This essay was originally published in 2011 in Dutch in the book De Islam — kritische essays over een politieke religie (Islam: Critical Essays about a Political Religion) by Wim and Sam van Rooy. Raymond Ibrahim, Hans Jansen, Ibn Warraq, Bat Ye’or and others also contributed to the book.
It summarizes the main conclusions in my book Blandt kriminelle muslimer. En psykologs erfaringer fra KÃ¸benhavns Kommune (Among Criminal Muslims. A Psychologist’s Experiences from Copenhagen Municipality), and adds a few political arguments at the end. Publishers interested in publishing my Danish book in English or other languages are welcome to contact me at nicolaisennels[at]gmail.com.
Report from the therapy room: Why are Muslims more violent and criminal?
by Nicolai Sennels
Nicolai Sennels (born 1976) is psychologist, a popular lecturer about Muslim integration and gangs, and author of “Among Criminal Muslims. A Psychologist’s Experiences from Copenhagen Municipality” (Free Press Society, 2009). This article summarizes his experiences and conclusions as a professional psychologist in the Copenhagen youth prison SÃ¸nderbro.
This article is an invitation to come behind the normally hermetically closed doors of the therapy room and get insights into the often just as closed Muslim culture and communities. As a psychologist in Copenhagen’s youth prison I had a unique chance to get insights into the culture and religion of Muslims and the causes for the violent behaviour and high crime rates among Muslim immigrants. My Muslim clients told me their stories from their families and communities, about life in their home countries, about their experiences with and views on non-Muslims and the Danish society. I had around 150 Muslim and 100 Danish clients on my couch. They all came from the same age group (12-17 years) and the two groups had on average the same social and economic background. Most of them were found guilty, but a large part also proved to be innocent. I thus had a very good opportunity to compare Muslims and non-Muslims psychologically.
The conclusion is that there are strong psychological differences between Muslims and non-Muslims. It is also clear that Muslim culture influences Muslims in a way that makes them more likely to become criminal and display anti-social behaviour – especially towards non-Muslims and non-Islamic authorities.
The crime rate among Muslims in the West is catastrophically high. Seven out of 10 inmates in Danish youth prisons have immigrant backgrounds, and almost all of them are raised in Muslim families. The first seven or eight places on the top-10 list of criminals’ nationality are occupied by immigrants from Muslim countries (Danes come in as number nine, followed by a long list of purely non-Muslim immigrants). This list is published by the Danish state’s Bureau of Statistics, and is corrected according to the criminals’ economic and educational status. The crime statistics also show that crime rates among immigrants get worse, not better, in subsequent generations. Time does not heal the problems, on the contrary. Second generation immigrants (born and raised in Denmark) in the age group 20-29 years are thus 76 percent more criminal than first generation immigrants (born outside Denmark) in the same age group. Second generation non-Western immigrants are five times more violent than Danes. 22 percent of the second generation immigrants between 20-29 years received one or more sentences in 2005 (http://avisen.dk/unge-efterkommere-er-de-mest-kriminelle_6193.aspx). In 2006 the number had risen to 23 percent (http://jp.dk/indland/krimi/article1371018.ece). The share of immigrants among youth criminals in Copenhagen rose from 56 percent in 2007 to 67 percent in 2008 – that is an increase of 20 percent in just one year (http://politiken.dk/indland/article560520.ece).
The question is of course: Why are Muslims so much more criminal, violent and seemingly non-empathetic than non-Muslims?
I conducted therapy with the Muslim and Danish inmates in both groups and individually: Individual therapy, Anger Management groups and Mindfulness training. During the hundreds of hours with both Danish (and a very small percentage of non-Muslim immigrants) and Muslim clients, a psychological profile of the Muslim culture became evident. We have to acknowledge the psychological differences between Muslims and Westerners if we want to understand the unsuccessful integration of Muslims in the West and its increasingly problematic consequences.
Anger vs. weakness
One very big difference between Muslims and Westerners concerns their views of anger. In our Western culture, anger is generally seen as a sign of weakness and lack of control and good style. Whoever experienced the embarrassment of expressing strong anger during, for example, family dinners or at work knows that it often takes time and a conscious effort to regain one’s lost respect. We in general see it as childish and immature if people use threats and aggressive behaviour to mark their dislikes and have things their way. Instead, we see peoples’ ability to use logical arguments, to compromise, to see the situation from our opponent’s side and their knowledge of the facts, and to remain calm when challenged as clear signs of strength and authenticity.
My Muslim clients saw these normal Western social tools for negotiation during social conflicts as signs of weakness. They saw the lack of readiness to use threats and engage in a physical fight as a sign of fear. I spent countless hours working with the inmates” problematic relationship to violence. Most of the Danish clients knew that anger is a “bad feeling” and that in the end there is no excuse for using threats and violence when frustrated. This view was simply part of what they were raised to think by their parents and friends and the culture they were brought up in (though they did not always manage to follow that rule in their daily life).
