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A Psychological Understanding of Muslim Terrorism


Joseph H. Berke & Stanley Schneider


            Throughout  the nineteenth century  the lowest,  least educated,   uncultivated Englishman thought  that  he was superior to the highest  Brahmin.  Yet,  the Indians themselves had maintained  a rigid caste system for over 2,000 years. The light skinned  descendants  of the Aryan invaders treated the darker Dasas whom they conquered as inferior,  and products of mixed Aryan and Dasa marriages as extremely inferior. All sides discriminated against the non-caste 'untouchables'. 1  Similarly, ethnic pride was and remains a powerful  emotional  current among contemporary Muslims.  It is impossible to comprehend current Arab-Western. Arab-Jewish,  indeed, Arab-non Arab,  conflicts without  taking into account  the enforced subservience of non-Muslims, 'the dhimmis,’ and the psychic wounds,  still unhealed,  that followed the abolition  of 'dhimmi' status by the late Ottoman sultans. 2, 3 
            According to the ‘Law’ of Islam , the  'dhimmis'  included Jews, Christians, Armenians, Druses and Copts, but not pagans, who remained roughly equivalent to 'untouchables'.4  The  'dhimmi' was a second-class citizen, allowed to live in Muslim territory and tolerated, but subject to a Koranic poll tax  and many other disadvantages.5  These included the requirement to wear special clothes or badges, the prohibition from bearing arms or riding horses and inequality before the law. No matter what his accomplishments, every Muslim could feel superior to a 'dhimmi', and could abuse him as he saw fit. 6
            For the Arab world the end of Islamic ascendancy announced by the enfranchisement of 'dhimmis' and rule by foreigners reversed the proper order of things, just like the discoveries of Galileo shocked a Catholic Europe. For instance, the Egyptian historian, al-Jabarti, was appalled that:  “…contrary to ancient custom, that (non-Muslims) wear fine clothes and bear arms, wield authority over Muslims and generally behave in a way which inverts the order of things established by divine law.” 7
            But this was only one of a series of painful religious, cultural and political upheavals that fuelled a fury rooted in an endemic state of inferiority, especially since in the Arab mind, “most Jews are miserable, cowardly and unclean.”8   The establishment of the State of Israel, in 1948, was a particular blow, for it called into question the preeminent basis of Islamic religion and honor.9   As one oriental writer put it:

That a land Arabized by jihad should have been lost to a dhimmi
people by the beneficiaries of the dhimmi condition during
thirteen centuries is considered as a catastrophe of cosmic

            Consequently the placid contempt that had previously marked the unwelcome encroachment of Jews and Christians, Hindus and Buddhists, on the Muslim way of life turned into sullen resentment, and then shattering rage, both narcissistic and nationalistic. This, in turn, has opened a variety of destructive responses to the unraveling of personal and political self-esteem, extensively orchestrated by political and military leaders like Hassan Nassralah, Osama bin-Ladin, Saddam Hussein and the late Egyptian President, Gamal Abdel Nasser.11  These include, of course,  the widespread deployment of terrorism, a form of warfare which can be defined as direct violent attacks on civilians in order to provoke  fear and demoralization in the general civilian population, and to bring about  social and political changes as the attackers may wish.

            Over the past hundred, years, in particular, the world has seen a vast escalation and internationalization of terrorism, especially by Muslim extremists.  Terrorism has become the  primary tactic selected to ‘fix the flaws in the negotiations.’ It was being used as an adjunct to diplomacy.  And why not?  It had worked in the past.  Why should it not continue to work?  The resulting epidemic of suicide bombings – killing hordes of civilians and wounding even more – is not a result of any ‘desperation.’ It is a carefully worked out policy designed to increase the bargaining power of groups like al-Qaida..” What has happened is that the Western way of life (culture, values etc.) has become the martyr on the terrorist agenda.  Western ideals and philosophy have become hostage to radical Muslim terror and, more importantly, the fear of terror.  People are afraid to ride buses, the underground, or to fly.  Airports have become bastions of armed camps to exclude terror, oftentimes holding innocent passengers at bay for hours of security checks. Besides the inordinate amount of time and monetary expense, the fear of terror because of these necessary precautions increases exponentially.  12

            But it can be asked, why focus on Muslim terrorism? Aren’t there many kinds of terrorists and terrorisms?  And what about the  ‘truism’  that  one person’s terrorist  is another person’s freedom-fighter?  Indeed, the past century has seen a vast array of terrorist and quasi terrorist organizations including the IRA (Irish),  ETA ( Basque),   JDL ( Jewish),   ADL ( English),  Tamil Tigers and others.  This is not an inclusive list. But, what distinguishes these groups from Muslim terrorists are that they are localized ( ETA,  Tamil Tigers),  single issue  (ADL, Animal Defense League),  socially dystonic ( JDL,  Jewish Defense league) and parochial ( IRA,  Catholics vs. Protestants).  For the most part, they subsume little wars in limited areas.  They do not threaten larger  cultures  or societies,  either  by proselytizing or by mass destruction.  In contrast,  Islamic groups ( like al-Qaida)  act worldwide,  are socially syntonic ( within Muslim culture),  wide ranging ( Palestine Liberation,  Kashmir Liberation,  eliminatory attacks on Jews,  Christians,  Hindus,  Buddhists and Copts )  and unrestrained in place (World Trade Tower)  or time ( restoring the  Caliphate.)  Most disturbingly these activists appear  to delight  in destruction just for the sake of destruction,  rather than,  or in addition to, holding realizable goals. For this reasons we have chosen to focus on the activities, ideology and,  in particular,  the psychology of  Islamic terrorists.

            Traditionally Muslims divide the world into Dar al-Islam  (the house of Islam) and Dar al-Harb  ( the house of war).  The latter is the name for all non-Muslim territory and indicates that all Muslims have a religious and political  obligation to wage war so that any such territory reverts to Muslim rule. It is considered to be ‘sacred space.’ Therefore any Muslim territories, even  lands which may have been lost centuries  ago like in Spain or Israel must be regained,  either  by guile or by force, no matter  what the cost.  Known  as ‘sacred space theology,’ it aims to convert all non-believers into Muslims ( who are not allowed to convert back,  under  pain of death)  and the enforced establishment of  Sharia ( Islamic Law) throughout  the world.13   It has also been termed,  ‘Islamic Imperialism.’ 14

            Significantly, Winston Churchill, as far back as 1899, warned:

