Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jihad a Function of Disfunction

Phyllis Chesler attributes the enormous appeal violent jihad holds for certain young men to the disfunctionality of the polygamous family:
One is the 17th son; the other is the 16th son. Neither are the sons of a first wife. One is an engineer; the other was an engineering student. Both have ancestral roots in Yemen. Both are educated and come from wealthy families.

I am talking about Osama bin Laden–the 17th son among 57 children whose father is Yemeni–and the Christmas Day Bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab–the 16th and youngest son, whose mother is Yemeni. Both men were born “shamed,” disadvantaged, because their mothers were not “first,” or high-status wives.

Both men are lonely sons of Allah, yearning for paternal attention, even affection, in a polygamous culture in which fathers have too many children and little incentive to pay close attention to any one of them. This is devastating, especially to sons, because the culture overly values fathers and men, and grossly undervalues mothers and women. Thus, the attention a son may receive from his mother (if she is not sent away, as Bin Laden’s mother was) does not make up for the missing and longed-for father.

I have often thought that the way many Arab Muslim brothers brutally order their sisters around not only reflects how their fathers treat everyone but is also a measure of their frustration about not being able to bond with their absent, lordly fathers. Thus, for a number of reasons, prison-style sexuality as well as homosexuality and homosexual pederasty is as rampant as it is forbidden in Arab and Muslim culture.

Arab and Muslim sons desperately want their fathers. But their fathers are busy marrying other, younger wives, having other, newer children, and founding financial empires. They want their fathers to redeem them from the shameful fate of living in a world of mainly women–which they do when they are very young; and of course, they want their fathers for reasons of identity and inheritance...
Interesting theory. I'm sure the daddy dearest stuff must be part of it. At the same time, though, I think we'd be wise not to discount the enourmous appeal of Islamic supremacism as well as the posthumous payoff guaranteed to be awaiting the successful--i.e. dead--holy warrior.

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