Practising Anger Management therapy with Muslim clients does not just involve reminding them of good style and the benefits of handling conflicts and frustrations peacefully: The term “cultural conversion” would be the best expression. It turned out that my Muslim clients saw the use of aggression as an accepted and even often expected behaviour in conflicts. If a person does not become aggressive when criticised or insecure, it is seen as a sign of weakness and lack of ability to defend oneself and one’s honour. In Muslim culture it is expected that one is willing to sacrifice one’s personal safety to protect one’s group or whatever one represents. If a member of the group is not able to do so, there will immediately be sown doubts as to whether that member can be trusted as a useful defender of the family, ethnic group, religion, territory, etc.
The aggressiveness among Muslim men does not only show itself in the therapy room and crime statistics when comparing Muslim and non-Muslim offenders. In a recent study conducted by the Criminal Research Institute of Lower Saxony in Germany, scientists interviewed 45,000 teenagers of both Muslim and non-Muslim origin, and their conclusion was clear: “Boys growing up in religious Muslim families are more likely to be violent“.
These psychological insights should be used on a wider scale. One important example is that Western diplomacy and foreign policy must take such cultural differences into account. There is no doubt that when we meet extreme Islamic governments and organizations with suggestions of compromise and dialogue, the average Muslim voter on their streets expect their Islamic leaders to exploit such Western weaknesses to the maximum. We Westerners see aggressiveness in people and regimes as a sign of insecurity, and therefore meet such situations with soft compassion and respect. Such measures often work within our own cultural circles, but can have harmful long-term effects on our efforts to produce respect and maybe even a necessary amount of fear among hostile Muslim societies and organisations. This strategic psychological reminder concerns both big politics and when dealing with anti-social individuals raised in a Muslim setting.
Honour vs. insecurity
Another big difference between Muslims and Westerners concerns their views of honour. In Western societies we see it as a sign of strength, personal authenticity and an honourable attitude if we are able to face criticism with a calm and clear attitude. Being able to ignore irrelevant criticism and take it into account when relevant is seen as an important aspect of being a dignified and self-confident person. The ability to think or say, “That is your opinion about me/my values – but I have my own opinion and that is what counts for me,” is necessary in our critical, democratic and transparent culture, where we can not hide our mistakes or personal weaknesses behind fine titles, hierarchies or a culturally given right to not have our honour hurt or challenged.
Meeting criticism with hostility and threats, on the other hand, is seen as signs of insecurity and a lack of self-confidence. Becoming angry or categorizing oneself as a victim unable to defend oneself when challenged with simple questions or criticism concerning one’s way of living or one’s values is not honourable at all – at least not in Western culture.
As the case of the Danish Mohammed cartoons showed more clearly than anything else, the Muslim concept of honour lies on the other end of the scale: What we in the West would categorize as an insecure and childish response to criticism is seen by Muslims as a fair and honourable reaction to unjust insults. My experience from working with Muslim clients is that what other people think and say about them means a lot. The combination of social acceptance of aggressive behaviour and an exceedingly fragile honour constitutes an explosive cocktail. The simple and natural demand for integration in our Western societies is therefore experienced by many Muslims as an unwelcome criticism of their own culture. Muslims asks themselves: “Why do we have to change our way of living to be accepted?” My professional experience is that the demands for integration are constantly fueling many resident Muslims’ feeling of being criticised and feeling enmity towards their non-Islamic surroundings.
Unfortunately, the strict code of honour in Muslim culture has a tendency to create fragile and glass-like personalities in Muslim males in particular: they are constantly vigilant towards any sign of criticism. As a small anecdote, I would like to mention that this insecurity in Muslim men is probably part of the reason why more than half of all physical attacks on soccer judges in Denmark are committed by immigrants.
Victim mentality vs. personal responsibility
A third psychological difference concerns the so-called “locus of control”. Locus of control is a psychological term that describes whether people experience their lives as controlled mainly by inner or by outer factors. In Western societies we are told that we ourselves are the main ones responsible for our lives. The way we think, speak and act – our way of handling our emotions, our views, ways of communication, our reactions, etc. – determines whether we manage to create a life with a majority of happy and satisfying moments or not. The basic advice in our culture is to look at ourselves if we want to locate the causes of our personal problems. A large portion of our citizens – including myself – thus make a living from giving people advice about how to change their lives so that they can become happier and avoid becoming a burden to one’s surroundings.
Working as a psychologist treating young Danish teenagers in a youth prison is fairly easy. They are raised to think that talking about one’s problems can bring new and better solutions to one’s problems. They are brought up in a culture that includes an inner locus of control, and when I as their therapist ask them about their own part in their problems, the question makes sense to them.
