The Psychology of Islamic Culture

by EDWARD CLINE November 5, 2013

It is commendable that someone should address the psychological profile of Muslims - that is, of individuals born into the culture of Islam - and Nicolai Sennels does that in his Jihad Watch article of October 30th, "Cultural psychology: How Islam managed to stay medieval for 1,400 years."  I began reading it with some eagerness. Over the years I have had nothing good to say about the psychology or mindset of anyone who was either born into the religion/ideology and never challenged it or attempted to escape it, or who had been converted to it.

Sennels has studied Muslims prisoners in Denmark and has a wealth of insights to offer, one of which is that, from my perspective, at least, Islam provides a purported "moral" base which especially Muslim criminals justify or rationalize their criminal actions. The New English Review published his May 2010 study, "Muslims and Westerners: The Psychological Differences." I had already read that paper and discussed it in "Islam on My Mind" in May 2013.

Sennels' Jihad Watch summary, however, was disappointing. There were a number of statements in it with which I could legitimately quibble. Straight off, the very beginning of the article grated against my sensibilities. He began:

While almost all other cultures changed from primitive and medieval to democratic and egalitarian societies, one culture managed to keep even its most brutal and backward traditions and values for 1,400 years until today. (Italics mine)

Sennels, apparently born and raised in socialist Denmark, might be forgiven for employing the highlighted terms. Democracy means "mob rule," or, the rule of the majority. What a majority may want and vote for is not necessarily rational or desirable by individuals who value their freedom to live their own lives unencumbered by a political or even the social consensus represented by majority rule. Numbers do not establish political or metaphysical truths.

A "democracy" is not what the Founders intended when they finished writing the Constitution. It was a rights-defending republic whose political structure was designed to stave off or frustrate all "democratic" legislation and collectivist popular sentiment. The American Constitution did not fail in that purpose. Its defenders in the person of our political leadership failed it.

Egalitarianism means the leveling of all to an ever-diminishing measure of "equality." Amendments IV, V and VI in the U.S. Constitution, for example, establish the "equality" of all men under the law, regardless of wealth or "social" status, and regardless of race, religion or gender. Egalitarianism, however, specifically aims to bring the best and the brightest, the ablest, and the exceptional down to a level of common mediocrity. Egalitarianism seeks to erase all measures of value, to reward the undifferentiated and the parasitical and to punish the distinguishable and the productive. One of egalitarianism's ends is to minimize "economic differences" to the point when there is more wealth in the looters' hands than in the hands of those from whom it was looted. This is called "social justice."

Egalitarianism is also altruistic. The most productive, the thrifty, and the virtuous living in an egalitarian society are expected to sacrifice themselves to the moochers, the spendthrifts, and the immoral. They are expected to defer to groups, gangs, and collectives acting in the name of the "public good," and to not complain when their lives have been abbreviated and their wealth expropriated or confiscated outright or by degree. This is the nature of such projects such as ObamaCare, in which the virtuous are expected to subsidize the medical insurance coverage of the least able, and to pay more for the "privilege."

The confusion about the meaning of democracy, and the benign misconstruing of egalitarianism, together have caused incalculable damage, which is why I have dwelt on those subjects here.

But, on to other reservations I have about his paper, keeping in mind that Sennels apparently is not well-versed in political philosophy.

Under the subheading of "Religion," Sennels writes:

One main factor is that while all other religions allow their followers to interpret their holy scriptures, thereby making them relatively adaptable to secular law, human rights and individual needs, Islam categorizes Muslims who do not take the Quran literally as apostates. And according to Islamic law, the sharia, apostasy is to be punished with death. The sharia thus makes it impossible for Islamic societies ever to develop into modern, humanistic civilisations.

Centuries of religious warfare in the West passed before Christian religions were diluted by Enlightenment ideas and subsequently leashed by secular law and forbidden to wage intramural jihad against members of opposing sects. Islam, however, as Sennels points out, cannot be leashed or similarly contained because its fundamental doctrine is one of conquest and submission.