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries……(a) fanatical frenzy………a degraded sensuality (which) deprives this life of grace and refinement. …….Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith.  It has already
spread throughout Central Africa,  raising fearless warriors at every step-and were it not that  Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science…….. the civilization  of modern Europe might fall,  as fell the civilization  of ancient  Rome. 15
How has this come about?  While taking into account cultural, religious and nationalistic factors, we think that underlying psychological  conflicts are the major  considerations when trying to understand Muslim violence and terrorism.  Familial and social issues may seem to predominate.  But these are an outgrowth  of personality and psychological substrates, which, on a group basis,  can lead to very dangerous policies and actions

Destructive nationalism,  for  example,  culminates  in the mobilization  of state policy and mass action for murderous ends. It is a point where envy and narcissism converge, when the forces of hate replace the possibilities of life, and an imperfect society becomes  a near perfect persecutor,   while the persecutor can also become the persecuted. This process  parallels the transformation of human hubris into destructive narcissism:  the glorification of death in lieu of the love of life. The psychoanalyst  Herbert Rosenfeld  saw this as “destructive aspects of the self {that} are idealized and submitted to.”16

Melanie Klein explained this seeming contradiction where a person can become both persecuted and a persecutor.  Klein felt that an inordinate amount  of anxiety  overwhelms  the person and the ‘primitive ego’ is pushed into utilizing two processes: “Part of the death instinct is projected into the object,  the object  thereby becoming a persecutor;   while the part of the death instinct which is retained in the ego causes aggression to be turned against  that persecutory object.”17

The British historian , Elie Kedourie , echoed this point  in his classic work on the subject:

Nationalism looks inwardly, away from and beyond the imperfect world. And this contempt of things as they are, of the world as it is, ultimately becomes a rejection of life, and a love of death.18
            As the millennium approached,   it clearly become the turn of the wounded pride of the Muslim world to manifest these destructive influences,  in the form of a jihad, against multiple aspects  of Western ( and non-Western)  civilization.  In fact jihad against infidels (Jews, Christians, Americans,  Hindus,  Druse, other Muslims) has been going on for decades. Westerners have preferred to turn a blind eye towards these attacks,  but  the strikes against  the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center on 11 September 2001 ( 9/11 in popular parlance),  or in the London underground on 7 July 2005 ( 7/7 ), made the jihadist  rage impossible to ignore.
             Jihad  means striving, struggle or effort. 19   For many Muslims,  especially in the Sufi order, this refers to an inner struggle which they must make against personal immoral, destructive tendencies which can be called, the inner 'infidel.'  Nonetheless, within Islam there has always been a jihadist  faction which locates the 'hated other' or infidel as an external force or person,  and wages war against  it.  Thus, during the early years of Islam there were a series of assassinations  of Muslim leaders including Ali,  the son-in-law of Mohammed.  This act led to a major schism between the followers of Ali, who considered  him to be the rightful successor to Mohammed, and those who did not. The latter became known as  Sunnis, and the former as Shi’ites. The Sunnis (meaning: course of conduct, tradition)  are the predominant sect and have persecuted the Shi’ites  as nonbelievers, while both sects, as we have previously discussed, have acted viciously towards Christians and Jews. 20, 21  Or, from another point of view, the fear of illegitimacy and inferiority, which the two sides harbor about themselves, have fueled both a deadly internecine conflict, and have been displaced onto substitute others, the (external) infidels, whom they believe they have to dominate or destroy.
`Why is it important to detail a brief history of Islamic conflicts?  Because by doing so, it is possible to understand the escalating Muslim attacks on each other,  or on the West.  These attacks are  both  bilateral  and  trilateral.

            Bilateral conflict  denotes  envious  comparison and wounded pride,  encapsulated as a consuming rage towards the other,  commingled with an eviscerating self-hatred. From the 19th century onwards, the Muslim world has been tantalized by the vision of Western accomplishment and affluence.  But the more that Arab and non-Arab people have tried to imitate the West, the more impoverished they seem to have become, while modernization  itself has been treated as a severe threat to their religious and cultural values.

            This view has become more prominent since the rise of a radical, puritan, Islamic movement called Wahhabism in the eighteenth century. It was named after its founder, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703-87), an Arabian theologian, who launched a campaign of purification and Islamic renewal.22   Wahhabism has become a significant aspect of Islam ever since the Wahhabi cause was embraced and promoted by the Saudi rulers of central and eastern Arabia.  Subsequently Wahhabist and kindred ideas have fueled the philosophy of the Egyptian thinker and activist, Sayyid Qutb (1906-1966) whom many consider to be the father of modern Islamist fundamentalism,  and the Saudi terrorist leader,  Osama bin Ladin.

            Their followers rail against the West for humiliating, exploiting, oppressing, and generally degrading Islam by its physical  and scientific advances. In particular, they hate Jews and Zionists, whom they see as representing western values and as America's advance guard, and for having successfully established a modern state in what many Moslem's see as their heartland.  In response the Ayatollah Khomeini designated the United States as ‘the Great Satan,’ and Israel as ‘the little Satan.’  But what is this devil, this Satan?'  As the Islamic scholar, Bernard Lewis points-out, the Koran describes Satan as “the insidious tempter who whispers in the hearts of men.”23   This is the essential feature of Satan, he is not necessarily a conqueror, nor an exploiter. First and foremost he is a tempter, an entity who seduces the unwary with promises of sexual license, political freedom, material plenty and technological wizardry.
            When these promises remain unfilled, or are unfulfillable, then hope turns to hatred, and the effect of temptation is to arouse intense greed and envy. These two feelings feed on each other. Frustrated greed leads to implacable envy, while overwhelming envy stirs up unbearable longings for dashed desires. In consequence the tempted is trapped in an escalating spiral of excitement, hunger, rage, and revenge. Vengefulness is the response to a sense of self transformed from superiority to inferiority,  from significance to insignificance.24

            Now we can see why the end of Islamic ascendancy and the enfranchisement of 'dhimmis', as we previously discussed was such a blow to Moslem mentality. Unlike Weimar Germany where damaged pride was predominant,  for Moslems 'the catastrophe' of Western culture,  meant  that they were relegated to an intolerable loss of status, an endless inferiority.25  This, to a large extent, they blamed on the ravages of colonialism and continuing colonial depredations.26

            It now seemed that Satan, 'the great tempter,' had gained a foothold from within their midst. The point of Wahhabism or Islamic fundamentalism is to destroy Satan. We can see this very clearly when Bin Ladin announces that terrorist attacks are the way to get American troops (with their attendant temptations: Western values, equality of women, Western dress etc.) out of the 'holyland,,' that is, Saudi Arabia.

            Similarly, groups like Islamic Jihad have deliberately targeted Western tourists in Egypt and Jews in Jerusalem. In order to avoid temptation, the tempted (Moslems) attack the tempters (Westerners, Jews). These events begin with the denial of personal temptation (inner libidinal impulses) and the reliance on projective processes to evacuate these impulses and to identify them with degraded others. Thus, for example, Western women are seen as whores, and Jews as Nazis and as greedy pigs and foul smelling apes (as described in the Koran).27 

            Although the Koran specifically forbids attacks on civilians, in the current conflict fundamentalist jihadists encourage woman and children to blow themselves up on buses, restaurants, dance halls, anywhere where 'infidels' congregate. This method appears to replicate the work of the 12th and 13th century 'assassins,' although those killers usually attacked political leaders and tried to avoid collateral damage including themselves.  It is not without a considerable  degree of irony that one of the rationales for encouraging  young men to blow themselves up is the conviction that they will go straight to heaven and enjoy the company of seventy two black eyed virgins, in other words, unlimited libidinal delights.28   Hence terrorist attacks on the tempters are encouraged by appeals to higher temptation.29
            The turmoil released in the Middle East and elsewhere by Islamic terrorism may stress bilateral strikes on Satanic tempters. But jihadist ideology has another and not so hidden agenda: political power. We refer to the intention of tyrannical states (which currently describes most Islamic regimes) to maintain power or terrorist groups to gain power. This introduces a third element in the equation, terrorist and terrorized. We refer to the instigator of the terrorism. In practice, most bilateral attacks are instigated by others. Thus we can say that trilateral terrorism sustains bilateral destruction. 30, 31
            The vast majority of terrorist attacks are triangular and include the instigator (such as Iran), the terrorists (such as Hezbollah, funded by Iran) and the terrorized (such as Israel). The excuse may be religious, but a deeper purpose is the keep tyrannical regimes in power. To accomplish this, the instigator stirs up chaos in others in order to obscure economic privation and political repression at home. Israel is a soft target because, as Bernard Lewis points out, grievance towards Israel is the only passion that can be safely expressed in many Muslim countries.32

            Similarly the PLO under Yassir Arafat, and afterwards, has instigated a plethora of Kamikaze strikes on Israelis, tourists and non-Jewish workers in Israel.33  The ostensible reason is to regain 'lost' territory. However, the underlying triangular functions of such attacks are multi-determined: by the PLO's determination to maintain power; by the determination of the Husseini family (the largest of the seven main family clans in Arab Palestine of which Arafat was a prominent member) to maintain its position and privileges; by the intention of Saddam Hussein (who paid the families of every suicide bomber $25,000) to gain prestige and divert attention from his regime; and by the resolve of other countries who funded Arafat (i.e. Libya, Iran, Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia) to keep the pot boiling in Israel in order to keep the heat away from themselves.34  It is important to note that third party instigators are rarely killed or injured in suicide attacks.           

            One of the main effects of these attacks is to stir up anti-Jewish sentiment in Muslim and non-Muslim countries around the world. Thus the official website of the Palestinian Authority (PA) published large excerpts from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a 19th century Tsarist forgery, which purports to detail a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world.35 This book has subsequently been widely distributed throughout Asia and the Middle East. The Protocols have led to the general belief among Muslims that Jews personify evil.  Such beliefs are reinforced by sermons of prominent preachers like Sheikh Ibrahim Mudaires that are broadcast live every Friday from mosques under the control of the PA and on PA television. A common theme calls for Allah to wreak vengeance on the Jews and Americans.36
            Typically, on 13 May 2005 Sheik Mudaires declaimed:

Allah has tormented us with the people most hostile to the believers' --the Jews... With the establishment of the State of Israel, the entire Islamic nation was lost, because Israel is a cancer spreading through the body of the Islamic nation, and because Jews are a virus resembling AIDS, from which the entire world suffers...You will find that the Jews are behind all the civil strife in this world. The Jews are behind the suffering of the nations...Listen to the Prophet Muhammad, who tells you about the evil end that awaits Jews. The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew...We have ruled the world before, and by Allah, the day will come when we rule the world again.37 

            As we see here the forces of envious (bilateral) and jealous (triangular) hatred, as embodied in this instance in quasi-Nazi propaganda, can lie dormant for decades, only to slowly sprout in individuals, groups, and whole cultures, from the fertile soil of mass inferiority, humiliation and resentment.38

The Swiss psychologist, Arno Gruen writes that: “The source of aggression and destructiveness lies in our culture, not in the individual.  And everything that reinforces the fragmentation of our personality and closes-off access to our inner world contributes to the creation and growth of our destructive drives.”39   This is an interesting paradigm that places the cultural and social context as the impetus in molding the innate personality and psychological structures.  If the cultural environment advocates terrorism and murderous violence, then the personality of the terrorist becomes fragmented and disjointed and this cuts-off parts of the inner world.  Seemingly this would be the innate and socially sanctioned morals and mores.  However, the cultural influence blocks any moral value system and only enhances and develops the skewed murderous side which now becomes the dominant mode of the personality.

Despite the cultural and religious brainwashing that Muslim terrorists are subjected to, one would think that the underlying moral values of the greater society, which includes the proscription against murder, would somehow fit-into societal conformity.  Yet, the extremism is so intense, there is a shutting down of emotional, empathic and ethical awareness.  This could be Gruen’s idea of fragmentation or Robert Stoller’s novel interpretation of perversion.  We know from Freud’s work on mourning, that there is a strong connection between love and hate.  Freud saw that within the hate there was a strong identification and ambivalence mixed with an erotic cathexis.40   Stoller took Freud’s ideas one step further and ‘modernized’ them:  he added the concepts of revenge and power.  “One moves from victim to victor, from passive object of others’ hostility and power to the director, ruler; one’s tormentors in turn will be one’s victims.”41    In our scheme of understanding, the Muslim terrorist, indoctrinated in mosques by imams who preach hate and fundamentalistic ideology, is swept up by an erotic surge of emotion that fuels hostility, murderous rage and a sadistic urge to conquer and be all-powerful.   This libidinal excitement is a temptation that hangs in-the-air and becomes transformed and displaced as violent feelings which run amok amid erotic urges which are then expressed as extreme sadistic expressions of terrorism.   

Once hatred is engendered, then: “The primary aim of one consumed by hatred is to destroy its object…An extreme form of hatred demands the physical elimination of the object and may be expressed in murder or in a radical devaluation of the object that may generalize in the form of a symbolic destruction of all objects.”42   This sounds reminiscent of Freud’s idea that “hate comes into operation on this substitutive object, abusing it, debasing it, making it suffer and deriving sadistic satisfaction from its suffering.”43   Otto Kernberg maintains that rage reactions may be a response leading to an “activation of all-bad, persecutory object relationships.”44   This means that the internal world of the terrorist is replete with persecutory all-bad objects because the good objects have been repressed and displaced by religious and cultural indoctrination.

