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Sunday, January 30, 2011

ISLAMIC TRIBALISM, CONVERTS, AND TERROR: THE CASE OF RUSSIA

Converts to radical Islam be forewarned: As the bomber suspected of killing 35 and injuring 180 at Domodedovo airport in Moscow January 24th demonstrated, this kind of religious rebirth might require your own death. We can endlessly speculate about why Vitaly Razdobudko, a 32 year old ethnic Russian convert to Islam and resident of the southern Russian city of Stavropol, allegedly chose to act on what appears to be the behest of Islamic separatists from the North Caucasus. Frankly, rolling a rock up a hill perpetually would be more productive. Finding the root cause is much simpler, but, unfortunately, its roots are invasive and deep.

Go to any non-Arab country where Islamic terrorists convert some of local populace for the purposes of inciting violence and you will find that these radicalized converts are described as “Arab militias,” as if a switch of religion is also one of ethnicity. As I discussed at length in my post, “Artificial Ethnicities,” no change of religion can change who you are, that is, what you are ethnically (Arab, Kurd, Hispanic, etc.). For example, the so-called Arab militias in Africa who are generally engaged in a genocidal war against their non-Muslim countrymen have an obvious motive: in their barbaric ignorance, they have come to believe that these murders will lead the true Arab Islamic terrorists who are their puppet-masters to regard them as one of their own, thus, for all practical purposes, transforming them from black to brown. In the case of Arab ethnicity as in any other, you are born into your group and the particulars of its identity form you, be they language, food, dress, customs, etc. Converting to Islam to escape from your own ethnicity and forge a new identity with a foreign people is therefore nothing more than a self-serving delusion.

Moreover, it also contains the seeds of a death wish and the Arab terrorists who prey on these gullible converts know it. What better way to prove your fidelity to your new brethren than to kill yourself on a mission of jihad and prove once and for all that you are truly one of them? As you underwent a form of dehumanization when you repudiated your own countrymen when you converted to radical Islam, why not dehumanize your victims as you treat them as the faceless pawns of the government you seek to overthrow or browbeat?

In the case of Russia, the problem goes even deeper: it is still dealing with the aftermath of suppression of all religious expression during the Soviet years and, after having opened the floodgates, has found that many utterly foreign undesirables also crept in, on the prowl for the spiritually adventurous. Cults such as the Hare Krishnas and the Scientologists have strongholds in Russia and that fact roils and disgusts the Islamic groups throughout the country and its far-flung regions. Create a climate where these groups can take hold and you also create a pretext for people who will do anything to uproot them. The intrusion of religious fanatics from another countries might seem a minor annoyance to the larger terrorist groups based in remote Russian territories, but their competition for would-be fanatics does not go unnoticed.

Orthodox Christianity and moderate Islam are the indigenous religions of the peoples of the former Soviet Union. It is in the interests of the Russian government to promote a strong sense of nationality among all of its peoples, regardless of their religions and ethnic affiliations. Closing the doors to cults and other promoters of chaos and disunion is a step in the right direction.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

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