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[Xmca-l] Re: Fwd: Paris and the Islamic State
Part of the same mindset, Peter.
On Tue, Nov 17, 2015 at 3:11 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Thanks Mike. I came across the following this morning. I think it's
> important reading, in that it wonders why horrific events in Paris, which
> happen constantly in Baghdad and elsewhere in the Middle East, get
> worldwide sorrow and sympathy while Muslim communities attacked daily get
> little press or compassion at all.
> As world mourns Paris, many in Mideast see double-standard
> By SUSANNAH GEORGEASSOCIATED PRESS – published Monday, November 16, 20150
> BAGHDAD | Within hours of last week's Paris attacks, as outrage and
> sympathy flooded his social media feeds and filled the airwaves, Baghdad
> resident Ali al-Makhzomy updated his Facebook cover photo to read
> "solidarity" — and his friends were shocked.
> "Everyone was like why are you posting about Paris and not about the
> attacks in Baghdad every day," the recent law school graduate said. "A lot
> of my friends said, 'OK, so you care more about them than you care about
> He had unintentionally tapped into frustration in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria
> with what many see as a double-standard: The world unites in outrage and
> sympathy when the Islamic State group kills Westerners, but pays little
> attention to the near-daily atrocities it carries out in the Middle East.
> The day before the Paris attacks, twin suicide bombers struck a southern
> Beirut suburb, killing at least 43 people, and on Friday a suicide bomber
> struck a funeral in Iraq, killing at least 21. Both attacks were claimed by
> the IS group and reported by major media outlets, but generated little
> interest outside the region, where the turmoil of recent years has made
> such events seem like a sadly regular occurrence.
> Baghdad has seen near-daily attacks in recent years, mainly targeting the
> security forces and the country's Shiite majority. Bombings killed an
> average of more than 90 civilians a month last year, according to Iraq Body
> Count, a U.K.-based group that documents civilian deaths in Iraq.
> The civil war in neighboring Syria has killed 250,000 people since 2011.
> There, government warplanes regularly carry out raids using so-called
> barrel bombs that demolish entire apartment blocks and insurgent groups
> shell government-held neighborhoods.
> Lebanon, however, had been relatively calm for the past year, leading many
> to feel that last week's tragedy was unfairly neglected. Many were angered
> by Facebook's deployment of a new feature in the wake of the Paris attacks
> that allowed users to check in and say they were safe. The feature was not
> available for the Beirut attacks.
> "'We' don't get a safe button on Facebook," Lebanese blogger Joey Ayoub
> wrote. "'We' don't get late night statements from the most powerful men and
> women alive and millions of online users."
> Facebook released a statement saying it had previously only used the
> Safety Check feature after natural disasters and said it would be used for
> "other serious and tragic incidents in the future."
> But it added that "during an ongoing crisis, like war or epidemic, Safety
> Check in its current form is not that useful for people: because there
> isn't a clear start or end point and, unfortunately, it's impossible to
> know when someone is truly 'safe.'"
> Al-Makhzomy said the feature wouldn't be quite as useful in Iraq.
> "In Baghdad it's not just like one attack," he said. "You would need to
> have a date on the safety check, like I'm safe from this one or that one.
> ... There are too many for just 'I'm Safe.'"
> In the U.S., social media shaming also played out on Facebook, Twitter and
> other channels in the aftermath of Paris over the use of a tool that shades
> profile photos to resemble the French flag. Other social media users object
> to a sea of vacation selfies at the Eiffel Tower being posted as a show of
> solidarity and an expression of "slacktivism," rather than true social
> justice commitment.
> "What happened in Paris is awful and my thoughts are with the families
> affected as well as our global leaders as they figure out what to do," said
> 33-year-old Jim Brown, a former U.S. Marine who lives in Fishers, Indiana.
> "That said, changing my avatar to the colors of the French flag is just an
> easy way for me feel like I did something while sitting on my butt in my
> suburban American home."
> Rosina Motta, 40, grew up near El Monte, California, where one of the
> Paris victims, 23-year-old Nohemi Gonzalez, lived.
> "I wanted to express myself but didn't want to have to delve into this
> long Facebook post like other people were doing, so I waited a couple of
> days and changed by Facebook profile picture using the flag tool," Motta
> The reaction from a couple friends was swift, including a fellow woman of
> "I was questioned by a couple of people why I wasn't posting about Beirut
> and Lebanon," said Motta, who lives in San Bernardino, about 50 miles (80
> kilometers) east of Los Angeles.
> She was declared a "media sympathizer" for failing to name the local
> student whose death had moved her and not sharing the student's photo. The
> identity had not yet been formally released by officials, Motta said.