Sennels under this same subheading reveals one contributing factor to the demonstrable irrationality of Islam and Muslims:

Together with massive inbreeding - 70 percent of Pakistanis, 45 percent of Arabs and at least 30 percent of Turks are from first cousin-marriages (often through many generations) - this has resulted in the embarrassing fact that the Muslim world produces only one tenth of the world average when it comes to scientific research, and are dramatically under-represented among Nobel Prize winners. Fewer books have been translated into Arabic in the last thousand years than the amount of books translated within the country of Spain every year.

The inbreeding factor can account for the epistemological myopia of Muslims, particularly Muslim criminals. An inability to think, to project, to employ common syllogisms, to formulate one's own personal values (and not submit to those of the Ummah or the tribe) are all direct results of inbreeding.

Sennels published a revealing article on Muslim inbreeding in May 2013 on Islam vs. Europe, "Serious consequences of Muslim inbreeding." Among those consequences are lower average intelligence and impaired health.

A rough estimate shows that close to half of the world's Muslims are inbred as a result of consanguineous marriages. In Pakistan, 70 percent of all marriages are between first cousins - children of siblings - and in Turkey the share is 25-30 percent.

Statistical research on Arabic countries indicates that up to 34 percent of all marriages in Algeria are blood-related as are 46 percent in Bahrain, 33 percent in Egypt, 80 percent in Nubia (the southern part of Egypt), 60 percent in Iraq, 64 percent in Jordan, 64 percent in Kuwait, 42 percent in Lebanon, 48 percent in Libya, 47 percent in Mauritania, 54 percent in Qatar, 67 percent in Saudi Arabia, 63 percent in Sudan, 40 percent in Syria, 39 percent in Tunisia, 54 percent in the United Arabic Emirates and 45 percent in Yemen. According to Dr. Nadia Sakati of King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, 45 percent of married Arab couples are blood-related.  The fact that many of these couples are themselves children of blood-related parents increases the risk of negative consequences.

Sennels reaches some disturbing conclusions that connect Muslims with terrorism.

The consequences of consanguineous marriages may also bring us closer to an understanding Islamic terrorism. One study suggests that many suicide bombers are suffering from depression. Among some Muslims their actions are considered a socially acceptable way of committing suicide in order to end mental torment.

Being physically handicapped or mentally retarded often leads to exclusion. Becoming a martyr may be the only chance of achieving social recognition and honor. Some cases of Down's syndrome may be another unpleasant effect of inbreeding and al-Qaeda has been known to use people afflicted with it. People with low intelligence may also be more easily convinced that Islam, with its promise of 72 virgins to Muslims who die fighting for their religion, is true.

To return to the subject of Arabic translations of books:

Fewer books have been translated into Arabic in the last thousand years than the amount of books translated within the country of Spain every year.

Among those fewer books has been a translation into Arabic of Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf, precisely because of its virulent antisemitism and because the Nazi worldview is copasetic with the Islamic worldview. Only the "races" have changed, that is, Hitler trumpeted the racial superiority of the Germans, while Islam trumpets the superiority of Islam . Victor David Hanson noted as long ago as September 2006 that:

Hezbollah's black-clad legions goose-step and stiff-arm salute in parade, apparently eager to convey both the zeal and militarism of their religious fascism. Meanwhile, consider Hezbollah's "spiritual" head, Hassan Nasrallah - the current celebrity of an unhinged Western media that tried to reinvent the man's own self-confessed defeat as a victory. Long before he hid in the Iranian embassy Nasrallah was on record boasting: "The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them. We are going to win because they love life and we love death."

Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad trumps that Hitlerian nihilism by reassuring the poor, maltreated Germans that there was no real Holocaust. Perhaps he is concerned that greater credit might still go to Hitler for Round One than to the mullahs for their hoped-for Round Two, in which the promise is to "wipe" Israel off the map.

The only surprise about the edition of Hitler's Mein Kampf that has become a best seller in Middle Eastern bookstores is its emboldened title translated as "Jihadi" - as in "My Jihad" - confirming in ironic fashion the "moderate" Islamic claim that Jihad just means "struggle," as in an "inner struggle" - as in a Kampf perhaps.

