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Playground Insults With Bombs And Guns
Many Muslims in the Middle East are taught, based on a passage in the Koran, that the Jews are descended from apes, and the Christians from pigs.


Nice, huh? At a panel discussion of a bunch of psychologists and scholars of Islam transcribed on FrontPage, professor, psychoanalyst, and author Nancy Kobrin says:

Teaching Saudi children that Jews and Christians are apes and pigs is incitement to violence. It is also teaching them to split off their own aggression and rage and to project it on to targeted dehumanized “others” who are unconsciously associated with the denigrated female. This kind of splitting and projecting is at the core of the Arab shame honor culture. Blaming the other does not permit a space for empathy, which is necessary if you are going to promote change.

David Gutmann, Emeritus professor of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Med School, and a researcher who's done psychological studies of the Druze and Bedouins, has an explanation:

I am primarily interested not in what these Arabic epithets say about Jews, but what they reveal about the self-image of contemporary Arabs.

I suggest that many Muslims believe themselves to be Apes and Pigs - low, shameful creatures who no longer merit Allah's favor.

Bear in mind that contemporary Arabs, a people who are terribly vulnerable to the experience of humiliation, are suffering a crisis of almost unbearable shame.

Global economics, communications and education have dumped them into a modern world in which they are at best second class players. As Arthur Koestler once remarked, save for rugs and dirty postcards (and recently, innovations in suicide bombing), nothing new by way of science, industry, philosophy, literature or art has come out of the Arab world in the past 500 years. The Arab response to their recently exposed backwardness is to feel excruciating shame, and then to project or "export" their shame onto those who in their eyes have inspired it.

And who better than the Jews? The Jews and particularly a relative handful of Zionists have been humiliating the Arabs since the onset of modernity. They have turned Arab deserts into fertile croplands, they have built flourishing cities where there were once Arab hovels, they have recovered from a great butchery to create science, industry and literature as well as a working democratic state with a first-rate army - an army that routinely crushes "the four corners of the (Arab) world in arms."

No wonder that a large proportion of suicide bombers and jihadists come from the ranks of college-educated rather than proletarian Arabs. When young Arabs attend Western academies, who are the great minds that they are introduced to? Answer: among other infidels, a lot of brilliant Jews, including Marx, Einstein and Freud, but - save for the heavily hyped Edward Said – almost no Arab thinkers. Arab students have been dealing with their resulting sense of humiliation by bringing Jihad and intimidation of Jews to any campus where they have attained a critical mass.

So no wonder that too many Arabs readily stigmatize Jews as apes and pigs. In the absence of any reliable evidence that Jews form such a menagerie, this accusation is a clear example of projective thinking ("fetishistic" thinking in Dr. Raddatz' terms) and clinicians know that a projection reveals much more about its source than about its target.

Via these epithets and delusions, the Arabs are telling us that their failure to keep up with the modernizing world makes them feel less than human: in Allah's eyes. They see themselves as pigs who cannot control their baser appetites, and like apes who still walk erect, but who can no longer build and support civilization.

Once formed, this largely unconscious and intolerable self-accusation is - in classic Arab fashion - projected on, exported to the Jews. Using fetishistic thinking, in which symbol ("Pig") is confounded with substance ("Jew") they hope magically to turn us Jews into the animal that is most abhorrent to us. Fused with the person of the Jew, the Pig and the Ape will be "out there"; and the Arab soul will be cleansed, made acceptable to Allah.

Posted by aalkon at April 7, 2007 11:49 AM


Meh. I don't know how much value there is in psychoanalyzing a religion with more than a billion people. Muslim anti-Semitism is disgusting, but it's probably not due solely to "projection."

More likely, it's a much prosaic reason...keeping their populations mad about the Jews and their supposed sins against Muslims is what keeps them from realizing that they are run, for the most part, by dicators and kleptocrats who would be better off as an Israeli Muslim (i.e. outside the West Bank and Gaza) than as a citizen in almost any other Muslim country.