> "Some comments were race-related and called me out for defending the media
> when it took time for them to release her name. She is of Latin/Hispanic
> heritage and it became a 'brown' issue," said Motta, who is of Mexican
> heritage. "It is beyond ridiculous."
> Kelly Hayes, 34, is an activist of color in Chicago and a community
> engagement fellow for the progressive nonprofit Truth-out.org. She has
> received attention online in the aftermath of the Paris attacks for a Nov.
> 14 post on her year-old blog, Transformativespaces.org, urging an end to
> the "grief shaming" that is playing out on social media, as it has after
> other tragedies.
> Under the headline, "On the Violence in Paris: Stop the Grief Shaming,"
> Hayes wrote that the issues of racism, uneven media coverage and the
> "seeming constancy of some violence" will not be overcome by "judgment or
> snark" on Facebook, Twitter and other online channels.
> "Moments of great empathy are not a social failing. If anything, they are
> an opportunity to build better and expand our collective compassion. Posts
> that more or less amount to, 'if you care about this, but didn't post about
> (insert tragedy here), I'm judging you' help nothing and heal nothing,"
> Hayes wrote.
> For her trouble, she has received about 60,000 views and some backlash of
> her own. Does she think social media makes it too easy to over-simplify
> outrage and grief?
> "The last thing I would want to do is invalidate the feelings behind
> people expressing frustration, anger, because those come from a very real
> place," said Hayes, who is Native American. "We all express our grief
> Associated Press writer Leanne Italie in New York contributed to this
> -----Original Message-----
> From: email@example.com [mailto:
> firstname.lastname@example.org] On Behalf Of mike cole
> Sent: Monday, November 16, 2015 9:29 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Fwd: Paris and the Islamic State
> Perhaps of interest.
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Scott Atran <email@example.com>
> Date: Mon, Nov 16, 2015 at 5:51 PM
> Subject: Paris and the Islamic State
> To: COG-SCI-REL-L@jiscmail.ac.uk
> Dear Colleagues
> [image: Inline image 1]
> *Paris: The War ISIS Wants*
> *Scott Atran
> <http://www.nybooks.com/contributors/scott-atran/?tab=tab-blog> and
> Nafees Hamid <
> The shock produced by the multiple coordinated attacks in Paris on
> Friday—the scenes of indiscriminate bloodshed and terror on the streets,
> the outrage against Islamic extremism among the public, French President
> Francois Holland’s vow to be “merciless” in the fight against the
> “barbarians of the Islamic State”—is, unfortunately, precisely what ISIS
> intended. For the greater the hostility toward Muslims in Europe and the
> deeper the West becomes involved in military action in the Middle East, the
> closer ISIS comes to its goal of creating and managing chaos.
> This is a strategy that has enabled it to confound far superior
> international forces, while enhancing its legitimacy in the eyes of its
> followers. The complexity of the French plot also suggests how successful
> ISIS has been at cultivating sources of support within the native
> populations of secular Western countries. Attacking ISIS in Syria will not
> contain this global movement, which now includes more than two thousand
> French citizens.
> As our own research has shown—in interviews with youth in Paris, London,
> and Barcelona, as well as with captured ISIS fighters in Iraq and Jabhat
> an-Nusra (al-Qaeda) fighters from Syria—simply treating the Islamic State
> as a form of “terrorism” or “violent extremism” masks the menace.
> Dismissing the group as “nihilistic” reflects a dangerous avoidance of
> trying to comprehend, and deal with, its profoundly alluring mission to
> change and save the world. What many in the international community regard
> as acts of senseless, horrific violence are to ISIS’s followers part of an
> exalted campaign of purification through sacrificial killing and
> self-immolation. This is the purposeful violence that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,
> the Islamic State’s self-anointed Caliph, has called “the volcanoes of
> Jihad”—creating an international jihadi archipelago that will eventually
> unite to destroy the present world to create a new-old world of universal
> justice and peace under the Prophet’s banner.
> Indeed, ISIS’s theatrical brutality—whether in the Middle East or now in
> Europe—is part of a conscious plan designed to instill among believers a
> sense of meaning that is sacred and sublime, while scaring the hell out of
> fence-sitters and enemies. This strategy was outlined in the 2004 manifesto
> *Idharat at Tawahoush*(The Management of Savagery), a tract written for
> ISIS’s precursor, the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda;*tawahoush* comes from
> *wahsh* or “beast,” so an animal-like state. Here are some of its main
> Diversify and widen the vexation strikes against the Crusader-Zionist
> enemy in every place in the Islamic world, and even outside of it if
> possible, so as to disperse the efforts of the alliance of the enemy and
> thus drain it to the greatest extent possible.
