The Islamist Demopath and his Dupe

This is a guest post by Mitnaged

44 Ways to Support Jihad, by Anwar Al Awlaki

Prof Richard Landes lists some of the characteristics of demopaths and, under the heading “Demopathic Discourse”, sets out the fundamental being-in-the-world of Anwar al-Awlaki: “…In order for me to prevent you from dominating me, I must dominate you first…” In most Muslim societies this is the status quo and the domination is literal and physical, but Al-Awlaki, as we are seeing, takes it to a new and hideous level by means of psychological manipulation and mind games.   Al-Awlaki, of course, dresses up his need to dominate in fundamentalist religious clothing, but at base level this need to dominate  – not the rights of Palestinians, not world domination by Islam – is his main driver.

The dupes of Islamist demopaths such as Al-Awlaki may not be Islamists themselves but the Muslim imperative of loyalty towards other Muslims, coupled with a lack of any sense of efficacy and a phobic injunction against being different in ideas or behaviour, add to the belligerent self-pity which can always be cranked up and all of these form a particularly toxic mix which Al-Awlaki takes advantage of and uses.

Nussaibah Younis is the latest in the Guardian/CiF’s stable of empty-headed apologists for Islamism, given her fifteen minutes of fame on CiF because she became besotted with this Islamist instigator of terrorism.

She still basks shamelessly in the reflected infamy of Anwar Al-Awlaki, whose groupie she unselfconsciously admits she was when she was seventeen years old, when Al-Awlaki was a “minor celebrity.”   She admits that she was “thrilled” to be “mesmerised” by him.  It seems that she still is.

Younis’ article is the usual shallow, selective and ill-informed nonsense designed to appeal to an audience who cannot cope with complexity and which questions very little    In the cloyingly self-pitying, “woe is me” fashion so beloved of Islamists, their fellow-travellers and apologists for their excesses, she tries to excuse Al-Awlaki’s descent into infamy.   Apparently, and according to her, Al-Awlaki was “deeply hurt” by the US response to 9/11* and that he began to believe that maybe American “freedom” was a charade.  Missing from her account, of course, is any awareness of context of the US response, and any awareness or understanding at all on her part of how Americans perceived the murders of thousands of their fellow-countrymen and women on 9/11 in the name of Islam. Of course demopath Al-Awlaki did not care about that – demopath that he is he was almost certainly more concerned about how to make use of it to boost his power base – and of course neither does she, because it would certainly interfere in a major way with the rosy picture that she tries to paint of the “rather literalist” (her words) Al-Awlaki’s behaviour and his motives.

*(Curiously, Younis makes no mention either of the fact that Al-Awlaki’s sermons were attended by three of the 9/11 hijackers from 1999. He reportedly met privately with at least two of them, Nawaf Alhamzi and Khalid Almihdhar, in San Diego, and one moved from there to Falls Church, Virginia, when al-Awlaki moved.  Investigators suspect al-Awlaki may have known about the 9/11 attacks in advance.   This strongly suggests that Al-Awlaki’s “hurt” had him beginning to manipulate others to commit terrorist acts years before 9/11 took place).

Also conspicuously absent from this paean is any mention of the other terror attacks and attempted murders for which Younis’ hero, Al-Awlaki, is responsible:

He was mentor to Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in Fort Hood, Texas in 2009, and to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian charged with trying to blow up a Detroit-bound jetliner on 25th December 2009.  Abdulmutallab was chair of the Islamic Society at University College London from 2006 to 2007.  (The UK provides, as we are finding out, a particularly facilitative climate for such sociopathy to mature).  In May 2010, Faisal Shahzad, who pleaded guilty to the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt, told interrogators he was “inspired by” al-Awlaki and made contact with him via the internet. Al-Awlaki also inspired (if that is the appropriate descriptor) the attempted murder of the British MP, Mr Stephen Timms, for which the perpetrator was jailed for life at the Old Bailey in November 2010.

All these being the case, if Younis actually believes what she has written then I am concerned for her grip on reality.  She would have us believe that Al-Awlaki’s “transformation” into a sociopathic purveyor of terror (presumably from an all-round Mr Nice Guy) was political and not religious, and that he got his retaliation in first against the West which, he believed, was intent upon destroying Islam.  (Getting in his retaliation first is, of course, is the demopath’s typical modus operandi – see above).

I myself find it impossible to believe that Al-Awlaki was ever a “nice guy”.  Very much more likely is that his behaviour began in childhood and is typical of the sociopathic jihadi leader.  I also believe that his sociopathy meant that he was attracted to, and his ideas meshed perfectly with, those of the Wahhabi strain of fundamentalism he subsequently preached and which led to the acts of terror he encouraged others to perform.   This encouragement is typical of the demopathic sociopath who prefers to manipulate others into killing and getting killed “for the cause” rather than leading by example.  He preaches about the holiness of jihad and martyrdom – but for others.   He loves himself far too much to give his own life but he sees others as expendable.

Among the features of sociopathic personality disorder are:

  • Glibness and superficial charm
  • Manipulativeness – They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviours as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.
  • Grandiose sense of self – feel entitled to certain things as “their right.”
  • Pathological lying.   Have no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.
  • Lack of remorse, shame or guilt – A deep-seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Do not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.
  • Shallow emotions – when they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.
  • Callousness/lack of empathy – unable to empathize with the pain of their victims, having only contempt for others’ feelings of distress and readily taking advantage of them.
  • Believe they are all-powerful, all-knowing, entitled to every wish, no sense of personal boundaries, no concern for their impact on others.
  • Not concerned about wrecking others’ lives and dreams. Oblivious or indifferent to the devastation they cause. Do not accept blame themselves, but blame others, even for acts they obviously committed.

(Source: DSMIV-TR)

Al-Awlaki’s behaviour and attitudes tick almost every box above, and in the light of that his pamphlet about the different ways to support jihad makes particularly chilling reading.  Note how he normalises murderous behaviour by making a virtue out of the support of it.

And what of Younis as a blind follower and apologist for such a one?    Aspects of her article show her almost to exhibit signs of co-dependency, so concerned is she to excuse the murderous behaviour of the object of her admiration.   It is evident that she still has a strong emotional attachment to her construction of Al-Awlaki, in much the same way as young people have such attachments to rock stars.

As for CiF which allows Younis free rein to enthuse about her hero, readers may come to their own conclusions about why a blog under the banner of a once-great newspaper still allows contributors to it to make excuses for Islamist terrorists in general and this one in particular.   Al-Awlaki is of a different, more malignant order from the usual Islamist terrorists featured and adored on CiF.  He is infinitely more dangerous.  Kath Viner should be more aware of the damage CiF may be doing by promoting him as some sort of hero, but is she afraid of bucking the trend?

13 replies »

  1. Nussaibah Younis is the latest in the Guardian/CiF’s stable of empty-headed apologists for Islamism, given her fifteen minutes of fame on CiF because she became besotted with this Islamist instigator of terrorism.

    It is deplorable that The Guardian/CiF hosts this kind of people. One wonders how they would have reacted to a German explaining away Hitlers rants in the 1930s to an impressionable young person who had no Idea how to distinguish right from wrong other than asking Hitler for an opinion.

  2. “Demopath” is a new one. What about paranoid psychopathic coward? It’s hardly surprising to find that one of his dupes was chair of an Islamic Society. The louder you shout the more likely you are to achieve leadership, especially of a body consisting of at least a sizeable number of similar dupicitous characters. And UCL is forming ties with the Islamic world by setting up branches in ther Middle east.

    What Moslems in Britain need above all is to be free from the blackmail they get from extremists. But extremists are allowed in to address them in mosques and other institutions. If the UK is to become less of a breeding ground for extremists, it is those very people who should be banned. But who is saying this to government?

