Saturday, January 05, 2008

HUMOUR/COMMENT: Sudden Team America Syndrome ...

Can you spot the difference?

Some American law enforcement authorities have decided to take some tips from xenophobic far-Right bloggers who have claimed the existence of ‘Sudden Jihad Syndrome’ (SJS).

Apparently SJS is an affliction whereby a person with some kind of Muslim faith and/or ancestry and/or heritage decides for some inexplicable reason to attack America in some way.

The Washington Times (a right wing newspaper owned by business interests linked to an ultraconservative Korean pastor who claima to have met Jesus on a Korean mountainside) cites a December 6 report from the Texas Public Safety Department’s Bureau of Information Analysis which states:

Oftentimes, these attackers are dismissed as suffering from mental health issues, but their own words and writings reveal an affiliation with Islamic supremacy or an affinity for Islamic extremism ... As a result, law enforcement should not be too quick to judge their attacks as having no nexus to terrorism.

The Washington Times report also cites an al-Qaeda theorist I’ve never heard of named Abul Mu’ab al-Suri who has apparently written a book entitled “Call to Global Islamic Resistance”. No indication is given as to when this book was written or whether it was written in the context of a particular conflict or even what language the book first appeared in. Now are we made aware as to what position Mr al-Suri apparently holds within the al-Qaeda hierarchy.

What we do know is that there have been two reported incidents of people from Muslim backgrounds who have apparently committed violent acts. Among them was a 15 year old boy who apparently owned an airplane which he crashed into a Tampa office building.

I’m not sure how a 15 year old could own a plane, let alone be able to fly it. I’m also not certain how an allegedly serious newspaper could write a serious report of such a patently absurd concept as Sudden Jihad Syndrome.

It only makes sense when one takes into account that so many cultural warriors from the far-Right are suffering from their own kind of syndrome for which I’d like to propose a name – Sudden Team America Syndrome.

Basically this syndrome involves presuming that all persons of Muslim and/or Middle Eastern background have a propensity toward violence and are always looking for opportunities to put a jihad on you, me and just about anyone too Westernised or Americanised for their liking.

Among those who suffer from this syndrome are prominent far-Right fruitloop writers like Daniel Pipes and Mark Steyn. During his last visit to Australia at the invitation of the Centre for Independent Studies, Steyn actually suggested that some young jihadists actually commit terrorist acts “in the name of Muhammad”.

Seriously, if you do anything in the name of Muhammad in the presence of a jihadist, he’ll probably kill you first for committing idolatry by equating the Prophet Muhammad with God. Unless, of course, he belonged to the Dawat-e-Islami crowd. You know. The dudes who wear the hari pagris (green turbans).

But what would Steyn care of such obvious theological points. His goal isn’t to inform. His goal is to generate as much hatred as possible.

Steyn and his ilk are as simplistic in their understanding of genuine religious extremism as the clay puppets from that terrific flick Team America. For them, Muslims all speak the language of “jerka jerka jihad jihad”.

So why have Texan law enforcement authorities decided to take such nonsense seriously? I dunno. Maybe there’s something in Texan water. Maybe having a somewhat simple chap as governor for all these years has compromised their faculties. Or maybe someone showed them one of Dubya’s foreign policy speeches before the Iraq war and presumed it was al-Suri.

I just hope our own law enforcement authorities don’t start suffering from STAS. Though given some of the questions asked during the Haneef investigation, you’d have to wonder.

Words © 2008 Irfan Yusuf

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