            Two experts in the field of political psychology, Robert Robins and Jerrold Post remarked that once religion becomes enmeshed with politics, the end-result can only be extremism:  “Aggression is required to defend against the world of unbelief.”45   The enemy of the religion, ideology or political belief is viewed as an aggressor by railing against the beliefs of the believer.  This, in turn, legitimizes aggression as a norm and correct form of response.  Even more so – if the aggressive response fails to come, this is a revolt against the belief system and this leaves the believer with an unimaginable extreme form of guilt and self- deprecation.  The only way out is aggression against the infidel.  Robins and Post note that: “Society sets sharp limits on the expression of anger, and religion often serves as a socially sanctioned umbrella under which it may be expressed…For many devout Muslims, the humiliating defeat…at the hands of the Jews was God’s punishment for the corruption of Islam and its abandonment of the tenets of the Qur’an.”46  

            Muslim terrorists, because of the fundamentalistic religious and cultural indoctrination and brainwashing do not have a perceived internal conflict.47  They utilize primitive defenses such as denial, splitting and projective identification in order to remove from themselves any possibilities of internal emotional turmoil or conflict.  By cutting-off any connection to their identification with societal mores, they can allow their selves to be driven by primal, primitive instinctual drives.  This raw and unbridled aggression, which may have been tempered during their growing-up period, washes away through external moral cleansing, and returns them to the instinctual, libidinal phase of early childhood.

            In Nazi Germany, politicians hungry for power, manipulated a primitive system of social relations. This depended on the continual denial and projection of despised elements in order to advance and perpetuate their personal status.  It would seem that Muslim political and religious leaders (they often occupy the same position) utilize a similar technique by attributing parts of peoples' inner world (the feared 'inner infidel') to others (Jews, Christians, Americans, Westerners). These external others literally become 'the infidel,' the forces of greed, exploitation, sickness and suffering, aside from suppressed female sexuality, that Muslims hate in and about themselves. Once these projections stick, they believe they have the right to denigrate infidels (Jews, for example, depicted as degenerate apes, Western women as dirty whores), to subjugate them (as ‘dhimmis’) or destroy them.

All spears should be directed at the Jews, at the enemies of Allah, (who) has described them as apes and pigs, calf worshipers, idol worshipers....whoever can fight them with his weapons, should go out ( to do so) with machine-guns, swords and knives.....whoever can fight them with his hands, should go out... This is our destiny.... The Jews have exposed their fangs. Nothing will deter them except the colour of their filthy people's blood.48 

            The German sociologist Wolfgang Sofsky wrote an immensely important book on a study of cruelty and a system of absolute power built on systematic extreme violence.  In his analysis of ‘absolute power,’ Sofsky differentiates between terror and violence: “Terror is meant to intimidate, to crush resistance, to spread fear.  It comes to an end when the last opponent has been eliminated and the peace of the grave holds dominion.  Violence, however, remains an instrument of suppression, a means to an end.  Once that end has been reached and the regime’s power consolidated, despotisms make do with arbitrary, lawless rule, shifting pragmatically among punishment, incentive, and reward.”49  

            For Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, we would surmise that the 'infidel' was not only a despised Jew or Westerner, for as a youth he frequented the clubs and bars of Beruit, but any fellow Muslim who did not accord with his Wahhabist world-view. He himself was born to a wealthy Yemenite builder with close ties to the Saudi royal family. His father married at least ten times and had many concubines. He is said to have fathered fifty-four children. Some accounts say that Osama was the seventeenth son, others that he was the last of twenty-five sons, and was born to his father's tenth wife, who was reportedly of Syrian descent. On the other hand it is also said that Osama was the product of one of his fathers concubines, a situation which left him with considerable sadness.50

            Who really is Osama bin Ladin?   Is he a Yemenite, Saudi or Syrian, legitimate or illegitimate, a boy who was loved or ignored?  These are pertinent questions for a man who has become one of the world's foremost terrorists.  Is it possible that by anchoring himself in Wahhabist ideology, and by externalising doubts disguised as dreaded others, he was able to overcome a fearsome inferiority and a terrorizing state of triangular conflict?  These must have included internecine battles between his mother and his brothers' mothers, his bothers and semi sisters, no less than an intense power struggle with his own father and uncles over who possessed what. What we do know is that Osama bin Ladin possesses a powerful will, a ruthless cunning, and the wish to take the place of the ruling elite of the ‘holy’ Saudi Kingdom. 
            Like others who have taken advantage of an enormous tidal wave in the ebb and flow of conflicting cultures, bin Laden has been able to actualize murderous intentions on a world stage.  But without his family's wealth and connections he might not have been able to be educated, gain a wife (he has several including his mother's niece, also a Syrian), and father over twenty-four children. Instead he would have shared the hopelessness of so many fellow Muslims stuck in shanty towns and refugee camps throughout the Middle East and Asia. They also want wives, children, careers, and most important, a sense of empowerment. The alternative is endless bitterness and envious hatreds because they can't get what they have been promised. Then their leaders direct, rather manipulate, the ensuing destructiveness away from themselves and onto to the alleged sources of their frustration: Americans, Jews, Christians, Westerners, etc. All this exemplifies, as Herbert Rosenfeld pointed out, libidinal narcissism, the rage that results from not being able to have what one wants.51 

            But as Rosenfeld also describes, when the frustration becomes too intense, when their inner rage becomes too great, they may stop wanting the goods and chattels of contemporary culture, and fall in love with death and destruction.  As we previously pointed out, this is what Rosenfeld called destructive narcissism.52   We think this phenomenon lies behind the mentality of the suicide bomber and idealisation of the shahid or martyr.  His or her greatest joy becomes the maximum havoc that they can inflict on infidels (or even fellow Muslims, hundreds of whom were killed in the attack on the Twin Towers, or in suicide bombings in Israel, Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere).

            Freud’s theoretical formulations see the instinct or drive as needing to eliminate the state of tension via a discharge of this pent-up energy.53   When Freud utilizes the word trieb, there is a form of ‘pressure’ involved; something is forcing the instinct to explode into discharge.  Freud moved from a theoretical framework stressing the influence of sexual instincts to a model that framed the instinctual entanglement in other terms: a life and death instinct.  In reality what Freud conceptualized was a combination of a somatic (i.e. sexual) instinct state and a biological force (life – death).  For our purposes, in terrorism there seems to be a need for a release – possibly of a sexual or erotic type and also a strong death drive that eliminates totally the desire for the life instinct.  In the Muslim tradition, the radical Islamic theology promises a multitude of virgins awaiting the martyr in a ‘Heaven.’

