Why The West’s Gap Year Jihadi Rappers Use Youth Culture To Get An ID
WHY does a seemingly sane, intelligent, academically ambitious young man leave Cardiff, as Nasser Mauthana did, and decide to wage holy war in Syria and Iraq? Why are young British male Muslims like Aberdeen schoolboy Abdul Raqib Amin attracted to the idea of waving the militant black flag of ISIS. Why are so many tuning in to cheer on the brethren?
Maybe it’s not the pull of global jihad that attracts them so much as it is the joy in rejecting the values of the society you grew up in? It’s youthful rebellion. It;s taking on The Man.
David Aaronovitch writes in the Times:
Why is there no Muslim Peace Movement campaigning for an end to violence in Muslim countries, where the victims are Muslims and the perpetrators are Muslims? Where it might make the most difference.
A couple of weeks ago listeners heard a depressing report from Bradford. Sima Kotecha, the BBC correspondent, was interviewing young Pakistani-British boys about Iraq. Would they go and fight for Isis or other groups? “I would go. They’re brothers,” said one. “You’re going to live as a Muslim, die as a Muslim, innit?” said another.
So. The bit about Muslims killing other Muslims? The AP reports:
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it has documented 7,000 deaths as a result of the rebel-on-rebel violence since January, when infighting erupted in northern Syria. The death toll also included 650 civilians who got caught in the crossfire of the fighting between the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front and its rival, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — a group which formally broke with al-Qaida earlier this year and has in recent weeks become a major fighting force in neighboring Iraq.
Those are just the Muslims with weapons. The Telegraph added in April 2014:
At least 150,000 people have been killed in Syria‘s three-year-old civil war, a third of them civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said.
The UK-based Observatory, which monitors violence in Syria through a network of activists and medical or security sources, said the real toll was likely to be significantly higher at about 220,000 deaths.
So. Who is the oppressed?
The talks of worldwide Muslim brethren has echoes of the negritude movement.
Negritude was both a literary and ideological movement led by French-speaking black writers and intellectuals. The movement is marked by its rejection of European colonization and its role in the African diaspora, pride in “blackness” and traditional African values and culture, mixed with an undercurrent of Marxist ideals.
In the 1930s when a negritude culture war began, the blacks were the West’s second-class citizens, segregated in the US and dehumanised in South Africa. All blacks were now brothers, a united force against the white overseers.
The movement would later find a major critic in Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian playwright and poet, who believed that a deliberate and outspoken pride in their color placed black people continually on the defensive, saying notably “Un tigre ne proclâme pas sa tigritude, il saute sur sa proie,” or “A tiger doesn’t proclaim its tigerness; it jumps on its prey.”
These Muslism brothers, stoked up on divine judgement and weapons stolen from America and donated by Saudi Arabia get to jump. The LA Times looks at the vast arsenal of weaponry ISIS have captured:
Government forces retreated en masse from the onslaught, leaving behind a military hardware bonanza, including the U.S.-made armored Humvees as well as trucks, rockets, artillery pieces, rifles, ammunition, even a helicopter. Some of the seized materiel was old or otherwise non-functioning; but a lot was promptly put to use on the battlefield.
Pictures of grinning Islamist warriors cruising in U.S. Humvees bedecked with white-on-black militant flags flooded the Internet and became the signature image of the ISIS rampage.
ISIS social-media enthusiasts even mocked the global #BringBackOurGirls Twitter campaign, referring to girls kidnapped by an Al Qaeda offshoot in Nigeria. ISIS sympathizers began tweeting #BringBackOurHumvee.
There is at work here what can only be called a victim mentality — paradoxical given the power and size of Islam — which casts Muslims as being eternally oppressed and eternal victims. This week the supreme leader of Iran, arguably the most powerful Muslim religious leader in the world, tweeted his “analysis of recent events in the region”. Point 1 was: “Main enemy: security and intelligence services of the West.” Point 2 was their tactics: “Sowing sectarian conflicts”, launching proxy wars and “fabricating forged alternatives of Islam”. Neither he nor any other Muslim had any real responsibility for any of it.
A fantasy of victimhood is difficult enough when it enchants just a nation. When it enthrals a world religion it is terrifying.
Does that feeling to fighting for the underdog seduce British teenagers to join the cause?
Frank Furedi notes:
It is clear that their embrace of radical Islam is coupled with a rejection of the way of life of their parents and also of the communities they inhabit. Such a generational rebellion against the old ways is not confined to Muslim youth. When you talk to young radical British Muslims it is obvious that they are motivated by impulses shared by many of their non-Muslim peers. Take their rejection of Western consumer society: ‘Are you willing to sacrifice the fat job you’ve got, the big car you’ve got, the family you have’, asks Abdul Raqib Amin in his ISIS-sponsored video. His views, which draw on the anti-consumerist rhetoric of Western radicalism, are shared by a significant section of European youth. Indeed, it could just as easily be a statement made by a member of Occupy. But Amin is not just a radical protester, and he reminds his audience that he also belongs to a distinct youth subculture by asking: ‘Are you willing to sacrifice this, for the sake of Allah?’
And those recruiting websites?
Jihad is often presented not just as a religious duty, but as an exciting adventure. For many, these are ‘cool’ sites that allow users’ fantasies to flourish. For others – a relatively small minority – such sites provide something more: a medium through which they can make sense of their lives.
You want meaning in your life? You want to reject the olds and be grown up and macho? Well, join the ISIS Army, young fella. It’s the best gap year you never had:
ISIS has banned smoking and music, imposed the full-face veil and closed all shops before and during prayer times. These British kids and other anti-Western rebels eschew alcohol and smoking. That’s so uncool, dad-io.
As for music, well, there could be trouble ahead because if you wanna be cool you gotta be gangsta. You’ve got be an outsider writing back to the Empire. You gott be a rapper. Take them away, YouTuber mohyeldeen muhajer:
The Ronald Reagan was a dirty kuffar.
The Mr. Tony Blair is a dirty kuffar.
The one Mr. Bush is a dirty kuffar…
Throw them in the fire.
Simple. Catchy. It could pass for a football fan’s chant. Not that the hardcore Muslim youth ever did get into the football factory like those other macho young men looking for an ID: