The Unknown Enemy in Plain Sight

obama blind IIIslamist apologists invariably postulate that Islamic terrorists are driven on account of being marginalized, discriminated and impoverished. US Secretary of State John Kerry, for example, would have us believe that poverty is one of the root cause of terrorism,[i] and that to counter terrorism we must ensure that there are “more economic opportunities for marginalized youth.”[ii] Kerry of course is no outlier, for among many others, he is in, on this issue, at one with the former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Archbishop of Canterbury, former US President Bill Clinton, Al Gore, the late Elie Wiesel and others.[iii] However their assertions lack empirical verification, for the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that terrorists do not commonly originate from within a country’s poorest social strata.

A survey conducted in fourteen Muslim states revealed the indigent were considerably less supportive of terrorism than those who were affluent.[iv]  An MI5 report determined that at least 60% of terror suspects were highly educated and economically well off.[v]  Much the same picture emerged from a study undertaken by France’s Center for Prevention Deradicalization and Individual Monitoring which concluded that two-thirds of those who had left France to fight for the Islamic State hailed from middle-class families.[vi]  Having interviewed 250 surviving Palestinian suicide bombers, scholar Nasra Hassan noted that “none of them were uneducated, desperately poor, simple-minded, or depressed. Many were middle class and, unless they were fugitives, held paying jobs…two were sons of millionaires.”[vii]  What did characterize each and every one of them was that they were “all deeply religious.”[viii] As Alan Kreuger of Princeton University and Jitka Maleckova of Charles University, Prague, determined, there is little direct connection between poverty and terror.[ix]

A casual glance at the portfolios of prominent Islamic terrorists reveals that many of them were anything but poor. Fifteen of the nineteen jihadists in the 9/11 attacks were of the middle class and their movement’s leader, Osama Bin Laden, was a son of a multi-billionaire. More recently, consier Omar Mateen, the mass murderer of the Orlando, who grew up in a family household that, although not rich, was by no means destitute. According to the Washington Post, Mateen’s “childhood in the coastal Florida town of Port St. Lucie was filled with ice cream from McDonald’s and trips to the mall.” [x] Nidal Hassan, the Islamist who killed 13 and injured 30 of his fellow US soldiers at Fort Hood, was not only an army major but also a psychiatrist. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber had been a student of the University of Massachusetts. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh who masterminded the killing of the American journalist Daniel Pearl, graduated from the prestigious London School of Economics. Kafeel Ahmed who drove a car laden with explosives into the terminal at Glasgow airport was an engineer studying for a Ph.D. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up a Northwest Airlines plane in flight, is the son of a wealthy Nigerian banker and business man. Azahari Husin, the brains and organizer behind the Bali bombing was a university lecturer and gifted mathematician.

The assertion that ‘terrorism is induced by poverty is so patently belied by both empirical and casual observations, we can only conclude that people like Kerry — educated and with reasonably high IQs, must be afflicted with an aptitude for cognitive dissonance. Otherwise, the only explanation is a stubborn idiocy in the face of so much empirical evidence.

Ruled out of consideration by those of Kerry’s mindset is that the particular belief system plays any part in motivating their actions. Were that not the case they would ask themselves why Jews, who have been infinitely more persecuted in Europe than Muslims, have never embraced Islamist-style massacres. Part of the problem is that the prevailing nostrums of multiculturalism posit all religions must command respect, a state of mind only tp be achieved by the absolute refusal to recognise that a theology — in this case Islam —  is woven with tenets antithetical to Western values. This sometimes leads to ludicrous situations whereby, for example, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull first invited a prominent Iman to break halal bread with him at Kirribilli, then was obliged to denounce him after being informed of his guest’s urgings that homosexuals deserve death and how troublesome women nee to be hung by their breasts. Turnbull’s folly was to begin with the belief that people such as his problematic Iman are wayward clerics, rather than grasping that their views are shared by co-religionists — no doubt including other Muslims present.[xi]

There are, of course, many personal factors that induce a person to become an Islamist. But usually among them one can point to an exposure to aspects of the Koran that extol the killing of infidels and a willingness to sacrifice oneself for the sake of Allah. In an Islamic State proclamation put out on the internet, we are informed that we in the West are hated by Muslims because we are disbelievers and they “have been commanded (by Allah) to fight the disbelievers until they submit to the authority of Islam.” (Koran 9.29)[xii]  No reference was made to any other grievance, be it economic exploitation, discrimination or Islamophobia. Strengthening the Jihadist’s resolve is the expectation of being rewarded in heaven and the certainty that he or she would be revered after death by others.

