The Psychology of Jihad

By: Vernon Richards (islam_undressed@yahoo.com)

Extracted from his book `Islam Undressed`, available free upon request.

The appeal of Islam has many roots, some are even noble, but those mandating violence against non-brothers are not, or at least not by the standards of non-Muslims. When Islam is judged against universally accepted standards of morality, this Arabian religion fails to qualify as the friend and guide of humanity it claims to be. Muslims will protest against this point of view, and as usual will produce weak tidbits or far-fetched evidence to prove that Islam advocates the love and brotherhood of mankind, ignoring the larger realities of Jihad and 1400 years of history. This type of sorcery has worked wonders for Islamists and their apologists in the past, but with modern dissemination of knowledge, one hopes it will become more difficult to cloud the truth with the magic of misinterpretation and spin.

With regard to the concept of equality, the idea is unacceptable to Islam. For in all forms of Islamic thought and practice, the non-believer cannot be the equal of the believer. A basic principle of Islamism holds that humanity is divided according to a strict hierarchy of worth. At the top of this hierarchy are free Muslim males, the cream of humanity. Below them, in descending order of humanity, are: Muslim male slaves, free Muslim women, Muslim female slaves, the males of the "People of the Book" (Jews and Christians), and, then, the female of the `People of the Book'. Finally, the rest of humanity comes in dead last (excuse the pun), because they lack a soul they are regarded as worthless having no rights whatsoever. This unfortunate final grouping includes Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, and others. But before Jews and Christians celebrate escaping last-place in this uniquely Islamic popularity contest, the fine print should first be carefully studied. Quotes referencing Christians and Jews from the Qur'an include: - "Worst of Creatures, Perverse, and Friends of Satan". The clear direction from Muhammad appears to be that Muslims are not allowed to even be friends or take favors from Jews and Christians, unless that devotion/tax is extracted by force or threat of force. Christians and Jews then and now hold a special place in Islamic theology, and are presented in a hateful manner in the Qur'an and in modern Islamic theology today. In the end they were regarded with contempt by Muhammad, the final words reported from the mouth of the dying Prophet were a curse on them "Allah's damnation be on the Jews and the Christians .."

98:6 Verily, those who disbelieve (in the religion of Islam, the Qur'an and Prophet Muhammad) from among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) and Al-Mushrikun will abide in the Fire of Hell. They are the worst of creatures.

5:51 O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as Auliya' (friends, protectors, helpers, etc.), they are but Auliya' to one another. And if any amongst you takes them as Auliya', then surely he is one of them. Verily, Allah guides not those people who are the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong­doers and unjust).

Many who have known devout pious followers of Allah have felt the distance between themselves and their associates. This anti-social philosophy also goes a long way to explain the experiences of many women who have married Muslims, only to be turned into slaves and treated harshly. In the officially `state sponsored' Wahhabi controlled elementary schools in Saudi Arabia (our alleged ally in the war on terror), there is a fifth-grade lesson book that reads as follows: "It is forbidden for a Muslim to be a friend of one who does not believe in Allah and his Messenger or who fights the Islamic religion. God has severed the [link of] friendship between Muslims and infidels. The Muslim, even if he lives far away, is your brother-in-belief, while the infidel, even if he is your brother of kin, is your enemy by religion." It is the Qur'an itself that directs Muslims to break friendship and business ties and other allegiances. The Qur'an even takes this a step further.

58:22 You (O Muhammad) will not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, making friendship with those who oppose Allah and His Messenger (Muhammad), even though they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred (people). For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with Ruh (proofs, light and true guidance) from Himself. And We will admit them to Gardens (Paradise) under which rivers flow, to dwell therein (forever). Allah is pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allah. Verily, it is the Party of Allah that will be the successful.

