the 'terrorobot'

  1. 5,748 Posts.
    Sep. 30, 2003
    The 'Terrorobot'

    The producers of the television documentary on extreme Islam shown on Channel 2 (Israel) on September 22 should be complimented for entitling it In the Name of God. For many viewers it might have afforded their first extended glimpse of how militant Islam indoctrinates its followers to wage jihad against heretics.

    The film showed how the same educational systems are used in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, where there are no Israelis thus clearly refuting the popular notion that suicidal murderers, including the Palestinian variety, are driven by despair caused by the Israeli "occupation."

    In the Name of God stressed, rightly, Islam's globalized religious war against the Judeo- Christian West with its underlying vicious and inhumane "child-rearing" mechanism that fosters Islamic extremism.

    The West needs to heed its militant declaration Allahu akbar!, which literally means "God is greater." The obvious implication is that "my God" in other words, my definition of monotheism is more correct than yours. Therefore I have the right to persecute you if you do not convert to my religion.

    While the Allahu akbar declaration unfortunately underlies all missionizing religions, today only extremist Muslims use violent terror tactics to fulfill their strategic goal of imposing Islam on the world.

    A QUESTION one should ask is: How do some Muslim leaders transform believers into human robots willing to murder and die?

    Anyone who watched In the name of God must have noticed leaders using the repetitive chanting or rather screaming of names and slogans, accompanied by self-inflicted injury, to condition believers to kill in the name of Allah.

    In my book on the psychology of fundamentalism, From Temple to Midrash, I conceptualize this robotizing process as "mantric hypnotism," showing that the repetitive murmuring of mantras, often accompanied by dancing and singing, is used by all persuading social systems as a means of indoctrinating believers to act in the name of one truth.

    From the tribal tam-tam dances practiced in Africa and modern trance-dances on the one hand, to the mass-hysteric yelling of Heil Hitler mantras (to which I was exposed as a child) on the other, all entail a hypnotic impact that can drive participants to act in the name of "one truth."

    In their attempt to decipher Muhammad Atta's instructions to the suicidal pilots who crashed into the Twin Towers on 9/11, the FBI used the above book and the expertise of my colleague Emmanuel Sivan, a world expert on Muslim fundamentalism, to comprehend how the unceasing repetition of certain suras from the Koran was instrumental in putting the 9/11 pilots into the hypnotic trance needed for the suicidal attack.

    Psycho-religious mechanisms are being used by singleminded and fanatic Muslim leaders to transform people into "terrorobots" willing to kill and die in the name of Allah.

    During the International Conference on Terrorism in the Post-Modern World which took place at Herzliya's Interdisciplinary Center early in September, I stressed that the term "terror" is quite meaningless for most Muslims because it has no religious connotation.

    Perhaps only moderate religion can counter religious extremism. If the Turkish example of moderate Islam can remain successful in subduing Islamic fundamentalism, the future of the free world may well depend on a choice between Ataturk and Muhammed Atta.

    The writer is professor emeritus of social work at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
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