Having a Muslim on the couch is very different, though. Asking a Muslim to take a look at his own inner and outer reactions in order to find the reasons for his problems is simply not a relevant question for them. Muslim clients mainly see the sources for their suffering as outer factors: An unfair society and non-Islamic authorities are the general scapegoats. Most of my Muslim clients also did not see it as their own responsibility to integrate into our Danish society — they somehow expected the municipality or the state to make that happen. Anyway, my experience is that most Muslims do not see any reason for integrating, are not allowed to by their family and friends, or are simply not able to live up to Western standards even if they wanted to and were allowed to try by their Muslim surroundings. The same was almost always the case concerning the crimes they had been charged with: It was the victim’s own fault – he or she had “provoked” or tempted them beyond their means. My Muslim clients thus felt “forced” to attack the victim by the victim him or herself, or by outer religious or cultural pressure and expectations.
In many professional circles it is a big topic for discussion whether the Muslim culture – by creating an outer locus of control in the individual – creates psychopathic tendencies in Muslims, or if the lack of empathy and personal responsibility is a more superficial phenomenon.
While Westerners tend to ask themselves “What did I do wrong?” when experiencing problems, Muslims tend to ask “Who did this to me?” The tendency to develop a victim mentality is therefore another natural consequence of having an outer locus of control: When things go bad they see themselves as victims of bad luck, injustice or simply other people’s selfish actions. The typical reaction of anybody having an outer locus of control is thus to demand that the outer world change instead of oneself. This view of life is beautifully summarised in the ancient Indian saying: “If you have no shoes, you need to cover the whole world with leather in order to walk softly” (outer locus of control). “If you make yourself a pair of shoes, you can walk wherever you want and feel comfortable” (inner locus of control).
Having an outer locus of control makes one vulnerable to the hardships of life because one does not see that it is possible to change and grow with the situation. Having an inner locus of control makes one able to follow the Tibetan saying: “The thorns are pointy but the elephant’s skin is thick.” (Meaning: One is able to not take things too personally – and one can therefore remain friendly and open in difficult situations). It is not without reason that professions such as psychologist, psychiatrist and therapist are close to non-existent in the Muslim world – and the little there is is imported from the West, and thus not rooted in their own culture: Professions helping people to help themselves become stronger individuals do not have a place in cultures that are building on an outer locus of control.
The Institute for Islamic Studies conducted a large research project among Muslims in Germany, and one of the conclusions was that there exists “A distinct victim mentality and heightened acceptance of violence among [Muslim] Youth. … In a comparison of non-Muslim youth to Muslim youth who maintain Muslim religious affiliation, one finds that a greater amount of violence is acceptable.”
Muslims vs. non-Muslims
A fourth and very important psychological trait concerns Muslims’ identity. While equality and tolerance are promoted as some of our basic values in Western societies, there is a very strong discrimination between Muslims and non-Muslims among Muslims. I am not an expert in Islamic scriptures – though I studied them quite a lot to understand my Muslim clients – but my guess is that this discrimination is probably inspired by the Islamic scriptures, in which the term “infidel” (non-Muslim) appears 347 times. Among my 150 Muslim clients, at most a handful felt they were Danish. Most of them saw themselves as Moroccans, Somalis and Pakistanis, etc. living in another country – in this case Denmark. Almost all of them felt alienated towards Danes and in opposition to the Danish society. This shocked me, because many of these clients were second or third generation immigrants in Denmark. This tendency unfortunately fits very well with research in France, Germany and Denmark. According to a survey made in 2008, only 14 percent of the Muslims living in France feel more French than Muslim. Research conducted by the German Ministry of the Interior shows that only 12 percent of the Muslims living in Germany “defined themselves as
Germans”. In Denmark, only 14 percent of the resident Muslims can identify themselves with the organisation Democratic Muslims, which claims that Muslims can be “Democratic and Danish”.
This strong experience of “us” and “them” (Muslims and non-Muslims) has very concrete consequences — most of all to non-Muslims: Most of the Muslim inmates had been charged with some kind of violence — violence, robbery and attempted murder. Unless it happened in connection with rival Muslim gangs or was so-called honour-related, the victims were always non-Muslims.
My experience in Copenhagen seems to fit well with research done in Italy. In the study, the participants were shown short films of people having their hand penetrated by a needle. The scientists proved that brain waves connected with feelings of empathy are stronger when seeing suffering among people from one’s own ethnic group. Their conclusion was therefore that “We are less likely to ‘feel the pain’ of people from other races.” It was also proven that such racist discrimination is learned, not inherent: “When we had no prejudice, we were more likely to empathise.” After having studied the Quran and having had more than a hundred Muslim clients, it is clear that the discrimination against non-Muslims that exists in Muslim communities lessens Muslims empathy with non-Muslims, and this makes it more psychologically easy to dislike and harm us. Both my own findings and the Italian project prove knowledge that has existed for millennia, especially in the military: An important part of leading one’s army to victory is to demonize the enemy through propaganda, thereby diminishing empathy and making the soldiers hate the enemy, thus making them more able to inflict harm on or even kill the enemy.
