UMMA=THE MUSLIM NATION=UMMI=MOMMY
Last week, in a Letter, 138 Muslim clerics sought to find “common ground” but only with Christians. In my view, they did so because Christians are the only religious group that outnumbers the Muslims demographically, by about six to seven hundred million.
In a sense, from a psycho-analytic point of view, this is an example of “literal” or “concrete” thinking. The World Trade Center and The Pentagon are symbols of American might. Hence, destroying these structures is “literally” the same as destroying American infidel power.
But, when one thinks psycho-analytically, nothing is exactly as it seems. Often, such thinking also provokes people’s unconscious anxieties about…you guessed it, about their own mothers and their own relations to women.
According to Dr. Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin, a psycho-analyst, Arabist, and counter-terrorism expert with whom I have written a series of articles about Islamic suicide killers, and whom I have also quoted in 2004 HERE, 2005 HERE and HERE, and 2006 HERE:
“The Letter is an overture. They want to pull us close but they also need to push us away. This is similar to the classic unconscious behavior of a batterer. They want to stir up all our hopes for peace but they do not know how to relate or engage in genuine intimacy. They can f*** a lot of women but they have no ability to relate to women. It is tragic. Psychologically, they are completely tone deaf.”
Dr. Kobrin is also the author of an important book: “The Sheiks’ New Clothes: The Naked Truth about Islamic Suicide Terrorism” for which I wrote the Introduction. Her publisher, Looseleaf Law, cancelled the contract when they decided that if Muslims could launch riots because of the Pope’s comments about Islam, that they, a small American publisher, could not economically afford to protect their employees from Islamist violence–were it to occur. As yet, no other publisher has stepped forward.
Dr. Kobrin has terrified many a counter-terrorism expert with her ideas about the psychological importance of the Mother to Arab Islamist suicide killers and to their handlers. She notes that according to Al-Qaeda expert, Rohan Gunaratna, many an intercepted terrorist (in the Middle East and in Pakistan) has wept and “named names” once the police bring his mother into the interrogation room and undress her.
A man’s honor is literally located in his mother’s genitalia. If she is shamed and therefore shames him, he is undone unless he can kill her and whoever has shamed them both. This is also true for every other close female relative. This is how a “shame and honor” society works.
Recently, Michael Moss and Souad Mekhennet have described how jihadists download their internet messages of hate and violence. First, “someone with al-Qaeda uploads the video, probably at an internet cafe, to password-protected sites. Then they call a friend say, in Australia or Brasilia, and say, “Hi Johnny, your MOM is traveling today.” That is the code to download the video.” (Please see HERE.)
Although women are denigrated and deeply devalued in Arab Muslim culture (a culture which has been “Arabizing” the non-Arab Muslim world), psychologically speaking, Arab Muslim men exhibit a very “heliotropic” orientation to the mother. They are always searching for, relating to, disconnecting from, re-connecting to the Mother.
Often, an Arab Muslim suicide killer will stand right next to a pregnant woman or a mother with small children before they blow themselves up. This is not a contradiction. It is an expression of the struggle between Eros (Life) and Thanatos (Death), an example of what it means to “come close,” and to “push away”, a “literal” enactment of what it means to have to kill the object of forbidden or dangerous love. Palestinian terrorists claim to despise Jews as sub-human–and yet they choose to mingle their blood with that of the despised Other in their suicide murders.
The full name of Al Qaeda is “Al Qaeda Al Subah.” “Al Qaeda” means “Base” and “Al Subah” means “Solid.” Hence, bin Laden’s cult both promises and desires a “Solid Base”. According to Dr. Kobrin, this phrase, both linguistically and psychologically refers to a “secure attachment to Ummi” (Mommy!). The concept of a universal nation-state to which all religious Muslims must be loyal, is the “umma.” Dr. Kobrin says that “the maternal figure looms large in the psyche of the Muslim group self.”
Thus, one might conclude that there is something intrinsic to Arab Muslim psychology which is obsessed with what it fears can shame and destroy it: Jews, Women, and Infidels, in no particular order. The need to control these three groups is very great–especially since Muslim dependence upon them is both very great and greatly despised.
Therefore, the Muslim clerical Letter may not represent a sincere desire to live in peace with a religion with whom they profoundly disagree as much as it may represent a first step towards trying to persuade Christians to understand that God has “no associate” (no Christ, no partner). Once Christians understand this they will realize that in order to have the “peace” they so treasure they will have to convert to Islam. If not, Muslims will have no choice but to continue to wage war against them.
Maybe if we are lucky, jihadists will simply tax the hell out of us (aren’t they already doing that with the high price of oil?–dependence can be a wonderfully mutual thing); drive us out of Muslim lands (isn’t that wherever Muslims happen to live?); veil or rape our naked (unveiled) women?
Friends: Trying to understand one’s opponents psycho-analytically and culturally is only one small piece of the puzzle to be deciphered. In my next and final installment about this Letter, I will focus on its theological implications and on its propagandistic value.
I appreciate all your Comments so far. Can some more of you simply “vote” on whether you think this Letter is a sincere Peace initiative or a chilling declaration of war?