Monday, January 04, 2010

Islam and Terrorists

There is a lot of blather about how Islamic terrorism is created by poverty, lack of education, and Horrible Things What We Done. Yet when you look at the individuals doing the detonation, this doesn't seem to be the case.

The Pantybomber, for example. Not poor. Well-educated at Western universities. However, while he had access to his father's wealth it wasn't his own, and he didn't seem to make the connection that his father had worked for his wealth. He was sure his parents would not approve of his marrying before making his nut, doubted they would bankroll an early start to his family, and his strict version of Islam meant he couldn't even stare at a girl's uncovered head unless he was married to her, and he wanted to get married (i.e. have sex) NOW. So why not blow up and go straight to Paradise with lots of willing houris, sanctioned by the Prophet, and no mortgage payments?

Several of the 9/11 terrorists were well-off and educated too. If they had bothered to apply their engineering degrees to work that did not result in the total destruction of their environs, they could have done very well for themselves. Of course, "educated" can mean a whole range of things. The typical middle-eastern way is heavy on deference to authority and memorization. I had some Egyptian students in my Physics classes, and they simply did not understand that it was not okay to cheat off of other student's work, that I did expect them to do the homework, and if they didn't pass the test they would fail the course. I saw one of them repeat the class, even. Still didn't get it. So, even if these students eventually earned an engineering degree I'm dubious firms would instantly be lining up to hire them.

There are characteristics of serial or mass murderers that seem to be remarkably consistent, such as an inability to form normal relationships with other people, notably people of the opposite sex. Unfortunately, this characteristic is institutionalized by fundamentalist Islam. Culturally, women are denigrated. A man is not supposed to admire or respect them, for they are inferior. Any natural feelings of attraction are therefore shameful. If the most exciting thing young Abdullah has ever seen was an accidental glimpse of cousin Fatimah's ankle, and he's not allowed to be in the same room as an unrelated woman, he's going to have issues. Women are exciting, forbidden, and since he is a good Muslim boy they *must* be using their hair rays to entice him. Couldn't be him, after all.

Further, if Islam = Superior to Anything Else, and Muslim Male=Top of the Heap, all the little setbacks a Westerner simply accepts as part of the employment process are intolerable insults to your fundamentalist Muslim man. Fresh out of school you aren't going to be earning oodles of money, and you will be expected to work hard by superiors who WILL criticize your work . Some of them, horror, might be FEMALE. And during school, if it is a Western university, young Abdullah would see plenty of young Western men having no difficulty finding congenial feminine companionship, making his abstinence even more painful.

So, can the media kindly knock off the whole "poverty creates terrorism" schtick, and maybe replace it with "misogyny creates terrorism" instead?


Blogger MissC said...

I was at Villa Cassandrita a second ago, so I am going to bookmark you. Interesting essay. My current prof is from a middle eastern country and has lived here for over 25 years. He is very guarded in his speech, but he said 'I love it here because you have opportunity.' He is well educated, teaching university level classes in his third language.

He got it.

8:10 AM, January 04, 2010  
Anonymous BillT said...

Arabs are *superb* at rote memorization -- the challenge I've got with the kaydets here is bringing them to the levels of understanding, correlation, and application.

And whooo-boy, can it be a challenge.

I need them to be able to recite *and* demonstrate the emergency procedures for, say, a thermal runaway in flight -- but first I have to be sure they understand what a thermal runaway is, what causes one, and how to recognize the onset in time to get it on the ground before the resulting explosion causes what we term "a catastrophic loss of the pilot's bodily structural integrity"...

2:06 AM, January 05, 2010  
Blogger MissC said...

Interesting that rote memorization is not enough, especially from the people that gave us algebra.

I think the word here would be comprehension, or as Sugarbuttons puts it, "understanding, correlation, and application."

So, the connecting of the dots is starting to dawn? Not to be rude, and this could be a heckuva discussion on ignorance.

6:23 AM, January 05, 2010  
Anonymous BillT said...

...this could be a heckuva discussion on ignorance.

BCR has sterling examples of the same appearing from beneath the bridge whenever she posts on Teh Won.

Haven't been too many daring enough to sound off on the AGW/Climategate/Motley CRU deal, though...

Welcome to the Sugarbuttons Brigade, BTW. See Barb for your squad assignment and check in with BCR for a range time to zero your death ray.

10:14 PM, January 05, 2010  
Blogger MissC said...

Here's a little fuel for your 'Rotten Rich Kid' file: Christmas bomber, including yours truly, Osama bin Laden.

5:44 AM, January 13, 2010  

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