Listening to the Muslim clients’ description of their view of non-Muslims and to their talk among themselves, it became clear that they do not only experience themselves as basically belonging to a different group of people – they also see themselves as better. Since the Danish inmates were a minority in prison, many of them had difficulties feeling safe and accepted. One way to improve one’s social status and general conditions in prison was to show interest in Islam. Non-Muslim prisoners converting to Islam in order to be protected and avoid harassment is a growing phenomena not only in Denmark but in many countries. It seems that the Muslim group does not identify itself in terms of skin and hair colour. The group identified itself in accordance with its religion.
This surprised me, because most of the Muslim inmates were not practising their religion in daily life. Many of them enjoyed alcohol and had had premarital sex. They also did not pray five times per day, and a majority knew little or nothing about the content of the Quran. During my talks with the young Muslim offenders, it became clear that through their upbringing they had been taught that they belonged to a special group of people, and that defending their prophet and religion was primary for Muslims. I had dozens of Muslim clients who had started fires in connection with the reprinting of the Mohammed cartoons in February 2008. In therapy they explained that they wanted to show their anger as a reaction to the defamatory drawings of their prophet. At the same time, the vast majority of this group of prisoners charged with arson were not attending mosques or doing the mandatory prayers, etc. Thus religion may play a greater role in anti-social Muslims behaviour than many people think.
Another unpleasant finding was that the social power circles always appeared around the more fanatic Muslims. A sure way of gaining respect was to have the Quran lying on the bed table and having a prayer mat in one’s cell. It was popular to be able to tell conspiracy theories about how the Western world and especially the USA is guilty of all the sufferings and problems in the Muslim countries.
Sexuality: Men vs. women
Muslim men have a very high position in the world – according to Islam and Muslim customs. They are told from birth that as a Muslim they are better human beings in the eyes of both other Muslims and Allah. They also learn through both words and cultural traditions that they are better than Muslim women. My experience that not being allowed to and also not wanting to lose this position makes Muslim men very vulnerable: The slightest signs of weakness have to be hidden, and with the Muslim view of aggression, honour and the victim mentality, suppression of and even physical attacks upon women are often chosen as the Muslim man’s primary defence. This male insecurity is enhanced by the very free upbringing that many Muslim boys receive: They do not experience the necessary educational boundaries for the simple reason that they are boys. This upbringing without limitations does not provide the boys with the necessary sense of social behaviour and empathy, and leads them to think that they are powerful and invincible. The back side of such feelings is always insecurity and fear that somebody discovers that one is actually not as secure and capable as one is told, or pretends to be.
Unfortunately it seems that the suppression of women contributes to the problematic psychological patterns that many Muslims develop while growing up in the Muslim culture. Being told that men are superior and women are inferior – combined with the fragility of Muslim male honour – makes many Muslim men find it hard to accept the often far more enduring and sensitive sexuality of women. This contributes to the Muslim boys’ and men’s need to suppress their women.
It also became clear during the therapy that the Muslim culture in general seeks to suppress women in order to harden itself. Inspired by the religions from the Far East, the psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) was the first Westerner to pinpoint the consequences of suppressing the human qualities of the opposite sex. Societies suppressing the feminine (so-called “anima” in Jungian psychology) thus become less empathic, creative, intuitive, peaceful, democratic and social. Such a society aims at hierarchical, aggressive patriarchal structures, and suppression of women is exactly what one would be smart to do if one wanted to create an aggressive culture that aims at domination at the expense of others.
The suppression of women not only harms women. It also has serious negative effects on the psychological development of men. Not wanting or being able to open up to the emotional world of women leaves the men less mature, less able to handle their feelings constructively, and also harms their sexuality.
In many cases, the suppression of women causes Muslim men to develop homosexual behaviour. Research conducted in Pakistan shows that “At least 95 percent of truck drivers in Pakistan consider indulging in sexual activities during their rest time as their main entertainment.” A US military report from Afghanistan concludes that “homosexual behaviour is unusually common among men in the large ethnic group known as Pashtuns. … Pashtun men commonly have sex with other men, admire other men physically, have sexual relationships with boys and shun women both socially and sexually”. Learning to not like women and still having a sex drive naturally drives the men to find other solutions.
Homosexuality in itself is not considered a perversity according to Western psychology – as long as it is not a result of unhealthy psychological, social or cultural circumstances. When it comes to sodomy, paedophilia and rape sex, it is. According to research conducted using the internet’s largest search engine, Google, “Pakistan is top dog in searches per-person for ‘horse sex’ since 2004, ‘donkey sex’ since 2007, ‘rape pictures’ between 2004 and 2009, ‘rape sex’ since 2004, ‘child sex’ between 2004 and 2007 and since 2009, ‘animal sex’ since 2004 and ‘dog sex’ since 2005. … The country also tops – or has been No. 1 – in searches for ‘sex’, ‘camel sex’, ‘rape video,’ ‘child sex video’ and some other searches that can’t be printed here”.
Countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Morocco and Turkey are also well represented on Google Trend’s top-10 list for populations searching for different kinds of animal sex, etc. Arabic is the language that is most often used for searching for “donkey sex”, Indonesian is most used for searching for “animal sex,” etc.
The Police have also discovered the link between sexual perversion and fanatic Islamic supremacists: “A link between terrorism plots and hardcore child pornography is becoming clear after a string of police raids in Britain and across the Continent … Images of child abuse have been found during Scotland Yard anti terrorism swoops and in big inquiries in Italy and Spain.” The link between child porn and Muslim terrorists is so clear that the police considered developing a special project hiring child welfare experts to identify terrorists among paedophile networks on the internet, but “the proposed research project was never implemented because the AntiTerrorism Branch was overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases it was having to deal with.” (The Times. More here).
There is no doubt that the Muslim culture of inequality between the genders and general limitation on natural sexual behaviour easily perverts Muslim men’s sexuality. When it comes to crimes, it of course shows itself in especially the rape statistics. One among many examples is Oslo, Norway, where 100 percent of all so-called assault rapes (rapes where the rapist and his victim did not know each other beforehand) committed from 2006 to 2008 were committed by non-Western immigrants (update: there was a 30 percent rise in rapes in Oslo in 2011. The first quarter of 2012 had an increase of 69 percent in rapes compared to the same first three months of 2011).
The general sexual suppression and frustration surely also fuels the tendency to aggressive behaviour among many Muslim males. A concrete example is the 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up an airplane on New Year’s Day 2010. He had smuggled a bomb in his underpants. Just before the unsuccessful incident, he was stopped by a heroic Dutch passenger. Before the unsuccessful terror attack, Abdulmutallab had left messages on a chat site that he felt “lonely and sexually repressed”. He continued to write how he struggled with his sinful “sexual drive” and worldly “fantasies”. In order to control his sexual fantasies, he tried to change his focus by concentrating on more acceptable “jihad fantasies”: ”I imagine how the great jihad will take place, how the Muslims will win Insha’Allah and rule the whole world, and establish the greatest empire once again!!!” Replacing sexual fantasies with fantasies about a violent takeover of the world is – at least seen from a psychological point of view – not a mentally healthy way of sublimating healthy and natural instincts.
Anti-social behaviour vs. poverty
The unsuccessful integration of Muslims to the necessary extent in the West may have strong negative consequences in the long run. There exist several explanations for this negative development, of which the false but popular socioeconomic model is the most common: Muslims are in general poorer than the native population and there is a proven connection between poverty and anti-social behaviour. True. But what comes first – the chicken or the egg: Anti-social behaviour or poverty?
My conclusion is that anti-social behaviour (including crime) leads to poverty – not the other way around. Explaining people’s destructive behaviour with the amount of money in their bank account is a product of a very materialistic (almost communistic), unhumanistic and one-dimensioned view of human beings. People are more than what they own.
We have to acknowledge the obvious: People who consciously do things that lead to criminal records simply have a harder time getting accepted on the job market. As already shown, close to one out of four non-Western immigrants between 20 and 29 years old are convicted for one or more crimes every year in Denmark.
Secondly, the Islamic culture focuses too little on knowledge and education. In our high tech knowledge societies, it is simply necessary to have an education and be willing to continually and flexibly develop one’s skills throughout life.
Having worked for years in the school system, it is clear to me that many immigrants from Muslim countries find it difficult to support their children’s’ schooling, and have a serious lack of both ability and interest in educating themselves. One consequence is that 64 percent of all schoolchildren with Arabic backgrounds are so poor in reading and writing after 10 years in the Danish school system that they are not able to take an education. Research also shows that the dropout percentage of Muslim immigrants in schools for craftsmanship is extremely high: “Youth with minority backgrounds have a markedly higher dropout rate from practical education than youth with Danish backgrounds. On education in craftsmanship, the dropout rate is 60 percent, twice as high as among youth with a Danish background….There is a big difference between the performances of the different groups of immigrants. The dropout from education in craftsmanship among youth with Lebanese or Iranian backgrounds is far bigger than among youth with Vietnamese backgrounds.” (Centre for Knowledge about Integration in Randers, May 2005 “Youth, education and integration”).
The failure rate among non-Western immigrants on the intelligence test in the Army is 300 percent higher than among Danish applicants: “19.3 percent of the group with immigrant backgrounds were found unfit for military service according to the written tests, while the percentage is 4.7 percent among the remaining applicants”.
The lack of interest in knowledge in the Muslim world is also proven by the international scientific magazine Nature. The Muslim world produces less than one tenth of the world average when it comes to scientific research: “In 2003, the world average for production of articles per million inhabitants was 137, whereas none of the 47 OIC countries for which there were data achieved production above 107 per million inhabitants. The OIC average was just 13”.