This shows that even family blood ties are to be broken in the cause of Islam, sometimes causing orthodox Muslims to fight and kill their own relatives if they reject Muhammad's rule. Family ties, devotions, and sensibilities form the backbone of Western civilizations, from which we derive our strength and teach morality. In Islam, even normal, natural family bonds are subservient and must yield to Muhammad's vision of Islam. This explains why, in many Muslim communities and households, family member are expected to police the acts, thoughts, and expressions of other household members. On a slightly broader scale, communities are expected to monitor the conduct of families in their neighborhoods. So in Islamic lands, the control structure in place extends from the highest branches of the government (including the Judiciary), to the lowliest family member. The consequences imposed for failure to support the official family, neighborhood, tribal, national policy with respect to violent Jihad vary by tribe and region, but are often quite brutal. Here are some more supporting Muslim opinion on the subject:

"O believers, do not treat your fathers and brothers as your friends, if they prefer unbelief to belief, whosoever of you takes them for friends, they are evil-doers." (Repentance: 20)

"Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends.... whoso does that belongs not to God." (The House of Imram: 60)

"O believers, do not make friends with the Jews and Christians; whoso of you makes them his friend is one of them." (The Table: 55)

When one takes into consideration all that Muhammad asks of the faithful, the direction to have no Muslim friends makes perfect sense. It's all part of the psychology of violence. Built-in natural human feelings of empathy and all impulses of conscience must first be overcome before an individual can perform an act of violence or treachery on another. Normal feelings of affection, respect, and trust toward a friend would get in the way of a Jihadic action that might require the killing of that same friend. When Muhammad specifically tells followers not to develop personal relationships others it serves to dehumanize all non-Muslims. This philosophy and psychology, when internalized, is designed to groom the Muslim believer into becoming an effective, non-thinking, non-feeling Jihadist warrior (i.e. a killing machine). Objects of disdain are much easier to kill than real live, feeling human beings. Not exactly in line with their oft repeated claim that `Allah is most merciful, most forgiving, most loving and charitable', but for some reason that contradiction does not seem to register. Certainly any personal dilemma resulting from such contradictions are easily dismissed once fully immersed in the blood-lust and lynch-mob mentality of Islamic militants. Apparently `most-merciful' in their minds only applies to fellow Muslims and is not proffered to infidels, except perhaps to survivors who agree to pay the eternal `survivor tax' (assuming you can wrap your mind around the concept of enslavement or indentured-servitude as being merciful). From the perspective of non-brothers however, the Muslims personification of Allah seems awfully cruel, unforgiving, unmerciful, and unfeeling.

The principals governing Muslim relationships with others is vital to militant Islam because in all genocidal activities to date, grooming killers to first dehumanize victims in their minds is an important prerequisite. The indoctrination creates the erroneous belief that Americans, Jews, Hindus, and other non-Muslims are not human beings in the same sense as Muslims, and can and should be slaughtered with impunity. Other important factors that induce a devout Muslim to sacrifice in the cause of Jihad will be further identified in this chapter.

Various mental malformations are usually at play when an individual goes `Postal' and kills randomly, but those kinds of disorders do not represent the Islamic character. With one fifth of the world's population Muslim, it is impossible to characterize the appeal of Jihad to hundreds of millions as a psychological disorder. On the other hand, mental and emotional forces at play leading to large groups being brainwashed to a single cause have been characterized in other gang, tribal, nationalistic, and religious cult events, and extrapolations of that `cause and effect' relationship certainly appear to apply to Islam.

The first step in any process wherein an individual surrenders personal will over to any cause is full immersion into the alternate doctrine and philosophy, and separation from competing realities. In keeping with this rule, the secrets of Islamic extremist group's successes are in the effectiveness of Islamic schools worldwide. The secret is embodied in millions of poor and impressionable boys kept entirely ignorant of the world and, for that matter, largely ignorant of all but one interpretation of Islam. These schools often manufacture young men who are the perfect Jihad machines. With support from governments and family, such schools continue to serve as Islam's primary method of indoctrination. The Qur'an is recited, memorized, and then recited again. It is a simple, natural act for those so brainwashed to step out of such schools, pick up a weapon, and start killing infidels.