  3. JerusalemMite, yes, it is deplorable but what can you expect from these people? Don’t forget they regularly allow Hamas and Hezbollah supporters to afflict us with their burblings, and this is the rag that published an cringemaking obituary for Nizar Rayyan (perdition be upon him), the suicide terrorist handler who even sent his own son to explode himself among Israeli civilians. Any resemblance between people who commission this filth and ethical journalists or even human beings is therefore purely coincidental.

    However, they can’t be prosecuted even if the CPS in the UK could be slapped out of its inaction because they stop short of glorifying Islamists’ terrorist activities, but Ms Younis is obviously so enraptured that neither she nor Kath Viner realise what fools they look.

    One of these days they will go too far and may I be around to witness it!

  4. “Kath Viner should be more aware of the damage CiF may be doing by promoting him as some sort of hero”

    I wonder if she even knew who he was till the comments starting pouring in?

    Fact checking and background research are not the Guardian’s strong point, and anything with “Islam” in it is given a free pass as “the religion of peace”.

  5. Julian, it’s likely that if al-Awlaqi were assessed by a psychiatrist he would be diagnosed as “dual-diagnosis” which means that he suffers from more than one personality or mental disorder. “Sociopath” is the new word for “psychopath” and, al-Awlaqi being an Islamist who lies, deceives, uses others without a second thought, is careless of their feelings and safety it would not be beyond the realms of possibility that he would exhibit paranoid ideation that others will do the same to him.

    From what I have read about him elsewhere, Al-Awlaqi’s other personality disorder is narcissistic. There may be an overlap between the behavioural indicators of sociopathy and those of pathological narcissism, particularly as regards the need to be in control and to manipulate others, but I suspect that because al-Awlaqi can feign interest, talk well and with confidence he can often get away with actually knowing very little whilst at the same time using his charm to convince his dupes that he is an expert in many things.

    His biography at the link above is interesting in that regard. Note, for example, that he enrolled for a PhD in the USA but the next year he left the US and went to London almost certainly without completing it.

    There are some questions about his qualifications in Islamic scholarship too. We learn that according to a description of his education, which he posted on his web site, al Awlaki’s Islamic education consists of a few months’ study here and there with various scholars. He also read and “contemplated” the works of several prominent Islamic scholars. Questions about his credibility as an Islamic scholar compelled him to write about his background; however, despite the fact that he did not earn a degree in Islamic studies he moved around quite a bit and gathered a following. Why did he move around so often? Could it be that he changed jobs and locations whenever he was found out not to be as learned, brilliant or knowledgeable as he talked himself up to be?

  6. I still can’t rid myself of the increasingly strong suspicion that the Groan is by some means or other receiving Islamist funding which would explain why they publish the ill-researched, half truths they do.

    They’d have to pay back the money somehow, so why not in kind?

    (Er… THAT could’ve been put better…)

  7. I think it should be added that when a woman (although most probably she is only chronologically adult, but is actually emotionally immature) gushes about a cult leader the way this person does, there is an element of perverted sexuality about it. Think the “Manson Family.” One wonders what is missing in her own psychosexual make-up which causes her to latch on to this narcissistic sociopath.

    Unfortunately, I have vast experience of personalities like this, and I know how seductive they can be. This is the sort of man who would ride around in Bentleys while his minions starved. He is sick, and so are they.

  8. Irit, you make very good points about the immature sexuality of so many female followers of jihadis and cult leaders in general. A parsimonious explanation for Younis’ continuing attachment to Awlaki might be that her “relationship” with him represents the ultimate in “safe sex” for her as a Muslim woman – literally a “mind fuck.”

    Assuming that he was a “red blooded” Muslim male, young unmarried Muslim women groupies would be forbidden for Awlaki and he would relieve himself (and I use those words deliberately because that is what sex would be for such a one) with kufar women like so many of his kind. Younis might be aware subliminally that nothing could ever happen between them – so great is the phobic induction against premarital sex that she would probably run screaming from the room if he propositioned her.

