Friday, July 29, 2005

Evil Speaks -- Will the Left Listen?

The must-read interview of the year is in the new issue of the British magazine, Prospect. According to the subhead, the subject is "Hassan Butt, a 25 year old from Manchester, [who] helped recruit Muslims to fight in Afghanistan [against the Allies]. Like most of the London bombers, he is a British Pakistani who journeyed from rootlessness to radical Islam."

This lengthy interview paints a portrait that is, by turns, chilling, banal, despicable, and pathetic. Conducted last year, well before the recent London subway attacks, it provides an insight into the terrorist mindset that resonates all the more strongly today. While I cannot more emphatically urge you to read the whole thing, here I want to highlight a few key quotes, and place them in conversation with ideas typically heard on the Left, some of them even put forward by the ambivalent, and at times clueless, interviewer.

Left: Terrorist acts are a reaction to specific policies, such as Tony Blair's role in the War in Iraq. They are not an attack on our values or way of life.

In Britain, the majority [of Islamic extremists] I know are of Pakistani descent and really are fed up with the British way of life, British standards; they are even fed up with un-Islamic Pakistani culture and traditions.
Left: Islamists merely want to be left alone in the Middle East, and are responding to the occupation of Iraq and other Arab countries by the West. They have no aggressive intent.

The idea is that Muslims in Britain need to keep to their Islamic identity and work for the re-establishment of an Islamic caliphate, or khalifah as they would say, based upon the first four caliphates of Islam...I don't see why the rest of the world, the White House, 10 Downing Street, shouldn't come under the banner of Islam.
Left: The word "terrorist" is biased, judgemental, and racist. It is more respectful to use the term "insurgent," "bomber," or "radical."

I would agree to being called a radical and one day I may even be called a terrorist, if Allah permits me. That is something it would be an honour to be called...There is a speech by the Prophet in which he says: Allah gave me five things. One of them was the power to strike fear, to strike terror into the heart of the enemy from a mile's distance...in the Koran the word irhab is the root word for terror in Islam, and irhabiyun is the word for terrorist. Allah mentions the word in the Koran many times—the one who strikes terror into their hearts is an irhabiyun. If I could have that title Islamically then I would be more than happy to take it and be proud of it.

Left: The Patriot Act is an unjust infringement on civil liberties that doesn't even impact terrorist activities. The European model of civil liberties is preferable.

Britain is a very liberal country in comparison to America where Muslims don't have many rights. This is the type of country where you do have a lot more rights. Now with Afghanistan gone, the Muslims don't really have a place where they can come back to and regroup, have time to think and relax, without the authorities breathing down your neck.
Left: This rise of extremism among British Muslims is rooted in economic disadvantage.

I think that's a myth, pushed forward by so-called moderate Muslims. If you look at the 19 hijackers on 9/11, which one of them didn't have a degree? Muhammad Atta was an engineer [he was actually an architect and town planner] at the highest level. His Hamburg lecturer said, “I didn't have a student like him.” These people are not deprived or uneducated; they are the peak of society... Even Osama himself, Sheikh Osama, came from wealth that I could never dream of and he gave it all up because it had no value to him. Who can say he came from an economically deprived condition? It's rubbish.
Left: Suicide bombers are driven by unhappiness and desperation.

There is a difference between suicide and martyrdom. Suicide is about unhappiness, depression. That's not what these people are. These people have an urge to be with Allah, to be with the Prophet, live among him, to be close to him. They are happy before committing these actions. They are probably at the highest level any human being can be before doing this. They are the most peaceful and content.

Left: It is demeaning to suggest that suicide bombers are driven by crude visions of the afterlife.
I know that if I was to pass away in my sleep, then I would not have the mercy of Allah upon me because I have been such a bad person. And I don't see myself in any way as getting into heaven that easily, except through martyrdom.
Left: Immigration policy has no relationship to risk of terrorism.

Immigration is lax in Britain—you know as well as I do that London has more radical Muslims than anywhere in the Muslim world...There has to be a place we can come...America is much more difficult to get into than Britain—it's so far from the rest of the world.
Left: The media neutrally reports the facts about terrorist attacks and terror groups.

My role is someone who tries to use the western media to get our message across...I realised that the media was probably the most powerful tool, even more powerful than military warfare: using the media you can change nations, public opinion—you can get your message out there. Ayman al-Zawahiri actually propagates that: “Yes, you can be a martyr, but you've only done half your job unless you get your message out there.”
Left: Islam means peace.

And this is what we believe: we are going to set the foundation for Islam bringing true peace, true security to the world. [Interviewer: Will there be a lot of killing?] I can't see it not happening.

UPDATE: Welcome Watchers! I am honored and flattered to be nominated by the Council -- feel free to stick around and check out some of my follow-ups. I think you will also enjoy this fisking, if you haven't seen it already.

5 Comments:

Blogger Dymphna said...

There are at least 25,000 Iraqi exiles/ex-patriates in England. Not one of them is a terrorist.

Man's search for meaning can sure lead down some dark and ugly cul de sacs. Nonetheless, meaning he will have. And if Nanny Government gives him sustenance even as he reviles her, then where is meaning to be found?

11:10 PM  
Blogger ShrinkWrapped said...

This is almost a parody of Malignant Narcissism. Only his narcissistically held, idealized intellectual productions (ideas) are real and everyone who disagrees is a prop to be used for his own ends. People like this are not reachable by any conventional form of treatment.
Will the left listen? They literally can not hear what this man is saying because it does not fit their world view, which is held almost as tightly as Butt holds his ideas.

11:45 AM  
Blogger The Scrutinator said...

Excellent analysis! Keep up the good work.

(I think dymphna meant "250,000" Iraqis in England.)

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Neuro-conservative.

You said the interviewer was ambivalent and at times clueless.

However, after reading the following:
"Taseer: Given that the Koran is incontestable to the letter, and that it is unique because there is no another religion in which there is a text so pure, handed down from God to man, can there be a moderate Muslim?", it should be quite obvious that the interviewer is simply another Muslim himself (as his name also suggests), and one that either partially or completely agrees with the words expressed by Butt.

So i don't think the interviewer is so much clueless as he may be, at least in part, sympathetic.

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Don Cox said...

Butt's thinking is very like that of the extreme Marxists. The details are different, but the attitude and way of thinking are the same. The whole world is going to be taken over by their party/religion and it doesn't matter how many people die on the way.

4:24 AM  

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