We all know (because it's true and because it has been repeated so many times) that `repetition is the best teacher'. Repetition and consistency are indeed the best teachers, of which Islamic students receive heavy doses along with further reminders five times a day when called to prayer. For Muslims, daily prayers are not personal supplications where questions are asked or answers expected. The Islamic God is unapproachable and unknowable, and certainly above considering anything as mundane as individual needs or personal revelation. All instructions and answers are already contained in the scripture, word, and example of Muhammad, and it is the duty of Muslims to accept the Cleric or Imams explanation of how these unalterable revelations apply to their life issues today. As such daily prayer represent more declarations of agreement and worship than typical supplications seeking help on a personal level. These personal devotionals, repeated five times a day, seem designed to be more chants to reinforce commitment to all Islamic principals and aims. In many other Muslim group settings (Friday sermons, funerals, protests), the rapture of large gatherings raising arms and chanting `Allah Akbar' have the same socio-emotional effect as the huge crowds in the early 1900's raising arms, clicking heals and proclaiming `Heil Hitler!'

Man is born with internal mechanisms intended to further both the individual and the species. Some of those mechanisms are emotional, including the natural tendency for empathy towards others. Empathy is the ability to see and feel things from the viewpoint of another. Empathy plays a critical role in persuading individuals to conduct their activities so as not to cause undo harm or pain in others. A person who has not lost the ability to feel empathy and compassion actually "feels" a portion of the anguish and pain experienced by a victim. A person so in tune with others responds by seeking relief for the victim, and in doing so also consoles his own empathetic suffering. Empathetic feelings are quite natural in children, increase with cognitive development, and are further sharpened when children are born and natural parental instincts become more active. A person who has lost the ability to feel empathy feels nothing at the sight and sound of fellow beings in anguish, and those who take pleasure at the suffering of others have deteriorated further into depravity and are said to suffer a dangerous form of mental and/or emotional illness (narcissism is a dangerous personality disorder characterized by the lack of empathy and self-deceit, which malady most of the worst despots in the history of man have suffered).

Other innate internal tendencies are also programmed in the human spirit, including longing for freedom, and our conscience. Conscience is defined as that internal moral sense which enables us to differentiate between right and wrong, and which lights the way for moral conduct. It is the gut feeling of rightness or wrongness, which grips ones heart as we act on the varied daily impulses that drive us. Normal empathy certainly plays a part in this internal compass, but conscience is cognitively and spiritually more significant than simple empathy. All these codes are ingrained in our minds and hearts and serve us individually and as a species, for without subjecting behavior to a common standard of vice and virtue, social evolution is not possible. This is the reason that even primitive societies have always had words denoting a differentiation between good and bad. Although societies do not all practiced universal standards of vice and virtue, yet it is well known that almost all communities have always had codes to acknowledge what was good and bad. Codes, for example, respecting others and their property, mutual fidelity, speaking the truth, keeping promises, respecting family ties, helping the poor, weak, and handicapped. These codes come into being in response to our innate conscience, and are generally considered signs of good morality. Since every one desires security of person and property, liberty to worship, fair trial, freedom of speech etc., these facts, over a period of time, rose to become what is called Human Rights. He who violates these rights is considered by developed nations to be an enemy of humankind.

For a person to abandon internal standards guiding proper behavior towards others, forces or factors must first be applied to break down those natural internal clocks. There are many ways this can be accomplished in individuals and societies, and proven methodologies continue to be applied today with predictable results, as has indeed been the case with every political, national, or religious sect, which has ever behaved badly toward non-members or the non-privileged (including Islam). Islamic fundamentals preach social segregation, hatred of non-Muslims and elimination of dissenters through dominance, death and destruction. We turn to more quotes from the Qur'an to decide if such a conclusion is true:

1. Do not let non-Muslims enter mosques. They will go to hell. -Repentance: 17

2. O ye who believe! The non-Muslims are unclean. So let them not come near the Inviolable Place of Worship. -Repentance: 28

3. O ye who believe! Murder those of the disbelievers ...and let them find harshness in you. -Repentance: 123

4. Humiliate the non-Muslims. -Repentance: 29

5. Certainly, God is an enemy to the unbelievers. -The Cow: 90

6. God has cursed the unbelievers, and prepared for them a blazing hell. -The Confederates: 60

7. Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends.... whoso does that belongs not to God. -The House of Imram: 60

8. Moslems are hard against the unbelievers, merciful to one another. -Victory: 25

9. Muhammad has been sent by God with the religion of Truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religions. -Private Apartments: 28

10. Muslims are the best of all nations. -House of Imram: 110

A Muslim naturally believes in all such Qur'anic verses, pounded into his mind and spirit from childhood, which then warps his social outlook as he quickly becomes a narrow-minded sectarian. This psychological approach is the fountain of all fundamentalisms. It is a myth to say that Islam advocates good relationship with People of the Book (Jews and Christians). If this were not enough, one could refer the matter to the sayings of the Prophet. Hadith, Chapter 71 of SAHIH MUSLIM clearly states that Islam is the religion for all humanity and abrogates (overrides, replaces) all others. Simply stated it means that Muslims are superior to non-Muslims and have the birthright to dominate them. This is why Islam calls itself Din-e-Ghalib, the religion of dominance.

