It’s an old trick…

So, one death-affirming jihadist has been “outed”, with the resulting danger that by demonizing him our mainstream press will, once again, fail to notice they are increasing his propaganda value.

It was pretty clear from the high profile that a certain crypto-Islamist campaigning group gave the announcement, that the progress of this Kuwaiti-born Londoner from “sweet human being” to devil actually serves their agenda well. On at least two news channels here last night, their spokesmen made much of the story that harrassment by MI5 had turned him from an upright citizen to … well, the point is, they could hardly find it in themselves to condemn him. Of course they condemned all barbarous acts, and if war criminals like George Bush and Tony Blair are brought to book they will be only too pleased.

What shows the core strategic agenda was that both spokesmen took identical umbrage at the very idea of being asked if they condemned his acts. Both accused their interviewers of being racist and anti-Islamic; one stormed off after the interviewer suggested he should “get over himself.” The whole strategy is to seek to confirm a sense of Muslim victimhood to British Muslims and to those liberals who are always predisposed to support the underdog – which is why the spokesman has much more than himself to get over. He has to abandon his raison d’etre.

It’s a strategy that works, too: a recent poll shows that 46% of British Muslims feel that prejudice makes it difficult to be a Muslim in Britain today. Victim-mentality is also, in a real way, a self-fulfilling mindset. The more atrocities there are, the more actual prejudice results. This was the fatal weakness in the West’s immoral response to 9/11: two wars and torture do wonders for a sense of grievance, in the right hands on a Friday.

But stirring up a sense of victimhood has been part of a deliberate strategy for much longer – remember how in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 (when nobody could have known) many Muslims were certain that it was a western plot to do them down. Where did such thinking arise? Back in 2009, I read London-based ex-Islamist Ed Husain’s book about the very situation that produced Mohammed Emwarzi. He is far from alone in tracing the start of the whole problem back in the political Islamist movement started by Pakistani journalist Abdul Ala Nawdudi back in 1903, whose views have been for years propagated in the UK through – would you believe it – government sponsored religious education courses, via a book by Gulam Sarwar (another closet Islamist).

Husain recounts his immersion into the network of Islamist organisations that have infiltrated much of Islam here, especially in universities. The key points I take from him are that the goal of the leaders of Islamism is a caliphate leading to world domination. But that needs boots on the ground to succeed, for which the best strategy is inculcating the victim mentality that seems to make it a necessity. That’s why instilling hatred of Islam in western countries where there are Muslims, and forcing government crackdowns in countries which are Muslim is good for radical business.

It’s also why so many Islamists come from privileged and educated backgrounds in countries where they actually have great freedom. Such people are actually relatively easy to recruit, as the old Communists found; there were far more disgruntled workers in Western Universities than there ever were in the factories. They could study the theory and flatter themselves they were serving a great, and secret, cause – whilst enjoying the perks of leading it.

That’s really my point in writing this. Islamism is a present threat and an evil curse, but only one of a long line of them in our times. It really is rather stupid when people – and I include promient New Atheists in this – say it’s all due to what religion does. That’s not just because it ignores the detailed nature of the religion and the problem, but because it plays into the hands of the villains, who are pursuing a primarily political game.

Islam started as a supremacist religion, it’s true, and the ambition for a caliphate arises from that. But in the early centuries, it was enthusiastic triumphalism that motivated its land-grabbing: now it is subversion through inculcating victim mentality. As Husain points out, the dominant pattern of Islam in the recent past was inclusive and democratic – and one ought to be making the stark distinction between that and the Islamofascists clearer to journalists, do-gooders and Muslims all; much naivety seems to abound.

The strategy I’ve outlined, after all, would seem to underlie pretty well every wellspring of atrocity in the recent past. At a national level, the desire of Serbian nationalists to dominate Yugoslavia led to the fostering of the myth of Serb victimhood. After that, Ethnic cleansing looked pretty logical. Ditto, potentially, now for Putin in the Ukraine.

On the global scale, the Nazis rose to power, with ambitions that Germany should take her evolutionary place at the head of the world, through fostering a myth that German workers were victims of Jewish oppression. The Holocaust followed logically.

The Communists were fired by the ambition to change world history (or was it more to bring power to Vladimir Lenin or Mao Tse Tung?), but were powered by nurturing a class-victim mentality that made the eradication of the landowners and kulaks, or the Cultural Revolution, seem inevitable.

It seems to me that only by looking at the recurrent dynamics of such things can one understand why ISIS, say, can be both fanatically Muslim and also ride roughshod over the ethical standards of even the most warlike versions of Islam. Global ambition -> victimhood recruitment strategy -> satanic atrocity. That seems to be the triadic template. The ideology itself is secondary, so needn’t make sense.

Why do I write this on a blog that has mainly to do with creation? Simply because it seems to be the very strategy that goes right back to the beginning. Satan wants to usurp God, but can’t do it without subverting his human viceregents. So he gets in early, when there are only two, and persuades them that they’re victims of God’s oppression rather than lords of creation. The result soon leads to Cain killing Abel, and it goes downhill from there. Only a willing victim solves the problem.

So if you feel victimized – check out who’s saying so.

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About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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