Monday, February 16, 2009

On the wrong kind of talking with Muslims...

FrontPage Magazine recently had a useful symposium attempting a psychological explanation of the horrific sexual mutilation of victims in the Mumbai massacre, an attempt to explain why mutilation was a necessary prelude to the murders the Jihadis carried out. I say it is a psychological explanation because the contributors focus on the relationship of scared young men, raised by humiliated mothers in an honour/shame culture, whose idea of intimacy is to engage their victims in a horrific blood cult. A wider, anthropological explanation would look on honour/shame culture as the legacy of a tribal ritualism, the earliest form of human culture, in which the roles people must play are far more important than the individual performers as persons, a ritual and mythological order that is however not completely devoid of freedom or self-awareness - for how else could the creation of the sacred things, signs, and stories that focus a tribal ritual have ever been created in the first place? - but is yet largely incapable of recognizing the individual person in anything like the light of the Judeo-Christian revelation.

I found one comment by Nancy Kobrin particularly interesting as we reflect on our own use of the internet as we presume to engage the various evils of the Global Intifada (and its backers among the legions of Westerners suffering from white guilt):
Now I will turn to prevention. One way that I have learned well from Lachkar is that when you are in such a hostile environment where the blaming and the threats are non-stop, boundaries maintain safety. Is this not too the ultimate function of war? Establishing a firm boundary. You have to draw a line in the sand and defend it. Hamas still needs to be brought to its knees as well as Hezbollah. The entire culture has to be rebuilt as Gutmann rightly suggests.

Chesler opens the next avenue which must be explored more systematically and that is the media – what to do with it and how should we counter a media that is now identified with the aggressor? What are our options? As Nacos has written, we have mass mediated terrorism. One might refer to this as covert terrorism. Terrorism that is implicit, so most people do not recognize its destructive nature. That is why scapegoating occurs so frequently.

We are now all connected and attached via its imagery. Lachkar points out though that there is a difference between what American news carries concerning images and Arab news channels. It seems that so much more needs to be understood. Indeed some would argue that our attachment to the internet and the media especially during a terrorist attack like Mumbai is addictive in nature and I would argue, expresses a kind of traumatic bonding concerning our mothers. This is the hidden realm of our own terrors, which we share in common with the terrorists. This is how the terrorists speak to us even though we may not know Arabic. They speak in a nonverbal language which I call Desperanto. We get hooked into their terrors as human beings.

As I have said before terrorists don’t have a normative sense of intimacy; their intimacy is violence, blood, mass murder, hysteria of suicide, threats, etc. While this region is foreboding to most, it is key to dismantling the blunt force of terrorism. It is also the "gift of terror" to expand upon the work of Gavin De Becker's Gift of Fear. We have the potential to turn the tables on the terrorists and to call their bluff, even though the work is deadly and serious.
There are some who think that drawing firm lines in the sand is what they want and what they don't want is some namby-pamby talking to Muslims. But, I'd argue you can only draw firm lines when you engage the enemy with a combination of words and directed actions.


Eowyn said...

"Talk softly, but carry a big stick." One of the most cogent concepts ever, sociologically speaking. Implicit is the promise that good things will come of dialogue, given a chance, but ONLY if given a chance. Hence, the stick.

Nice work, truepeers.

Dag said...

"The Koran does not call for the torture and mutilation of captives, and so Islam per se cannot be held directly responsible for the Mumbai horrors...." David Gutmann, "Symposium: Islamic Terror and Sexual Mutilation," 13 Feb. 2009. 1.

The following three translations come from the Qur'an 5:33

Literal Translation: But (the) reward (of) those who embattle/fight God and His messenger, and they strive/endeavor in the earth/Planet Earth corruption/disorder , that they be killed or they be crucified , or their hands and their feet be cut off from opposites, or they be expelled/exiled from the land, that (is) for them shame/scandal/disgrace in the present world, and for them in the end (other life is) a great torture.

Yusuf Ali: The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;

Pickthal: The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom;

Thus we have the Qur'an refuting the good doctor David Gutmann, above. He is a legitimate scholar, but he doesn't know of what he speaks here. We can look at ibn Ishaq's biography of Mohammed and Tabiri's ahdith to see more of the same on both counts:

Ahadith Tabari VIII:122; Sirat ibn Ishaq:515:

"The Prophet gave orders concerning Kinanah [Jewish hostage] to Zubayr [ansar], saying, 'Torture him until you root out and extract what he has [i.e. loot hidden]. So Zubayr kindled a fire on Kinanah's chest, twirling it with his firestick until Kinanah was near death. Then the Messenger gave him to Maslamah, who beheaded him."

