News is coming that Cho Seung-Hui, the Virginia Tech killer, had written ISMAIL-AX on his arm, which may have been a reference to the story of Abraham’s son Ishmael who, in Muslim Arab mythology, is believed to be the progenitor of all Arabs. While that may well be true, it will take a whole heck of a lot more to convince me that this was a sudden jihad syndrome killing.
What’s much more likely, based on the news trickling in about how profoundly disturbed this young man was, is that his insanity reflects the angst of our time. In the medieval era, delusional people thought they were possessed by the Devil; in the mid-20th Century, aliens possession took over as the delusion of choice. It wouldn’t be surprising that, in this day and age, a delusional man with no connection to Islam nevertheless incorporates that cultural awareness into his insanity, and Islamic possession becomes his manifestation of a broken mind.