The cognitive dissonance needed to assert that poverty, not religious ardour, is the root of Islamist terror is worse and more dangerous than a comforting delusion, it hobbles the West’s response before it can take effective shape, If you refuse to recognise your enemy, how can you combat him, let alone defeat hm?

Leslie Stein is the author of The Making of Modern Israel, 1948–1967 (Polity, 2009)

[i] Remarks after meeting with Secretary of State of the Holy See Pietro Parolin, US Department of State, January 14, 2014. http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/01/219654.htm

[ii] Editorials. “Kerry on Counterterrorism, October 4, 1013. http://editorials.voa.gov/a/kerry-on-counterterrorism/1762867.html

[iii] See Alan Krueger, “What Makes a Terrorist, American Enterprise Institute, , November 7, 2007.

[iv] C Christian Fair and Husain Haqqani,  “Think Again: Islamic Terrorism,” Foreign Policy, January 30, 2006.

[v] Abul Taher, The Mail on Sunday,  October 15, 2011.

[vi] See Giulio Meotti, “Islamic terrorists are not poor and illiterate, but rich and educated.” Gatestone Institute, November 19, 2016.

[vii] Nasra Hassan, “An Arsenal of Believers,” The New Yorker, November 19, 2001.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix]Alan B Krueger and Jitka Maleckova, Education, Poverty and Terrorism: Is

There a Causal Connection?”  Journal of Economic Perspective, Fall 2003.

[x] Ken Sullivan and William Wan, “Troubled. Quiet. Macho. Angry. The volatile life of the Orlando shooter, Washington Post,  June 17, 2016.

[xi] See Mark Durie. “It’s not Personal, It’s Islam” The Spectator, July 2 2016.

[xii] As quoted by Raymond Ibrahim, “Confirmed: Islam, not ‘grievances’ fuels Muslim hate for West.”

Frontpage Magazine, August 19, 2016

8 thoughts on “The Unknown Enemy in Plain Sight

  • ianl says:

    I hesitate to comment on this essay here because it seems too obvious – statements of the bleeding obvious are insultingly patronising so I try to avoid them.

    The essay here is excellent. The point is succinctly and devastatingly made. So why do our circus leaders persist with what they clearly *know* to be disinformation ?

    Not because they’re stupid … that’s too easy. Not because they’re too stubborn to admit they’re wrong (they are, of course, but they know we know that).

    In my view, there are two compounding reasons that have overwhelmed them – and that impotence they will *never* admit to. First, orchestrating immigration patterns up to quite recent times has eventually and always resulted in assimilation of the “new” demographic with essentially minimal social disturbance and some cultural additions that added interest to life. Relatively benign, in short. Secondly, recent immigration intakes have settled in chosen areas as is characteristic of all immigration patterns and these patterns have created a number of political electorates that circus leaders wish to win and keep.

    So what’s gone wrong, that disinformation is deemed necessary despite the utter blockheadness of that ? In order, the Muslim intake by and large refuses point-blank to pay more than lip service to assimilation, creating persistent conflicts with existing customs and even law. This quite took the circus leaders by surprise, so they flailed around to rationalise it … still are. This hadn’t happened so persistently with any previous intake group, so the circus meisters are clueless. The obvious second point: if resolutions are not found, the political electorates are at risk, placing the winning of political power at risk.

