the Islamic Ummah, and in particular the damage to the Islamic pride.
Islam is supposed to be superior to any other religion. Muslims are supposed to be superior to any other people. The Koran spells that out in clear detail and urges the Muslims to fight until there is no more Fitna (disbelief, non-Muslims) and all submit to the religion of Allah alone. Koran (8:39)
This diet of religious teachings when mixed with societal pressure in a small community especially a Muslim community living in the West spells disaster. Not only Muslims are reminded in Western countries of their inferiority especially when they compare their western societies to what they left behind, but also are reminded why they need to fight those whom they believe dishonored them (infidels) and humiliate them until westerners acknowledge the superiority of Islam.
Therefore every new generation of Muslims are looked at as the avengers of Islamic pride, and the only hope of resurrecting the Islamic empire. This concept of revenge and its importance, is so foreign to Western Christian cultures, westerners have a very hard time understanding it.
Lachkar: The question is: why would someone like Ahmed Khadr, raised with Western values, suddenly turn out to be consumed with hatred and violence and become a terrorist? If I were to rephrase the question, I would ask not where Khadr “physically” lives or was raised, but rather where he emotionally or internally lived. From a psychological psychohistorical perspective we then need to examine two aspects:
First, who does Khadr identify with and secondly how does he bond with his objects?
Dr. Kobrin underscores the first point by addressing childrearing practices whereby hatred and disdain for outsiders are so intense that the only recourse is to find an external enemy to project into. “We are the good guys the believers and all others are evil, corrupt, infidels and therefore must be destroyed!” I believe Brigitte Gabriel opens the pathway to this point as she states, “Children are fed hatred through their mother’s milk.”
To take this issue a step beyond, it is not only that the child “takes in the milk,” they identify or over-identify with the caretakers who they trust and look up to. Given the information we have we can assume that Khadr idealized the relationship with his father and the engulfment with the cult-like group contributed to the fantasy that to become a terrorist and suicide bomber was the highest achievement one could wish for. As clinicians, this is a red flag.
We must keep in mind that idealization is a powerful defense mechanism and with this defense comes the eradication of one’s mind and the ability to think. In my recently published book, How to Talk to a Narcissist, I refer to this as ego dysfunctionality. In sum, this leads us to a culture of people who have never advanced or kept up. To emphasize the cult-like nature of a society that breeds and perpetuates fusion, I quote Dr. Zakir, who explains why Muslims have not advanced, “It is become they moved away from the Koran and from their religion, that is why.”
The second point is the bonding process. Although Dr. Nancy Kobrin states that there is a “myriad of Omar Khadrs,” I would say there is only “one” -- Khadr. What I mean is that there is a united group of Muslims who form a collective group fantasy, bonding with a group of terrorists who provide some unconscious fantasy of belonging -- giving some semblance of meaning and purpose.
The idea of bonding and group identification has been grossly overlooked -- the entire concept of group identification, belonging and bonding becomes a more pervasive force than life itself. This dovetails with the concept the “brotherhood.” I remember when Nassar invented the slogan, “Drive the Jews into the Red Sea,” many Arabs were opposed, but gradually this slogan became the symbol for group identity giving purpose and meaning to the meaningless. Anything is better than the void, the black hole or the emptiness.
In essence, when we talk about bonding we are really asking: how does one bond to one’s objects through love or through pain? In many of my earlier papers, I refer to this as parasitic bonding, not only patients I see in clinical practice but how nations, groups and societies can form parasitic attachment to the “Mother of Pain.” I am reminded of a conversation with Dr. Kobrin, discussing how it is one thing to feel the pain, bit quite another to become the pain. This is not a far cry from a borderline or severely disturbed depressed patient who cannot differentiate between an act of feeling from the act of doing, actually becoming the pain. “I feel paralyzed by my losses therefore I become the paralysis.” I feel hatred toward the West, therefore I become the hatred! "I feel therefore I am!"
In sum, one might suggest it all comes down to shame, how they ward off shame and blame the West for their lack of advancement. Dr. Zakir Naikstates, “We are backwards because be go away from the Koran, away from religion and that is why we have not progressed as we did in from the 8th to the 12 Century” (You Tube-Zakir Naik - Why Muslims not as Advanced as Western World).
Williams: Radical Islam is an ideal demonstration of how a culture promotes collective hatred through its institutions and conditioning. In this dynamic, a structural hatred is perpetuated through a religious cause that must engender death in order to survive.
Dr. Kobrin profoundly pinpoints the mother-infant bond as a critical factor in the phenomenon we are exploring. When a child is raised with Salafi ideology--a traditional Sunni form of Islam that promotes Jihad by the sword--he is taught that hatred of unbelievers is the best demonstration of his love of the Qur’an, Allah and his own people. When this young Muslim is sent to a school in the West, his ideology faces an obstacle, so his beliefs are consistently reinforced within his family and like-minded believers. He thus learns to function within two parallel cultures -- as Dr. Kobrin indicated. He is proficient in the Western world by all appearances, but within his heart and soul are imbedded the hatred of his new society.