> To be effective, attacks should be launched against soft targets that
> cannot possibly be defended to any appreciable degree, leading to a
> debilitating security state:
> If a tourist resort that the Crusaders patronize…is hit, all of the
> tourist resorts in all of the states of the world will have to be secured
> by the work of additional forces, which are double the ordinary amount, and
> a huge increase in spending.
> Crucially, these tactics are also designed to appeal to disaffected young
> who tend to rebel against authority, are eager for for self-sacrifice, and
> are filled with energy and idealism that calls for “moderation” (
> *wasatiyyah*) only seek to suppress. The aim is
> to motivate crowds drawn from the masses to fly to the regions which we
> manage, particularly the youth… [For] the youth of the nation are closer to
> the innate nature [of humans] on account of the rebelliousness within them.
> Finally, these violent attacks should be used to draw the West as deeply
> and actively as possible into military conflict:
> Work to expose the weakness of America’s centralized power by pushing it
> to abandon the media psychological war and war by proxy until it fights
> Eleven years later, ISIS is using this approach against America’s most
> important allies in Europe. For ISIS, causing chaos in France has special
> impetus. The first major military push by the Islamic State Caliphate in
> the summer of 2014 was to obliterate the international border between Syria
> and Iraq—a symbol of the arbitrary division of the Arab and Muslim world
> imposed by France and Great Britain after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire,
> seat of the last Muslim Caliphate. And because the lights of Paris
> epitomize cultural secularism for the world and thus “ignorance of divine
> guidance” (*jahiliyyah*), they must be extinguished until rekindled by
> God’s divine radiance (*an-Noor*).
> The fact that The EU’s replacement rate is 1.59 children per couple and
> the continent needs substantial levels of immigration to maintain a
> productive workforce—at a time where there is a refugee crisis and amid
> greater hostility to immigrants than ever—is another form of chaos the
> Islamic State is well-positioned to exploit. French authorities have found
> the passport, possibly doctored, of one Syrian national associated with the
> Paris attacks, as well as two fake Turkish passports, indicating that ISIS
> is taking advantage of Europe’s refugee crisis, and encouraging hostility
> and suspicion toward those legitimately seeking refuge in order to further
> drive a wedge between Muslims and European non-Muslims.
> Today, France has one of the largest Muslim minorities in Europe. French
> Muslims are also predominantly a social underclass, a legacy of France’s
> colonial past and indifference to its aftermath. For example, although just
> 7 to 8 percent of France’s population is Muslim, as much as 70 percent of
> the prison population is Muslim, a situation that has left a very large
> number of young French Muslims vulnerable to absorbing radical ideas in
> prison and out. Within this social landscape, ISIS finds success. France
> has contributed more foreign fighters to ISIS than any other Western
> One attacker at the Bataclan concert hall, where the highest number of
> people were killed, was twenty-nine-year-old Ismaël Omar Mostefaï, a French
> citizen of Algerian and Portuguese origin from the Paris area. He had a
> criminal record and had traveled to Syria for a few months between 2013 and
> 2014—a profile similar the two Kouachi brothers, also French nationals of
> Algerian origin living in Paris proper, who had trained with al-Qaeda’s
> affiliate in Yemen before carrying out the *Charlie Hebdo* attacks in Paris
> in January.
> Other presumed plotters of Friday’s attacks include two brothers, Salah
> Abdeslam Salah, twenty-six, who remains at large, and his brother Ibrahim,
> thirty-one, who detonated a suicide bomb near the Stade de France soccer
> stadium. Although French citizens, the Abdeslam brothers had been living in
> Molenbeek, a poor Brussels barrio populated by Arab immigrants. In the last
> year, weapons from that neighborhood have been linked to Parisian-born
> Amedy Coulilaby, a thirty-three-year-old of Malian descent who had been a
> jail buddy of one of the Kouachi brothers and who carried out the lethal
> January attack on a Kosher supermarket in Paris; and Mehdi Nemmouche,
> twenty-nine, a French national of Algerian origin who spent a over a year
> with ISIS in Syria and was responsible for the deadly shootings at the
> Jewish Museum of Belgium. Another of the Paris suicide bombers,
> twenty-year-old Bilal Hadfi, was also a French national who fought with the
> Islamic State before returning to Belgium, which has the highest per capita
> rate of jihadi volunteers from Europe. Two other Belgians, one of whom was
> eighteen, were also involved in the Paris attacks, as well as a
> twenty-seven-year-old Egyptian, Yousef Salahel.