Pierre Rehov, a French filmmaker, is one among many observers of the intifada who have confirmed this point. Rehov’s upcoming film, “Suicide Killers,” is based on interviews he conducted with the families of suicide bombers and would-be bombers. He concludes:

…….we are facing a neurosis at the level of an entire civilization. …… In this case we are talking of kids living all their lives in pure frustration, with no opportunity to experience sex, love, tenderness or even understanding from the opposite sex. ……
It is no coincidence that suicide killers are mostly young men dominated subconsciously by an overwhelming libido that they not only cannot satisfy, but are afraid of, as if it is the work of the Devil. Since Islam describes Heaven as a place where everything on Earth will finally be allowed, and promises 72 virgins to those frustrated kids, killing others and killing themselves to reach this redemption becomes their only solution. 54

When Freud discussed eros or thanatos (life and death instincts) as two opposites, it was formulated as a polarity: an ‘either’/‘or’ theoretical idea.  One chooses either life or death.  One cannot choose life by deciding on death.  Yet, the terrorist sees a type of absolutism or extreme in that by willing to die, he/she is choosing a desirous life in heaven and ensuring a beautiful life for those left behind because of the sacrifice for advancing Islam’s values.  There is no containing function operating here but rather a primitive discharge of libidinal tension.  The libidinal excitement overloads the emotional system.   It has to exit as a release of tension, a discharge.  The release of these pent-up emotionally charged primitive libidinal feelings can be expressed as psychotically charged fragmentation or be transformed into thanatos, the death instinct. 

The views of the Egyptian ideologue  and founder of the militant  Egyptian Brothers, Hassan al-Banna,  (1906 – 1949)  incorporated  these processes very well.  According to al-Banna, the Koran commanded its believers to love death as much as others love life. He expounded:

Death is an art, and the most exquisite of arts when practiced by the skillful artist. There is no escape from death and it happens only once.  Should death come  in the path of Allah, it will be a gain in this world and a reward in the other.

Hence the credo of the Muslim Brothers proclaims:

Allah is our goal; the Koran is our constitution;  the Prophet is our leader; Struggle is our way; and death in the path of Allah is our highest aspiration.  55

Al-Banna’s convictions  perfectly illustrate Herbert Rosenfeld’s theory of destructive narcissism . Moreover, they support Klein’s formulation of ‘sadism,’ which itself is highly relevant to the world of the terrorist. This occurs when:

…sadism is at its height, I have found that all the pre-genital stages and the genital stage as well are cathected in rapid succession.  What then happens is that the libido gradually consolidates its position by its struggle with the destructive instinctual drives. 56   

The terrorist, through years of ideological indoctrination, has a collapsing of developmental stages and in a fused primitive mode is pressured by strong instinctual urges that become expressed sadistically.  In Klein’s formulations, this sadism has now developed into a life-death struggle: “…the vicious circle dominated by the death-instinct, in which aggression gives raise to anxiety and anxiety reinforces aggression can be broken by the libidinal forces when these have gained in strength; in the early stages of development,  the life-instinct has to exert its power to the utmost in order to maintain itself against the death-instinct.  But this very necessity stimulates sexual development.”57   A typical example is Hasan Abu Zaid, who blew himself up in October 2005, outside a felafel stand in Hadera, Israel, killing 5 people and injuring 30 others.  Before doing so, he explained to his mother: “I want a place in heaven and to marry the 70 virgins who are promised to me in the Koran.”58   Similarly, a terrorist who attacked a residential compound in Saudi Arabia shouted to his contact on his mobile phone just before blowing himself up: One second to the maidens of paradise.” 59   We now have sadism blended with the death instinct with a sexual under/overtone.

Whereas Freud discussed instincts and drives as independently operating forces and Klein referred to instincts as connected to object representations.  On the other hand, the psychoanalyst Wilfred Bion emphasized “ ‘a more fruitful division,’ a polarization between narcissism and what he refers to as ‘social-ism.’”60    He explained that if the individual is narcissistically enmeshed within a love (L) mode (and this happens in an ideological indoctrination and brainwashing) then hatred (H) would be directed outside towards a group whom he would view as: wrong, unfair, hateful and would need to be rebuffed and rejected.  If the L is so strong then the H, as polarity, must be equally as strong.  This fuels primitive defenses in order to protect the self from intrusion from the outside.  Bion would say that the other, the group is extruded (H).61   An “increase of narcissistic intensity would be accompanied by narrowing of the emotions, up to the point in which only one emotion, such as love or hate, can be experienced.”62    We see a shutting-down of choice, understanding and willingness to interact at a shared level – this is the mind of the terrorist.  The container-contained function is completely dominated by sadism and envy, and cannot emerge as a viable desire or necessity.  This does not allow a container K to develop.  As Rafael López-Corvo, a Venezuelan psychoanalyst who compiled a dictionary of Bion’s work, has written, instead one gets “…a nameless terror, a kind of container-contained provision that Bion represents as –K.  This condition becomes very serious when the breast not only is unable to neutralize the wish to die, but removes the wish to live, represented again by Bion as (minus) container-contained and qualified as a without-ness…”63    In Bion’s words: “…it is a ‘super’ ego.  It is an envious assertion of moral superiority without any morals.”64

Typically, a Gaza resident, Wafa al-Biss, aged twenty-one, was caught with twenty pounds of high explosives hidden in her underwear. She intended to explode this at a hospital in Beersheba (where she was being treated after suffering severe burns to her face and body in an ‘accident’). The attack only failed because when she tried to detonate the explosive, it failed to go off. During a TV interview she cried: “My dream was to become a martyr. I believe in death...since I was a little girl I wanted to carry out an attack.” 65

            One has to place Wafa's wish within the context of Palestinian television, newspapers, and text books, which teach children as young as six years old that the greatest aim of their life should be to become a shahid. 66   The Palestinian media celebrate parents who send their own children off to be killed. It gives them and their offspring enormous prestige. One mother whose seventeen year old son blew up five Israeli teenagers along with himself explained:  “How (could I encourage this)? Because I love my son and want to chose what is best for him.”67

            Osama bin Ladin conveyed a kindred message when he postured against American troops hunting for him in Afghanistan:  “This place may be bombed. And we may be killed. We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the big difference between us.”68  

            Many Muslims argue that Western Intellectuals miss the point. Shahada ( Martyrdom) is not about death, but about life.  It is about the myriad delights that will befall the shahid  in the afterlife. 69    But who are they to describe the afterlife?  That is the province of mystics. Clearly anything else is disinformation designed to mislead the gullible.  In this regard the Saudi journalist, Sa'ad Al Sowayan, writes that his country has been flooded by tape cassettes which advocate jihad  by emphasizing the sexual rewards awaiting the martyr in paradise.  He points out that these tapes are particularly aimed at tempting teenagers who can find no sexual release in conservative Arab societies.  He adds: “So should we not consider sexual suppression as one of the factors leading to such deviation?   Listen carefully to what these religious cassettes convey…They have converted this world to a filthy and mythical place and the Hereafter into a fabled utopia...”70

There are Muslim voices that contest the forces of death and destruction that currently flow like a Tsunami through Muslim societies.  We refer to the writer Fuad Ajami, the psychiatrist Wafa Sultan, or to the commentator Nonie Darwish who was born in Cairo and raised in the Gaza strip.  Herself the daughter of the Fedayeen leader,  Mustafa Hafaz,  Darwish moved to the US in the late 1970's along with the usual baggage and prejudice from a Middle East upbringing: fear of Jews, of government, of speaking my own mind.”But after a while she began to question her ingrained assumptions.