Many Westerners are under the false impression that if a Muslim appears to be functioning well within his community that this means that he has integrated. In 2006, then Australian Prime Minister John Howard urged Muslims to renounce terrorism, integrate and learn English. His recommendation was greeted with applause, but inherent in it was a dangerous delusion that a perceived integration is a genuine one. Recall the terrorist car bombing at Glasgow Airport in June 2007. Two of the accused were young medical doctors in the community, fully "integrated," and working under the Hippocratic oath to heal. What this reveals is a need to understand that a network of Jihadists are living among us and they are not necessarily identifiable.
Members of Radical Islam are far more clever than mainstream citizens of the West. They will use our weaknesses, exploit our vulnerabilities and friendliness, find loopholes in our constitution and without conscience seek to destroy us. We have been declared the enemy of Islam to be conquered by the sword, and by whatever means in between.
The concept of multiculturalism, which is heavily advocated in Canada, is an example of one of these loopholes. By definition multiculturalism advocates extending equitable status to all cultural and religious groups with no one culture predominating. Mainstream society--and some well intentioned, but naïve leaders—did not foresee that this could one day lead to a clash of cultures, leaving a society unprotected and vulnerable as a house without doors, while a clever enemy force uses its own rules against it. The drawback of multiculturalism is that its proponents do not recognize that there are dangerous doctrines which clash with our democracy (eg. Salafism). So imagine the folly of giving equitable status to such groups, bent on our destruction. That same enemy force is now using our own democracy against us in the upcoming U.N. sponsored Durban II Anti-Racism conference -- where the Western rights to free speech will be challenged as a Human Rights issue by Islamic representatives.
Following 9-11, The New York City Police Department developed a four-stage model to explain how the Jihadi-Salafi ideology provides the foundation for a message that drives the domestic radicalization process, and transforms an individual into a full blown Jihadist. This model includes the stream of Jihadists that were not raised within a radical family as we saw with one of the biggest anti-terrorism operations in North America since 9/11 in which 17 Canadian citizens, from teens to early 20s, were arrested in June 2006. Some of these were not from countries governed by Shariah law, but included a Jamaican and a Trinidadian as well.
Here is the four step process put forth by the NYPD and adopted by the CIA, Homeland Security and CSIS:
1. Pre-Radicalization: The point of origin for individuals before they even begin to be radicalized. In this stage, there must be a starting point of discontent, some trigger that causes a sense of alienation and with it a sense of unbearable powerlessness and worthlessness. A resulting anger now needs expression of which the budding Jihadist chooses to externalize, so he finds relief, belongingness and power through Salafism. The implication that the West is to blame for the budding Jihadist’s sense of alienation is an absurd accusation of which racism has been cited by many Muslim leaders as a fueling factor in the radicalization of youth by making them feel marginalized. What Muslims need to admit is that racism exists in every culture and it must never be allowed as an excuse to justify a sinister agenda. This excuse is no different that using poverty and racism as a justification for young, black gangsters shooting up the streets. Radical Jihadist leaders are abusing the vulnerabilities of youth who are striving like all youth to find a purpose and identity. They use their own young as objects to perpetuate their cause to conquer by the sword, even if it means blowing themselves up in the process.
2.Self-Identification: The second phase where individuals start to explore Salafi Islam. They begin to gravitate from their own identity and to begin associating themselves with individuals absorbed in Salafi Ideology. If not easily accessible, these like-minded individuals collaborate through the internet. The Department of Homeland Security has highlighted the terrorist al-Qaeda internet campaign which is aggressively recruiting young followers and distributing videos, sermons, and training manuals about the virtues of Jihad bil Saif (Jihad by the sword).
3. Indoctrination: In this third phase, the budding Jihadist is now engaged and sold out to Salafi ideology. He accepts it without question and is prepared to launch his indoctrination into action. He has fully departed from the self into the Jihadi-Salafi "brotherhood", the word used by Dr. Lachkar.
4. Jihadization: In this final stage, individuals have fully accepted that it is their responsibility to annihilate all enemies of Islam. They are now engaged in Jihad bil Saif as holy warriors or mujahedeen which includes planning, preparation and execution of terrorist attacks.
Through anti-terrorism laws, Federal governments and affiliated agencies are now responsible for the safety of its citizens. Airport security has been a top priority and should continue to be, however our first line of defense is local law enforcement. There is a need for policy implementation for law enforcement personnel to be highly trained in how to detect terrorists in their communities beginning with the mosques. Community policing should be used as a strategy, not only to make community members comfortable with law enforcement, but equally as a means to make criminal elements uncomfortable.
Raza: Thank you all. I’m glad to join this discussion and based on the comments made by the other panel members, let me point out some key concepts that jump out at us.
1. Do we have a problem? Yes
2. Is there a rise in radicalization of Muslim youth? Yes
3. Is the problem going to just go away by itself? No
4. Is there hope for the future? Yes
5. Is there an ongoing struggle within the faith for the soul of Islam? Yes
6. Do we slam an entire faith for the problems of a few? No
Let me start at the beginning. There are usually two ways to deal with a problem. One, we can point blame till the cows come home but never come to any conclusion because our fear and anger takes over. Or we can coolly discuss what went wrong and how we can begin to bring change. Being an eternal optimist, I’m in favor of the latter but in order to do this, we have to move away from rumor, bias, hearsay and mass generalizations.
