Friday, June 30, 2006

Behold Your Enemy!

It has been bothering me for some time that I don't understand violent religious extremists. Why are they the way they are? Are they put up to it by manipulative people (as many believe) or does the instigation to murder come from within? Do they find a justification for sociopathic behavior in religion, or does religious zealotry lead to hatred and violence in some people? How the heck do middle-class Canadians become terrorists? This applies to doctor-killing Christians and those who incite them as much as to Islamic terrorists, but the latter are more prominent these days.

The Globe & Mail published an article called "Hateful chatter behind the veil" (June 29) about some of the wives of the 17 men who were arrested in Toronto recently for plotting to blow up the Toronto Stock Exchange, a military base and a Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) office. The article is based on public Internet postings by the women, in English, that the Globe uncovered apparently with a Google search. There's something about reading a person's own words to get an understanding of where they're really coming from... and these women appear to be very, very scary.

Nada Farooq came to Canada from Saudi Arabia as a youngster. She was teased at school; her name is pronounced "needa" and kids called her "Needa Shower". If the suggestion is that she became what she did because she suffered intolerance, I think this is a red herring: every kid is taunted and teased in school. That seems rather mild compared to some of what I witnessed, and if this is the biggest instance of intolerance that the reporters could uncover, then that doesn't seem to be a factor.

She grew up in a stable family with two parents in one of the most ethnically diverse and immigrant-supportive places in the world, metro Toronto. Her father is a pharmacist. He dispenses drugs at a Canadian military base and supports the military intervention in Afghanistan. Farooq finished high school and her parents wanted her to go to university. Farooq's father says that he never heard extremist views from her like those she expressed in her Internet postings. She is very devout, according to her father - much more devout than her parents.

According to her Internet postings, Farooq hopes that all her sons will become terrorists. She considered adding a clause to her marriage contract that she could divorce her husband if "he ever refuses a clear opportunity to leave for jihad".

While a student at Meadowvale Secondary School, Farooq founded an Internet forum for Muslim students and she and another suspect's wife, Cheryfa MacAulay Jamal, used it to promote radical views to the students. They posted videos of the beheadings of US hostages and wrote posts with titles such as "Terrorism and killing civilians" and "Behold Your Enemy!"

Jamal, a native of Cape Breton who converted to Islam and then married a Muslim, argued on the forum that Muslims should not vote in the federal election, saying: "Are you accepting a system that separates religion and state? Are you gonna give your pledge of allegiance to a party that puts secular laws above the laws of Allah? Are you gonna worship that which they worship? Are you going to throw away the most important thing that makes you a muslim?"

In her mid-40s, Jamal was by far the oldest participant in the Meadowvale high school student forum. According to the Globe, Jamal expressed hate for banking, the UN, women's rights, Canadian laws and Americans.

Jamal told the Meadovale students, "You don't know that the Muslims in Canada will never be rounded up and put into internment camps like the Japanese were in WWII!" Writing about Americans, she told them, "Know what you will face one day. Let them call you a terrorist, let them make you look like a savage, but know that THIS is the filth of the earth, the uncivilised destroyer of humanity...Know from this day that this is not an Iraqi problem, it is not an Afghani problem, it is not a Palestinian problem, it is not a Somali problem. IT IS YOUR PROBLEM!!!"

Farooq's online avatar is a picture of the Koran and a rifle. She repeatedly referred to Canada as "this filthy country." In her postings, according to the Globe, Farooq expressed hate for gay people, Jews, Americans, moderate Muslims, and Canada. Here are some of the things she wrote:

* "All muslim politicians are corrupt. There's no one out there willing to rule the country by the laws of Allah, rather they fight to rule the country by the laws of democracy."

* She posted a photo of a gay rally, and wrote, "Look at these pathetic people. They should all be sent to Saudi, where these sickos are executed or crushed by a wall, in public."

* "May Allah crush these jews, bring them down to their kneees, humuliate them. Ya Allah make their women widows and their children orphans."

* "Those who are sincere in pleasing Allah will go to whatever length to help the true believers. Those who fear Allah more than they fear the CSIS. Those are the ones who will succeed in the hereafter."

The Canadian model of a female monster is, of course, Karla Homolka. It's interesting to compare Farooq and Jamal to Homolka. All three seem to be sociopaths. Homolka took a passive role in that she helped her husband torture, rape and murder young women for his pleasure. Farooq and Jamal are instigators but it's not clear whether they would ever engage in murder themselves. They egg on their husbands, they plan to raise their children to kill, and they manipulate young Muslims. They apparently hate everyone on earth who is not a devout, radical Muslim and want to see every non-Muslim institution destroyed.

One woman is an immigrant from the Middle East who grew up here; the other is a Cape Bretoner who converted to Islam. Both seem to take for granted the freedoms they are afforded in Canada. They make explicit arguments about the right to free speech, and yet they say they hate Canadian law because it is not religious law. (Not that it's unusual for sociopaths to feel strongly about their own rights but disregard the rights of others.) They don't, at least in the quotes from the Globe article, seem to have any goal other than to enjoy their comfy life in suburban Canada and incite hatred and murder.


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