Recent evidence confirms that recruits to ISIS are almost wholly ignorant of the religion under whose banner they wish to fight – ordering up copies of The Koran for Dummies and Islam for Dummies to “prepare themselves for jihad.” Suggesting not just that those who devise book titles enjoy stating the obvious, but that ignorance of the religion itself is not a barrier to recruitment in its jihad, but a boon.
The jihadi employment form asked the recruits, on a scale of one to three, to rate their knowledge of Islam. And the Isis applicants, herded into a hangar somewhere at the Syria-Turkey border, turned out to be overwhelmingly ignorant.
The extremist group could hardly have hoped for better.
Turns out those very western recruits of whom everyone is so fearful are just idiots with empty lives seeking something seemingly meaningful to fill them. (Reflect, for example, on the comment on the would-be Garland terrorist: “He had been going down a bad path and then he found Islam.") These empty heads with empty lives are perfect fodder for an empty jihad for a religion that inhabits a vacuum – which perfectly describes their knowledge of it:
An Associated Press analysis of thousands of leaked Isis documents reveals most of its recruits from its earliest days came with only the most basic knowledge of Islam. A little more than 3,000 of these documents included the recruit's knowledge of Sharia, the system that interprets into law verses from the Quran and "hadith" — the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad.
According to the documents … 70 per cent of recruits were listed as having just "basic" knowledge of Sharia — the lowest possible choice. Around 24 per cent were categorized as having an "intermediate" knowledge, with just five per cent considered advanced students of Islam. Five recruits were listed as having memorized the Quran.
The findings address one of the most troubling questions about Isis recruitment in the United States and Europe: Are disaffected people who understand Sharia more prone to radicalisation? Or are those with little knowledge of Islam more susceptible to the group's radical ideas that promote violence?
The documents suggest the latter.
So these Jihadists know even less about the Quran than you and I do. Meaning that they are not being radicalised by the teachings of Islam, within which there is precious little to be inspired by anyway, but by the bullshit of their barbaric recruiters keen to harvest warm bodies willing to sacrifice for a cause. And for these empty heads who’ve heard from every corner that the willingness to sacrifice is the mark of a full life, these recruiters are there and willing and eager to pick up their remnants. And the emptier the head, the more useful the recruit,
because [it rurns out] those who claimed advanced knowledge in Shariah on the Isis entry documents were less likely to want to become suicide bombers, according to a study by the US military's Combating Terrorism Center, an academic institution at the United States Military Academy.
"If martyrdom is seen as the highest religious calling, then a reasonable expectation would be that the people with the most knowledge about Islamic law (Sharia) would desire to carry out these operations with greater frequency," said the report.
However, despite the religious justification that Isis uses for suicide missions, "those with the most religious knowledge within the organisation itself are the least likely to volunteer to be suicide bombers," the study found.
Empty heads filled up with a siren song of sacrifice.
These are empty heads not running to the recruiters for love of Islam; they’re invariably kids with empty lives running away from something else. Islam itself is simply the vacuum into which they’re sucked.
Islam still inhabits a vacuum; it always has. It’s an opportunistic ideology inhabiting, like a nest of cockroaches, all the dark forgotten corners of existence. Always has; still does.
Its empire was born only from the collapse of two others, born in the vacuum created by the collapse of the Roman and Persian powers and the demise of their religions) -- its military “strength” a reflection only of those two once-mighty empires’ fading power; its “scriptures” cobbled together from what they found in the Hebrew,Zoroastrian and heretical cultural remnants of the desert towns and waadis in the vacuum between crumbling empires that its marauding bands occupied. (Read Tom Holland’s ground-breaking history In the Shadow of the Sword.)
Its subsequent historic golden age was not wholly its own work, but the result of borrowing from much earlier Greek thinkers and with remarkably few original additions—and it was stopped overnight by the Arabic philosopher Al-Ghazali, more responsible than any other for turning Islam into the thing that now occupies its own Dark Age. (Read my own post ‘The Greatest Story (Hardly) Ever Told’ and Andy Clarkson’s ‘Yes, You Can Blame This Guy For Paris’)
Even its horrors enacted today are neither self-funded nor self-armed. The oil wealth without which neither Shia not Sunni violence could continue was created by and then stolen from western companies, income from which is now almost wholly provided by the oil purchases of the west. Its weaponry is aso from elsewhere, from the stockpiles of left-behind western military matériel, and from matériel donated directly to these butchers in pursuit of mistaken western strategic aims – and its belligerent limits are imposed only by the acquiescence and appeasement of of western political and intellectual leaders. (Read the relevant chapters of Daniel Yergin’s classic The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power and Elan Journo’s Winning the Unwinnable War.)
