Prima facie support for the Mae West theory of Islamic terrorism

Four days ago I wrote:

Hey, if the flight attendant was in such a jokey mood, maybe she should have said to Mutallab, “Is that a PETN-filled condom in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?”

The line was more appropos than I realized. Among the 25 or so non-Islam theories of Islamic extremism that have been put forward is the idea that Islamic extremism is the result of sexual frustration. Apparent evidence for that notion was published in yesterday’s New York Post. During his student days in London a few years ago, Abdul Mutallab, the failed destroyer of Northwest flight 253, wrote numerous messages at a web discussion forum telling of his intense sexual longings and his efforts to be a good Muslim and control them. The then 18-year-old Mutallab’s anguished expressions of sexual frustration will be eagerly seized upon by those who seek to deny the reality of the Islam threat. “See?” they will cry, “this guy was horny and unhappy and he looked for escape by blowing himself up along with 300 infidel strangers.”

The obvious problem with the theory is there have been horny young men since the beginning of time, and they didn’t band together in a world wide network aimed at mass murdering people in the name of Allah. The notion that sexual frustration, rather than Islamic teachings commanding holy war against non-Muslims, is the main cause of Islamic terrorism is sheerest fatuity. Male sexual desire is universal. Jihad is a uniquely Islamic institution. But the West is filled with third-rate intellectuals who love their little theories and refuse to consider what Islam commands Muslims to do and how Muslims have consistently put those commands into practice over the last 1,400 years.

Here is the Post story:

Sex torment drove him nuts
New York Post, December 30, 2009

The bomb wasn’t the only thing burning in his pants.

Internet postings from accused knicker-bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab reveal him to be a sex-starved, lonely, depressed man who felt shame over his carnal urges.

“As i get lonely, the natural sexual drive awakens and i struggle to control it, sometimes leading to minor sinful activities like not lowering the gaze [in the presence of unveiled women],” a poster who goes by the handle “Farouk1986,” wrote on an Islamic Forum Web site,

“And this problem makes me want to get married to avoid getting aroused …

“But i am only 18 … It would be difficult for me to get married due to social norms of getting to the late 20’s when one has a degree, a job, a house, etc before getting married.”

No matter how difficult it was to balance his Muslim and secular worlds—he was tortured about his “dilemma between liberalism and extremism”—Abdulmutallab always brought the discussion back to his most pressing dilemma: sexual desire.

“The hair of a woman can easily arouse a man,” Farouk wrote, one of hundreds of entries posted between 2005 and 2007.

“The Prophet advised young men to fast if they can’t get married but it has not been helping me much and I seriously don’t want to wait for years before I get married.”

For Abdulmutallab, 23, even his fantasies were steeped in carnal conflict, highlighted by an inner battle between good and evil.

“So usually my fa[n]tasies are about islamic stuff,” he continued. “The bad part of it is sometimes the fantasies are a bit worldly rather than concentrating in the hereafter.”

He was also agonized about going to his prom.

“Like sister MM 04 suggested, an islamic party is good, a great way to spend your last moments in school with good people,” he wrote on May 7, 2005.

“Guys in my school talk and plan what they will do for their proms years in advance, organising their dates, cars, suits and what not,” he added, referring to the “peer pressure.” “My answer to this is, be patient.”

Abdulmutallab stopped just short of reaching the hereafter when a bomb he had hidden in his drawers failed to explode aboard a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day.

The suspect was wearing briefs with a specially tailored pouch packed with 80 grams of PETN, a key ingredient of a plastic explosive powerful enough to blow a hole in the side of the plane.

Authorities said the Nigerian man tried to detonate it with acid from a hypodermic needle but only singed his shorts.

Abdulmutallab’s Internet rants seemed less like those of a terrorist-in-the-making and more like a young man burdened by loneliness and a desperate need to be understood.

“i am in a situation where i do not have a friend,” one screed read. “i have no one to speak too, no one to consult, no one to support me and i feel depressed and lonely. i do not know what to do.”

He also told members of an online forum that he was lonely at a British boarding school in the West African nation of Togo because few of his classmates were Muslims.

“i get lonely sometimes because i have never found a true muslim friend,” Abdulmutallab wrote. I’m active, I socialise with everybody around me, no conflicts, I laugh and joke but not excessively.

“I strive to live my daily live [sic] according to the quran and sunnah to the best of my ability.”

Farouk1986 discussed growing up and preparing to leave boarding school for college. But his educational pursuits were quickly overtaken by his obsessions with a holy war.

“I imagine how the great jihad will take place, how the muslims will win, insha Allah [God willing], and rule the whole world, and establish the greatest empire once again!!!” reads one post from Feb. 20, 2005.

- end of initial entry -

Richard P. writes:

You point out that there have been “horny young men since the beginning of time … ” and that’s true. Young sexually frustrated men in Western countries don’t join worldwide networks intent on mass murder.

Instead they just go shoot up a school or a mall my themselves. No networks are involved.

I don’t think we can disconnect the two. Obviously some young men who are sexually or socially frustrated can be capable of extreme violence. In the West they are lone nuts. In the Islamic world, they are cannon fodder for imams and politicians with other goals. The “networks” and their leaders are what make the Islamic problem quantitatively different, but I don’t think there is much practical difference between their foot soldiers like Mutallab and mass shooters in the U.S. and Europe.

