How Islam fascinates the West
Or: How the West is duped by “The Religion of Peace”
Given the encroachment of Islamism into the UK and Europe and its effect on far too many decisions made by governments, I doubt that I am alone in my concerns about the likely endgame for the UK.
To allow one group of people to create conditions whereby the rest of a population are made nervous, and then to allow them with impunity to accuse that remainder of paranoia, is a denial of reality. People who are forced to live under this double bind — that they will be damned if they speak out against this erosion of culture and free speech and damned again if they do not — have a third oppression added to their existence — they are forced to live with the consequences of not speaking out. I believe that the UK will have to live with those consequences unless its government shakes itself free of its fascination by Islamism.
The reaction of this and previous UK governments to Islamist demands and threats of violence reminds me of parents who are terrified of their toddlers’ tantrums and, being incapable of providing appropriate boundaries, end up raising thugs who cannot create boundaries for themselves and wreak havoc if they are ever thwarted. The UK and other western governments make the same mistakes again and again: instead of trying to apprehend the influence of Islamism from within its own world view and in terms of how it perceives “the kuffar” or non-believers, and reacting accordingly, they persist in superimposing a western, liberal, inclusive veneer upon Islamism’s motives. Perhaps they believe that if they do this often enough and for long enough they will turn this magical and woefully misguided interpretation into reality; perhaps they lack the moral courage to confront the dangers Islamism presents to western values of pluralism; perhaps they are criminally ignorant of those dangers; perhaps all of the foregoing or none of them.
Be that as it may, the reader may agree that the western sense of the reality of Islamism has been consistently and deliberately warped by Muslim spokesmen (and they are invariably men). Islam is a supremacist religion. Its self-declared aim is to rule the world. Below I shall explore the mechanism whereby, I believe, Islam deliberately fascinates its host countries in the West.
I use “fascinates” in its psychological sense — for I believe that the West has fallen under the spell of the notion of a mythical, peaceful Islam in its midst, deliberately promoted by its spokesmen.
The West’s only salvation is to act to literally break that spell. True, there may be individual Muslims in the West who merely want a quiet life, to practise their faith in peace and not to impose their ideas on their neighbours, but their voice, where they use it at all, is drowned out by that of the vociferous, confrontational minority who would impose Islamism upon us all and drag their peaceful but apathetic co-religionists along in their wake.
I have taken the concept of “fascination” from hypnotherapy, where it was originally employed by Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815) a physician. Originally the fascination process was thought to be dependent upon gaze, but currently mesmerism (as it came to be called) may be used interchangeably with hypnotism to refer to an altered state of consciousness and on occasion the hypnotic trance which the latter induces.
I do not argue that Muslim spokesmen deliberately set out to alter the consciousness of non-Muslims in the West in such a scientific fashion. However, there is frequent reiteration to the wider public of what are said to be core Muslim beliefs. One is that Islam is a “religion of peace”, for example, when more terror attacks are perpetrated by Muslims than by any other faith system.
There are also sundry other statements regarding Islam’s being-in-the-world, all of which are deliberately aimed at mollifying rather than being totally honest about Muslim intentions. These, I would argue, have a very similar effect.
There is also the deliberate use of Tawriya, Kitman and Taqiyya, dissimulation and sometimes outright lying sanctioned by Islam for Muslims in their dealings with non-believers when they believes themselves to be under threat. (The reader should note that whether or not the perceived threat is real is beside the point for the user of taqiyya. In his mind, if he believes himself to be under threat even where there is no evidence, he is permitted to lie or use other forms of deceit).
Most ordinary people in western cultures hold truth-telling to be sacrosanct and, because it is natural to assume that the other person is also telling the truth, we are all too easily fooled by those who, for example, avow the peaceable nature of Islam even shortly after innocents have been killed in its name. Even when some brave soul confronts a Muslim spokesman with the fact that he has lied or is lying, the spokesman will persist in such claims, invariably trying to deflect responsibility; he will change the subject, play the victim, play semantics, and use other deceits. For the listener, to have to deal with the cognitive dissonance brought about by regular exposure to taqiyya, let alone the other challenges presented by Islamism, is to be made psychologically vulnerable.