And its very tactic of terrorism relies not on conquest–it is never going to establish a caliphate in Paris, in Nice or anywhere else—“but through scaring us into panicking, overreacting, and changing our behaviour.” (Read, for example, a former IS hostage’s article: ‘I know Islamic State. What they fear more than bombs is unity,’ and reflect on why western cartoonists and writers—Danish cartoonists, Salman Rushdie, Charlie Hebdo--ended up in the front lines of this battle)
Face it, the only reason we talk so frequently about this double-damned religion is because from a population of 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide a few dozen terrorists and just a few thousand ISIS fighters, financed by states long known to finance terrorism but for which the west has little appetite to say so, are allowed because of that appeasement to put whole continents on the alert. (Witness if nothing else the bowing and scraping of mute westerners at airports and sports events.)
Jihadists truly are the mouse that roars militarily.
Because these fuckers can’t even send their own fighters to do their job! Astonishingly, little has been written on this highly telling fact, but reflect on this: that with only trivial exceptions all those carrying out the horrors in Europe and the US, from London to Glasgow to Madrid to Paris to Boston to New Jersey, have not been poor fighters sent on a mission from far away through some secret refugee or immigrant network but have often been prosperous and almost always homegrown. Just think about the implications of that for a moment. (And read for instance my 2014 post ‘Home-grown horror’ and Adam Taylor’s recent piece ‘The Islamic State wants you to hate refugees: And the plan may be working’.)
So it is simply not true that this evil is strong; like all evil, in itself it is impotent. Like communism, which could only survive by looting capitalists, and like all anti-life evils, it is necessarily parasitic on the good.
But as with communism, of those most opposed to it few realise the vacuum at its unbeating heart. Too few seem to realise that. So while western hipsters download zombie films in their droves, portraying artistically the perfect replica of the ISIS drone, we have allowed ourselves to be attacked by literal self-made zombies—zombies that are self-admitted death worshippers.
So how can a place that fights back by stripping down at airplane gates ever get itself off its knees to fight back? How can a civilisation bewildered by burkinis and cowed by campus millennials ever summon the resolve to defeat Islamic terrorists? Oddly enough, in the culture and on the campus may be among the places to begin fighting back. Because that’s where the corruption starts. When these awkward kids see the west’s intellectual and political leaders so brazenly apologetic about the values of their own culture, especially at a time when the contrast between life and anti-life is so stark, then why in hell (those few who are seduced must wonder) should anyone at all take these western values at all seriously?
When they see a handwringing good appeasing a morally righteous evil, why wouldn’t they start to wonder if there isn’t something to be said for a fundamentalism from the stone age – even if they know neither jot nor tittle of what it stands for apart from the virtue of sacrifice they hear western leaders themselves embrace?
Why wouldn’t they embrace meaning then where they do find it—in revolt, in sacrifice, in barbarism … ?
But remember, evil itself is impotent:
“The truly and deliberately evil men are a very small minority; it is the appeaser who unleashes them on mankind; it is the appeaser’s intellectual abdication that invites them to take over. When a culture’s dominant trend is geared to irrationality, the thugs win over the appeasers. When intellectual leaders fail to foster the best in the mixed, unformed, vacillating character of people at large, the thugs are sure to bring out the worst. When the ablest men turn into cowards, the average men turn into brutes.”
~ Ayn Rand (from ‘Altruism as Appeasement,’ The Objectivist, Jan. 1966)
By espousing the moral clarity eschewed by the appeasers in the west, even when they know nothing of the religion itself, young homegrown jihadis find something they hadn’t realised existed—and once again Islam steps into a vacuum of others’ creation.
