Thursday, July 21, 2005

Sins of the Father

Here's a charming story from earlier this week, via CNN:

The father of one of the hijackers who commandeered the first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, praised the recent terror attacks in London and said many more would follow.

Speaking to CNN producer Ayman Mohyeldin Tuesday in his apartment in the upper-middle-class Cairo suburb of Giza, Mohamed el-Amir said he would like to see more attacks like the July 7 bombings of three London subway trains and a bus that killed 52 people, plus the four bombers.

Displayed prominently in the apartment were pictures of el-Amir's son, Mohamed Atta, the man who is believed to have piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the north tower of the World Trade Center as part of the attacks on the United States.

El-Amir said the attacks in the United States and the July 7 attacks in London were the beginning of what would be a 50-year religious war, in which there would be many more fighters like his son.

So the father of one of the most vile mass murderers in recent memory has nothing but praise for the July 7th London atrocities. Sad to say, this comes as little surprise. In the views of Mohamed el-Amir we can see the real root cause of why his son and 18 others were inspired to commit an act of sheer barbarism that would take their own lives in the process. No, not poverty, for Atta and most of his compatriots were middle class. It was not US foreign policy either, or the existence of Israel, for these serve merely as short-term grievances and pretexts for jihadist terrorism.

The real root cause, as reflected in the words of Mr. al-Amir, lies in the culture of perpetual victimhood that exists in much of the Muslim world, especially the Arab Middle East. According to this worldview, Islam is constantly being victimized by the evil infidels, whose vicious conspiracies are the only reason Muslims have been deprived of their rightful place as the world's superpower. One manifestation of this mindset is the adolescent refusal of many Muslims to take responsibility for their own lives and the state of their societies. Instead, the infidel Jews and Crusaders are held accountable for all problems. Concurrent with this is an infantile belief in the most ridiculous conspiracy theories concerning said infidels.

Most importantly, this culture of victimhood leads to an appalling double standard when looking at the world. The US liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan is treated as aggression against Muslims. Yet the fact that the previous regimes in those countries enslaved, brutalized and murdered hundreds of thousands of Muslims, or that the Muslim peoples of those two countries have now had the opportunity to vote in the first free elections of their lives, is ignored. Israel is made into the very symbol of evil, yet a Sudanese regime that has killed an estimated 180,000 Muslims in Darfur is given a pass. Reports that the Koran was mishandled a few times at Guantanamo spark outrage, yet terrorist suicide bombers detonating themselves in mosques are barely worthy of note.

You could argue that this attitude stems primarily from a rejection of foreign occupation, but this ignores the example of the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Saddam Hussein invaded an Arab and Muslim country, murdered thousands of its citizens, ruthlessly pillaged it, and tried to literally erase Kuwait out of existence. Yet in most of the Muslim world, it was the American-led liberation of Kuwait that was the aggression. Saddam, on the other hand, was treated as a great Arab and Muslim hero for standing up to the infidel. At the same time, America's actions in going to war on behalf of Bosnian and Kosovar Muslims against Christian Serbs are either ignored or dismissed. Such is the worldview of all too many in the Islamic world. The infidel is always wrong, while the Twentieth Century's greatest killer of Muslims is embraced because he is nominally a Muslim himself.

It is the culture of perpetual victimhood that has created fertile ground for the spread of totalitarian ideologies such as Baathism and radical Islamism in the Muslim Middle East. It also provides much of the cultural and intellectual framework for jihadist terrorism. After all, if Islam is beset by infidel enemies who are responsible for all kinds of outrages, real and imagined, and who are to blame for all the Muslim world's problems, it can hardly come as a surprise when some Muslims start to act on this belief by engaging in terrorism. Until Muslim societies can overcome this mindset, a process that will take many years, the threat of radical Islamism will continue.


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