News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: "Sudden Jihad Syndrome"

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Sudden Jihad Syndrome"

The backlash against what's perceived as insanity can be harsher than the direct effects of the person with the disease. Taking care of those who suffer from the effects of insanity has notoriously been a difficult undertaking. The fact that modern science resorts to using powerful drugs to cure the insane testifies to the profoundly disturbing nature of insanity.

Yet, as effective as these drugs are ta making the insane more manageable--read here vegetable-like--few pyschiatrists would aver that they've actually cured their patients. They've simply made it easier to modify these people's actions and ameliorate the danger that they pose to others and themselves. ...

The case of the man who killed several Jewish women Oregon is a case in point. The deranged man, whom many conisdered deranged is now awaiting trial for murder.

Deranged? you might ask. Yes.

According to recent media accounts, he seemed like a lost man seeking some form of stabilizing element in his life:

An engineer, Mian Haq and other members of the local Pakistani American community work for the nearby Hanford Site (a nuclear reservation). The junior Haq was not known to be an observant Muslim, and a Christian evangelical organization in the Tri-Cities area claims that he was baptized last year. But Haq was clearly identifying himself as a Muslim at the time of the shooting.
His actions were extremely erratic and those close to him noticed that the recent invasion of Lebanon by Israel had affected him negatively.

One explanation for his actions is that he was suffering from a highly agitated frame of mind which the Israeli invasion sparked into destructive life. Even given the minimal details, one sees that this was a highly fragmented personality, whose roots in Islam had been undermined while he seems to have flailled about trying to find something to fill the vaccuum left by the destruction of those roots.

Some would like to use Haq's case as a model for what Moslems in general would exhibit given the right circumstances.Pipes writes:
...Mr. Haq's actions are a clear instance of "Sudden Jihad Syndrome," whereby normal-appearing Muslims unpredictably become violent. His attack confirms my oft-repeated call for special scrutiny of Muslims. Because the identity of the next homicidal jihadi cannot be anticipated, Muslims generally need to come under heightened observation. I regret writing this as much as you dislike reading it, but it needs to be said and operated upon.
Pipes' is obviously exploiting a single instance to make a political case that covers an entire population.

The psychological effects or modern nihilism are well-documented in philosophical literature. From Kierkegaard to Nietzsche to Dostoevsky, the effects that the modern milieu has on the human psyche has been a theme for great debate.

It is within this context of nihilism that Haq's actions should be seen. To politicize his deplorable, if deranged, actions reflect poorly on the moral bankruptcy of those who'd turn an individual's insanity into a political platform that would dishonestly paint all members of a religion with the same brush.

When faced with such overly generalized comments as Pipes', I always revert to Simone Weil's idea that we humans are all capable of the most heinous crimes. To her credit, Weil attempted to identify the problem and the solution. Since modern western civilization destroys social and cultural roots, replacing them with a highly unstable consumerist ethos, the model of a syndicalist/agrarian-based society that Weil provides attempts to ameliorate those conditions.

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