Obviously, believers from the best religion are superior to other people, and Muslim fundamentalists must fully assimilate this sense of superiority before they can act without natural conscience against inferior beings or objects. As previously mentioned, step one for any murderer is to first dehumanize the victim in his or her own mind. This fundamental Islamic sense of superiority, then, becomes the foundation of Islamic morality, over time supplanting or abrogating all superior natural or built-in instincts.

As every student of psychology knows, the purpose of any fundamentalism is to secure blind following from its adherents. This is possible when one is conditioned to a certain object or goal which begins to rank as the sole purpose of their lives. As a result, the purpose begins to overrule the method of acquisition; whatever secures it is good and whatever obstructs it is bad. In a nutshell, people must stop thinking for themselves, especially in terms of morality. As the Marxists brainwashed people in the name of proletarianism and what it stood for, Muslims have been conditioned to the person of the Prophet Muhammad, who is projected as the savior of his followers, having complete power to find them permanent residence in paradise (the abode of luxury, love making and lasciviousness). For total obedience, they are at liberty to indulge in the most convenient morality such as dishonesty, rape, murder, theft, and treason without losing their chance of entering a paradise that has been absolutely guaranteed by their faith in the Prophet.

For those properly conditioned, the use of violence for securing territorial and political advantage over non-Muslims becomes the standard of Islamic morality against which all acts can be judged (which explains the Palestinian prison systems `revolving-door' concept for fellow Muslims caught committing crimes against Israelis). Islam declares Muhammad as the final and greatest of all prophets, and reverence for him and his methods has become an article of faith. A Muslim unwilling to force Islam on others is considered deficient in belief. As a result, every Muslim looks for an opportunity to demonstrate the magnitude of his faith by molesting non-Muslims, and even attacking fellow-brothers who express less bigotry. More Qur'anic verses clearly states that Jihad is a definite exchange proposition for Muslims (i.e. paradise for killing non-Muslims or getting killed in the process of Jihad).

"Allah has bought from the faithful theirselves and their belongings against the gift of paradise; they fight in the way of Allah; they kill and are killed." (Repentance: 110)

A HADITH (the saying of the Prophet Muhammad) declares: "Know that Paradise is under the shades of swords." (Sahih Bokhari, Ch. 22: 73)

After the people of Taif - the last major Arab City to resist Islam - surrendered in February, 631 C.E., to escape horrors of the siege, Muhammad was presented with three beautiful women; he gave one of them "to Ali, another to Usman and the third to Omar." To realize the significance of this episode, one ought to remember that both Ali and Usman were his sons-in-law and Omar was his father-in-law.

