Slothful induction and Islamic Terrorism: questioning the ‘party line’

He claimed police and security agencies were “living on other planet”.

A most appropriate comment with which to begin this post. I’ll come back to it at the end of our discussion. Before then, we have some work to do, and we’ll start with current French President Francois Hollande. Quelle heure est-il, Francois?

Yes, Francois ain’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. Which may explain his repeating this tragically common expression of slothful induction, in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo murders last week:

Those who committed these acts have nothing to do with the Muslim religion.

No, of course not, Francois. How stupid of me to think otherwise!

Who should we believe, the great and the good – such as Francois Hollande and Tony Abbott – or our lying eyes?

But while Francois’ slothful induction may be caused by his slothful frontal lobes, this can’t explain the widespread repetition of this meme. There are simply some people who refuse to acknowledge what for them is an inconvenient truth: that recent acts of terrorism by muslims are indeed ‘something to do’ with the muslim religion. And until they acknowledge this reality, and make this connection explicit, our societies – including the muslim societies who bear the brunt of islamic terrorism – will not respond effectively to the challenge that this terrorism represents.

Fortunately, while the wheels of democracy grind slowly, they do grind surely. And, with terrorist attacks increasing in frequency, the populace, who would rather trust the unambiguous evidence of their ‘lying eyes’, will dismiss clowns such as Hollande in favour of people who understand the situation and who aren’t afraid to acknowledge it and to take action.

With wilful ignorance, born of cowardice, reigning ‘at the top’, the first steps in this direction come with expressions of acknowledgement ‘from below’ – that is, from outside of the circles of delusion in which our elected leaders currently move. Finally, intelligent and brave people are speaking out, calling islamic terrorism for what it is, and identifying the ‘nothing to do with islam’ meme as the bullshit that it is. Here are some that I thought worth reading, and that I will share with you.

First, Rowan Callick, writing in The Australian on January 9 (in an article titled ‘Time to call out rage’ in Islamism):

Australian experts are calling for an end to the growing trend of branding public discussion of Islam as “Islamophobic”, as it is hindering open and intelligent debate of issues associated with the religion.

Clive Kessler, emeritus professor of sociology and anthropology at the University of NSW and a leading scholar of political Islam, said yesterday: “It is important that our leaders identify and describe this atrocity correctly – which, alas, I fear will mean ‘politically correctly’.”

He said that they would again differentiate between “the cult of death” and “the religion of peace.”

But while this may not stem from Islam, “rightly and truly understood it has everything to do with Islam – since it grows out of the rage against history that has long festered within Islam”.

Some have felt that they have lost the entitlement assured them by “the historically vindicated superiority of their faith system, and hence also their ability to live in the world on their preferred terms, and to write the script of their own and everybody’s history.

“So there has lurked … a deep-seated feeling that history has ‘gone wrong’ and that to restore themselves and Islam to their proper place they are entitled to ‘put things right’, even by force.

“That is the rage in Islam. To pretend otherwise is foolish.”

Professor Kessler said that when he presented this view to parliament’s joint committee on foreign affairs two years ago, it was “pooh-poohed” by other experts.

Anne Aly, research fellow in extremism at Curtin University, told The Australian that “there is a crisis within Islam that needs to be dealt with by Muslims”.

When visiting Pakistan in October, she said: “The questions I was getting focused on what is it within us, that we allow extremism to take hold within our country.

“There is a real desire and a will to be introspective. But outside Muslim countries a lot of Western people don’t want to allow that to happen, because they want to keep pushing the idea that troubles in the Middle East and elsewhere are largely due to foreign intervention.”

That may be true to an extent. But more important questions include: “What is intrinsic within Muslim countries, their cultures and traditions, that has given extremism a hold, and how are they going to solve these internal issues?”

Dr Aly does not like the word “Islamophobia” because it describes an irrational fear of something that causes an irrational response. “And those who are anti-Islam are not afraid, they are the kind of people who are driven instead by hatred, contempt and disgust.

“It has been used by some Muslims as a convenient label to suppress discussion and ignore criticism … meaning a person doesn’t have a valid point of view, rather than addressing what they say. But we need to address it.”

Mark Durie, an Anglican priest with a doctorate on Aceh, said that a story posted about the Paris murders on the ABC website, a conflation of original copy and wires, “which speaks about ‘insulting the prophet’, epitomized one aspect of the problem: exaggerated respect and devotion to Mohammed.

“Since when was the ABC an Islamic organization that promoted belief in the prophethood of Mohammed?” he asked.

“This kind of language … is an absolute victory for the terrorist cause. Since when does the ABC refer, as a matter of routine, to Jesus as ‘the saviour’?”

Should you wish, you can find more of Dr Kessler’s impressive work on islam here. Next, from the same edition of The Oz, Bill Leak (Moralists, it’s time to condemn monsters):

How much louder do the extremists have to proclaim “we are the monsters in your midst who want to destroy you” before the wilfully deaf finally hear what they’re actually saying? Before they get the message and realise that the real way to show your humanity is to stand up to inhumanity and declare yourself ready to bloody-well take on these monsters?

