James Bloodworth has a somewhat similar take to mine on the appeal of Adventures With the Islamists. He wrote about it in the Independent a couple of weeks ago.
[F]or all the arguments which put Islamist violence down as a ‘terrible indictment’ of this or that aspect of Western policy, London Mayor Boris Johnson was probably closer to the mark when he described Jihadists as “porn-obsessed losers who can’t get girlfriends”.
Put another way, bitter and socially awkward virgins are often drawn to ideologies which seek to police women’s chastity and reap violent revenge on the society that has shunned them.
Ideological creeds like Isis, which seek to turn women into sex slaves and cling to a cartoonish masculinity festooned with heavy weaponry and ultra-violence, come ready-made for the Mohammed Emwazis of the world.
For obvious reasons. The set-up is perfect for people who are unpleasant, uninteresting, charisma-challenged, dull, and otherwise lacking in talent for attracting lovers. They don’t have to do anything. They don’t have to please, or make an effort, or be reasonable or fair, or take turns, or think about someone other than themselves. All that is taken care of. Everything is provided, by force, so he doesn’t have to do anything but fuck it.
To be sure, the body count is high, but then if you’re pissed off enough, that’s could be an extra perk as opposed to a drawback.
This is why the media’s obsession with Emwazi’s supposed ‘radicalisation’ is myopic. Based on no evidence at all it is inferred that if only we could locate Emwazi’s grievances (British foreign policy/the brutality of the security services etc) we might safely inoculate society against further outrages. ‘It is our fault,’ as the solipsistic argument has it; we just have to find out why the Jihadists are so angry with us.
That may be one advantage of having made so thoroughly familiar with angry internet harassers over the past few years – I know all this. Why are the harassers so angry? Who knows and who cares. They’re shitty people who spend all their spare time frotting their hatreds online. They’re not angry because of the Iraq war or income inequality or NSA surveillance or the decline of the NHS; they’re angry because they’re angry. It gives their lives meaning. It’s not at all hard for me to believe that Emwazi is like that multiplied by some very large number.
Human beings have long been attracted by the promise of utopia (heavenly or earthly); and in Britain at least racism has undoubtedly helped to push young Muslims into the arms of proselytizing Islamists with their ready-made and all-encompassing explanations of us-versus-them. But another way of understanding the anger of a person like Mohammed Emwazi – and Jihadist fanatics more generally – is to locate it within the penumbra of male – and particularly adolescent male – insecurity.
The obsession throughout Jihadist politics with the behaviour of women ought to be the giveaway. Islamism’s original theorist Sayyid Qutb concocted his politicisation of Islam partly based on disgust at political repression in his own country, but as he documented in Milestones, he was also repulsed at the freedom afforded to American women. Similarly, the British-born Islamists who plotted in 2004 to murder clubbers in the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London did not cite Palestine or imperialism as their casus belli, but instead gleefully talked about murdering “those slags dancing around”.
Misogyny, people. It’s a warning sign, and it’s the toxin itself. Men who froth with hatred of women are not volunteering at food banks or being clinic escorts.