The problem about Jihadization of our youth is a serious one and is exists. It won’t go away by itself and Canadian society won’t overnight become the Judeo-Christian society that it was. This is no longer a clash of civilizations’ theory about Islam and the West; when you have third generation Muslims in North America, we are dealing with Islam in the West. Muslims are here to stay and most of the 1 million Muslims in North America are ordinary 9–5 folks trying to make a decent living. However a small percentage is turning radical and even that small percentage is too much of a threat if that radicalization translates into violence.
While I agree with Nancy Kobrin and Dr. Lachkar that there are psychological reasons why youth are trapped in a circle of violence due to a vacuum in their lives, this is not the only reason. I do agree that hate is taught at home. However in the case of Muslim youth, there is also another, larger, more dangerous villain. Let’s talk about the real threat. Without trying to justify the situation, let me give you a picture of what’s happened in the past 30 years in the Muslim world. This impacts me directly as a Canadian, a woman and a progressive liberal Muslim.
Christine has spoken about the Wahhabi/Salafi ideology and that’s where most of the trouble lies. Let’s examine the breadth and scope of this movement which comes from Saudi Arabia via Afghanistan and Pakistan which are the base of al-Qaeda.
Supported by petro-dollars beyond our imagination, Saudi Arabia has funded mosques and Imams in North America to spread the Wahhabi/Salafi ideology which by the way, is not only anti non-Muslims but also anti Muslims who don’t tow their line of thinking. They have targeted shias, sufis and other sects of Muslims and when they find disagreement, they don’t balk at using force.
Not surprisingly, this movement considers Jews and Christians to be infidels. To this day, Saudi Arabia’s state version of Islam is founded on an exclusivist, misogynist interpretation of the Qur’an, intolerant of both interreligious and interreligious plurality. They thrive on hate for the other.
More recently, these exclusivist views have also been heavily promoted by young radicals who thrive on fundamentalism. The reasons for the rise of such groups are complex. Broadly speaking, these movements are a reaction against modernity, westernization, economic deprivation, perceived global domination by western powers (particularly the United States), and support by such powers for repressive regimes in predominantly Muslim lands. The failure of borrowed ideologies, such as capitalism, communism, or socialism, to deliver economic and social justice in many Muslim countries has created exclusivist groups seeking a “pure” and “authentic” language in which to criticize the failed modern Muslim state, a state which has marginalized, or displaced, traditional religious authorities in a bid to maximize political power.
These exclusivist groups use Islam as a political ideology. The commitment of such groups to understand Islam in a “pure” monolithic form, to engage in revisionist history, and to read religious texts in an exclusivist manner that denies any plurality of interpretations, has unleashed a struggle in the Muslim world between them and the liberal/progressive Muslims who uphold the pluralist teachings of the Qur’an.
Further to Christine’s point, multiculturalism, political correctness and the greed for votes, makes our own government turn a blind eye to the poison within our ranks. I’ve written and spoken about these phenomenon myriads of times to point out that the Wahhabi/Salafi ideology is built on hate and spews a nasty political message, blatantly ignoring the spiritual message of Islam. How and why would we in Canada accept hate being spewed from any pulpit? But it happens and continues to be tolerated much to our dismay.
To Brigitte Gabriel’s point about Islam being superior than any other religion and her quote from the Qur’an. This is correct as most Arabs consider themselves superior to all others – I just want to point out that this is not a teaching of Islam but human arrogance which has existed since the world began. The paradox of religious traditions being used to promote harmony and tolerance on the one hand, and to justify war and intolerance on the other, is not unique to Islam. History shows us that all religions, particularly their scriptures, have been interpreted by believers to justify a wide range of contradictory political, social, and cultural goals.
The particular verse mentioned by Brigitte, Koran 8:39 is interpreted very differently by Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar in The Sublime Qur’an (page 206) “Fight them until there is no persecution”.
However Brigitte makes the point that the radicals misuse and misinterpret the Qur’an to their own use and much of the problem lies here. It is within the framework of this dichotomy between a pluralist Qur’an and anti-pluralist interpretations that we can best understand the conflicting and contradictory uses of Quranic texts. This also proves that there is a huge divide between the theory and practice of Islam.
Having said all the above, I agree with all the panelists that we are faced with the reality of a huge problem and we can’t fight it alone. As a Muslim who finds truth, beauty and hope in my faith and the message of the Qur’an, I’m appalled, ashamed and aghast at what’s being practiced in the name of my faith. This is why I wrote “Their Jihad – Not my Jihad” to point out that the Jihad we need today is the struggle to put right what has gone so totally wrong. I’ve pointed out time and again that our youth are the future of tomorrow and if we don’t wake up to smell the coffee it will be too late. Do I want my two sons, the same age as Omar Khadr to be associated with him and the ideology of his family? No. My sons are as Canadian as hockey and maple syrup but they are Muslim. However I worry that we might 30 years too late. The Wahhabi/Salfi movement and ideology has gone unchecked for so long, that we have to play catch-up. Added to this, massive illiteracy in the Arab world and third world countries, adds to the number of youth becoming victims of Islamist mercenaries.
The solution doesn’t lie in blame or slamming the faith. We have to find ways to bring reform and change from within. This is where we, progressive liberal Muslims need the help of all of you to support our work and our voices which are drowned by the din of the fanatics. There is no way we can compete with the kind of financial support the political Islamist movement has from Saudi Arabia. But we have no choice but to keep speaking out and condemn those practices that reek of racism, arrogance, hate and violence.