In short, just as mesmeric fascination is supposed to be brought about by eye contact and gaze, I suggest that a similar process obtains with the repeated use of words and phrases in both mollifying and furious tones, as well as the unique importance Islamism places upon taqiyya and lying to unbelievers. Below I shall explore how Islamism might affect Joe and Jane Public, typical Western people who know little about Islam.
The Fascination Process
In order for a person to become fascinated in the sense in which I mean, there have to be circumstances which predispose him/her to be so. To call this assault on reality “brainwashing” may seem a little extreme (see Barker, 1984), but nevertheless the ideological and literal offensive undertaken by Islamism in the West has elements of brainwashing within it.
Thus the fascination process may begin with an assault on the target’s identity.
We are being told about the rootlessness of the Western psyche by our more thoughtful spiritual leaders as well as intelligent thinkers. Melanie Phillips, in particular, inveighs against the mismatch where, in an age of reason, we are behaving increasingly irrationally and she argues that the basic cause of this explosion of irrationality is the slow but steady marginalization of religion. In an age where we tell ourselves that faith and reason are incompatible, the opposite is the case. Phillips argues that without its religious traditions, the West has drifted into mass derangement where truth and lies, right and wrong, victim and aggressor are all turned upside down. Israel is demonised, and the US is vilified over the war on terror — all on the basis of blatant falsehoods and obscene propaganda. This abandonment of rationality, Phillips says, leaves the West vulnerable to real threats. Faced with the genuine challenges of spiralling demographics and violent, confrontational Islamism, the West is no longer willing or able to defend the modernity and rationalism that it once brought into being.
I believe that the assault on Western identity by Islamism takes advantage of the profound cognitive dissonance which has come about as a result of the conflicted reactions to Islamist behaviour towards Westerners in the societies into which it has been invited: Western values are pluralistic and inclusive and tend, for the most part, to be tolerant of difference, provided that the difference is not imposed upon them in an aggressive way. In the UK, for example, wave after wave of immigrants have been absorbed, although often with reservation, into the fabric of our society.
Islam, however, has kept itself apart and, moreover, has insisted that it be awarded special privileges and that notice be taken of its hair trigger sense of grievance. Alongside this it conveys a sense of menace about what might happen if its grievances are not taken on board and changes made to accommodate them. When Geert Wilders was invited to the UK House of Lords in 2009, for example, Lord Ahmed, a Muslim peer, threatened to mobilise 10,000 Muslims to prevent Wilders from entering Parliament if the visit was allowed. The British police had had experience of dealing with violent Muslims in the protests against the Danish Embassy in London in 2006 as a result of the Mohammed cartoons, and Wilders was made persona non grata in the UK in 2009 because the UK did not want a repeat performance. The ensuing outcry led to Wilders visit being cancelled. He visited subsequently, however, and without significant incident.
Let us see how Islam’s propensity to stand reason on its head plays out in the lives of a mythical couple, Joe and Jane Public:
Islamists, whilst condemning western democratic processes on the one hand, on the other never hesitate to use them against those whom they perceive to be acting against Islamist interests. Each Islamist protest against real or imagined infringements of Muslim human rights (human rights which, under sharia law, would be dispensed with in a flash for Joe and Jane Public) comes with a reminder that although Joe and Jane Public may resent such behaviour, for them to show their resentment openly would mean that they do not support those human rights for Muslims. Joe and Jane want to perceive themselves as decent human beings, and may define “decent” in pluralistic, inclusive, “live and let live” terms. At the same time, however, they recognise the unfairness and manipulativeness of Islamism’s demand to be treated as a special case and to be allowed to impose more and more of its values on them, and they deeply resent it. However, if they express that resentment they are manipulated into believing that they have betrayed their “politically correct” values. In the face of the cognitive dissonance this creates in them, they are either forced into silence or they overreact to try to relieve it.
Joe and Jane Public’s identity having been undermined by the combination of marginalisation from their roots and cognitive dissonance, Islamism then plays on whatever guilt may be there, and the psychologically weakening nature of guilt further “softens up” the subjects for the next stage of the fascination process.
