Similar stories pile up here and in other civilised nations. This week, via the ABC’s 7.30, we learned of a 22-year-old girl, Amira Karroum, educated in an Anglican girl’s school in Queensland, finding her Muslim roots when she went to live in Sydney’s west in 2011. From there it was all downhill to execution by gunshot in Syria. Nothing to see here — just another formerly moderate Muslim intent on helping to kill infidels.
What is going on, you might ask? Why are all these young Muslim Australians and Americans, Britons and Norwegians, among others, heading off on jihad? One thing we know is that it has absolutely nothing at all to do with Islam. President Obama has just told the American public that “ISIS is not Islamic”. It is all a perversion of Islam, we are repeatedly told. Perhaps, to coin a useful word, we should call it ‘pervislam’.
Perversions are usually quite isolated; otherwise, when you think about it, they wouldn’t be perversions at all but mainstream. The question is how isolated is Islamic perversion? I suggest that the claim to this appellation rests or falls on the number. Therein lies a problem, methinks. There are just too many of these perversions.
Name a Muslim country, or one with a large Muslim population, that hasn’t had trouble of the ‘killing in the name of Allah’ kind. We have mad mullahs in Iran busy building a nuclear bomb; and courtesy of President Obama’s indulgence, being given extra time to complete the job. Hey, they didn’t actually mean it when they said that they wanted to wipe Israel off the map. That was surely a perversion of Islam.
We have the Muslim Brotherhood, Boko Haram, al-Qaeda, ISIS, Hezbollah, Hamas, and the Taliban. And we have any number of splinter groups — Obama would call them “junior varsity” (JV) groups, as he termed ISIS before it grew — intent on killing infidels. Hands up if you’d heard of Jabhat al-Nusra (an al-Qaeda-linked Sunni rebel group operating in Syria), before those two ‘Australian lads’ were arrested in Brisbane, allegedly for providing it with support.
But back to the puzzling question: Why does jihad attract young Muslim men and women born in the West; and, disquietingly, why are so many many from advantaged backgrounds? I don’t know the answer. But let me suggest that it is not Islam itself which triggers their dysfunctional actions, it simply provides a powerful and persuasive outlet.
My views are coloured by David Robinson’s Brain, Mind, and Behaviour. Following Pavlov, Davidson categorises people as having either sanguine or a phlegmatic temperaments, both good, or melancholic or choleric temperaments, both sort of bad. He regards temperament, and other human characteristics, like intelligence, as being a product of nature, rather than nurture; of genes rather than conditioning. Those with predominantly melancholic or choleric temperaments tend to be dysfunctional.
The point is how this dysfunction shows itself. Criminality is obviously one outlet. It would be surprising if the more radical anarchists of one hundred-or-so years ago were not afflicted with melancholic or choleric temperaments; and, to throw in a couple more, the Red Brigades and the Weather Underground seem to fit the bill. Mind you, as a cautionary note on this theory, it seems to me that many of those on the left are prone to humourless and nasty responses if you disagree with them. Yet, so far as I know, they are not more populous in prisons.
What do you do if you are a melancholic or choleric from a Christian background? Face it, neither the Pope nor the Archbishop of Canterbury offers much of an outlet to vent your spleen fighting for Christendom. You have to vent it in other anti-social ways. Islam on the other hand is replete with guiding texts and much, much more importantly, authoritative religious rabble rousers in every country where Muslims live. That gnawing chasm of meaningless existence plaguing the minds of the melancholic and choleric Muslims can be fed by jihad.
As a quite separate point, maybe evolution within Muslim communities has created a larger-than-normal proportion of melancholic and choleric individuals. After all, sanguine free spirits might mostly have been stoned to death or beheaded long ago. That is definitely a non-PC theory.
Whatever the extent of the problem, it could easily be contained and effectively defeated if it began and ended with terrorist groups like ISIS and Western jihadis. The daunting challenge is the growth of so-called “moderate Muslim populations” in Western countries. Their loyalty first and foremost is to Islam and only to Australia or Britain or America or France as an afterthought or, for many, only when collecting welfare cheques.
Make no mistake, those so-called moderates in the West will line up dutifully when and if Sharia law is enacted by a local grand mufti. At the end of the day, it is the sheer number of so-called moderate male Muslims subjugating women, and therefore outpacing infidels in fecundity, that is the real threat to Western values. This will not be countered while our leaders pretend to know more about Islam than Muslim muftis and put their own sanitised wishful thinking in the place of reality.
There is no perversion of Islam, there is just Islam.