    Islamist males, however, are deliberately cranked up to become obsessed about sex but are forced to remain celibate and at the same time are deliberately fed lurid and explicit stories about the 70 virgins, so that they may come to believe that the only way they can ever have sex, and of the never ending variety, would be by choosing to die horribly. Al-Awlaki probably does the cranking up.

    Al-Awlaki would indeed swan around well-fed and in luxury while his people starved around him, but he would tell himself and them that it was a form of jihad or his allah’s will. For narcissistic sociopaths like him it’s almost invariably a case of “Do as I say, not as I do” and where it isn’t that’s almost certainly because there’s something in it for him.

  9. “Demopath” is a new one.

    Its an invented term to accommodate a new form of social pathology that perhaps does not extend in all cases to the frightful excesses of the true psychopath. It describes, according to Professor Landes, people who use democratic language and invoke human rights only when it serves their interests as for example almost all the Muslim interest groups masquerading as the moderate face of what is inherently immoderate.

  10. epidermoid, the real danger from the demopath lies not only in what he himself does nor in the power he arrogates to himself but in how he uses that power to deceive others into doing his bidding. Thus al-Awlaki’s lack of conscience and humanity means that he can con people without seeming to do so, and even into appearing to commit outrages willingly, all the time believing that they are doing his allah’s work, but with none of the blame or guilty conscience about their deaths for him.

    He’s a human being in appearance only, as are others like him – the recruiters of suicide murderers and the imams who glorify those death-dealing scum.

  11. Mitnaged,

    I am a married woman of many years’ standing, and a mother, and quite honestly, if Awlaki propositioned me I would probably run screaming from the room as well.

  12. Nor would I blame you, Irit, but with respect you are not taking into account the possible effects of entrancement. I am told that unless a person breaks the spell within a minute then he (and in this case she, as regards Younis) is hooked, but what if she doesn’t realise that she is being entranced? Younis was easy bait as are many young, all-too-easily disaffected Muslims and others who have little sense of self-efficacy or selfhood. Islam predisposes its followers not to think for themselves and when a message comes with a coating of honey, promising unlimited power then they fall for it utterly.

    I believe that Islam is a cult and that Islamism is its most pernicious aspect. How many of the following, for example, apply to Islam/Islamism or al-Awlaki and others like him?

    The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law.

    ‪”Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.

    ‪”Mind-altering practices (such as meditation, chanting, speaking in tongues, denunciation sessions, and debilitating work routines) are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s).

    ‪”The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, leaders prescribe what types of clothes to wear, where to live, whether or not to have children, how to discipline children, and so forth).

    ‪”The group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader(s) and members (for example, the leader is considered the Messiah, a special being, an avatar—or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).

    ‪”The group has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.

    ‪”The leader is not accountable to any authorities (unlike, for example, teachers, military commanders or ministers, priests, monks, and rabbis of mainstream religious denominations).

    ‪”The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family or friends, lying generally, or collecting money for bogus charities) (or murdering others who are deemed inferior by exploding themselves among them).

    ‪”The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion.

    ‪”Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group. (Accounts of preparations for suicide missions include descriptions of how the participants withdrew from their usual social circle and habits)

    ‪”The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members. (eg spreading their da’wah)

    ‪”The group is preoccupied with making money.

    ‪”Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities. (if you have to pray five times a day, there can be little time for much else)

    ‪”Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members. (but even this is greatly circumscribed. One of the reasons for the closure of the Islamic Society at City University, London, was that they insisted on complete segregation of men from women, even at social functions, and this contravenes university statutes about inclusiveness and equality)

    ‪”The most loyal members (the “true believers”) feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group. (Apostasy = death)

    (Sources: Langone, Michael, Ph.D.: “Definitional Ambiguity”
    Langone, Michael, Ph.D.: “On Using the Term “Cult” )

  13. Mitnaged,

    An excellent description of the hold these imams, including Awlaki, have over weaker minds.

    However, speaking from the viewpoint of a mature woman, a weedy little nebbish like that is only going to be able “to relieve himself” by brainwashing or enticing women with large wads of cash. In his case, very large wads.