> As with the 2004 Madrid train bombings and the 2005 London Underground
> bombings, what seems to be emerging from the fragmentary reports so far is
> that the Paris attacks were carried out by a loose network of family,
> friends, and fellow travelers who may have each followed their own,
> somewhat independent paths to radical Islam before joining up with ISIS.
> But their closely coordinated actions at multiple sites in Paris indicate
> a significant degree of training, collective planning, and command and
> control by the Islamic State (including via encrypted messages), under the
> likely direction of Abdelhamid Abaooud, known as Abu Omar, “The Belgian,” a
> twenty-seven-year-old of Moroccan origin from Molenbeek, who is now in
> Such coordination has been facilitated by the very large contingent of
> French foreign fighters in Syria. In April, French Senator Jean-Pierre Suer
> said <
> 1,430 men and women from France had made their way to Iraq and Syria, up
> from just twenty as of 2012. About 20 percent of these people are converts.
> The latest report from West Point’s Center for Combating Terrorism <
> which has detailed records on 182 French fighters, notes that most are in
> their twenties. About 25 percent come from the Paris area, with the rest
> scattered over smaller regions throughout France. According toFrance’s
> Interior Ministry <
> 571 French citizens or residents are presently in Syria and Iraq, some
> with al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat an-Nusra, but most with ISIS. More than 260
> people are known to have returned to France, and more than 2,000 people
> from France have been directly implicated in the jihadi pipeline to and
> from the region, which extends across Europe: police have already made
> arrests in Belgium and Germany related to the Paris attacks, and traced the
> entry into Europe of one of the attackers, a Syrian national, through
> French counterterrorism surveillance data (FSPRT
> has identified 11,400 radical Islamists, 25 percent of whom are women and
> 16 percent minors—among the minors, females are in a majority. Legal
> proceedings are now underway against 646 people suspected of involvement in
> terrorist activity. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls conceded after
> Friday’s attacks that even keeping full track of those suspected of being
> prone to violent acts is practically impossible: around-the-clock
> surveillance of a single individual requires ten to twenty security agents,
> of which there are only 6,500 for all of France.
> Nor is it a matter of controlling the flow of people into France. France’s
> Center for the Prevention of Sectarian Drift Related to Islam (CPDSI)
> estimates that 90 percent of French citizens who have radical Islamist
> beliefs have French grandparents and 80 percent come from non-religious
> families. In fact, most Europeans who are drawn into jihad are “born again”
> into radical religion by their social peers. In France, and in Europe more
> generally, more than three of every four recruits join the Islamic State
> together with friends, while only one in five do so with family members and
> very few through direct recruitment by strangers. Many of these young
> people identify with neither the country their parents come from nor the
> country in which they live. Other identities are weak and non-motivating.
> One woman in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois described her conversion
> as being like that of a transgender person who opts out of the gender
> assigned at birth: “I was like a Muslim trapped in a Christian body,” she
> said. She believed she was only able to live fully as a Muslim with dignity
> in the Islamic State.
> For others who have struggled to find meaning in their lives, ISIS is a
> thrilling cause and call to action that promises glory and esteem in the
> eyes of friends, and through friends, eternal respect and remembrance in
> the wider world that many of them will never live to enjoy. A July 2014
> poll by ICM <
> suggested that more than one in four French youth of all creeds between
> the ages of eighteen and twenty-four have a favorable or very favorable
> opinion of ISIS. Even if these estimates are high, in our own interviews
> with young people in the vast and soulless housing projects of the Paris
> banlieues we found surprisingly wide tolerance or support for ISIS among
> young people who want to be rebels with a cause—who want, as they see it,
> to defend the oppressed.
> Yet the desire these young people in France express is not to be a “devout
> Muslim” but to become a *mujahid*(“holy warrior”): to take the radical
> step, immediately satisfying and life-changing, to obtain meaning through
> self-sacrifice. Although feelings of marginalization and outrage may build
> over a long time, the transition from struggling identity to *mujahid* is
> often fast and furious. The death of six of the eight Paris attackers by
> suicide bombs and one in a hail of police bullets testifies to the
> sincerity of this commitment, as do the hundreds of French volunteer deaths
> in Syria and Iraq.
> As one twenty-four-year-old who joined Jabhat an-Nusra in Syria told us:
> They [Western society] teach us to work hard to buy a nice car and nice
> clothes but that isn’t happiness. I was a third-class human because I
> wasn’t integrated into a corrupted system. But I didn’t want to be a street
> gangster. So, I and my friends simply decided to go around and invite
> people to join Islam. The other Muslim groups in the city just talk. They
> think a true Muslim state will just rain from heaven on them without
> fighting and striving hard on the path of Allah.