For the entire history of mankind, pirates, bandits, and armies have attracted young men to their ranks implicitly or explicitly advertising opportunities for rape and plunder, but Islam adds a twist to this base attraction. To succeed in Jihad is not only to gain honor, booty, and privilege in this life, but also in the next. To further illuminate the powerful force that is driving young men to Jihad we must ask .what is this hoped for paradise? Muslim scholars are usually embarrassed by this question and some even pretend that it is not physical but a condition of the mind. But in truth `Islamic Paradise' is the chief temptation for enjoining active participation in Jihad, especially for young men. The reason that the Qur'an explains it so well and in such detail is that it was (and is) intended as a primary recruitment tool. The `revelations' came at the beginning of Muhammad's prophetic journeys, as he was starting the process of gathering young men into armies to do his bidding. Descriptions of Paradise describe luxurious surroundings dwelt in by Houris and also Ghilman. Houris are the most beautiful ever-young virgins with wide, flexing eyes and swelling bosoms. Ghilman are the immortal young boys, pretty like pearls, clothed in green silk and brocade an embellished with bracelets of silver (apparently to satisfy those preferring the 'alternate' lifestyle). Allah guarantees every believing man no fewer than seventy Houris and many Ghilmans. To make sure that the lucky fellow can cope with them, Allah will increase his virility a hundred-fold! Individual lust and desire to dwell in such surroundings is a driving force justifying Islamic morality, and why Muslims (usually depressed and deprived as a result of Islam), are ready to practice a twisted morality based on violence. Those who surrender their psyches to the seduction of Jihadic violence fully expect to eat celestial food, drink pure wine, and enjoy the carnal company of divine consorts. Their staunch belief in the intercessory powers of the Prophet Muhammad (his authority to accommodate his followers in paradise irrespective of what they may have done), inspire them to follow his example into the ranks of Jihadic warriors. It's a win-win proposition . succeed and enjoy the carnal benefits of power, rape and plunder in both this life and the next, .or fail and enjoy all you lust after in the next life. Either way your reward is sure and guaranteed. Allah has promised all sorts of rewards, gluttony, and unlimited sex to Muslim men who kill unbelievers in his name. He promises that in the fight for His cause whether a man kills or is killed he will return to the garden of Paradise, where Allah will "wed us with Houris (celestial virgins) pure beautiful ones", and unite us with large-eyed beautiful ones while we recline on our thrones set in lines. In that glorious place Jihadists are promised to eat and drink pleasantly for what they did, and have sex with "boys like hidden pearls", and "youth never altering in age like scattered pearls". (See Qur'an 9:111, 56:54, 56:20, 56:19, 56:24, 76:19, and The Tidings: 30)

The only way to miss out on all this great stuff (and end up in fiery hell) is to fail to engage in Muslim violence against non-believers. Allah warned that: "Unless we go forth, (for Jihad) He will punish us with a grievous penalty, and put others in our place" (Qur'an 9:39). In these ways, through fear, false faith, greed, and lust, Islam is driven and inspired into the conscience of individuals, manifesting itself in gross crimes against humanity worldwide. This Islamic exploitation of the believers has led to the moral bankruptcy of many, well demonstrated by an incident in Pakistan the middle of April 1994:

Hafiz Sajjad Tariq of Gujranwala in Pakistan accidentally dropped a copy of the Qur'an in a fireplace. As it caught fire, people of the locality became aflame with rage. Not caring that Sajjad was a pious Muslim devoted to exalt holiness of the Scripture (Qur'an), they alleged that he had desecrated the Word of God. As mullahs of the area heard of it, they instantly issued Fatwas of apostasy against Sajjad. Like hawks, the fundamentalists swooped down on him, each hoping that his blow would dispatch the victim to hell assuring him (the assailant) a seat in paradise. As they were hitting him, someone shouted that he was being dished out an un-Islamic punishment because he must be stoned to death. By then, they had broken his ribs and he was not able to walk. A gallant police officer intervened and locked him up with a view to saving him from mob-violence. As the news spread, a large crowd of frenzied Muslims appeared before the local police- station demanding his immediate release. The Police Inspector, instead of enforcing the law, fell for the temptation of establishing himself as the champion of Islam and handed Sajjad to the attackers. They started stoning him mercilessly and thereafter set his body on fire. If this were not enough, they tied his corpse to a powerful motorcycle and dragged it through the streets for two hours! After this pious show of Islamic morality, they felt that they had done enough to avenge the honor of the Prophet to whom the Qur'an had been revealed.

Islamic dehumanization of non-Muslims results in people innocently taking a train in Madrid, a plane in Washington, a bus in Jerusalem, or going to the theater in Moscow, to be wantonly murdered with nary a Muslim afterthought. Indeed videos like the beheadings of American civilians or mutilating their corpses seems to invoke excitement, pleasure, and celebration in the Arab world, where such incidents are replayed over and over to a demanding audience. The graphic video of the de-capitation murder of Nick Berg, while his faithful Muslim murders chant `Allah Akbar' sickens human beings capable of empathy and normal human emotion, ...but is a spiritual religious experience to Islamists. It is pure stupidity to expect reform from any individual or culture excited and thrilled at the images of such wanton violence and brutality as has been perpetrated by Osama and his ilk. One can study the culture and religion to understand in an abstract intellectual level the process of Islamic corruption of the individual psyche, but one cannot truly `understand' the depth of animal depravity gripping the hearts and minds of these `new barbarians' without losing your humanity and even sanity in the journey.

