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The Radical Loser

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Here’s a powerful and thought-provoking essay by German writer Hans Magnus Enzensberger, on the ideological forces that drive The Radical Loser. (Hat tip: Benjamin.)

Contrary to what the West appears to believe, the destructive energy of Islamist actions is directed mainly against Muslims. This is not a tactical error, not a case of “collateral damage”. In Algeria alone, Islamist terror has cost the lives of at least 50,000 fellow Algerians. Other sources speak of as many as 150,000 murders, although the military and the secret services were also involved. In Iraq and Afghanistan, too, the number of Muslim victims far outstrips the death toll among foreigners. Furthermore, terrorism has been highly detrimental not only to the image of Islam but also to the living conditions of Muslims around the world.

The Islamists are as unconcerned about this as the Nazis were about the downfall of Germany. As the avant-garde of death, they have no regard for the lives of their fellow believers. In the eyes of the Islamists, the fact that most Muslims have no desire to blow themselves and others sky high only goes to show that they deserve no better than to be liquidated themselves. After all, the aim of the radical loser is to make as many other people into losers as possible. As the Islamists see it, the fact that they are in the minority can only be because they are the chosen few.

Experts around the world are not the only ones wondering how the Islamist movement has been able to recruit so many activists with its promises, far outdoing its secular rivals. No clear answer is in sight. All that is clear is that there must be explanations in the history of the Arab civilization that brought forth the world religion of Islam. This civilization reached its apogee at the time of the Caliphate. At this time, it was far superior to Europe in military, economic and cultural terms. The Arab world views this period with misty-eyed nostalgia; even today, 800 years later, it plays a central role in the consciousness of the region. In the intervening period, the power, the prestige, the cultural and economic weight of the Arab world has been in continual decline. Such an unparalleled demise is a puzzle and a sore point, generating an acute sense of loss.

Read it all, but especially part 3, “The Spectacle.”

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