Kobrin: I would like to cut to the chase and address Raheel’s use of the argument that all religions “do it” (i.e. have their arrogance and superiority and how that relates to the mindset of radicalization of the youth). It inflates that self-import, self-righteousness, grandiosity and omnipotence -- a potentially lethal mix.
With all due respect, I disagree and wish to address the fallacy of this Tu Quoque argument or what I call the “you do it too syndrome.” The key problem is who coopted revelation.
Judaism and Christianity’s revelations were coopted by the Prophet Muhammad as a tactical “end run” around the opponents in order to superimpose ideological political domination. Judaism did not coopt the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad nor did Christianity. The Jews just wanted to be left alone in Saudi Arabia but that was not possible. Instead they were harassed, murdered and annihilated. Something the Saudis don’t talk about.
It is the Prophet Muhammad who wrote Islam into a corner and its “arrogance” is much more problematic by having further created and taught to its vulnerably and perpetually shamed children that there are these dhimmis out there to be subjugated. This is an ideological splitting that dovetails unfortunately with an unconscious splitting of the love hate syndrome described by Dr. Lachkar.
How these radicalized youth bond in a regressed destructive group echoes and reflects the psychopathology found in the umma that has not adequately dealt with their internal but externalized inferiority complex. It is remarkable to me that the Saudis do not understand how revealing their group behaviors are. The female is so devalued this shows us that the males don’t feel very good about themselves. Indeed Brigitte used the word “fitna” and we know in slang it means a loose woman who cannot be controlled.
I agree with Dr. Lachkar that there is really only “one” Khadr in the sense that the group is so pathologically fused. I am quite familiar with the NYPD’s report and I have written at length about the converts to Islam and their radicalization such as Christian Ganczarski, the Al Qaeda terrorist who I believe functioned as the “psychological” handler of Nizar Nawar in the Djerba Synagogue Bombing. The French are now preparing to prosecute him and others in January 09. Ganczarski is a good example of how there is a commonality of a psychopathology that has good fit with radical Islamist ideologies and their terrorist groups.
As for the doctors who are involved in Jihad, it should not surprise us – doctors are essentially technicians, they are not humanists and they are in a way “engineers” of the body. Robert Jay Lifton wrote about the Nazi doctors and there is a similar problem. Yet the bottom line is that Islam’s hidden dark side of Jihad and its 24 Suras in the Qur’an, speak to and undercut its face as an alleged religion of peace.
Again, yes, there are many moderate Muslims. I myself was immersed in Aljamia for my doctoral work and the ball is in the court of the ummah in solving this problem. But first they must admit that there is a severe problem due to the ideologies which they embrace and that it exists. They have to accept their own failure to own responsibility for their passive aggressive behavior in not dealing with the hatred imbibed at ummi’s breast.
If they don’t, the youthful radicalized jihadis will continue to be the carriers of their own unresolved aggression and rage. To hide behind the argument that these are tribal and clan issues is a specious argument at best.
Having said all of this, we should never give up hope -- and dialogue is the best way to go in trying to resolve this problem.
Gabriel: Dr. Kobrin has touched on something very important here. Moderate Muslims must come to the point of admitting that there is a severe problem in the ideology itself and that it promotes intolerance and violence towards infidels and the moderates themselves. Just look at the Muslims that have been killed by these radicals. Moderate Muslims must organize and engage those enlightened, educated and westernized Muslims in the community to begin a dialogue to discuss the possibility of reform in Islam just as Christianity and Judaism have been reformed. You do not see any Jews today strapping bombs on their bodies and blowing up mosques in retaliation for suicide attacks, even though the old testament is clear about "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." Moderate Muslims must present the case to their community that if we do not reach out and talk with our children about Islamic reformation we are going to lose them to the jihadists.
Muslim women living in the West must come together and rise in defense of their western freedom and equality under the law and its protection. They know and see how their sisters live in the Middle East and under Islamic regimes and Sharia law around the world. We have already seen what happens when the radicals gain the upper hand in any Muslims society. Just look at Indonesia, Sudan, and Pakistan. Muslim women in the West have much more at stake here than men and have much more power to influence the new generation of Islamic children to modernize and reform. They should start organizing groups and recruiting to create a strong voice.
Muslims living in the West have no excuse to hide behind their silence. Our western democracies give them the right and the protection to stand up and be counted. It is astonishing how only few courageous and heroic Muslims are standing up and speaking out publicly against the Islamic jihadi behavior all the while being condemned and outcasted by their Muslim community. The silence of the majority speaks louder than the voices of the minority.
While we encourage and support those moderates speaking out financially and morally, we as non-Muslims must be realistic with our expectations and must be wise in evaluating how to fight the jihadists. While the moderates can only do so much in curbing the tide of hatred and radicalism because the lack of financial support like Raheel said to compete with the Saudi funded hatred, it is going to take the West a great will and resolve to unite as one to fight this enemy. Sadly, the jihadists are now in our communities and a part of western civilization. They know our laws, our freedoms, and way of thinking and they are using them against us to advance their agenda.
It is now up to us to stand together not as Muslims, Christians or Jews, but as westerners and children of democracies to ensure that the western freedoms we value and enjoy are not taken over by supremacist ideology.
