An unsettling stroll through the Arab mind
A very important article that helps explain to us the author's concluding sentence, which states that as far as Arab Muslims go, we must demand of them, as we did of Germany and Japan, unconditional surrender.
Thinking Like an Arab
If it hasn’t occurred to most Americans by now, Arabs don’t think like us. They see the world in very different terms. Rationality, logic, and common sense do not rate high among their priorities.
Not long ago, I had the opportunity to briefly work with Edward V. Badolato. [...] In 1980, he wrote a white paper, "Learning to Think like an Arab Muslim: a Short Guide to Understanding the Arab Mentality". I am going to provide a brief introduction to it. At only 14 pages, it is not a long document, but it succinctly explains why Americans and others in the West are encountering such difficulty understanding why Arab Muslims appear, by our standards, to be completely insane.
Why, for example, would people who believe they have the one, true religion, not hesitate to blow up mosques and other holy places? Why would they attack weddings and funerals? Why is beheading so popular among terrorists? Why would a few cartoons set off rioting and killing? And what does all this mean to us in terms of the threat it represents?
Arab Muslims, and presumably others because Islam has more than a billion adherents, divide the world between themselves and what they call Dar al Harb, literally, "the world of war." So, you are either a Muslim or you are an infidel and, by definition, a threat to Islam until you convert or are killed.
This may seem harsh, but true believers in Islam hold all other religions in contempt. The view of Judaism is psychopathic. Christians do not fare much better. The contempt for Hindus and Buddhists, religions deemed not to have "a book", completes the utter certitude of Muslims that they alone are truly religious.
Why do Arabs seem to be so violent? Conflict can be found in a family culture of competitiveness that is instilled at an early age. An old Arab saying aptly describes this. "I against my brother, my brother and I against our cousins, my brother, my cousins and I against the world."
What America and the West are up against are Islamic fundamentalists and countless sympathizers who would destroy us in a desperate effort to retain their Arab identity. [...] Their very identity as Arabs and/or Muslims is at stake. The validity of Islam as the one, true faith is at stake. "Huge segments of the population simply cannot cope with modernity and the social and political changes taking place."
What we see as an improvement in the lives of millions of Arabs, changes in their educational system, women’s rights and their inclusion in the work force, improved literacy rates, better nutritional standards, advanced health and hygiene, all things that Westerners embrace, threaten Arabs. This explains why the Middle East has remained the most backward region of the world for centuries and why it now constitutes the greatest threat to the modern world.
Arab Muslims are not like us. They do not want to be like us. If they become more like us they will have to let go of a culture that both stunts their humanity and provides an odd, brutal security blanket at the same time.
For the West that leaves us with the same demand we made of Japan and Germany in the last century, unconditional surrender.
The complete text of Badolato’s essay can be read at The complete text: Learning to Think like an Arab Muslim: a Short Guide to Understanding the Arab Mentality.