Posted by: Speedy at April 7, 2007 8:12 AM

What great life experience and insight is this post purported to reflect, Amy ? You are flogging hate with the best of the dumbed down KKK with posts like this one. Fighting strawmen does nothing for enhancing reasonable informed dialogue.
I submit the little I overhear from Cartoon News Network berating the 'terror' of people with an insignificant fraction of U.S. assault capability is a far more potent reason to think that an attitude more appropriate to a rabid badger is the first reason for unease.

Posted by: opit at April 7, 2007 8:31 AM

"Flogging hate"? "KKK"?

Not every blogpost has to be an exhaustive survey of the historical trends and ancient events that brought us to this moment. What exactly is the kkk part?

Posted by: Crid at April 7, 2007 8:41 AM

The reference that all non Muslims are apes and pigs, because we suffer from 'Jahiliyya' or divine ignorance.

The original use of the term meant the state of ignorance of Arabia before the advent of Islam. Now it is referred as a spiritual disease originated by Jews and Westerners. It's sole purpose is to create an attractive way of life through manners, ideas and concepts, rules and regulations, values and criteria to contradict the perfect teachings of Islam. So to a spiritually pure Muslim, Jahiliyyah is out to destroy Islam. Hence, the popularity of conspiracy theories through out the Middle East.

This also allows Islamists to justify their killing of fellow Muslims, because they were tainted by Jahiliyyah. (i.e. African Embassies bombings, Bali bombings and the Amman, Jordan bombings of 2005) The sanctioned killing of fellow Muslims is an act to purify them from this spiritual disease that comes from the West and Israel.

The modern concept of Jahiliyyah was devised by Sayyid Qutb, because he was disgusted by the USA during his stay in the late 1940s. The simple philosophy devised by Qutb was that Islam is a complete system of morality, justice and governance, whose Sharia laws and principles should be the sole basis of governance and everything else in life. Qutb also defends military jihad as defensive, Islam's campaign to protect itself from Jahiliyyah. Qutb’s writings are the spiritual foundation for the Islamist movement and influenced A.Q. No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Posted by: Joe at April 7, 2007 10:56 AM

It sounds like a ghetto mentality: "the MAN is keeping us down, forcing us to hate him."

Posted by: doombuggy at April 7, 2007 11:11 AM

It is exactly that.

Flogging hate? ie, aggressively publicizing hate? Do you think if we ignore this practice (of teaching Muslim children non-Muslims are subhuman) that it will just go away? Doesn't exposing it so it can be contested seem a bit healthier?

When I was very, very young (no, this is not an A.A. Milne excerpt), I used to believe I could cover my eyes and whatever was in front of me would disappear. Sadly, that doesn't seem to be the case.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 7, 2007 2:21 PM

It's a gossip column, Crid. While the level of discourse here is far above what Renaldo or O'Reilly could ever hope to air - this is a popular press, not a science project.

Exposing it healthy ? Your timing sucks. AWOL and Cheney are hell bent on scourging the MidEast under the banner of the Crusades. Pointing out that the people on the receiving end are hateful and violent seems like pot calling the kettle black : weak 'justification' for unconscionable behaviour.

Or haven't you noticed how far things have veered from reasonably imminent danger of attack by WMD ?
A blatant lie.

Posted by: opit at April 7, 2007 4:51 PM

> this is a popular press

Still, we appreciate clarity. Your comment was so murky --neither briskly backhanded nor straightforwardly challenging-- that I couldn't make out your position. The the KKK thing just seemed inane. The Klan ruled the Indiana of my grandfather's youth. It's now little more than silly fringe. But like Nazism in Europe, it's still got power as an example and a metaphor. It's got sharp edges, and if you're going to whip it around, you oughta be cautious.

Who said anything about "reasonably imminent danger of WMD"?

Posted by: Crid at April 7, 2007 5:04 PM

Yes of course, Muslim violence and intolerance are a result of U.S. foreign policy.

But if that's the case why do they attack Hindus and Bhuddists?