According to a big survey in Turkey, “70 percent of Turkish citizens never read a book”. Research published by the UN’s Arab Human Development Reports (AHDR) points to the fact that “The Arab world translates about 330 books annually, one fifth of the number that Greece translates. The cumulative total of translated books since the Caliph Maa’moun’s [sic] time (the ninth century) is about 100,000, almost the average that Spain translates in one year”.
Being criminal, not being able to read and write, dropping out of one’s education and coming from a culture that in general has very little interest in science and knowledge severely minimize one’s chances of getting a well paid job – or a job at all. Anti-social behaviour – criminal behaviour, not supporting one’s children’s schooling, not paying making an effort to finish one’s education etc. – thus leads to poverty (and not the other way around).
(Update: The tradition of inbreeding among Muslims also does not add to their chances of success in our high tech knowledge societies, which have high expectations of people’s emotional control and ability to learn and handle large amounts of information. 45 percent of all Arabs, 70 percent of Pakistanis and 40 percent of Turks are inbred. More: “Muslim Inbreeding: Impacts on intelligence, sanity, health and society“).
The Stigmatization Argument
The Stigmatization Argument is the silliest argument in the integration debate. For far too long this argument has been allowed to dominate the integration debate “” without being sufficiently challenged, despite the argument’s lack of logic and basic knowledge about human behaviour.
The stigmatization argument is based on undocumented and amateurishly misunderstood pocket psychological Freudian nonsense that “pressure begets back pressure” and that the anti-social behaviour of Muslim immigrants is therefore a natural (and thus justified?) response to criticism from their surroundings. Supporters of the stigmatization argument thus create their own illogical and self-confirming model of integration problems “” since the anti-social behaviour leads indeed to more criticism (citizens” expressed doubts about the chances of successful integration; journalists reporting about crimes committed by Muslims “” often described as “Asians”, “immigrants”, or simply “youths” in the media; politicians demanding stricter immigration rules and tougher laws), which then (according to the stigmatization argument) is the direct cause of even more anti-social behaviour by those who feel “forced” to react by outer factors.
The stigmatization argument can be described as a false “fire triangle of integration” in this way:
2: Feeling of stigmatization (victim mentality)
3: “Natural” anti-social reaction – leading to more criticism etc., and round and round we go.
According to “stigmatization theorists,” this evil fire triangle of integration can only be broken if the media, politicians and non-Muslims stop criticizing Muslims” anti-social behaviour. As anyone with a minimum of knowledge of human behaviour and psychology knows, long lasting-changes in behaviour only occur when people themselves realize their problematic behaviour, want to change, and have the emotional and intellectual capacity to change.
A realistic and constructive triangle of integration would look like this:
1: Western societies’ natural demands for integration and adaption to Western standards of behaviour for immigrants.
2: Muslims’ feeling of victimization
3: Anti-social Muslims’ childish and socially unacceptable behaviour – leading to consequences and more demands for integration and socially acceptable behaviour, and round and round we go, until they either adapt, are in prison or repatriated.
Thus the only lasting and reasonable way to break this circle is for anti-social Muslims to drop their victim mentality (called “sense of stigmatization” by the stigmatization theorists) and make use of democratic and socially acceptable ways of living and handling criticism. The followers of the stigmatization argument apparently do not possess such natural grown up expectations of Muslims.
Instead they focus on the third corner of the triangle “” the corner which is about criticism. Their way of thinking thus argues that problems only end when we stop “stigmatizing” immigrants by criticizing them. Put it another way: If we stop pointing out the serious problems in Muslim families, Muslim-dominated areas, and Islam, then the problems will disappear by themselves.
My professional allegation is that the integration problems cannot be silenced to death. Actually, I would go so far as to suggest that we already tried that method and it clearly did not work – just look at Sweden. The problems can only be solved by talking about them, by “saying the troll’s name”.
Integration vs. Muslim culture
I have worked with unintegrated immigrants for more than 10 years – first as a social worker and later as psychologist. My experience is that immigrants need three things to be able to integrate. They need to want it, they need to be allowed and they need to have the capacity. Very few Muslim immigrants fulfill all three criteria.
First we have to ask ourselves: why should Muslim immigrants want to integrate? They can live their culture, receive enough money, and have a full functioning social life within their Muslim communities without even learning our language “” or even working. We have Muslim schools, Muslim parallel societies and even Muslim nursing homes. Muslim graveyards have existed for years, so even after death Muslim immigrants do not need to be close to non-Muslims.
Secondly, most Muslims are not allowed to integrate. There is an exceedingly strong social control in the Muslim society. Everybody is keeping an eye on everybody, and if someone does not follow the cultural or religious code they are met with criticism and risk severe consequences, such as being banned from their community or even from their own family. In the worst cases — and there are many of those — Muslim women in particular live under a constant death threat that deprives them of basic human rights, such as the freedom to choose one’s own sexual partners, clothing style, friends, religion and lifestyle. Most of my Muslim clients saw their religious and cultural background as the height of civilization and morality — leaving it would be seen as a kind of cultural and religious apostasy and degradation by their kinsmen. And there are not needed many killings, kidnappings, beatings and other honourable kinds of behaviour before the rest do as they are expected to.
