Poverty and Jihadists

The Obama administration’s explanation for Islamic jidadism is that it’s a reaction to poverty and lack of opportunity in presumably Muslim states. In a way, this reflects the underlying materialistic philosophy of statist authoritarian collectivists. An atheist, Karl Marx saw man as driven exclusively by economic forces. Economic inequality is reason sufficient to incite Marxist revolutions, or at least community organizers, so presumably, it motivates Muslims as well. Others point out that virtually all of the most well-known Islamic jihadists come from middle-class to wealthy families. Moreover, if poverty elicits revolution or jihadism, why, then, do so many poor people in so many poor places remain placid? Shouldn’t India be a hotbed of Hindu revolutionaries? Or might it be that there is some other explanation for Muslim violence?

I have a theory that the strongest motivation for inciting young men to strap on suicide vests is, ironically enough, a desire to escape from Islam itself. Unlike other religions, Islam is a totally controlling way of life that, in particular, leads to severe sexual repression. A young, male Muslim, if he decides that Islam is the truth, realizes that no amount of wealth will free him from the strictures of a system where women are closeted away and there is no legitimate way to express one’s sexuality. Women are simply the enemy in Islam. They lead to temptation. They divert one’s interest away from religious obligations. They are unworthy of life, as Mohammed said. If a Muslim lives in the West, he is constantly reminded of female pulchritude and the freedom to pursue it. If he gives in and adopts a Western lifestyle, he’ll not only feel guilty, he’ll be reminded by his local Imam or the more devout members of his mosque that he is damned and possibly an apostate to be killed.

It’s true that a Muslim man may have four wives, and jihadists, no less than other Muslims, are interested in marriage. They go back to their families and hope that their parents have made an arrangement to secure them a bride. What the bride looks like, or whether she is compatible, make no difference. She’s a woman. She can be used to alleviate his most pressing needs. Some jihadists have taken Western girlfriends, leading to an inner conflict. The girlfriend cannot be married unless she becomes Muslim. She’s a constant temptation to stray from Islam or even become an apostate. Desire for such women must be eradicated through a cleansing purification of which Allah would approve. But even a Muslim bride is not likely to bring satisfaction if there is no love. All the bride would do is lead the man away from his Islamic path into the worship of carnality.

As an alternative to this dilemma, the devout Muslim can, especially if he dies a martyr, look forward to paradise, an unearthly, green, well-watered land where delicious food and wine, previously prohibited, are available, and voluptuous virgins are there for the taking. No more sexual repression. No more worrying about pleasing Allah. No chance you’ll be sent to the infernal regions. You’ve made it. It’s like being let out of prison and sent to a five star hotel because you’ve obeyed the warden. You’re in paradise and it’s everything life under Islam wasn’t. By the way, if you're homosexual, you'll be killed under Islam. But in paradise, you can have young boys if that's your preference. It seems the rules don't apply there. Can you blame them for wanting a sure ticket to paradise?

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