By SETH J. FRANTZMAN
When France’s National Front did well in the first round of December regional elections a narrative emerged that the rise of the right in France was “handing ISIS the victory it wants.” This was the self-fulfilling prophecy of oped writers. ISIS commits terror in the West. Some right wing people get attention. Then the narrative is that ISIS “thrives” on rise of far right. The analysts come forward and provide an intellectually complex view of ISIS, as if it’s a bunch of professors and political strategists, who “prey on the grey zone” and want to “divide the world into Crusaders and Jihadists.”
This creates a “cycle”, so that the rise of ISIS and other forms of neo-Nazi-like Islamist extremism is always the fault of the West, and particularly the fault of the right wing. Since there will always be some right wingers in Europe or the US, then they can always be the “reason” for the rise of Islamism. Now the story that the Washington Post’s David Ignatius has put forward is that ISIS “feeds off Islamophobia.” Therefore “the best way to defeat the Islamic State’s strategy is for the Trumps of the world to shut up. If they do that, the caliphate would quickly run out of steam.”
You see, it’s all because of Trump. It’s never because of ISIS, it’s never because of the ISIS recruits. One problem though. ISIS rise in 2014 was before Trump. It was before Le Pen’s short-term victory. Numerous article about the kinds of people who join ISIS, like the “lonely American woman,” never said they joined because of “Islamophobia.” Most recruits like Jihadi John were wannabe murderers. They were Islamist-supremacists, but for some or many Islam was merely the latest garb they put on. If it hadn’t been Islamism, they would have been football hooligans, or maybe even Le Pen supporters. They wanted a brotherhood, belonging, and many wanted to indulge in rape and murder.
Read the stories of the German man who posted photos of a Yazidi woman on Facebook for sale. Or the men who “married” and raped a Christian woman held by ISIS up to nine times a night, as part of a Islamist-brothel that would have been similar to the ethnic-religious sanctioned rape of the Rwandan genocide or Nazi era. Australian ISIS volunteers are bragged about buying and raping woman. The NYT also documented how foreign volunteers from Europe raped women after praying. Then they pushed birth control on them to rape them more.
So why did British ISIS volunteers revel in raping women and boast about it? Given the accounts of many of the women rescued from ISIS, almost all of them tell of foreign volunteers from Europe being involved in raping and selling them.
It wasn’t Islamophobia that turned these 5,000 European ISIS volunteers into modern day slave traders. It was Islamist-supremacism mixed with Eurosupremacism, neo-colonialism and neo-nazism. These men were not victims of Donald Trump, these were men who wanted to rape and murder and wished they could go back to a period of genocide such as 1994 in Rwanda or 1941 in Germany or any other genocide, such as Cambodia, and run a rape camp. These were the typical kind of male sociopaths and psychopaths who yearn to murder and dominate. They were xenophobic, homophobic, hateful, bigoted, intolerant, chauvinists who sought out in a foreign country a Hobbesian world that would allow them to indulge in their fantasies. ISIS didn’t recruit them by showing them videos of Le Pen, it showed them victories and convoys of men with guns, and promised them “spoils.”
These were the classic recruits of the Nazis or KKK, except they found ISIS. These men were not driven to join ISIS because they were offended, they sought out ISIS and they wanted to join. It appealed to every bit of their worst human nature, it never appealed to them based on them being victims. It appealed to them as “heroes” and “lions” who would kill and rape and get to have a little slave kingdom in Syria. They would be the new colonizers, to run a bit of Iraq and Syria. Documents show that foreign volunteers were allowed nice houses in Mosul and Raqqa, that they received special dispensation and rights and were given more women to rape. European countries often turned a blind eye to Jihadists and offered gym memberships to those returning.
Siddharta Dhar, the British Jihadist, was a Hindu convert. He didn’t suffer Islamophobia. He suffered Islamophilia, he believed Islam would give him carte blanche to harm others, and destroy ancient civilizations in Iraq and ethnically cleanse ancient peoples. There are 800 like him from the UK. Colonialism came to late for them and so did the Nazi genocide, so they want their genocide.
Why is it that “Islamophobia” supposedly created ISIS, but ISIS crimes against humanity, cleansing 300,000 Yazidis and hundreds of thousands of Christians and massacred Shia isn’t an excuse for hatred of ISIS? Why aren’t ISIS crimes against Kurds a form of Islamophobia? When ISIS destroys ancient mosques and shrines, why isn’t that Islamophobia? Why isn’t it Islamophobia for ISIS to massacre Shia? Most of those fighting ISIS are Muslims, so who is the Islamophobe?
The same people who say ISIS “isn’t Islamic” are the same ones who say Islamophobia created it? If ISIS isn’t Islamic and many volunteers can’t read Quran, then how does anti-Muslim rhetoric fuel it?
How come Shia and Ahmadi and many other Muslim groups don’t join ISIS if Islamophobia fuel ISIS? Perhaps because it is not right wing Westerners who fuel ISIS, but rather people who seek out and join ISIS and its brand of extremism which is itself Islamophobic?
Most ISIS crimes were carried out by ISIS willing executioners in Iraq and Syria. Many local people, with local reason and grievances, joined ISIS. It’s backbone is made up of locals and some 30,000 other volunteers from around the world. They never heard of Trump. They committed genocide without ever having even lived in the West. In the opposite many of them sought to re-create a powerful Sunni “Caliphate” and some looked back with happiness to the years of Saddam. They were the ultimate chauvinists, like the Germans in 1933, seeking to reinvigorate their “national awakening”. ISIS was the strong ideology that showed up and said it would lead them to greatness, after committing genocide. And many locals wanted that. Extremism and zeal of ethnic cleansing drove them and anger at Shia dominance of Baghdad.
Most ISIS volunteers don’t come from an environment of being “suppressed”, many of them are in the opposite, men who seek dominance. They want to be suppressors. They want to murder. They want to colonize. They want to rape. Like those zealous volunteers for the Nazis in Baltic states, Croatia, Austria and other places, these were men who dreamed and fantisized about dominating and who wanted a free hand at murder without consequences.
95% of ISIS volunteers joined before anyone heard of Trump in US politics. But the thing that scares western oped writers like Ignatius, is that ISIS volunteers are not the fault of the West, and that it is made up of men who want to murder and that it is primarily those men who are fault. What scares them is that there exists in the West many thousands of young men who want to join new Nazi-style parties, and if those parties wave the black flag of Islamism, or the flag of the swastika, these men will join. What they also fear is that things happening in the Middle East cannot all be cured by defeating Donald Trump. What they fear is that the real Islamophobia is actually the Islamophobia of Islamist extremists like ISIS, because what they fear the most is confronting ISIS and hating it for what it is. What they fear the most is sympathizing with the victims of ISIS.
Which is worse, the rhetoric of Donald Trump or the murder of thousands, mass rape and cleansing of a million? Well you can do the math. If a group did to minorities in the West what ISIS did, killing thousands and ethnically-cleansing hundreds of thousands, we can guess what people would say. The real crime in the excuses about what “fuels” ISIS, is that those like Ignatius refuse to look the victims of ISIS in the eyes and see humanity and be angry at ISIS volunteers, rather than see them as “victims”.
Pretending Islamophobia created ISIS is like pretending anti-white racism created the KKK or Germanophobia led to the Nazis. It turns perpetrators into victims and robs them of agency and responsibility. Many Muslims are victims of Islamophobia, few join ISIS and those few are not victims but bullies and wannabe murderers.