Finally, wanting to integrate and being allowed to take over our Western lifestyle and mix with infidels is just the necessary basis. Muslim culture is so far from our Western way of living that it involves a deep change in Muslims’ personality and identity to integrate. It is not just like changing a bad habit such as quitting smoking — integration goes much deeper concerning the individual’s psychology: It includes a cultural conversion into something that in many ways is completely opposite of what they are brought up to think is right and wrong. This conversion involves changing habits and views on life that one has been fed since birth. For a Muslim this first of all involves accepting a long row of rights and freedoms: Equality of women and men and of Muslims and non-Muslims, free speech, including the right to criticise religions and prophets, secularism, democracy and religious and sexual freedom. On top, one has to learn the language – including reading and writing – be able to finish a education, keep a job, feel comfortable with our Western social behaviour (especially concerning anger, honour, sexuality and humour – including irony) and feel comfortable working and living among non-Muslims outside the Muslim parallel societies. Learning to like what one has been taught to dislike is not a easy. Muslims have to be exceedingly motivated and capable to make this long cultural, religious, social and mental jump of integration.
All Muslim immigrants are filtered through these three layers, and very few manage to get all the way. Many of those Muslims who actually manage to go all the way live under constant threats from the traditional Muslim community that see the integrated Muslims’ lifestyle as apostasy, punishable by the strict Sharia laws. These social and psychological hindrances have convinced me that Muslim integration will never happen to the necessary extent. It will happen in some places to a certain extent, but the vast majority will not overcome the psychological, intellectual, cultural, religious and social challenges.
The consequence will be that we get bigger and better organized Muslim parallel societies. The psychology of these communities will be characterized by aggression, the feeling of victimization and the right to “defend” themselves by any means against their oppressors, and by growing demands for special rules – so-called Islamization – of the country. A majority of these Muslims are born in our Western countries, and their question to our Western politicians and authorities will be: “We are born and raised here. Why should we integrate – why should we change? You are not more Dutch/Danish/British etc. than we are – we just have different religions and lifestyles. Our way of living is just as good as yours. This is my way of pursuing happiness.”
The rule of non-Islamic authorities will be strongly challenged in these areas and the conflicts between the Muslim areas and their surroundings will probably grow into a constant growing unrest. While police, firemen and other non-Islamic authorities are threatened, mocked and often even attacked physically, patrolling Muslim father groups, homemade Sharia courts and imams are free to exert their power. All through the often bloody history of Islam it has been traditional to move to new areas of the world and through both demographic, political and violent measures claim that the particular areas are now under Islamic control. It will take only one charismatic Muslim leader to declare a Muslim neighbourhood to be a small Islamic area – rejecting the rule of non-Islamic authorities. No nation can tolerate such an attack on its internal geographic sovereignty, and authorities would be forced to stop such a development. Most Muslim areas in the West have plenty of violent criminals, weapons and religious fanatics, and they will probably not hand over their guns or themselves voluntarily. Because of the strong solidarity and loyalty within the national and international Muslim community, we will very likely see other Muslim areas start riots out of solidarity and a general feeling that the surrounding non-Islamic society is going against their culture and religion. The growing feeling of lack of safety, the increasing lack of feeling of coherence in society, and the negative economic consequences following Muslim immigration are likely to change our countries to be unrecognizable – in many places this has already happened.
My conclusion as a professional psychologist with quite some experience in this area is that growing up in the Muslim culture is mentally unhealthy for several reasons. The cultural norms and traditions create a great deal of aggression, insecurity and religious racism in Muslims. Above all, Islam and Muslim culture is a serious hindrance to the integration of Muslims into non-Islamic societies and a source of hostility and violence against non-Muslims and our Western societies.
The World Economic Forum published a report, “Islam and the West: Annual Report on the State of Dialogue 2008,” in which they show the results of a survey conducted in 12 non-Muslim and 12 Muslim countries (http://www.weforum.org/pdf/C100/Islam_West.pdf). The last point in the report concerns the question: “Do you think violent conflict between the Muslim and Western worlds can be avoided?” A majority of all 24 countries think that this conflict can be avoided. However, this is not the same as believing that such peaceful development will actually occur: Overwhelmingly, in 22 countries out of 24, the survey expected that the “interaction between the Muslim and Western World is getting worse.”
This survey clearly showed that while there is widespread hope for a peaceful outcome between the tensions of Islam and the West, people in both the West and in the Muslim world are seemingly very pessimistic concerning a Clash of Civilizations that cannot avoid being worldwide, since these two cultures live close together almost everywhere.
Muslim immigration to the West is the greatest sociological and group psychological experiment in World History. The experiment is clearly going wrong, and statistics and facts show us that the problems are accelerating.