To admit one's flaws and mistakes, to correct and repent is Muslim culture. To acknowledge one's shortcomings before first blaming others would bring deep shame and dishonor not only to the individual but to his or her entire family…If the mistake is a cultural taboo, one's reputation may be scarred for life and the perpetrator might end up brutally punished.

In Arab society...there was no reward for loving humanity, striving to improve oneself…Many aimed only to please brutal dictators, currying favor and wealth at the expense of their fellow Arabs….in Friday's prayers at the mosque, no one mentioned the common sin of wronging one's neighbor, of stepping on him in a rush to self-promotion. Evil was always out there, never in here.

No one can deny the current sad state of Middle Eastern society. Terrorism flourishes in every Muslim country, poisoning the world. War and genocide have ravaged communities of Muslims and non-Muslims in the Sudan, Algeria, Iraq and Kuwait, and the list goes on. Terrorists burn churches…behead Jews, destroy Buddha temples, and weaken economies -- and the Arab media react with deafening silence.

The once-great Nile Valley lies amid pollution and garbage…poor citizens must bribe government officials to survive. And yet, the media focus on the destruction of Israel. In this manner, they shift the blame for societal problems to an outside force…a useful enemy that Arabs blame for everything.71  

            Wafa Sultan came to even more robust conclusions after seeing her Professor at the University of Aleppo medical school (northern Syria) gunned down in front of her class by members of the Muslim Brotherhood. She presented her views in a debate with a fundamentalist Egyptian cleric which was transmitted on Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar) in February 2006.

The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of    civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs in the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century.  It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality.

Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand  that humankind respects them. 72

Nonie Darwish framed her views after considerable contact with Jewish people in the States.  She was particularly impressed by the celebration of Yom Kippur, 'The Day of Atonement,' an organised form of self-examination and repentance. From another point of view, Yom Kippur represents an occasion to acknowledge reality, the reality of recognising the damaging things that a person has actively or passively done during the course of the year. The capacity to face such reality, to accept shame and blame, and to grieve for everyone who has been hurt, provides a means to overcoming the 'psychosis' of hate on a micro- and on a macro-human scale, in the individual, and in an entire culture. 73

            Both Darwish and Sultan demonstrate that it is possible to tame the perverse feelings that contribute to the terrorist mentality, by dialogue and a spirit of tolerance. Towards this end she has helped to establish a website,, where Arabs and Muslims from many countries are able to express their support for Israel as well as the United States.   She also hosts her own website,,  and lists a dozen other kindred sites.   She contends that Israel’s hand has been extended towards the Arabs for a long time, and that it should not be ignored.

            The corollary of Dawish and Sultan’s argument is that the pressures of revenge, humiliation, inferiority or illegitimacy lose their power to intimidate, once ordinary Muslims gain a voice. They intend to show that there is a strong reparative streak in Islam even at a time when the Jihadist mentality appears to be on the ascendancy.

            We would suggest that this dilemma is related to attempts to overcome, as well as to continually resist, the state of inner conflict which Melanie Klein has called: the depressive position. 74   The term denotes the point in human development when people begin to integrate feelings of love and hate.  The alternative is to maintain a near total division between subjective states of love and hate, and the focus of such states: the ‘hated object’ and the ‘idealized object.’75  This splitting is accomplished by the psychological mechanisms of denial and projection and/or projective identification. 

            Whether unconsciously determined or not, in order to gain or maintain political power, the belief systems of the jihadists seem to exemplify these mechanisms.  Thus, on one hand, they widely disseminate the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, in order to ‘prove’ a Jewish conspiracy to take-over the world.76   And, on the other hand, Sheik Mudaires, among others, publicly asserts: “(Moslems) have ruled the world before, and, by Allah, the day will come when we will rule…America, Britain, and the entire world.”77   In considering these words, one must not underestimate the power of projective processes.  

            This point particularly relates to the transformation and displacement of violent urges into an erotic discharge of terrorist activity. Similarly, an ‘unexplainable’ violence has erupted over the last few years in the educational systems around the world. Various communities and countries have been suffering from an overabundance of violence and aggression.  Often times, this violence and murder occur in schools, where a student runs amok and shoots fellow classmates and teachers. Various theoreticians have tried to understand what prompted this sudden ‘break with reality.’  What causes someone to lose all constraints and controls and pursue a murderous rage?   Stuart Twemlow , a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst has written extensively on the subject.  While Twemlow feels that no one model can adequately explain such a major reversal in character,  He has chosen to deal with school violence,  unlike terrorist acts which are pre-meditated  and deliberately aimed to intimidate, emasculate and destroy any remnants of disagreement or differing ideology.  Terrorism means that there is no room for accommodation or compromise.

Twemlow bases part of his theoretical perspectives on the work of Robert Stoller.  As Twemlow writes: “This model describes the sexualized, repetitive, and ritualistic nature of bullying, both by adults and children, in which humiliation and dehumanization of the victim yield a sense of sadomasochistic excitement for the bully.”78   Muslim terrorism thrives on the repression of the ability of the individual to think for himself. 

This is kindred to what has been called “theocratic terror.”79   The indoctrination of fundamentalistic beliefs does not permit a maturation of the instinctual urges into a socially modifiable and coherent whole. Rather it fosters a regression back to early pre-oedipal strivings and longings, or to the sadism and envy that Klein described, as well as the erotic longings and early sexual awakenings  Stoller has focused on.  In other words, the victimizer functions at a at a very early, primitive and regressed emotional level.  Bion tries to tie-together all these parts with a micro (individual) vs. macro (society) paradigm.  The narcissistic investment in self does not move towards a merger with the group.  Rather, it denudes the individual  of psychic energy that could and should move him forward.  This is the mindset of the terrorist.  