Under the subheading of "Child rearing" in his Jihad Watch article, Sennels describes the method by which Muslim children are browbeaten into obeying and following the rituals and "truths" of Islam, a scare tactic no so dissimilar from what I experienced growing up in a strict Catholic household. He writes:

Together with the wide use of violence and even torture within Muslim families, the horrific amount of daily family executions of Muslim youth, this is enough to keep the vast majority from even considering escaping the way of the Sharia. The Qur'an's and the Hadiths' many promises of hellfire to those who go against Muhammad's orders and example scares many from leavin the culture that bring them so much suffering.

Precisely. My own childhood thoughts on the matter were: If you need to frighten me into being a "good" Catholic, where is the moral argument? For example, watching on TV the various productions of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in my formative years, when I witnessed Scrooge being terrorized into becoming a "virtuous" man, simply buttressed my conclusion that there was no moral argument other than "we say so, and take it on faith." So I can imagine how fearful a Muslim would be to question the "say so's" of his imam, mullah, or the Qur'an.

Fear of retribution may be one factor contributing to a rank-and-file Muslim's reluctance to question his "faith." Delving a little more deeply into that psychology, I would think that it is more a matter of being comfortable with an ideology/religion that makes no demands on one's mind. All one need do is conform to the rituals and strictures and one is left is alone.

Under the subheading "Ethnic pride," Sennels drops the ball and does not elaborate on the fact that Islam is not a "race," but an ideology. I'm sure he realizes this, but it would have helped if he had mentioned it in passing. There are Arabic, Asian, black, Caucasian (converts), Chinese, and Indian and Pakistani Muslims, to name but a few ethnic or national groups. 

Another cultural psychological factor enabling Islamic culture to remain unchanged in a globalised world with all its possibilities concerns Muslims' ethnic pride. No matter how ridiculous or embarrassing it may seem to the outsider, most Muslims are proud of being Muslim and a follower of Islam. According to Islam they are destined to dominate the rest of us, and we are so bad that we deserve the eternal fire.

Muslim spokesmen charging critics of Islam with "Islamophobia" imply or state directly that such a phobia is "racist." Too many Westerners fall for the fallacy and join in the wolf-pack howling to punish "Islamophobes," whether they write cogent books critical of Islam or leave a pig's head on the doorstep of a mosque. It makes no difference to the pitchfork-and-torch mobs.

Without quibbling about when the Dark Ages ended and the Medieval and Enlightenment eras began, Islam is product of the Dark Ages, of the 7th century, an enemy of knowledge, enlightenment, and freedom - if the Dark Ages can be described as a period in human history when superstition, ignorance, and slavery governed human existence.

Also, I don't know if many Muslims can say that they are "proud" of being Muslim. If there is any emotion at all, one can't imagine that it is anything other than a seething, repressed resentment of anyone who is not a Muslim, that is, of anyone who is not committed to a set of primitive rules that govern his existence and prohibit any kind of meaningful happiness. Pride, after all, implies a self that can take stock of one's virtues and one's relationship with existence and with other men. Islam, however, does its best to erase the notion of "self" from one's existence.

Islam is anti-life, anti-mind, anti-value, and anti-man. That is why it has been able to remain unchanged for 1,400 years. Its chief "strength" is its nihilistic nature, proof against all thought and life-affirming values. And there are just too many people - namely, Muslims - willing to surrender their minds to the suffocating comfort zone of "authority." Muslims don't have a corner on that "original sin" - the refusal to think - but their totalitarian ideology is an immediate peril to those who do choose to think.

I can't say I'm the first to say it: Islam is a mental illness. That's its fundamental psychology, the debilitating and crippling legacy of its founder transmitted through fourteen centuries of Muslim madness to its contemporary spokesmen, leaders, and rank-and-file.

The illness, however, is no defense against Islam's essential criminal character. 

Edward Cline is the author of the Sparrowhawk novels set in England and Virginia in the pre-Revolutionary period, of several detective and suspense novels, and three collections of his commentaries and columns, all available on Amazon Books. His essays, book reviews, and other articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Journal of Information Ethics and other publications. He is a frequent contributor to Rule of Reason, Family Security Matters, Capitalism Magazine and other Web publications.     


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