Wherever Muslims live, however assimilated they may seem, the eternal jihad calls to them

Ten years ago, Omar Hammami was the president of the sophomore class of his high school in Daphne, Alabama and a popular boy. As Andrea Elliott tells it in the New York Times Magazine:

Despite the name he acquired from his father, an immigrant from Syria, Hammami was every bit as Alabaman as his mother, a warm, plain-spoken woman who sprinkles her conversation with blandishments like “sugar” and “darlin’.” Brought up a Southern Baptist, Omar went to Bible camp as a boy and sang “Away in a Manger” on Christmas Eve. As a teenager, his passions veered between Shakespeare and Kurt Cobain, soccer and Nintendo. In the thick of his adolescence, he was fearless, raucously funny, rebellious, contrarian. “It felt cool just to be with him,” his best friend at the time, Trey Gunter, said recently. “You knew he was going to be a leader.”

A decade later, Hammami has fulfilled that promise in the most unimaginable way. Some 8,500 miles from Alabama, on the eastern edge of Africa, he has become a key figure in one of the world’s most ruthless Islamist insurgencies. That guerrilla army, known as the Shabab, is fighting to overthrow the fragile American-backed Somali government. The rebels are known for beheading political enemies, chopping off the hands of thieves and stoning women accused of adultery. With help from Al Qaeda, they have managed to turn Somalia into an ever more popular destination for jihadis from around the world.

There have of course been several well-publicized cases in which American-born children of Muslim immigrants have turned into jihadists. It is therefore a predictable phenomenon. But Andrea Elliot calls the transformation of the American teenager Omar Hammami into a jihad warrior “unimaginable.” Being a liberal means never having to say you got it.

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A female reader writes:

Thank you. Your blogs are always enlightening. (And I just used your last sentence in a discussion with a very liberal acquaintance.)

Rick U., who sent the article, writes:

The article either omits or does a very poor job of tracking Hammami’s mental trek into Jihad. The author frames it as though it’s a secondary notion throughout the piece, and when there is opportunity to delve into the dynamic she moves along to the next part of the story. Only at the tragic end does the family absorb the shocking news that Hammami is a Jihadist. I suppose it’s the standard “see no evil in Islam” journalistic groupthink. In this way, the media can label this as another instance of “home grown terrorist” and never question it further. Nothing new here, move along please.

Also, what really hit me was the confusion Hammami was born into with a Syrian Muslim father and a white Christian mother. That conflict and resulting philosophical confusion turned an otherwise bright kid into a confused and angry man. Of course, that subject is glossed over big time while the author gets the standard liberal talking points of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as chief concern and motivator. What Ms. Elliot comes to regard as “unimaginable” represents her liberal worldview that there is nothing wrong with mixing opposite cultures into a family unit. It’s easier to blame the U.S. for its wars abroad than question the pedigree of Hammami’s embrace of jihad.

Robert in Nashville writes:

An excellent example Lawrence. As you have pointed out, behavior due to actual differences between peoples are outside of the universe of possible explanations, to the liberal mind. Therefore, not only the Fort Hood Jihadist, but this young Moslem’s actions as well, must be due to some inexplicable factor other than his Moslem religion—even if the killer himself identifies Islam as compelling his behavior.

The liberal must exclude Islam as the cause, so the actions becomes inexplicable, i.e. not capable of being explained. The reason for such behavior, even mass slaughter, is passes into the realm of unknowable mystery, almost like great religious questions, unless one can blame oneself.

Even if she were to become a victim herself, would she would ask herself in her last breath, why? As Kenneth Levin, in “The Oslo Syndrome,” pointed out, the universalist turns the blame for the behavior back onto himself. This not only makes him or others responsible for the action of the killer etc. (as offered for the Fort Hood killer, who had been “harassed”), but presumably brings the killer’s action’s under the control of the universalist: if only, the West had done more. And if it cannot be explained by a wrongdoing of the West, the cause of the behavior of the Moslem must remain simply, a mystery.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 30, 2010 01:07 PM | Send

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