> French converts from families of Christian origin are often the most
> vociferous defenders of the Islamic State. There’s something about joining
> someone else’s fight that makes one fierce. When we asked a former body
> builder from Epinay-sur-Seine, a northern suburb of Paris, why he converted
> to Islam he said that he had been in and out of jail, constantly getting
> into trouble. “I was a mess, with nothing to me, until the idea of
> following the *mujahid*’s way gave me rules to live by”: to channel his
> energy into jihad and defend his Muslim brethren under attack from infidels
> in France and everywhere, “from Palestine to Burma.”
> Because many foreign volunteers are marginal in their host countries, a
> pervasive belief among Western governments and NGOs is that offering
> would-be enlistees jobs or spouses or access to education could reduce
> violence and counter the Caliphate’s pull. But a still unpublished report
> by the World Bank shows no reliable relationship between increasing
> employment and reducing violence, suggesting that people with such
> opportunities are just as likely to be susceptible to jihadism. When I
> asked one World Bank representative why this was not published, he
> responded, “Our clients [that is, governments] wouldn’t like it because
> they’ve got too much invested in the idea.”
> As research has shown with those who joined al-Qaeda, prior marriage does
> not seem to be a deterrent to those now volunteering for ISIS; and among
> the senior ranks of such groups, there are many who have had access to
> considerable education—especially in scientific fields such as engineering
> and medicine that require great discipline and a willingness to delay
> gratification. If people are ready to sacrifice their lives, then it is not
> likely that offers of greater material advantages will stop them. (In fact,
> our research shows that material incentives, or disincentives, often
> backfire and increase <http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2015/07/245403.htm
> by devoted actors).
> In its feckless “Think Again Turn Away” social media program, the US State
> Department has tried to dissuade youth with mostly negative anonymous
> messaging. “So DAESH wants to build a future, well is beheading a future
> you want, or someone controlling details of your diet and dress?” Can
> anyone not know that already? Does it really matter to those drawn to the
> cause despite, or even because of, such things? As one teenage girl from a
> Chicago suburb retorted to FBI agents who stopped her from flying to Syria:
> “Well, what about the barrel bombings that kill thousands? Maybe if the
> beheading helps to stop that.” And for some, strict obedience provides
> freedom from uncertainty about what a good person is to do.
> By contrast, the Islamic State may spend hundreds of hours trying to
> enlist single individuals and groups of friends, empathizing instead of
> lecturing, to learn how to turn their personal frustrations and grievances
> into a universal theme of persecution against all Muslims, and thus
> translate anger and frustrated aspiration into moral outrage. From Syria, a
> young woman messages another:
> I know how hard it is to leave behind the mother and father you love, and
> not tell them until you are here, that you will always love them but that
> you were put on this earth to do more than be with or honor your parents. I
> know this will probably be the hardest thing you may ever have to do, but
> let me help you explain it to yourself and to them.
> And any serious engagement must be attuned to individuals and their
> networks, not to mass marketing of repetitive messages. Young people
> empathize with each other; they generally don’t lecture at one another.
> There are nearly fifty thousand Twitter accounts supporting ISIS, with an
> average of some one thousand followers each.
> In Amman last month, a former imam from the Islamic State told us:
> The young who came to us were not to be lectured at like witless children;
> they are for the most part understanding and compassionate, but misguided.
> We have to give them a better message, but a positive one to compete.
> Otherwise, they will be lost to Daesh.
> Some officials speaking for Western governments at the East Asia summit in
> Singapore last April argued that the Caliphate is traditional power
> politics masquerading as mythology. Research on those drawn to the cause
> show that this is a dangerous misconception. The Caliphate has re-emerged
> as a seductive mobilizing cause in the minds of many Muslims, from the
> Levant to Western Europe. As one imam in Barcelona involved in interfaith
> dialogue with Christians and Jews told us: “I am against the violence of
> al-Qaeda and ISIS, but they have put our predicament in Europe and
> elsewhere on the map. Before, we were just ignored. And the Caliphate…. We
> dream of it like the Jews long dreamed of Zion. Maybe it can be a
> federation, like the European Union, of Muslim peoples. The Caliphate is
> here, in our hearts, even if we don’t know what real form it will finally
> France, the United States, and our allies may opt for force of arms, with
> all of the unforeseen and unintended consequences that are likely to result
> from all-out war. But even if ISIS is destroyed, its message could still
> captivate many in coming generations. Until we recognize the passions this
> message is capable of stirring up among disaffected youth around the world,
> we risk strengthening them and contributing to the chaos that ISIS
> November 16, 2015, 10:30 a.m.
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch
It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
object that creates history. Ernst Boesch