LA replies:

“I don’t think there is much practical difference between [jihadist terrorists] and mass shooters in the U.S.”

I’m speechless.

Richard P. replies:
Whoa! That’s a big change you made there Lawrence! I used the phrase “foot soldiers like Mutallab” for a reason. I think he fits into a different category than, say, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or Ramzi Binalshibh. Of course he is a terrorist. That is not in question. He is a thug who attempted to murder 300 people. He should be dealt with harshly. But by changing my phrasing you seem to be missing my point.

Mutallab is a young male who, from what we know, is socially maladjusted and sexually frustrated. From his posts we can surmise that he was not just lacking in feminine companionship, but in any sort of real friendship. He also appears to have been eager to commit mass murder. I believe the two things are connected, and that in this respect he is very similar to young maladjusted mass murderers here like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.

What’s different is Islam. Mutallab had access to a worldwide network of people who were just as eager to put his murderous rage to use. Mutallab had a formal religion and many of its leaders to tell him that mass murder was a noble goal. He had the resources of religious institutions and web sites to connect him with jihadis. He had organized training camps with either the assistance or acquiescence of a government to teach him. He had connections throughout Europe to provide the means to kill.

In contrast, Harris and Klebold only had each other.

Mutallab is a murderous monster, but is nowhere near as dangerous to us as the network of people who directed and enabled him. Without that network he may still have been able to pull off some kind of attack. But he probably wouldn’t have gotten PETN, and we wouldn’t have to be as worried about repeat attacks. One lone soldier does not an army make.

LA replies:

Ok, point taken. But based on everything you’re now saying about the importance of Islamic jihadism, I think your previous comment stressing the similarity between Mutallab and the Klebold/Harris types was overstated. Islam is what drives Islamic terrorism. Islam is the problem, not sexually frustrated young men, who are but one element in a much larger picture.

Richard P. replies:

Agreed. Without Islam you would still have young violent misfits who want to kill a lot of people - we’ve always had them. But you wouldn’t have a broad international movement to enable and encourage them. There’s a reason that no Americans have built martyr shrines to Harris and Klebold.

Todd White writes:

I think it’s only a matter of time before Roissy (or one of his pals) posts a new essay: “Abdulmutallab: More Evidence that Game Can Save Lives.”

January 1

Van Wijk writes:

Richard P. wrote: “Instead they just go shoot up a school or a mall by themselves. No networks are involved.”

It’s interesting that the Gamers seize on the sexual frustration aspect of every act of violence (and inventing it when no such aspect is apparent) while ignoring centuries of documented pathologies. If there is no god but Game, and Game can solve all society’s ills, the Gamers will be as kings. When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Richard P. goes on to mention the Columbine Massacre as a case of sexual frustration leading to violent acts. Dr. Michael Stone of the television show Most Evil has classified Eric Harris as a classic psychotic. As with all psychotics, other humans beings did not exist to Harris as human beings. Apparently Harris was quite popular with the girls at his school. But even if he wasn’t, Harris was 18 at the time of the shooting, barely a man, and Klebold was 17. Do the Gamers advocate intercourse for teenage children as a way to stave off mass murder? If so, at what age should children begin getting laid as often as possible? 15? 14?

The Gamers have their own very narrow lane and shut out all else. It is well documented that the earlier children start having sex, the higher their risk for sexual pathologies.

So to say that the acts of Harris and Klebold and every mujahid who ever lived are the product of sexual frustration is to put the cart before the horse. It begins with a conclusion and works it’s way back. Though they would never come out and say so, the Gamers are essentially claiming that sex can cure psychotics, sociopaths, schizophrenics, etc. and turn them into upstanding citizens because the Gamers have allowed sex to rule their own lives. Sex has become a golden calf.

LA replies:

After reading Van Wijk’s critical comment about Richard I looked again at Richard’s last comment. I realized that Richard’ was not really agreeing with me, as I had thought he was. Rather, he’s saying that the driving force of jihadist violence is sex. Yes, he acknowledges that the jihad ideology “enables and encourages” the sex-fueled violence of young men, but the motive itself, he seems to be saying, is still entirely sex-based. If I’m misunderstanding him again, I apologize, but what he seems to be saying is, in my view, wildly reductive and false to the reality of Islam. Look at the original jihadist, Muhammad. Was his sadistic hatred of non-Muslims, Jews, and Christians driven by sexual frustration? If the Islamic belief system that enables and encourages young men to commit acts of violence is not the result of sexual frustration, then why should the violent impulses of the young jihad warriors be driven by sexual frustration? Conversely, if young jihad warriors are driven by sex, then wouldn’t the jihad ideology that enables them also be driven by sex?

I’m not saying that distorted sexual feelings and attitudes are not a part of the Muslim psychology. Clearly they often are. But to say that such feelings are the main thing that drives or comprises jihadism is plainly false. And it’s also deeply unhelpful. If frustrated sexual energy is what creates and drives jihad, then what, to repeat Van Wijk’s question about mass murderers, are we to do about it? Make sure that every Muslim male in the world starts having regular sexual intercourse at age 13? Such a “solution” bears about as much relation to solving the Islam problem as the liberal belief that building schools and highways in Muslim countries will solve the Islam problem.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 31, 2009 11:26 AM | Send

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