  1. The division of society into a multiplicity of classes or castes with equally large gradations of inferiority and superiority can be traced to ancient Egypt, Rome and many other societies.   Hugh Thomas, An Unfinished History of the World,  pp. 696 -705.
  2. In Arabic, dhimma means (under the) protection (of Islam).  Bat Ye’or, The Dhimmi.  For an extensive historical and political review, see Yossef Bodansky, Islamic Anti-Semitism as a Political Instrument.  According to Bodansky, Bat Ye’or is the pen name of Giselle Littman (p.179, fn. 1).
  3. Conor Cruise O'Brien, The Siege: The Saga of Israel and Zionism, pp. 335-336.
  4. The “Law’ of Islam is called the shar’ or shari’a.  This is the theocracy of Islam.  The theoretical basis of Islam is the Koran (Qur’an), the ‘reading.’ See: Reuben Levy, The Social Structure of Islam, p. 150.
  5. A land tax (kharaj) and a head tax (jizya). 
  6. Bernard Lewis, "L'Islam et les Non-Musulmans", Annales: Economies, Sociétés, Civilisations, quoted by Conor Cruise O'Brien, ibid., p. 339.
  7. Ibid., p. 339..
  8. Quoted by Conor Cruise O’Brien, op. cit., p.340.
  9. Ibid., p. 340.
  10. Ibid., p. 340.
  11. The prominent Egyptian writer, Tawfiq al-Hakim described the relationship between Nasser and Egypt as that of a man who "had become the idol, the worshipped of the people, their waving arms, applauding hands and cheering mouths.” al-Hakim's descriptions of Nasser delineate the transformation of personal inflation to national narcissism: "…he overwhelmed us with his magic...and the hopes, dreams and promises which underlay the victories of the revolution which he repeatedly announced to us...with their pipes and drums, anthems, songs and films, which made us see ourselves as a great industrial state, leaders of the developing world…and the strongest military power in the Middle East."  However,  even  a leader’s mesmeric speeches  could  not conceal the ever-increasing gap between victories declared and realities lived. Gradually a national narcissism which emphasized positive glories changed into a militant nationalism which gloried in destruction and death. Tawfiq al-Hakim, 'Awdat al-wa'i, Beirut, 1974, quoted by P. J. Vatikiotis,, Nasser and His Generation,  pp. 291, 320.  Hussein Dhu'l-Fiqar Sabri in Rose el-Youssef, 18 July  1975, quoted by P. J. Vatikiotis, ibid., p. 290.
  12.  Alan Dershowitz, Why Terrorism Works, p. 79.
  13.  Patrick Sookhdeo,  “The Islamic Doctrine of Sacred Space,” 26 January 2006,   Also published  in The Spectator,  12 November 2005 under  the title, “Will London Burn too.?
  14.  Mohammed, in his farewell  address,  openly  justified war against ‘non-believers, ‘ telling his followers to “fight all men until they say. ‘There is no God but Allah.’

Ephraim  Karsch, Islamic Imperialism: A History.

  1.  Winston Churchill,  “On Islam,” in  The River War: An Account of the Re-Conquest of the Sudan, pp. 248-250.  The context for this statement was Churchill’s participation in Kitchener’s Campaign to retake the Sudan after the defeat of Gordon at Khartoum

16) Herbert Rosenfeld: Impasse and Interpretation, p.109. The concept of ‘destructive narcissism’ was described in detail by Herbert Rosenfeld in “ A Clinical Approach to the Psychoanalytic Theory of the Life and Death Instincts: An Investigation into the Aggressive Aspects of Narcissism,” pp.169-178.
17) Melanie Klein elaborated upon the original ideas of Freud with regard to the death  instinct, as it helped her to better understand the archaic and punishing superego.  This quote is from her 1958 paper, “ On the Development of Mental Functioning,” p. 85.
18) Elie Kedourie,  Nationalism,   p. 87.

