A men­tal prob­lem called Is­lam­o­pho­bia

Arab News - - OPINION - Robert J. Bur­rowes

IS­LAM­O­PHO­BIA is now highly vis­i­ble among Euro­pean pop­u­la­tions con­cerned about ter­ror­ist re­sponses from groups claim­ing ji­hadi links. How­ever, it is also ev­i­dent among those same pop­u­la­tions in re­la­tion to the refugee flow from the Mid­dle East. In ad­di­tion, Is­lam­o­pho­bia is highly ev­i­dent among sec­tors of the US pop­u­la­tion dur­ing the pres­i­den­tial race.

Given that this wide­spread western fear of Mus­lims was not the case prior to the US-in­sti­gated “War on Ter­ror,” do Mus­lims around the world now pose a greater threat to western in­ter­ests than pre­vi­ously? Or is some­thing else go­ing on here? In short, why are so many western­ers (and oth­ers) now fright­ened of Mus­lims? Let me start at the be­gin­ning.

Hu­man so­cial­iza­tion is es­sen­tially a process of ter­ror­iz­ing chil­dren into “think­ing” and do­ing what the adults around them want. Hence, the at­ti­tudes, be­liefs, val­ues and be­hav­iors that most hu­mans ex­hibit are driven by fear and the self-ha­tred that ac­com­pa­nies this fear.

How­ever, be­cause this fear and self-ha­tred are so un­pleas­ant to feel con­sciously, most peo­ple sup­press these feel­ings be­low con­scious aware­ness and then (un­con­sciously) project them onto “le­git­imized” vic­tims (that is, those peo­ple “ap­proved” for vic­tim­iza­tion by their par­ents and/or so­ci­ety gen­er­ally). In short: The fear and self-ha­tred are pro­jected as fear of, and ha­tred for, par­tic­u­lar so­cial groups.

This all hap­pens be­cause vir­tu­ally all adults are (un­con­sciously) ter­ri­fied and self­hat­ing, so they un­con­sciously ter­ror­ize chil­dren into ac­cept­ing the at­ti­tudes, be­liefs, val­ues and be­hav­iors that make the adults feel safe. A child who thinks and acts dif­fer­ently is fright­en­ing and is not al­lowed to flour­ish.

Once the child has been so ter­ror­ized how­ever, they will re­spond to their fear and self­ha­tred with di­min­ish­ing adult stim­u­lus. What is im­por­tant, emo­tion­ally speak­ing, is that the fear and self-ha­tred have an out­let so that they can be re­leased and acted upon. And be­cause par­ents do not al­low their child to feel and ex­press their fear and ha­tred in re­la­tion to the par­ents them­selves, the child is left with no al­ter­na­tive but to project their fear and ha­tred in so­cially ap­proved di­rec­tions.

Hence, as an adult, their own fear and self­ha­tred are un­con­scious to the in­di­vid­ual pre­cisely be­cause they were never al­lowed to feel and ex­press them safely as a child. What they do feel, con­sciously, is their ha­tred for “le­git­imized” vic­tims.

His­tor­i­cally, dif­fer­ent so­cial groups in dif­fer­ent cul­tural con­texts have been the vic­tim of this pro­jected but “so­cially ap­proved” fear and ha­tred. The groups that are so­cially ap­proved to be feared and hated are de­ter­mined by elites. This is be­cause in­di­vid­ual mem­bers of the elite are them­selves ter­ri­fied and full of self-ha­tred and they use the var­i­ous pow­er­ful in­stru­ments at their dis­posal — rang­ing from con­trol of politi­cians to the cor­po­rate me­dia — to trig­ger the fear and self-ha­tred of the pop­u­la­tion at large in or­der to focus this fear and ha­tred on what fright­ens the elite. This makes it eas­ier for the elite to then at­tack the group that they are pro­ject­ing fright­ens them.

For now, of course, Mus­lims are the pri­mary tar­get for this pro­jected fear and self­ha­tred, which ac­counts for the US-led western war on the Mid­dle East. Is­lam­o­pho­bia thus al­lows elites and oth­ers to project their fear and self-ha­tred onto Mus­lims so that elites can then seek to de­stroy this fear and self-ha­tred. Obviously, this can­not work. You can­not de­stroy fear, whether yours or that of any­one else. How­ever, you can cause phe­nom­e­nal dam­age to those onto whom your fear and self­ha­tred are pro­jected. Of course, there is noth­ing in­tel­li­gent about this process. If every Mus­lim in the world was killed, elites would sim­ply then project their fear and self- ha­tred onto other groups and set out to de­stroy those groups too.

In fact, as western elites now de­mo­nize Rus­sia and en­cir­cle it with nu­clear weapons and ABM de­fense sys­tems, we sim­ply wit­ness an­other ex­am­ple of these elites pro­ject­ing their fear and self-ha­tred.

If you are start­ing to won­der about the san­ity of this, you can rest as­sured there is none. Elites are in­sane.

So is there any­thing we can do? Fun­da­men­tally, we need to stop ter­ror­iz­ing our chil­dren. As a back up, we can pro­vide safe spa­ces for chil­dren and adults alike to feel their fear and self-ha­tred con­sciously. By do­ing this, we can avoid cre­at­ing more in­sane in­di­vid­u­als who will project their fear and self-ha­tred in elite-ap­proved di­rec­tions.

In ad­di­tion, if you are fear­less enough to rec­og­nize that elites are ma­nip­u­lat­ing you into fear­ing Mus­lims and oth­ers whom we do not need to fear, now would be a good time to speak up and to demon­strate your sol­i­dar­ity.

Sup­pressed fear and self-ha­tred must be pro­jected and they are usu­ally pro­jected in so­cially ap­proved ways.

In essence, Is­lam­o­pho­bia is a man­i­fes­ta­tion of the men­tal ill­ness of elites ma­nip­u­lat­ing us into do­ing their in­sane bid­ding. Un­for­tu­nately, many peo­ple are easy vic­tims of this ma­nip­u­la­tion.

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