At this stage Islamism, usually so adept at obfuscation and refusing to name what is actually going on, now works hard at exacerbating the discomfort. The Islamist knows that Joe and Jane Public resent, even hate, what he stands for, and maybe even hate him, but he also knows that their western pluralistic value system and political correctness, together with their fear of his possible opting for violence, prevents them from naming that deep resentment for what it is, much less from acting on it. Joe and Jane have fallen from their own grace even by feeling it and of course they feel guilty. They may even compensate for the harm they imagine themselves to have done by over-identifying with those they perceive to be the underdogs. Perceived through this lens, “We are all Hamas now!” becomes rather more than a mere statement of solidarity.
Having crossed the Rubicon and admitted their identification with Hamas (or Hezbollah or any other Islamist cause) Joe and Jane cannot now turn back. The next stage of the fascination process for them is public self-betrayal. They have betrayed whatever roots they had by their association with Islamists and betraying Islamists in turn would cause them yet more cognitive dissonance. Their only recourse is to become more Islamist than Islamists. You might find them alongside other dislocated souls at rallies denouncing the West for holding the “wrong” value system and for supporting Jews and Zionists and for its betrayal of Islamism, the Palestinians or whomever. At this stage Joe and Jane are still capable of feeling ashamed that they have betrayed their roots but so caught up are they in the group-think of other fellow travellers with Islamism that they dare not acknowledge that guilt, much less blame themselves or take responsibility to act to change it. Rather, they displace their guilt and shame onto “Zionists,” “Jews,” “Western colonialists” and others who, they have come to believe, are the root cause of their discontent.
The next stage, the end game, consolidates Islamism’s hold over Joe and Jane as it makes them into the creatures of its drive to power. It is to start asking “Who am I, what am I supposed to do?” and it heralds the almost complete inability of Joe and Jane Public to be insightful and capable of objective analysis of what is happening to them. Although they can look after themselves, even hold jobs, their perceptions have been so narrowed that only political messages which chime with their acquired world view will get through. Joe’s and Jane’s value systems have become so degraded that they can no longer be as they once were. They can ignore the excesses of Islamism, its treatment of gays and women because these get in the way of their support for, for example, the “oppressed Palestinians.” They are focused, obsessed even, with the ‘wrongs’ perpetrated against Palestinians for which only Israel and America are to blame. They are instruments of and useful idiots for Islamism, alongside the more famous useful idiots such as George Galloway, whose vainglory actually had him funding terrorism, and Lauren Booth, who even converted to Islam. Joe and Jane Public are two of hundreds, perhaps thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands of politically immature naifs who are ignorant of the true nature of what they support so totally. And Islamism uses them as it uses everyone and everything it thinks can help it dominate the rest of us.
Can the fascination trance by Islamism be broken?
It can at an individual level.
Islamism is cult-like in that it demands complete and mindless agreement from Muslims and Islamism’s fellow travellers also offer this to it. Where Islamism succeeds it is because it keeps on hammering home its message and continues to exacerbate cognitive dissonance and, importantly, uses the threat of violence if it does not get its way.
Consonance (the opposite of dissonance) can be achieved by learning to sit with the discomfort of that dissonance so that the listener will not acquiesce in whatever seems to be offered as an instant cure for it. He/she may indeed be a Western liberal who is respectful of all difference, but why should one respect a faith system which rubbishes everyone else and wants to bend people to its will rather than respect their beliefs? And why should people resort to such a belief simply to end the discomfort of not being able to respect it?
The most important defence is to recognise when Islamist spokesmen are trying to fascinate. People need to become more aware of their different states of consciousness, and to work out how to ground themselves in the here and now and use that grounding. They need to build up resistance to repetitive messages, particularly if they are delivered using identical words. They need to actively cease listening or, if they know enough about Islam, actively challenge Islamists and watch their reactions. An example of a good challenge to Islamist purveyors of hatred can be found here on CiF Watch. Note that the person did not rise to their bait. Those Islamists lost the argument then and subsequently because they became angry.
People also need to learn as much as they can about Islamism from as many sources as possible. In particular, they should try to find out about what makes people leave Islam (good sources are here and here). Notable authors who have left Islam are Walid Shoebat and Dr Wafa Sultan. No faith or belief system should be immune to criticism and anyone who insists that Islam is perfect is lying. A good way to reality test whether Islam really is the peaceful religion it claims is to find out about dissident groups in Islamic societies and how they are treated.