Lachkar: I wish to express my gratitude to Dr. Glazov for providing a forum allowing us as psychoanalysts and psychohistorians to delve deeper beyond the political/historical to the psychological aspects of the conflict into the root causes. Having said this, I think I will go with Dr. Kobrin's theme regarding the role of the "devalued" women and show how the entire Jihad movement may constitute a collective group unconscious fantasy around the role of women. More specifically, the destruction and denigration of women as part of Middle Eastern culture.
In my view, the avoidance of democracy is basically a farce and an undercover movement to keep women repressed. Islamic jihadists train terrorists to destroy evil America, but beyond our capitalism, our democracy where is the "evil?" None of us have the answer, but one could speculate it comes down to one thing and one thing only -- the role of women. Just imagine if Saudi Arabia embraced democracy -- only to see Muslim women running around in sports cars wearing nothing more than their bikinis? To follow up on Gabriel's quote, even mother's milk becomes toxic. "Children are fed hatred through their mother's milk."
Women in Islamic regimes are nothing but sexual objects, and their injustices are only increasing. The religious terrorists are everywhere. They consider women as chattel slaves (Koran 4:34). The Koran also states that "men are the maintainers of women and spend their property on women; therefore, the good women must be obedient, and to those women on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them." And the Koran (2:223) tells men that their wives are “a field for you, so go into your field whenever you like."
As a couple therapist, I have learned that often the issues are not only over sex, money, children, but more about control, domination, envy, betrayal, jealousy -- just as issues in Islam are not about land, territory, religion, but more about honor, revenge, control, envy and domination. Although many of the male "abusers" I see in clinical practice may not be trained terrorists, nor do they stone women or bury them in the sand, they seem to share one common trait: hatred toward the mother. So hatred and revenge becomes the replacement for love (in Islamic terms love means honor (Karamah), honor translates to saving face which translates to revenge. Men would rather dominate and control women than free themselves from the prison of Islam, and it is this hatred that becomes more pervasive than life itself.
In psychoanalytic terms, Melanie Klein refers to this as envy of the breast. Because it is the breast that feeds, is needed and desired, it is also the breast that is envied and must be destroyed. For youths, this hatred then becomes highly eroticized and radicalized. So where deprivation was hatred and revenge shall be.
Williams: Brigitte Gabriel makes a crucial point in emphasizing that the West needs to unite as one to fight the enemy of radical Islam. Our disunity makes us extremely vulnerable to our enemies.
There is a cultural Jihad being waged on our society and radical Muslims are making dangerous inroads by exploiting the far Left – which shares Islamism’s goal of undermining our Judeo-Christian roots, the corner stone of North-American democracy.
So it is the far Left which is playing a big role in helping paving the Islamists’ agenda against us. And it is important for us to identify the impulses that motivate the Left in its agenda. One of these impulses is a self-hatred that is rooted in a burning guilt of being (in their deluded imagination) the capitalist oppressor that is beating down the world’s victims. In this vision, the West becomes evil entity and, therefore, the Left excuses itself
from being concerned about the many pathologies within Muslim culture, such as the oppression of women and minorities etc.
The Left has also nurtured a false impression that anti-terrorism laws since 9-11 have been applied abusively against Muslims. This has helped to portray an image of Islam as a victim that is under threat from a racist, corrupt West. Thus, Jihad somehow becomes justified because it is seen as being defensive. The path of Jihad, therefore, is sanctioned for young budding Jihadists who are struggling with inner conflict.
The reality is that Salafi-Jihadists are bent on the destruction of the West and the far Left is playing straight into their hands. This is weakening Western resolve against Muslim extremists who will destroy their friendly leftist infidels when given the chance.
Let’s keep in mind that there is a reason why immigrants choose the so-called evil capitalist West as their home. They are often fleeing oppression and poverty. And so we need to have moral clarity in terms of being able to say which civilization is better.
I would like to end by saying that moderate Muslims, like Raheel, play a significant ongoing role in the battle against Islamic extremism. It is a work in progress and hopefully the vision of a type of Muslim reform suggested by Brigitte Gabriel that will be realized at some point, amid the raging cultural Jihad within our borders.
Raza: Thank you Front page for this opportunity for discussion on a key subject which has become all the more poignant in light of the latest attacks on Mumbai.
The constant stress on "Islam is the enemy" reeks of ignorance especially in light of remarks like "It is the Prophet Muhammad who wrote Islam into a corner" when Islam was not written by Mohammad. However that will be another discussion because I don’t want get diverted into a defence of my faith.
I also find it rather naive for Kobrin to mention that Judaism and Christianity have not had a history of violence when my reading and understanding from Jewish and Christian scholars is to the contrary. However I never justify violence in the name of Islam for that reason. I have a simple analogy - if there is garbage in my house and my neighbours, its my ethical and moral duty to clean my house first before I criticise others and I think I have taken this critique of Muslims as a huge challenge and have never shied away from honest retrospection, which is important if we are looking for peace and change.
As Deepak Chopra advised in the aftermath of the Mumbai bloodbath, we have to work on this globally and as human beings together to eliminate terrorism.
To the point about Muslim women, I absolutely agree that we are our own worst enemy. As a progressive Muslim woman, I get more flack and hostility from Muslim women who believe we are to be silent and oppressed, than I do from males. I also think that when Muslim women rise to the challenge of speaking out against injustice and gender inequality (as many are in North America where they have the freedom to speak out) there will be change.