Leak also had the courage, on Saturday, to draw a cartoon including both Mohammed and either Jesus or God (I can’t tell which it is supposed to be from the cartoon, but the doctrine of the Holy Trinity means that it’s not a problem anyway).

Next, the extraordinary Ayaan Hirsi Ali, writing in the January 10-11 edition of The Oz (The West must stop appeasing Islamic purveyors of hatred):

After the horrific massacre this week at the French weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, perhaps the West will finally put away its leagion of useless tropes trying to deny the relati8onship between violence and radical Islam.

This was not an attack by a mentally deranged, lone-wolf gunman. This was not an “un-Islamic” attack byt a bunch of thugs – the perpetrators could be heard shouting that they wre avenging the prophet Mohammed. Nor was it spontaneous. It was planned to inflict maximum damage, during a staff meeting, with automatic weapons and a getaway plan. It was designed to sow terror, and in that it has worked.

The West is duly terrified. But it should not be surprised.

If there is a lesson to be drawn from such a grisly episode, it is that what we believe about Islam truly doesn’t matter. This type of violence, jihad, is what they, the Islamists, believe.

There are numerous calls to violent jihad in the Koran. But the Koran is hardly alone. In too much of Islam, jihad is a thoroughly modern conept. The 20th-century jihad bible, and an animating work for many Islamist groups today, is The Quranic Concept of War, a book written in the mid-1970s by Pakistani general SK Malik. He argues that because Allah himself authored every word of the Koran, the rules of war contained in the Koran are of a higher calibre than the rules developed by mere mortals.

In Malik’s analysis of Koranic strategy, the human soul – and not any physical battlefield – is the centre of conflict. The key to victory, taught by Allah though the military campaigns of the prophet Mohammed, is to strike at the soul of your enemy. And the best way to strike at your enemy’s soul is through terror. Terror, Malik writes, is “the point where the means and the end meet.” Terror, he adds, “is not a means of imposing a decision upon the enemy; it is the decision we wish to impose.”

Those responsible for the slaughter in Paris, just like the man who killed the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in 2004, are seeking to impose terror. And every time we give in to their vision of justified religious violence, we are giving them exactly what they want.

In Islam, it is a grave sin to depict visually or in any way slander Mohammed. Muslims are free to believe this, but why should such a prohibition be forced on non-believers?

In the US, Mormons didn’t seek to impose the death penalty on those who wrote and produced The Book of Mormon, a satirical Braodway send-up of their faith. Islam, with 1400 years of history and about 1.6 billion adherents, should be able to withstand a few cartoons by a French satirical magazine. But, of course, deadly responses to cartoons depicting Mohammed are nothing new in the age of jihad.

Moreover, despite what the Koran may teach, not all sins can be considered equal. The West must insist that Muslims, particularly members of the Muslim diaspora, answer this question: What is more offensive to a believer – the murder, torture, enslavement and acts of war and terrorism being committed today in the name of Mohammed, or the production of drawings and films and books designed to mock the extremists and their vision of what Mohammed represents?

To answer the late general Malik, our soul in the West lies in our belief in freedom of conscience and freedom of expression. The freedom to express our concerns, the freedom to worship who we want, or not to worship at all – such freedoms are the soul of our civilisation.

And that is precisely where Islamists have attacked us. Again.

How we respond to this attack is of great consequence. If we take the position that we are dealing with a handful of murderous thugs with no connection to what they so vocally claim, then we are not answering them.

We have to acknowledge that today’s Islamists are driven by a political ideology, an ideology embedded in the foundational texts of Islam.

We can no longer pretend that it is possible to divorce actions from the ideals that inspire them.

This would be a departure for the West, which too often has responded to jihadist violence with appeasement.

We appease the Muslim heads of government who lobby us to censor our press, our universities, our history books, our school curriculums. They appeal and we oblige.

We appease leaders of Muslim organisations in our societies. They ask us not to link ats of violence to the religion of Islam because they tell us that theirs is a religion of peace, and we oblige.

What do we get in return? Kalashnikovs in the hear of Paris.

The more we oblige, the more we self-censor, the more we appease, the bolder the enemy gets. There can only be one answer to this hideous act of jihad against the staff of Charlie Hebdo.

It is the obligation of the Western media and Western leaders, religious and lay, to protect the most basic rights of freedom of expression, whether in satire or any other form.

The West must not appease, it must not be silenced. We must send a united message to the terrorists: Your violence cannot destroy our soul.

From the same edition, Gerard Henderson (ABC must confront the inconvenient truth about Islamic terrorism):

So Paris is the most rece3nt city to experience a doswe of what Monash University academic and former ABC Radio National presenter Waleed Aly has termed a “perpetual irritant”. However, to everyday Parisians, the murdedr of Charlie Hebdo staff and two poli8cement was by no means an “irritant”.