Because no good can come from outside Islamic tenants and peoples, without Islam a Muslim is in danger of losing his sense of belonging to anything of value. With everything else outside of Islam shut-out due to being unclean or unworthy, Muslims would be completely lost if deprived of their Islamic identity and connections, and so do not dare even think of abandoning their `faith'. Along with the threat of fiery hell, and a possible death sentence in this life, this is why even the thought of such heresy invokes feelings of sheer panic to most Muslims. Being a member of the Islamic Umma gives him strength, confidence, and a sense of superiority that otherwise he wouldn't have. This false sense of superiority then becomes an emotional and psychological trap. Those caught in this web are saddled with a self-image propped up only by words having no foundation in truth. When coupled with fear and insecurity, this image is what leads otherwise normal human beings into egregious thinking errors resulting in poor judgment, .including decisions to engage in or support bigotry, and eventually, .murder.

History teaches us that groups of people, or sometimes even an entire nation, can suffer from dangerous delusions. One need only cast a look back at the last century when millions of Germans believed they were the "Master Race" and the Japanese believed their emperor was a living god and the conquest of Asia was their destiny. For several decades, most Russians were brainwashed into believing that Communism was the ideal social/economic system, oblivious or ambivalent of the millions who died in Soviet gulags. Now, despite an even longer history of defeat and despotism, fundamentalist Muslims around the world are experiencing pretty much the same kind of mass delusion, believing that it is Islam's destiny is to dominate and rule the entire world.

As will be seen in subsequent chapters on Islamic polotics and economics, there also exists within its economic and political structures, along with these psychological and social forces at play, a certain system of interdependency which guarantees the perpetuation of the Islamic order. These interdependencies act to compel continued individual participation in a society so organized. To put it another way, the entire social, political, psychological, economic, and religious structures and practices exert significant force to coerce involvement of its members, and to perpetuate its existence. It is literally a trap; in any way you view it, with options for escape nearly impossible. For poor Muslims who know no other way, it seems the only way to escape the kind of despair guaranteed to exist in Islamic societies is by and through the sword. Consider the following points collectively:

* Hate is taught from birth, and Muslims are mandated to expand Islam, so the borders of Islamic lands are guaranteed to be bloody forever.

* You live in continual fear because someone might accuse you of collaborating, or of being a `bad Muslim', or your Qur'an acidently drops the fire with the ensuing riot destroying you and your family.

* You must support and fund your cleric and his causes, because not supporting the organization will certainly mean your family being economically/socially cut off, if not brutally dealt with.

* You can't leave the organization and `best' social order to join another; such treason is punishable by death.

* Any act or expression of dissent is tagged as an insult to Muslims, or blasphemous, with perilous repercussions.

* Fear destroys faith, without faith nothing permanent is begun or built and everyone is guaranteed to live in a miserable impoverished fearful condition.

* Unable to criticize the `best religion' your miserable condition must be blamed on unbelievers (successful people living without fear practicing human rights who have faith in themselves and others to work, build, and accomplish).

* The only way to remain safe, or to gain any advantage in Islamic lands, is to support and/or participate in the process of Islam's often-violent methods of expansion.

* Killing these unbelievers (bad Muslims or non-Muslims) or being killed in the process is the only offer that guaranties paradise as it pleases Allah, so the only way out of your miserable existence is to kill.

So it is, with personal free agency surrendered, Muslims in Islamic lands find themselves between a rock and a hard place. In reality they can escape the spiral of despair, but they do not know it. They are held to their limited and perverse options by a combination of fear and ignorance. Did the one God of the universe create this social order that removes both personal choice and culpability for killing others, and which perpetuates misery and despair forever? Is this the final, best, and greatest religion Muslims claim it is? If not God, then who created this perfect secret society where you must kill or be killed to be saved?

(This essay was converted to html and placed online by John Ray but all responsibility for its contents lies with its author)

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