Unfortunately, the task becomes harder at a collective level. Western governments have been successfully entranced by a combination of cognitive dissonance and preoccupation with self-interest when they deal with Islamism, and its purveyors know this. Western leaders will do almost anything to be seen to be “nice people” in their attitude to Islamists so as not to incite riots among their Muslim populations and to get more Muslim votes.
European governments in particular carry with them folk memories of two world wars and their impact. This has led to an inclination towards appeasement, a belief that anything is better than fighting (literally) for what is right, and the adoption of “multiculturalism” as a foolish attempt to co-opt those who would destroy Europe, rather than opposing them.
People like us elect those governments. We need to tell our government representatives how we feel and not shrink from naming the dangers of Islamism as we perceive them, providing proof. We need to break the trance of Islamism before we are engulfed by it. We can do this by naming its excesses for what they are, by flagging up every human rights infringement, by naming and shaming our governments every time they give in to demands by Muslims for special treatment, by insisting that Islam receives no more and no less respect than any other faith, by insisting that it respects all other faiths as it demands to be respected.
We need to protest loudly and publicly whenever Islamists are scornful of our beliefs and values. We need to defang Islamism by naming the dangers of believing without proof anything it offers, by demanding that proof and pointing out any evasions, lies or failures to provide it. There are many decent Muslims in the West who are tainted and made fearful by the growth of violent Islamist extremism. We need to help them to be heard and to stand up for themselves without fear.
I write now (2011) in the aftermath of the massacre of Norwegian children and the bomb blast in Oslo. I have read the bomber murderer’s puffed-up, floridly disturbed rationale for the carnage he caused.
By coincidence, I am also reading Robert Anton Wilson’s The New Inquisition by which he means the habits of repression and intimidation that are becoming increasingly commonplace in the scientific community today by a process which he calls Fundamentalist Materialism. He makes clear that he opposes the Fundamentalism not the Materialism and he does not apologise for having made the book deliberately shocking. In a section which is, I believe, pertinent to the subject matter of this article, he refers to Colin Wilson’s Criminal History of Mankind
Wilson presents a theory of the Violent Male, who acts like A E Van Vogt‘s “Right Man”, who can never admit that he might be wrong about anything. His ego demands that he is always right, that nearly everyone else is always wrong and that he must “punish” them for their wrongness. He despises emotional behaviour and believes that most people are fools. In addition, he has a paranoid attitude towards others: he thinks they are all rotten to the core, that they have cheated him; they are always cheating; they are sneaks, liars, so he is going to behave worse than they do to get his own back.
Wilson tells us that the Right Man‘s being-in-the-world is angry, virtually all the time. He is also the archetypal malignant narcissist who, if he is bested, is likely to react to the narcissistic injury with rage, or to disintegrate.
Islamists are typical Right Men. Governments succumb more easily to the Islamist fascination process because of its accompanying threat of violent acting out if they do not. We can combat Islamism by forcing their Right Men leaders to lose public face and pointing up their failures and inadequacies again and again and standing firm in the face of the inevitable rage which will ensue. If we can do this, eventually the resulting narcissistic injury will deprive Islamism of all its power.
 Barker, Eileen (1984) The Making of a Moonie: Choice or Brainwashing? Blackwell Publishers
 Phillips, Melanie (2010). World Turned Upside Down. New York: Encounter Books
 http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/edwest/100060687/ why-would-tony-blairs-sister-in-law-convert-to-islam/
 http://cifwatch.com/2010/08/01/they-walk-among- us-a-personal-encounter-with-religious-supremacists/
 Shoebat, Walid (2005). Why I Left Jihad: The Root of Terrorism and the Return of Radical Islam. Top Executive Media
 Sultan, Wafa (2009). A God Who Hates. New York: St Martin’s Press
 Wilson, Robert Anton (1999). The New Inquisition. Phoenix: New Falcon Publications
 Wilson, Colin (2005) A Criminal History of Mankind. 2nd Ed London: Mercury Books; (1st Ed pub
Babs Barron is a psychologist in independent practice in the UK. She writes under a pseudonym because she wishes to keep her work and her professional life entirely separate from her politics.