"Fight those who do not believe in Allah, ... nor follow
the religion of truth... until they pay the tax in acknowledgment
of superiority and they are in a state of subjection."
Qur'an, Sura 9:29

Yeah right, it's all Bush's fault.

Posted by: winston at April 7, 2007 5:44 PM

Arent pigs smarter than dogs? I was thinking of getting an 8 year old pot bellied pig as a pet whilst at the shelter, but opted out for eating a piece of bacon instead.

Everyone hates the Jews. I used to feel neither here nor there about the Jews, until i was subjected to Constantine with Rachel Weisz . Jews you have alot to apologize for. Does anyone remember that wretched scent "Lovely"???? I wake up with beads of sweat every night because of it.

On a serious note Sayyid Qutb was an interesting fellow. Read about him on wiki. Why dont they do bios of these dudes on CNN? I never hear about this type of dude despite the fact that there's a ''war on terror''. U.S. keeps educating them too, since back in the day.

Posted by: PurplePen at April 7, 2007 5:56 PM


People would laugh at the reasons why Sayyid Qutb despised America. It covers 3 basic areas:

1. Our obsession with lawn care.
2. He attended a church dance in 1951, and went completely nuts when the slow dances began. The couples touching and the movements. Especially, to the song, "Hey Baby, Its Cold Outside."
3. The time and money we spend on our pets.

These are just some of the references that are omitted out of the translated versions of his books. Of course, those 3 examples would make perfect sense in the M.E. mentality. Qutb didn't live in Hollywood or New York City, but a small town in Colorado and he thought it was the most hedonistic place on earth.

So in defiance of Islamic extremism:
1. Mow your lawn or go to Home Depot.
2. Slow dance with someone.
3. Spoil your pet.

There are plenty of mistakes the MSM commits on a daily basis on the GWOT, Islam and M.E. history. Its about raising your emotions (mainly fear) and not your intellect when dealing with the news.

Posted by: Joe at April 7, 2007 7:56 PM

It's a gossip column, Crid.

Once again, posting without thinking! I know you meant that to be a dig at me. (Ow! That smarts!) Feel better?

I've actually done a bit of reading on gossip -- a very interesting topic. Jerome Barkow has probably done the best work on it. I'm too tired after a day of writing to retype stuff from his piece on it in "The Adapted Mind," so I'll just pull something from Michael Shermer that explains Barkow's work:

Morality most likely evolved in these tiny bands of 100-200 people as a form of reciprocal altruism, or I’ll scratch your back if you’ll scratch mine.

...In order to play the game of reciprocation you need to know whose back needs scratching and who you will trust to scratch yours. This information is gathered through telling stories abou other people, better known as gossip. According to anthropologist Jerome Barkow (1992, 627-628):

If no one tells you the gossip, you are an outsider. Gossip from an anthropologist’s perspective is a means of social control, a sanction that forces one to adhere more closely to social norms than one would otherwise be inclined. Reputation is determined by gossip, and the casual conversations of others affect one’s relative standing and one’s acceptability as a mate or as a partner in social exchange. In Euro-American society, gossiping may at times be publicly disvalued and disowned, but it remains a favorite pastime, as it no doubt is in all human societies.

...Not surprising, we are especially interested in gossiping about the activities of others that most effects our inclusive fitness, that is, our reproductive success, the reproductive success of our relatives, and the reciprocation of those around us. In the Bio-Cultural Evolutionary Pyramid from the previous chapter, gossip and storytelling are most common and effectual in the middle levels of the family, extended family, and community. It is here where we find our favorite subjects of gossip—sex, generosity, cheating, aggression, violence, social status and standings, births and deaths, political and religious commitments, physical and psychological health, and the various nuances of human relations, particularly friendships and alliances. Normal gossip, then, is about relatives, close friends, and those in our immediate sphere of influence in the community, plus members of the community or society that are high ranking or have high social status. Gossip is the stuff of which not only soap operas, but grand operas are made. But why, in our culture, do we gossip about total strangers, namely celebrities? The probable reason is that the mass media makes these figures so familiar to us that they seem like our relatives, friends, and members of the community. This is true even for fictional characters on television. "Who shot JR?" was a topic of much conversation in the 1980s. If we do not have Cinderella, we create one in people like Diana Spencer. Why would anyone care who Princess Diana slept with or what her status was within the Royal Family? Because our Pleistocene brains are being tricked into thinking that Princess Diana is someone we personally know and someone we should care about.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 7, 2007 8:01 PM