    This essay lucidly expounds on why all this is so. Political correctness won’t resolve the situation, nor will inaccurate accusations of bigotry, or the dogs of confected outrage. What will ? Dunno …

    • Bwana Neusi says:

      ianl: You are correct about the assimilation aspects of the post war immigration and beyond. When we arrived in Australia (as ten pound tourists) there was a tendency to aggregate with like nationalities. Italians tended to migrate towards their own, as did the poms, greeks and Yugoslavs. But a generation later, the only remnants of those centres of nationality was the preponderance of like surnames.
      The children of those European families were and still are today as Australian as the dinky di fifth generation Aussie. In even more recent times Indians, Vietnamese and Chinese have all blended in adding their own unique flavours to our culture. The common factor with all these immigrants is the lack of an alien culture like Islam.
      Our Politicians and the authorities fear a civil war of national proportions, that would make the Cronulla riots seem tame and they understand that there is little prospect of persuading Muslims to assimilate, so they are attempting to appease them on the one hand whilst trying to contain the hitherto silent majority with PC bullsh*t and instruments like the AHRC.
      It is not cognitive dissonance that is the problem, there is a covert attempt to alter our social structure with an overt use of “Islamaphobia, racism and multicultural needs” as a means to silence us. They are right that Australia is multicultural, but they haven’t yet noticed that only symbiotic cultures assimilate. Alien barbaric cultures do not.

  • Don A. Veitch says:

    Just one quick observation:
    are there any fat terrorists?
    Check the stats, only skinny people are terrorists. Coincidence?

    OK, one more observation (serious):
    Russia/Hezbollah/Iraq have crushed more terrorists in 8 weeks (Mosul, Aleppo, soon Raqqa) than affluent America in 8 years BUT, the US sends the armoured Brigade 3a,(4,000 men, 87 tanks, 18 self-propelled howitzers) to the Polish boarder. So Al Qaeda/ are not the enemy any more? After defeat in Syria, a new enemy is found

    Ok, Ok, a final observation (very deadly serious):
    The Swamp wants more war and war scares. Wait for the big ‘terrrorist’ attack on US power grids, and the blame will be placed on Russia/Putin. Trump will cave in.

  • ian.macdougall says:

    The cognitive dissonance needed to assert that poverty, not religious ardour, is the root of Islamist terror is worse and more dangerous than a comforting delusion, it hobbles the West’s response before it can take effective shape…

    An excellent piece here.
    But I beg to disagree with the ‘poverty’ bit, for it depends on how that term is defined.
    Islamic education, supervised by the clerics, is designed to blinker and so intellectually impoverish the youth. Exploration of any alternative ideas or systems of thought beyond Islam and the reach of the Islamic clerics is discouraged where not actively prevented. Thus Islam emerges as one of the most successful systems of thought control ever invented, and I am sure that George Orwell if he were around today, would be giving study of it a lot of his time.

  • gardner.peter.d says:

    Perhaps the reason for our political leaders to assert that Islam is not the root cause of Islamist terrorism is that they have worked out there are two related tracks in Islamist strategy- as indeed there are. One is terrorism, the other is seemingly peaceful immigration. By the latter they will find a legitimate route to power through democratic processes by sheer weight of numbers. The numbers are such that starting from a tiny minority up to a certain point a country can still say enough is enough so the infiltration stays quiet. Above that it may become more visible and assertive but still claim to be peaceful and benign in intent – which would be true of many Muslims. Once there are sufficient numbers, the polity cannot start to assert Western value against Islam because it would lead to open confrontation and perhaps to a very severe backlash, breakdown of order and so on. By denying the objectives of Islam, politicians seek to delay such ugly confrontations even though it will in the longer term enable the peaceful victory of Islam by sheer weight of numbers, in the hope that will be after their time in office.

    It is impolite to say it, but basically, many of our political leaders expect to escape from office before Islamisation of the West becomes indisputable. Those with a conscience may genuinely believe an Islamic society is not such a bad or that it is now beyond their means to prevent, so at least lets live as peacefully as we can while we can. A mix of reasons. As France’s sudden defeat in WW2 showed it is a way of avoiding casualties.

    • ianl says:

      > “Those with a conscience may genuinely believe an Islamic society is not such a bad or that it is now beyond their means to prevent, so at least lets live as peacefully as we can while we can”

      The unedifying appeasement of an irredeemable ugliness.