Any good scientist with common sense would in such a case start by putting the experiment to a complete halt: Stop Muslim immigration and cut citizenships to resident Muslim immigrants and refugees. Non-Western immigrants and refugees who have not yet attained Western citizenship should only be able to continue their life in our Western countries as long as they can support themselves and are not convicted of any violent crimes. There is nothing wrong with asking unpleasant guests to leave a party.
Our social workers and welfare system have to realize that we are dealing with people for whom cultural and religiously defined restrictions and consequences are the prime tools for regulating peoples’ behaviour.
In general we have to make it so practically difficult and economically unbeneficial not to integrate that immigrants who do not want to or are not able to integrate will find it more tempting to seek their happiness somewhere else. Denmark has an excellent law on repatriation – state sponsored emigration: Immigrants receive up to 15,000 Euros (20,000 USD) if they are willing to give up their citizenships or permanent residence permits and move home to their country of origin. They can also receive economic help for medicine in up to one year and support for buying equipment used for establishing a business in their home country.
Pedagogic strategies, police work, integration projects and social welfare checks are therefore wasted if we are not strictly consequential. Economic social help should be given to people who display social behaviour – it should not support anti-social lifestyles and be a leash so long that the destructive or unintegrated individuals only realize their unwelcome and islamonauseating behaviour when it is too late.
Another important Danish law that hopefully will inspire the rest of Europe is to limit the Child Support from the state to only include the first two children (the country’s average). In Denmark, this has meant that Danish families and well integrated immigrant families can still manage to have more than two children if they wish so — because they work, etc. Less successful immigrant parents will have to think twice, though, before they start or import big families – that by the way in most cases inherit the parents” lack of integration. Economic pressure should also consist of much better control of taxes and VAT in shops suspected or reported of cheating. It should not be possible to move to our countries and live from on Child Support or unpaid taxes to the government.
Muslim organisations and leaders should be able to prove that they are so-called moderate. This should include that they publicly renounce and disclaim any violent and racist passages in the Islamic scriptures, and acknowledge the freedom of women and speech, rule of secular laws, etc. Preaching the Quran as being the truth and stating Muhammed to be an excellent example of good behaviour is telling people to break the law. Islam has to adapt if it wants to be legal according to our constitutions.
Unfortunately we will also need to create laws that will affect the privacy of the general public: We need to install sufficient amount of surveillance equipment (cameras etc.) in areas with serious problems with crime and violent attitudes towards the authorities. Violent habitual offenders should wear a GPS device for a specific periods after being released, so that the police are able to track and follow the convicts.
It goes without saying that we of course should fight the spread of sharia, cancel all present and future attempts of islamization, reassert our own cultural values and do what is necessary to reinstall and secure peace and the rule of secular law in the Muslim ghettos – effectively.
Finally, we need to free the Muslim women. The freedom of the women is our best tool against any kind of aggressive or backward religious tendencies. Female social workers should have regular meetings with the women from immigrant groups that are known for suppression of women (primarily the Muslim groups of immigrants). In this way we have a chance of making sure that the women are safe, free and know their rights to repatriation, to move to a women’s shelter, to contraception, etc. If their men do not like this kind of interference, they are free to leave the country: We will not accept that a medieval view of women takes root in our societies, and we will fight traditional Islam by freeing the Muslim women.
If we do this, we should have a fair chance to integrate the remaining Muslims, minimize their pressure on our democracy, protect the feeling of safety and social coherence in our societies, and keep our welfare systems to a satisfying degree.
Besides actively fighting organisations and regimes that threaten our existence or way of living, our foreign policy must aim at diminishing the population growth in the poor countries. Overpopulation is a cause for conflicts about space, food, pure drinking water, pastures, areas for cultivation, and other important resources. It is also a strain on the environment and climate. It is impossible to create the necessary infrastructure, educational system and a sufficient amount of jobs in overpopulated countries — which of course leads to poverty.
Our development aid to the third world should not be given to their often corrupt governments. Instead it should be given directly to the citizens following the same model as the Nobel Prize winning micro credits: E.g. One dollar per day if one has no or one child, half a dollar per day if one has two children and no money if one starts a big family. In this way the parents do not need to give birth to a lot of children hoping that at least one of them will be so successful that he or she can support the parents when they get too old to work. The parents will then be economically capable to give their children proper education and nourishment (malnutrition harms the development of the brain) which can create the educated middle class that is the motor in all successful societies.
Hungry, poor and uneducated people are usually bad democrats and easily become tempted by the cornucopia of simple explanations and promises offered by political Islam. Putting a lid on the population explosion and thereby focusing on long term solutions for limiting poverty and raising the educational level are necessary tools in fighting the growing religious fanaticism in the Third World. This again will lessen the amount of internal and international violent conflicts in those areas, thereby minimizing the flow of refugees and immigrants to the West.
The many threats and dangers resulting from illegal immigration, including crime, terror, negative economic consequences, social unrest and a general decrease in social coherence, makes it imperative that states and supranational institutions such as the EU and UN secure our national borders and the borders of Europe effectively.