The latyest attack by an Islamist group on a democratic society again pointed out the difference in approach to such events taken by most members of the general public and some members of the intelligentsia. To the former, jihadist inspired murder is just jihadist inspired murder. To some commentators, on the other hyand, murderes have complicated intentions along with motives that appear other than what they are. Still others decline to call a jihadist a jihadist.

On early Thursday morning news broke in Australia on the latest terrorist attack in France. In Sydney, ABC Radio 702 issued the following tweet: “Waking up and learning of the overnight violence in Paris? Here’s some of the history of Charlie Hebdo.” To which one tweeter responded: “Overnight violence? How about calling it an ‘Islamist terrorist attack’? That’s what it is.” …

[T]his was a jihadist attack aimed at silencing the satirical magazine. In other words, the Paris murderes took aim at freedom of expression …

The jihadists in our midst do not want to provoke us. Rather, they want to silence us. In short, jihadists want Western democracies to submit to their demands across a range of issues – from winding back freedom of expression to changing foreign policy with respect to the Middle East and on to the eventual establishment of Sharia law …

So much of the early commentary on the most recent outbreak of terrorism in France turned on anything but the inconvenient truth. Which is that there are jihadists within Western democracies, particularly in western Europe, who want to establish an Islamist state.

And lastly, we come to our friend, Jamal Daoud, who spoke the words which appear at the top of this post. Mr Daoud has the perspicacity to see things as they are, and the courage to acknowledge inconvenient truths in public.

Mr Daoud is a Sunni muslim living here in Sydney who has called for the islamic community to take on the extremists. In response, he has been assaulted by those who would like him to shut up. But Mr Daoud’s disappointment at being assaulted pales in comparison to his disappointment at the inaction of the police, to whom he reported the assault:

A Muslim community leader who called for a crackdown on extremists in Sydney says he has been assaulted while walking in the street with his two-year-old son and warned that his family would be killed, eleven days after he was threatened and told to stop speaking out.

Jamal Daoud, a prominent refugee advocate, claims police have failed to take his reports seriously and says the community will start taking its own action to photograph and publicise attacks if they do nothing.

He says a man punched him in the chest about 2.20pm on Friday while he and his son were walking towards a shop at the corner of Hall and Station Streets, Auburn. The man, with a long beard and speaking in a Lebanese accent, had told him: “I will kill you if you don’t get out of my face.”

Mr Daoud said two other “extremists” had got off a double-cabin white utility and abused him and threatened to kill him and his family. They had made references to his campaign against extremists.

Mr Daoud says he reported another threat outside nearby Berala railway station on December 29 when, walking with another son, a man had approached and warned him against his television plea for action against Muslim radicals and jihadists. “We will get you, you f—in’ dog,” the man had screamed.

But Mr Daoud says he again went to Auburn police station to face “very relaxed detectives” who told him there was no way to prove the attack was related to extremism.

When contacted by Fairfax Media, police said officers attached to Flemington Local Area Command were investigating a number of reports of harassment and assaults in the local area between November and January this year, during which they have remained in contact with the victim.

“Police were contacted by a 47-year-old man on each occasion. Each report has been followed up by police and inquiries are ongoing,” a spokesperson said. “This has included ongoing patrols and reviewing security camera footage. Officers attached to specialist commands have also been notified of the investigation and are assisting.”

However Mr Daoud said he was deeply concerned “that the local police and anti-terrorism agencies are not taking the matter seriously,” Mr Daoud said.  After the Berala threat, “I provided police detectives with the plate numbers and picture of the car the extremist was riding when he left the scene. Until today, no progress in the investigation was made.”

He claimed extremists and “potential terrorists” were “very relaxed in roaming our streets, assaulting community members they do not like and making all kinds of threats they wish”.

“As my concern had reached its maximum limit, I told police detectives that ‘enough is enough’ and we will take proactive measures to stop extremists by community power. “This will include publishing all incidents, perpetrators, their vehicles, their activities, and encourage community members to enforce these extremists to retreat. We will also start mobilising community to enforce the closure of extremists’ hubs and centres they meet in.

“I indicated to police that these measures may increase tension [in an already tense] situation, but authorities silence and inaction had enforced us to empower community to take proactive steps to crack down on extremists. We know that such steps could result in [a] few confrontations and attacks and counter-attacks, but we were left with no other alternatives.”

He claimed police and security agencies were “living on other planet”.

Mr Daoud, you are so right.

It won’t last, of course. George Orwell captured the essence of how slothful induction comes to an end with this passage, from In Front of Your Nose:

The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.

The battlefield, it appears, has come to us. The only question is: how many people will have to die, before the police, the security agencies, and our political leaders, catch up with Mr Daoud and the rest of us.


About Stebbing Heuer

A person interested in exploring human perception, reasoning, judgement and deciding, and in promoting clear, effective thinking and the making of good decisions.
This entry was posted in Formal fallacies in reasoning and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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