I am indebted to Laer, at one of my faves, Cheat Seeking Missiles, for leading me to a Gates of Vienna post about the attraction jihadist Islam holds for all the world’s nihilists. To fully appreciate the post, you have to pay close attention to the blog’s masthead, which is a beautiful picture of Vienna at the end of the 17th Century. The blog’s tag is “At the siege of Vienna in 1683 Islam seemed poised to overrun Christian Europe. We are in a new phase of a very old war.” (To get a feel for how close Islam came to taking over Christian Europe, you need to appreciate that Europe’s whole cafe society developed because the Ottomans, who were within miles of Vienna, left their bags of coffee behind when they retreated.)
The post does a wonderful job of pulling together the disparate threads of modern Islam, and explaining (a) how they all hang together, (b) why they focus obsessively and murderously on destroying the West, and (c) why they are such a magnet for every American hating, Jewish hating wacko around. One of the things the post nails is something my cousin, a prision chaplain, has already commented about, which is Islam’s extraordinary success in prisons. This is, says my counsin and Gates of Vienna, because Islam, rather than taking a stand against violent criminal behavior, co-opts and applauds it. As my cousin put it:
It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly [sic] remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.
Gates of Vienna expands on this notion that a prison conversion is effortless, because the criminal gets to continue with the same old, same old, only this time with a religious imprimatur:
Islam has an impressive record of converting criminals, and this is where we find the key to unlock our mystery. The theology and ideology of Islam are eminently compatible with criminal behavior, and an operational jihad organization is functionally indistinguishable from a criminal enterprise. The Koran explicitly sanctions any method whatsoever to spread the faith, and forbids nothing when subjugating the infidel. Thus lying, stealing, rape, murder, torture, and genocide are not only acceptable, they are laudable and even mandatory when undertaken on behalf of the Ummah.
When a converted Muslim convict finishes his sentence, he not only returns to his accustomed lifestyle, he now has the protection, security, and camaraderie of his new brothers-in-jihad. In addition he has the assurance that his actions carry out the will of Allah! Who could ask for anything more?
The beauty of this mob mentality is that it functions in all societies, wherever there is a violent criminal class:
When an Islamic terror group moves into a lawless area, we can expect it to absorb existing criminal structures — as has recently occurred in Somalia. This doesn’t mean that Al Capone would necessarily convert to Islam and submit to a more powerful emir as his new capo; the head of a traditional criminal enterprise might well choose to go down with all guns blazing. But much of his organization could be converted to jihad operations; there’s no reason a low-level gunsel wouldn’t find life under the new sheikh congenial to his taste.
The centrality of the criminal element to Islam supports the post’s key point, which is about the attraction Islam holds for violence — all types of violence:
I had a friend in my college days who was attracted to radical politics. “Power to the People”, “Smash the State”, “Revolution Now” — it was always about sticking it to the Man, questioning authority, and resisting all instances of state power. Nowadays he’s studying the Koran and talking about the power of the Jews, and is seriously considering converting to Islam.
A century and a half ago the same person would have embraced Anarchism. Instead of Mohammed, my friend would have gravitated towards Mikhail Bakunin. The same behaviors and motivations are there: absolute lawlessness coupled with absolute ideology. Push nihilism far enough in that direction, and you get a zeal that exceeds all others in its ferocity.
That’s where Abu Musab al-Zarqawi comes in. Simple criminal impulses cannot explain his behavior — the ordinary criminal would never have endured the life he had to live. Only dedication to an all-encompassing ideology of destruction could have produced such monstrous behavior.
And so we have what might be called a Demonic Convergence, a confluence of destructive impulses that Islam gathers unto itself. In the terms of Chaos Theory, Islam is a “basin attractor”, an asymptotic solution to all the differential equations of nihilistic human behavior.
Any impulse that longs to destroy Western Civilization — which, for the modern world, means all civilization — will gravitate towards Islam. The criminal gets ideological justification for his behavior, the sadist gets to rape and murder to his heart’s content, and the hippie radical gets to stick it to the Man for all eternity.
This is what we’re up against: the Big Tent of ideological nihilism. The closer any given society gets to the behavioral sink, the more Islamic it tends to become. Just look at the death-cult that is “Palestine”, voluntarily living under the yoke of the sadistic murderers of Hamas. Or the chaos of Somalia, now turning from the rule of the warlords to the rule of Shari’ah.
None of this is surprising, of course, when you consider that Mohammed specifically gave his followers license to murder and kill, not only to “convert” people, but to support themselves. Thus, when Mohammad started his faith, money was a problem. He therefore essentially told his followers that God had informed him that, because they were the good guys, they had carte blanche to commit the worst kind of acts. By my understanding, that’s not a religion; that’s a mob shakedown that has resonated through history.
It’s true, of course, that good people, truly good people, will read the Koran and focus on the messages of faith, hope and charity. But for those with even the slightest criminal inclination, the book is the “E” ticket for satisfying violent urges.