There is always the question of who is legitimate: Sahih bukhari is seen by Muslims a the highest authority in the hadiths: He writes:


Ali burnt some [former Muslims alive] and this news reached Ibn Abbas, who said, 'Had I been in his place I would not have burnt them, as the Prophet said, "Don't punish with Allah's Punishment."

In the supportive quotations above I just covered everything comprising the Sunna, i.e. the Qur'an, the Sirat, and ahadith. To give a sense of who we deal with, please refer to the following piece of an exchange about the validity of Bukhari:

"Sawt, learn ur deen b4 u type it. To doubt that any hadth which has a full chain in Bukhari is not authentic or not the words of the Prophet sallallaho'alaihiwasallam is the real disease. There is ijmaa' on this, see the opening of 'Umdatul Qari by Imam Badruddin Al-'Ainee Al-Hanafi rahimahullah who says that the scholars from east to west have agreed that what is in there is authentic. Some even say that if someone swears that there is no weak hadith there, then there would be no kaffara on him, since the oath would be authentic.If someone says if there is a weak hadith in bukhari then my wife is divorced, then no divorce would take place, since there are no full-chained ahadith in bukhari which are weak."

What is there to talk about?


truepeers said...

Well, this is just another reason why the Jihadis will lose: no one will ever want to be taken prisoner by them.

"What is there to talk about?"

It depends who you're talking do, doesn't it? And that's the first point of talking. Then you might want to find out how many care enough about the Koran to be an uncritical literalist, when push comes to shove.

But even with the hardcore jihadis there will always be a few things to talk about: e.g which among will you will turn in the al Qaeda foreigners now that you see what is happening to your homeland, when you see the death toll among your own people; who will do what we want when you see the carrot and stick we offer: turn the others in or suffer like the other guys in the bacon vat (which may one day come when Obama is a distant memory).

Lots of guys like talking jihad and quoting hadith on the internet. Let's ask them how much they like it when it gets them kicked back to Pakistan or imprisoned on Ellesmere Island. But what I'm really thinking about is how we should talk to those many Muslims who are trapped by the Islamists: my sense is that many Muslims hate those who rule them, hate the Mullahs, don't care too much about Sharia but are too scared to do anything about it: how can we talk to them to see what can be brought into being to change the equation.

There's always stuff to talk about if you are serious about acting. Only by talking do we find out what is really sacred to people. Koran, or a new car? Who knows what people really want, until you engage them. There is no serious soldier who doesn't try to talk and divide the enemy.

truepeers said...

talk, measure, and divide...

Eowyn said...

"What is there to talk about?"

Nice scholarship, dag. Indeed, it comes down to just that.

As my much loved (Nova Scotia native) mom says: Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Period.

(Inside joke: I use my mom -- with her FULL permission -- every time I write to Canadian provincial, and federal, officials, as a reason why I, as a Yank, have legitimacy in the current argument. In this way do I, and my mom, hope to change minds. She is elderly, and her health is not good. But she remains committed to Canada, and so do I, and as I love her, and, being committed to the unique struggles Canada faces, I am, as well.)

Frankly, here's how I see Canada, and I include my mom's input here:

There is a reluctance to take a stand. It is perhaps a Canadian reaction, because, to take a stand, it requires certain guarantees.

We are, perhaps, not ready to put our money where our mouths are.

Well ... guess what, says my mother ... that's pretty much what humanity asks of us.

So, if what is asked of us is asked of us, we need to answer it. If not, we need to have a pretty good answer for why we can't do it.

Dag said...

What is there to talk about? There is, if I my be oblique, a fellow who wrote to me this evening to complain that he's got another child, making all of two, that he now has to support on his union wages. I hate this guy. He's disgusted by his wife, whom he wants to leave because she "tricked" him.

Jihadis, whether they talk or act, still have kids by the score, and often enough, to be momentarily fair to them, they usually treat the kids well till the age of six. Yes, there is the mother issue, but I mean fathers in this case. Fathers treat their young ones pretty well, as a rule. They don't, like so many of our own, hate them for being alive.

What is there to talk about? There is a gap between we who hate our children, and those who have children they raise to murder. I find it difficult to talk to insane people, Muslims and Leftists alike. It makes me wonder why good men are childless while the evil strut with broods they hate and kill. Why does the Sun shine on such men?

Paul said...

Even here in Canada we wage war against complacency born of the excessively hedonistic society of the modern age where only self-gratification and the pursuit of pleasure matter. Controversy is to be avoided(not in my mind tho), and there are way too many who for their own agendas and perverted reasons want to drag you before an HRC to make an example of you. Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn, Kathy Shaidle, Deb Gyapong, Leonard of the "Proud To Be Canadian" blog, to name a few who have and are paying high cost (especially financially) for being in the forefont of this war to free us from the shackles of HRCs and multiculti political correctness.