On a positive note, I am in Jerusalem with a Christian Minister and his wife and I see that there is hope if we have faith in humanity and stop the blame game to stand for a moment in the other person’s shoes. I will continue to forge ahead to build bridges of understanding, without slamming others because that only creates negativity and is of no practical value. When I criticize, I must also find solutions to the problem of violence and terror which affects all of us.
Thanks once again.
FP: With all due respect Ms. Raza, the comment made by Dr. Kobrin, “It is the Prophet Muhammad who wrote Islam into a corner,” is not to be taken literally in the sense that Dr. Kobrin thinks that Muhammad had a pen and paper. This ridiculing of Dr. Kobrin’s statement blurs the crucial point she is making. She is referring to the fact that the historical Muhammad left an example in word and deed for his followers. Scholars such as Bill Warner and Abul Kasem have outlined the historical record of Muhammed’s life that is based on Muslim sources. Robert Spencer has done the same in his recent book – also based on Islamic sources. The history of Muhammad that is recorded by Muslims themselves is that he engaged in holy warfare and preached the importance of war against unbelievers.
These facts are not raised to “blame a religion” but to raise an issue that is crucial if are ever going to take violent jihad out of Islam (if that is possible).
Ignoring the truth about Muhammad and how Muslims regard him will not help make the Mumbai Massacres of this world go away. And it is vital for us to honestly answer the following questions:
Upon whose teachings did the ideology of extremists such Syed Qutb and Maudoodi rely?
Upon whose teachings did the Mumbai terrorists operate?
If the Prophet Muhammad categorically rejected violence and jihad by word and deed would the Mumbai terrorists have been able to construct their ideology?
Would Islamic jihadists be waging jihad if they were unable to quote extensively from the Koran?
Clearly the problem we face is that jihadis get their inspiration and sanctioning for violence precisely from Muhammad and that is why they invoke Muhammad's example to justify acts of violence and terrorism.
So the only realistic approach for Muslims worldwide to take, if they want to make Islam a Religion of Peace, is to honestly come to terms with the violence that Muhammad practised in word and deed and to renounce it, reinterpret it and understand it in new ways. Imams everywhere must issue fatwas throughout the Muslim world against Islamic warfare and to categorically state that all support of it in Islamic texts is no longer valid.
Kobrin: A good metaphor to use in order to understand the point that I am trying to make with regard to 1. How psychological and cognitive functions work with 2. Islam’s ideologies might be the following. Think of a book like a biology text which has a chapter on the human body and there are transparent overlaps of the different organ systems. If you think of the main page of the basic anatomy, let’s call this the mother board of the mind with its psychological and cognitive functions. Then overlaying that like a transparency is a sheet of the ideologies. It is not a case of either one or the other but the combustible combination of using violence and terror in child rearing practices like beating one’s children at age 10 in order to force them to pray five times a day according to Tawfik Hamid, The Roots of Jihad, p. 18. Beating a child impairs emotional and psychological growth. It leads to a cognitive deficit and impairment. It is not the way to make a child smart. It makes a child into a raging bull jihadi.
This underlying text of terror instilled to control children is then overlaid with ideologies such at the 24 sura/chapters in the Quran that teach Jihad. But even more than that is that Islam’s ideologies demand that there is always an enemy but the enemy is not just the infidel, the enemy most engraved into the ideologies of Islam and taken to the extreme by the radical Islamists and jihadis is the Jew – the Jew/Israel/Zionists/ Israelis who are Dajjal – the anti-Christ along with other mythologies like Zaynab bint Al-Harith, the Jewess said o have poisoned the Prophet Muhammad and that he had three favorite sex slave concubines – two Jewesses and a Christian. I see no way that these emotionally lived beliefs held by the ummah can be ex-sponged from Islam's belief system because they anchor the fragile communal identity that loves to see itself as victim and then projects their rage and acts out their murderous violence on to the dhimmified Other. It reminds me of the Arabic saying - he hits me and cries and races me to complain. Another Arabic saying comes to mind with regard to the Islamic suicide bomber alleged martyr who is held up by the ummah as victim when in fact he is victim-victimizer. The Arabic saying for that one is -- There were no horses so they saddled the dogs.
Least we forget that dhimmi comes from the Arabic root dhmm which means to blame. Allow me to be clear, I don’t really care about the case of Zaynab bint Al-Harith who is said to have been the Jewess who poisoned the Prophet Muhammad -- while the hadith is considered to be “minor” as if that justifies the stereotype – as far as I am concerned as this Jewish woman psychoanalyst Arabist writing these words – it is not “minor”; it is a vile stereotype and projection that fueled the flames of rage which led to the brutal torture, mutilation and tragic murder of Rivka Holtzberg Z”l = may her memory be for a blessing – the Rabbetzin (wife of the rabbi) who was murdered in Mumbai's Chabad Nariman house.
Gabriel: You raise a good point Jamie by discussing the root of the ideology and what the leader Prophet Mohammed, whom the Muslims consider "Al Insan Al Kamil" the perfect man lived, fought and taught.