The primary problem here of course is that westerners who are sure of their values are largely silent in defence of the values and virtues that made the west great, while pretending that a stone-age culture is in some way equal – leaving 0000the powerful moral certainty to come from the Dark Ages. In this compromise between a handwringing good and a crusading evil, it’s astonishing only that evil has as few victories as it has. But as Daniel Pipes asks, how is that “a majority population accepts the customs and even the criminality of a poorer and weaker community? It is the result of a conquest ideology taking the measure of a civilisation that no longer values its heritage, no longer regards itself as worthy of defence.”
some of these [homegrown killers] will simply be psychologically susceptible to the nastiness of a violent religion. But what else are they hearing? Where are the voices proclaiming the virtues of reason, individualism and liberty? Where today will they hear these values proclaimed proudly and unashamedly? Where will they learn of the superiority of reason over religion, of freedom over tyranny?
When Britain was exporting liberty to much of the known world, these values were unapologetically front and centre. These were the values that built western civilisation. These were values absorbed by immigrants and locally-born alike. People moved to Britain and the west because of these values [and still do!].
In a word: multiculturalism.
Multiculturalism teaching that the values of civilisation and those of barbarism are equal.
Teaching that liberty and slavery are simply different choices.
Teaching that if any culture should be shamed it should be western culture.
That the west is responsible for all the world’s horrors, and the rest of the world simply a victim.
This is the perversion now taught and promulgated in schools, in universities and in learned commentaries peddled by perfumed academics for the consumption of the self-anointed.
So for all the decades that we’ve been told that Islamic terror is the result of ignorance and poverty, leading westerners have been silent about the superiority of western health, wealth and freedom over a stone-age theocracy in which beheadings, clitorectomies, slavery and crucifixions still play a part.
Well, for a start, we can stop taking these losers at their own estimation. Let's treat them, not as soldiers, but as common criminals. Instead of making documentaries about powerful, shadowy terrorist networks, let's laugh at the pitiable numpties who end up in our courts. Let's mock their underpants bombs and their half Jafaican slang and their attempts to set fire to glass and steel airports by driving into them and their tendency to blow themselves up in error. Let's scour away any sense that they represent a threat to the state – the illicit thrill of which is what attracts alienated young men trawling the web from their bedrooms.
At the same time, let's stop teaching the children of immigrants to despise the [west]. Let's stop deriding and traducing our values. Let's stop presenting our history as a hateful chronicle of racism and exploitation. Let's be proud of our achievements – not least the defence of liberty …
The best way to defeat a bad idea is with a better one. Few ideas are as wretched as the theocracy favoured by IS; few as attractive as Anglosphere freedom.
I'm not saying that patriotism alone will finish the jihadis. Like the urban guerrillas in the 1970s, they must be treated primarily as a security problem rather than a political one. But what ultimately did for the Red Army Faction and all the rest was the fall of the Berlin Wall and the almost universal realisation that revolutionary socialism was no alternative to Western democracy.
It comes down, in the end, to self-belief. Not theirs; ours.
Do you have it?
Because a war of ideas is more preferable to the other kind. And even that other kind amounts in the end to ideas.
Wars are not won just by military hardware or political re-arrangements [points out Mary Kenny]. They are won by ideas. They are won by men and women who have convictions and values which give them the impetus to pursue victory…
There's nothing wrong with tolerance and a universalist outlook: these are good things. But if a host society is craven and defeatist about its own history and traditions, then it is asking for trouble. Western societies must uphold the achievements based on our values, and do so with fortitude…
Isis will not be defeated by drones, military action or even politics alone, but by ideas and leaders who really and truly believe in their own values and traditions. After James Foley was beheaded, it was triumphantly announced that: "The sword is mightier than the pen."
But ideas, and the conviction to carry them, are still stronger than all else.
So let’s fight for the enlightenment—for Reason, Science, Liberty, Modernity, and Civilisation—and fill the vacuum the jihadis are so fitfully filling.
The Enlightenment is a long-term strategy.
In fact, many westerners would have to discover the enlightenment. The Enlightenment encourages us to be reflective. But to reflect on whether we are doing the right thing, isn’t an invitation to stop doing the right thing. As a civilisation we have become paralysed by self-doubt when we should have become energised by self-reflection. As we have discovered (or as many knew all along) a moral and ideological vacuum will be filled by others – as it turns out, by savages and barbarians.
Only if we let them.
[Pic by Independent]