  • Don A. Veitch says:

    News flash: Islam as a threat is passe´. Mission accomplished!

    The coming conflict road map is clear, see Samuel P Huntington’s Clash of Civilisation.
    Huntington ‘foretold’ that violence would be along cultural lines (West vs. Islam) NOT state versus state. (e.g. USA vs. Russia), it would be, for example ‘West’ vs. Islam.

    Huntington (Trilateral Commission, Foreign Affairs, State Department, defoliation in Vietnam, etc), argued that these conflicts were irreconcilable, in other words warfare for ever. Huntington:
    • warned about Latino clashes in USA (Mr. Trump’s card);
    • division of Ukraine (colour revolution already);
    • rise of the hero oligarchic ‘Davos Man’,

    Next on the conflict agenda after the fall of Soviet Russia would be
    • Islam (achieved thanks to Russia!);
    • the Sinic/Chinese people (looming under Trump’s presidency);
    • Hindu (wake up ganish!);
    • Orthodox (old grudges from Byzantium?);
    • Japanese (don’t they ever learn?);
    • Africa (what the hell did they ever do to the West?).
    sadly, Conservatives are too slow to understand. Reactionary conservatives are positively retarded, trapped in the golden past, and hence irrelevent for the future.

  • Bruce MacKinnon says:

    In one major respect poverty is the cause of Muslim religious ardour and fanaticism. It is poverty, but of a different kind, not material, but of the mind, the spirit. The word Islam means submission. To the Koran, Mohammed asserted that reason was wrong, obedience was everything and the mission of believers was to overcome and annihilate all unbelievers in his ideas. It taught that lying, theft, murder, slaving and so on was all OK as long as the targets were non Muslims. This was quite acceptable to his early converts who tended to be illiterate tribal Arab caravan raiders and slavers. It allowed them to do what they were already doing, but with moral authority.

    Rejection did and does mean social exclusion of a most extreme kind and even death. Any questioning of the dogma is severely punished.

    In their first jihadi incarnation they came in waves westward for a thousand years as organised armies to plunder the Christian world. Now they come as “refugees” who once admitted, go back home on a long holiday at the earliest opportunity. They come to plunder again, but this time rather than assault the walls of the fortress, they walk individually or in small family groups through the city gates and regroup within the walls, to try to breed out and exploit societies based on materialism and imbued with the false and corrupting philosophy of Secular Humanism. They aim to be a scourge, those of strong adherence to this faith, to whom they see as “filthy(morally)stinking” people and a scourge they are.

    Before, the Moslem Jihadis were met army, to army at a front line, by a frequently disunited western world. Now, with mass third world immigration and the internet the front line is everywhere. In your city and perhaps in your street. They colonise whole areas, squeezing out non-conformers, they are a force and if you do not wish to submit to the dictates of this cult, you and we are the front line. The battle is everywhere. It cannot now just be passed over to some brave young men to go away and save us all. We have now to save ourselves.

    It is my expectation that anyone who does will be vilified by his own society as “intolerant” or “racist”. This toward groups from within Islamic community who are every bit and more dangerous and corrosive as the Thugee stranglers were in India who strangled people to please their god Khali.

    The biggest handicap we have is now poverty of the mind and spirit also, of a different kind. Their poverty is prevention of reason. Ours is now incapacity for it. We too, now have the must be obeyed dogmas of humanism, feminism, scientism, anti racism and so on. A profound confusion in the belief system which was a few generations ago passably cohesive on a sound Christian framework, but which has been destroyed erroneously, in the minds of our callow youth by secular academics with increasingly absurd theories and not a little academic corruption on the climate change nonsense. You don’t send your kids to school and university to be educated so much any more as to loaded with pseudo academic drivel.

    Is it any wonder Western society is rapidly going down the toilet? Divorce, children without fathers, people whose most abiding faith is in a football club, half of all Anglo/Irish children conceived aborted, the death of healthy love, pervasive wasteful materialism.

    Unprecedented material prosperity has brought complacency and spiritual poverty of the worst kind. It is no wonder the vultures are starting to pick at the dying western world. The decline and fall of the second incarnation of Roman Empire is now in progress.

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