The sad reality is that most Muslims are silent about the Jihadists’ terrorism throughout the world because after all this is what the Koran and the whole religion of Islam is all about. For Most Muslims to denounce what the Jihadists are doing in the name of their religion would be like denouncing the prophet and the words of Allah who instructed Muslims to do exactly that, declare war on non-believers and fight them until they become subdued. The precedent was set by “the perfect man”, Al-Insan-Al-Kamil, Prophet Mohammed himself.
Prophet Mohammed himself as a warrior set the example that continues to inspire jihad. Prophet Mohammed ordered 27 military campaigns and led nine personally.
In my book "They Must Be Stopped" I discuss a report commissioned by the Pentagon in 2006. The Pentagon assigned intelligence analysts to write a report about the source of Islamic extremism flaring around the world. They wanted to find out what is driving educated young men, and in some cases women, to commit such horrible acts of suicide and murder. The outcome of the briefing was politically incorrect and explosive. It is the Koran, the holy Islamic book that is driving them. It is the religion itself straight from the mouth of the prophet Mohammed.
The Pentagon briefing paper was titled “Motivations of Muslim Suicide Bombers.” The analysts had studied the Koran and Islamic scripture to try to understand Islam and see how extremists had hijacked a “peaceful religion.” What they found out was that suicide bombers were carrying out the teachings of the Koran. They found out that the more a Muslim understood the Koran and its teaching, the more un-moderate he became as he headed towards the purer form of what Mohammad taught.
The report concludes: "Suicide in defense of Islam is permitted, and the Islamic suicide bomber is, in the main, a rational actor." Here are a few quotes straight out of the Koran that proves this conclusion.
Qur'an 9:29 "Fight those who do not believe until they all surrender, paying the protective tax in submission."
Qur'an 8:39 "Fight them until all opposition ends and all submit to Allah."
Qur'an 9:14 "Fight them and Allah will punish them by your hands, lay them low, and cover them with shame. He will help you over them."
Qur'an 8:65 "O Prophet, urge the faithful to fight. If there are twenty among you with determination they will vanquish two hundred; if there are a hundred then they will slaughter a thousand unbelievers, for the infidels are a people devoid of understanding."
Qur'an 9:123 "Fight the unbelievers around you, and let them find harshness in you."
Qur'an 48:16 "Say (Muhammad) to the wandering desert Arabs who lagged behind: 'You shall be invited to fight against a people given to war with mighty prowess. You shall fight them until they surrender and submit. If you obey, Allah will grant you a reward, but if you turn back, as you did before, He will punish you with a grievous torture."
The pentagon briefing states:
"His actions (the suicide bomber) provide a win-win scenario for himself, his family, his faith and his God…The bomber secures salvation and the pleasures of Paradise. He earns a degree of financial security and a place for his family in Paradise. He defends his faith and takes his place in a long line of martyrs to be memorialized as a valorous fighter…And finally, because of the manner of his death, he is assured that he will find favor with Allah….Against these considerations, the selfless sacrifice by the individual Muslim to destroy Islam's enemies becomes a suitable, feasible and acceptable course of action."
The briefing was the culmination of endless hours by the Counterintelligence Field Activity, a Pentagon intelligence unit. The briefing cites many Koranic scriptures relating to Jihad and martyrdom.
Here are more examples of Holy Scriptures that drives and validates their belief, ideology and their sincere determination to do the right thing according to their religion:
Qur'an:8:12 "I shall terrorize the infidels. So wound their bodies and incapacitate them because they oppose Allah and His Apostle."
Qur'an:8:39 "So, fight them till all opposition ends and the only religion is Islam."
Qur'an:8:59 "The infidels should not think that they can get away from us. Prepare against them whatever arms and weaponry you can muster so that you may terrorize them. They are your enemy and Allah's enemy."
Qur'an:9:5 "fight and kill disbelievers wherever you find them, take them captive, beleaguer them, and lie in wait and ambush them using every stratagem of war."
Not only are the radicals drinking their Islam straight but the holy book they read is like a bar tender who keeps filling up their glasses and pushing it across the bar reinforcing and motivating them towards greater atrocities in their religious stupor. We are committing a cultural suicide by turning a blind eye to the danger Islam spells out continually.
Going forward we must realize that the portent behind the terrorist attacks is the purest form of what the Prophet Mohammed created. It not radical Islam. It’s what Islam is at its basic core. A core that has been “peacefulized” over the past century as it became infused and diluted by the civilized and moderate norms of new adherents, by the strength of Western civilization, by the historic weakness of the Muslim world. But Muslims are no longer weak and no longer poor. They have traded their swords for AK47’s, RPG’s, TNT and missiles. They are spreading their oil wealth around the world to bring Islam back. The time of moderation and watered down religion is over, and the Islam of Mohammed is back. It’s not radical Islam. It is not Wahabbi Islam, it’s Mohammed’s original Islam.
FP: Thank you Brigitte.
I would like to say at this point that these issues are being raised here today because we are also seeking a potential solution and also reaching out to Muslims, such as Raheel Raza, who is with us on this panel.
Ms. Raza, the point here today is not us attacking you or your religion. We know that you reject the jihadists and their violence and that you believe that they do not represent Islam, which you yourself find to be a peaceful religion. We know you are a noble and very courageous Muslim who is standing up to the Islamic extremists and putting your life on the line in doing so, and we respect and support you.