Link to The Adapted Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and the Generation of Culture is here, in case anybody's interested in it.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 7, 2007 8:03 PM

*Sayyid Qutb was an interesting fellow*

Yah. Egypt sent him off to America because they were tired of his puritanical views. He was a 40 year old virgin: I think they hoped he would get laid. Instead, he freaked out at a church dance, where the teens were bumping and grinding.

Posted by: doombuggy at April 7, 2007 8:10 PM

Sayyid Qutb needed psychiatry. If only somebody had gotten him to the young Albert Ellis, we might not be in the mess we're in today.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 7, 2007 8:12 PM

I agree Amy.

Most of the problems in the M.E. stems from the extreme form of segregation between the sexes.

Over my years with having conversations with people in the M.E. They would always talk about how wonderful the USA, our government, public education, how basic needs and services are met and many other things. The negative comments would always center on how the USA supports Israel and our treatment of women. One cleric actually shook his finger at me and said: "Why do YOU let your women behave this way?"

Posted by: Joe at April 7, 2007 9:00 PM

We can't save our whole lives to hard disk, although it often seems I'm trying to do that...

But about a week ago there was an article somewhere that said that immigrant Muslim women in Britain face terrible problems with depression and plain sadness because they see the liberty and opportunity so close but yet can't participate... Both because of pressure from family and because they wouldn't know how.

Posted by: Crid at April 7, 2007 9:08 PM

"Why do YOU let your women behave this way?" This principle, that women should be controlled, or liberated, or whatever, so long as it is men who are the active agents and women the passive receivers of the benefit, is evident in every major religion.

Posted by: Norman at April 8, 2007 2:58 AM

Well, since no one posted it, I may as well. Here's the video of the 3-year-old girl calling Jews "apes and pigs."

Although this video has been available for so long, she's probably four by now.

Posted by: Patrick at April 8, 2007 5:27 AM

The self-loathing of the religious male is always projected onto women. It's always better to date heathen men who like themselves!

Posted by: Chrissy at April 8, 2007 8:48 AM

True Chrissy, but secular guys do it too

Posted by: Crid at April 8, 2007 9:47 AM

Mostly off-topic, but Joe, do you have a blog? Ever thought of starting one? Not to deprive Amy's site of your insight and experience, but I'd love to see your comments expanded upon.

I agree with Crid - in general, stay away from men (or women) who don't like themselves and project that self-loathing onto you. They come in all shapes, sizes, and religious belief systems (or lack thereof). I've seen far too many good, cool people beaten down by marriages to/relationships with self-loathing types who worked hard to convince their partners that they were also worth nothing. I can only imagine what it's like to live in a society where EVERY marriage essentially works that way. I'm amazed such societies aren't more insane than they are.

Posted by: marion at April 8, 2007 6:10 PM


The idea of a blog has intrigued me for some time.

Also, one of my cousins is in publishing. She keeps harping on me to write a travel book. One thing I am very hesitant about is giving out specifics. Especially the names of my friends in the M.E. Reprisals are quite common. The book would be littered with nick names for various people and places. Also, there were a number of absurd, tragically-comic and very Hunter S. Thompsonesque incidents in the M.E.

I've allowed her to read some of my notebooks/journals on rare occasions. Only with my supervision. Especially during the years 1996/1997. That was a period of hell during a series of Islamist terrorist attacks through out Cairo. I jokingly told her the title of the chapter for that period would be: "How To Score With Women in the Middle of an Islamist Insurrection". She was surprised of how much 'dating' I did during the violence. Mainly American, European and Canadian women living in Cairo.

Posted by: Joe at April 9, 2007 1:27 AM

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