  1. Reuben Levy,  op. cit. p. 191.  The 9th century Muslim philosopher, Ibn Qutayba referred to jihad as a ‘holy war.’ (Uyun al-akhbar, p.18).
  2. Sunni, from the Arabic, ahl al-sunnah wa-l-jamaa (the people of the custom/tradition of the Prophet).  Sunni Islam is the largest division of Islam that accepts the first four caliphs (known as Rashidun – the Rightly Guided Caliphs) as the rightful successors of Muhammad.
  3. Shi’ites, from the Arabic si’a (partisans).  Shi’ites regard Ali and his descendants as the legitimate successors to Muhammad and reject the first three caliphs.  This branch of Islam account for 10-15% of all Muslims.
  4.  Bernard Lewis, "The Revolt of Islam," The New Yorker, 19 November 2001, p. 59.
  5.  Ibid, p.63.  In the words of the Koran (1:7): “…let not Satan seduce you…”
  6. In a review of several books on terrorism, Louise Richardson notes the motivating power of the desire of revenge for real or imagined hurts, "Blasts from the Past," Financial Times Magazine, 2-3 July 2005, pp. 26-27.
  7. Saul Friedländer,  Nazi Germany and the Jews, p. 36.
  8. The Harvard psychiatrist, Kenneth Levin, explains that there is a widespread belief in the Islamic-Arab world, that people blame Western colonialism for their having been ‘stripped of their place in the sun.’  Even more so, Israel is seen as a direct vestige of European colonialism. The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege, p. 339.  Presumably this is a further reason why anti-Zionism is so popular in left-wing politics and among revisionist historians (p.vxi).
  9. “…be ye changed into apes driven away from the society of men” (1:2, p.198); “He whom God hath cursed and with whom he hath been angry, having changed some of them into apes and swine…” (1:5, p.304).
  10. The number 72 probably comes from various ‘sayings’ and ‘teachings’ (hadith in Arabic) where rewards to those who reach Heaven are measured in terms of thousands of servants and 72 wives (The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition, September 6, 2001.
  11. MEMRI ( Middle East Media Research Institute ) Special report No 24, 26 December 2003, p.2.
  12. “...all suicide missions are backed up by organizations.” Richardson, op. cit.,p. 27.
  13. “…reveals the existence of a malignant form of triangulation aligned towards incarceration and death rather than freedom and life, and which reflects the dynamics of terrorism, This is the domain of the psychotic 'super' superego.....This form of pathological, intrapsychic triangulation, with its links to an internal fundamentalist morality, bears a striking resemblance to terrorist tactics and their rationale.”  Paul Williams, "Terror, terrorising, terrorism," unpublished paper, London, 2005.
  14. B. Lewis, op. cit., p. 56.
  15. Kamikaze is a Japanese word which means ‘a divine wind,’ and is historically related to the name of a typhoon that saved Japan from a Mongol invasion in 1281.  It has come to be known (since World War II) as suicide attacks by Japanese aircrews against Allied ships.  In modern parlance, it refers to a person who is ‘reckless’ and is involved in self-destructive behavior.  Of late, terrorists who are suicide bombers are performing kamikaze acts in the sense that they are willing to sacrifice their lives in the hope that they can extract a large toll of innocent victims.
  16. Yassir Arafat’s ‘real’ name was: Rahman Abdel-Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini.  His father was a merchant of the Husseini family and, on his mother’s side, he was related to the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin El Husseini (MidEastWeb:
  17. Geoffrey Alderman, "Either a catastrophe or a conspiracy," Jewish Chronicle, 3 June 2005, p 25.
  18. MEMRI, No. 24, op. cit., p. 1.
  19. Alderman, op. cit., p. 25.   Text of Ibrahim Mdaires's sermon, Jerusalem Post Online Edition, 19 May 2005, p.1.
  20. “…perceived humiliation could be an important factor in explaining terrorism...." Jessica Stern, "Holy Avengers," Financial Times Magazine, 12 June 2004.
  21. Arno Gruen, The Betrayal of the Self, p.41.
  22. Sigmund Freud, “Mourning and Melancholy.” Cathexis is a psychoanalytic term that refers to the attachment of emotional feeling and significance to an idea, object or person.  We are using it in the sense of intense erotic investment.
  23. Robert Stoller, Perversion: The Erotic Form of Hatred, p.106.  Stoller makes the important connection between a driven erotic desire and hatred (and other extreme forms of aggression).
  24. Otto F. Kernberg, Aggression in Personality Disorders and Perversions, p. 23.
  25. Freud, “Mourning and Melancholy,” p.251.
  26. Kernberg, op.cit. , p. 22.
  27. Robert Robins & Jerrold Post, Political Paranoia: The Psychopolitics of Hatred, p. 178.
  28. Ibid, p. 150.
  29. Stanley Schneider, “Fundamentalism and Paranoia in Groups and Society.”
  30. MEMRI, No. 24, op. cit., p. 5.
  31. Wolfgang Sofsky, The Order of Terror, p.16.
  32. http:/  ,June 2005.
  33. Herbert Rosenfeld, "A Clinical Approach to the Psychoanalytic Theory of the Life and Death Instincts: An Investigation into the Aggressive Aspects of Narcissism,” p. 173.
  34. Ibid.,p. 174.
  35. Sigmund Freud elaborated over the years of his clinical work and publications, a increasingly more sophisticated theoretical formulation of instincts, drives and trauma.  Some classical examples: “Three Essays on Sexuality,” “Instincts and their Vicissitudes,” “Beyond the Pleasure Principle,” and “Inhibitions, Symptoms and Anxieties.”
  36.  Pierre Rehov, 15 July 2006, interviewed on MS NBC’s ‘Connected’ program in conjunction with the 7 July attacks on the London underground. Rehov had gone undercover in Palestinian areas in order to make his film documentaries.
  37.  See Hassan al-Banna:   al—Salam fi-l-Islam ( Jeddah: al-Dar al-Suudiya li-I-Nashr, 1971), p.12 ;  “Fan al-Mawt,” in Majmuat Maqalat Hassan al-Banna  (Damascus, n.d.), p. 62; “Risalat al-Jihad,” in Min Rasail,  pp. 2, 32. All quoted  by Ephraim Karsh, Islamic Imperialism, p. 208.  al-Banna was himself assassinated by agents of the Egyptian government. His destructive ethos was maintained and developed by his ideological successor, Sayyid Qutb. 
  38. Melanie Klein, The Psycho-Analysis of Children, p.150.
  39. Ibid
  40. Abu Zaid seems to have been in a state of shock after a relative and Islamic militant had been killed in an exchange of gunfire with Israeli troops.  Afterwards he became religious and ‘…started talking about being a martyr and going to heaven.’ “Suicide Bomber Expressed Desire to be a Martyr, ”Haaretz, 28 October 2005, p.A2.
  41. “Private Jordan TV Station Airing Anti-Semitic Series,” Jerusalem Post, 26 October 2005, p.4.
  42.  Rafael López-Corvo, The Dictionary of the Work of W.R.Bion, p.146.
  43. W.R.Bion, Cogitations, p.122.
  44. López-Corvo, op. cit. , p.272.
  45. Ibid, pp. 71-72.
  46. W.R.Bion, Learning from Experience, p.97.
  47. Tim Butcher, "Moment a suicide bombing mission failed," The Daily Telegraph, 22 June 2005, p. 13. 
  48. Editorial, "Asking for death,"  Jerusalem Post Online Edition,13 January 2005, p.2.
  49. Ibid.,p. 4.
  50. Martin Fletcher, "Bunker-buster bombs blast bin Laden caves," The Times, 20 November 2001, p.8.
  51. “The Shahids who are in heaven next to Allah…As  the Shahids are indeed in the highest paradise. The superior qualities and miracles of the Shahids are too numerous to count...” Sermon, 2 May 2003, Sheikh Ibrahim Mudaires, Sheikh Ijlin Mosque, Gaza, MEMRI, op. cit. p 11.
  52.  Al-Iqtisadiyya ( Saudi Arabia), 15 November 2005. English translation: The Saudi   Gazette (Saudi Arabia) 17 November 2005. Republished by MEMRI, Special Dispatch Series No. 1032, 23 November 2005.
  53. Nonie Darwish, "What a Muslim Learned on Yom Kippur," , 5 October 2004, pp.1-2.
  54.  Translated by MEMRI-TV. From Clip No. 1050 21 Feb 2006. For complete clip see:

  1. “If individuals can experience psychosis, so too can a group mind and so too can a culture…Examples of cultural self-destructiveness that run counter to any rationale explanation are not all that difficult to find -- the   destruction of their own heritage in Afghanistan ...”  Paul Williams, op. cit., p. 6.
  2. Melanie Klein, “A Contribution to the Psychogenesis of Manic-Depressive States,”         (1935)  The Writings of Melanie Klein,, Vol. 1, The Hogarth Press, London, 1975,

            p. 264-266.

  1. Melanie Klein, “Notes on Schizoid Mechanisms,” (1946)  The Writings of Melanie  

Klein,, Vol. 3, The Hogarth Press, London, 1975,  pp.7 -11.

  1.  Geoffrey Alderman, op. cit., p.25.
  2.  Text of Ibrahim Mudaires sermon, op. cit., p.1.
  3.  Stuart Twemlow, “The Roots of Violence,” p. 780.
  4. George W. Bush, “Remarks by the President at the 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy.”





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