It is obvious that an Islam headed by Muslims like you is an Islam that everyone has a stake in fighting for. But the problem is that jihadists find their inspiration from Islamic theology and from the example and words of their Prophet. And this issue is not going to go away without an honest confrontation with it. So we are interested in how Muslims like you who reject violent jihad deal with this and how you recommend that this issue must be dealt with so that jihadists and all Islamic extremists are categorically told and instructed that all of these teachings are invalid and non-Islamic. How is this going to happen? How can it happen?
Christine Williams go ahead.
Williams: Clearly there are undeniable texts which advocate Jihad. And while it is obvious that a large portion of Muslims choose to live a peaceful life, "moderate" Muslims have an obligation to give assurances to the non-Muslim world, in word and deed, that they are serious about battling the threat of Jihad.
And speaking of Jihad, there is never an excuse for such violence - and the Muslim world must categorically condemn it. For example, the Palestinian cause is always used by jihadis worldwide as a justification for their rage. On Israel's 60th anniversary, CBS news and the Associated Press publicized an audio of Osama bin Laden regurgitating the standard mantra of Islamic terrorists: that the reason for friction between the West and the Muslim world has always been the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. For a budding homegrown terrorist in the pre-radicalization stage of Jihadization, it is obvious what influence this statement by bin Laden would have on his psyche: "The Palestinian cause has been the main factor that, since my early childhood, fueled my desire, and that of the 19 freemen (Sept. 11 bombers), to stand by the oppressed, and punish the oppressive Jews and their allies. . . .We shall continue the fight, Allah willing, against the Israelis and their allies, in order to pursue justice for the oppressed, and we shall not give up one inch of Palestine, as long as there is still a single true Muslim alive."
But the historical record demonstrates that jihadis have always cynically and dishonestly hijacked the Palestinian issue as an excuse to perpetuate violence against Israel and the West. It is clear that this issue serves as a means to sanction the rage that homegrown jihadis poison themselves with, all the while ignoring their deeper inner struggles stemming from the destructive ideology to which they dedicate themselves and are brainwashed by.
So we have young Muslims growing up in the West and struggling with feelings of alienation, hatred and resentment for the reasons we have raised here today. The responsibility lies on the members of the Muslim community to intervene and to teach these young Muslims that Jihadization is not an option. Open discussion in the public forum is vital in this way, and Muslims and non-Muslims alike must come together to stymie and denounce the sinister agenda of Salafism.
In addition to this, governments and law enforcement have to be vigilant in ways that have been discussed throughout our panel discussion. In the end, we cannot allow political correctness to tie our hands and to stop us from defending ourselves against an enemy that seeks to destroy us.
Raza: Most of the points made are valid i.e. violent and armed Jihad is a threat and solutions must be found. I do believe as I said before, that the solution will have to come from within Islam. There needs to be a lot of re-interpretation and reclaiming of the spiritual message.
From the 1.2 billion Muslims and 72 sects, everyone is not a follower of Syed Qutub and Mawdoodi. Matter of fact for every reader of Syed Qutub, there are followers and readers of Dr. Abdul Aziz Sachedina and Professor Khaled Abou el Fadl. For every Mawdoodi reader, there are readers of Syed Hussain Nasr.
I spoke to my Christian Minister friend about the above verses from the Qur’an being quoted without historical context and he sent me a page of verses from the Bible speaking of violence and killing which I don’t want to reproduce here (but have on my system) and what he said was that Christians don’t reject Christianity because of the Crusades or Ireland, but have moved into a way of looking at their faith today and ignoring the violent verses. They have moved ahead.
We Muslims need to do that as well and reject those aspects of the faith that are not in sync with human values and tolerance. However in my humble opinion, this doesn’t stem from the Qur’an or life of Mohammad (by the way you might read other books on Mohammad’s life like Martin Lings). The problem clearly lies in the Wahhabi Salafi teachings (some people say they have changed the translation of the Quran) and the West is aware of this but not doing anything.
We need to replace current Jihad with Ijtihad but it will take education, vision and knowledge. I’m an eternal optimist and I see hope in North America.
Thank you for your time.
FP: The issue, of course, is that there is nothing in the New Testament that teaches that non-believers must be subjugated or killed. And the fact that books may exist on Muhammad’s that may point to something good about him is independent of the historical facts about his life.
Dr. Lachkar, final word goes to you.
Lachkar: Since the world is now engaged in a race between time and the rapid increase of terrorism, we do not have time to spare. Suicidal lunacy may require psychotherapeutic skills to cure. It is long past time to assign a central role for a psychotherapeutic peace counselors in the international relations of our precious world. Perhaps we could have peace counselors around the world, this would include outreach programs, meet with other Arab and Western mental health professionals, social/musical events, more cultural exchanges etc.
I would like to thank and show all my respect and appreciation for all the Muslim women and Muslim people who fight for their human rights and against terrorism. We all know many risk their lives and for that we bless and thank you. You are heroes. Dr. Glazov. thank you again for providing this forum for us where we can speak freely and share our divergent views.
FP: Thank you.
Dr. Joan Lachkar, Dr. Nancy Kobrin, Brigitte Gabriel, Christine Williams and Raheel Raza, thank you for joining Frontpage Symposium.
A special thanks to Christine Williams, who was the Godmother of this symposium. She created the idea from which this symposium grew and suggested many of the themes which spawned its life. Thank you Christine.