Understanding the villains

The villains are the Islamic militants who are perceived by experts as existentially threatening to the West. They are the insurgent Islamic extremists, militant Islamists, and terrorist individuals and organizations whose ideologies are based on the Islamic notion of jihad.

“Know that Paradise is under the shade of the swords.”

— Baghdadi, ISIS leader

Listen to Sam Harris explaining Jihadists in this 4min audio

In 2017, The United State Institute of Peace produced a report called The Jihadi Threat: ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Beyond.  Twenty experts explored the world’s deadliest movements, their strategies, the future scenarios, and policy considerations.

Here is the conclusion:

“Jihadism has evolved dramatically and traumatically since the 9/11 attacks. Movements,
leaders, targets, tactics, and arenas of operation have all proliferated in ways unimagined in

The meaning of the word Islam is submission. That is, surrender to the higher authority of Almighty God. To surrender you need fear. Muhammed famously decapitated enemies to instill terror. Fear is the lynchpin that holds Islamic communities together. Remove that fear, and the whole system could crumble. This is why Muslim extremists resort to violence. They use it internally to maintain the necessary level of fear that keeps everyone in line within the tribe. Hamas used to routinely drag someone’s body behind a car along the roads of Gaza to the horror of onlookers – watch out, this is the fate of ‘collaborators’.

And they use fear externally to intimidate and deter potential opponents. You might remember a similar dynamic from your time dealing with bullies in the schoolyard.

It should now make sense why the terrorists carried around cameras: they knew that images of butchered Israelis would evoke fear and inspire pride among many Muslims, while also triggering fear in the minds of the infidels, especially the enablers.

Well intentioned Muslims suffer in their Islamic nations. They suffer from intimidation, abuse, violence and poverty. No wonder they feel so much rage together with a strong desire to migrate to the free world.

As individuals they naturally prefer to live in freedom, not in fear. They would choose love – not hate – if given the chance. Most of them surely detest acts of terror. Yet, they cannot express their true feelings because this would mean breaking ranks with the tribe, for which death sentence is warranted (Islam is the only religion that issues a death sentence to those who leave the religion).

We would hope Muslims and their spiritual leaders, who share our freedom, respond differently. But belonging to the tribe prevents old habits from disappearing overnight. Sadly, as migrants, they can pose a direct threat to Jews in the free world, even though many Jews are human rights activists helping Palestinians and Muslims.

In a fear-based culture, it’s challenging for Muslims to experience, let alone express, genuine empathy toward the other side. When I collaborated as a peace activist with Palestinian mental health professionals, it was disheartening to confront their inability to share empathy for our pain.

And what about empathy for their fellow Muslims?

If there were genuine empathy toward their fellow Muslims you’d see Muslims protesting against the mass killings of Uyghurs in China, Rohingyas in Myanmar, Kosovars in Serbia, Chechens in Russia, and the seemingly endless violence among Muslims themselves. Furthermore, if they truly cared about Palestinians, they would welcome refugees into their countries. In truth, Arabs detest the Palestinians, mistreat them and refuse to accept them as migrants.

So, why the pain about the Palestinians?

If we understand that Palestinian lives don’t matter more than the lives of other Muslims, why so much anger only in the case of Palestinians?

Palestinians matter because they serve two goals:

  • to channel Muslim rage away from their corrupt leaders toward a convenient target,
  • to mobilize the support of the enablers who react like puppets on strings to the narrative of Palestinian victims and Israel as the aggressor.


This mobilization is effective, thanks to the power of cameras. Muslim terrorists exploit the fact that Israel doesn’t target journalists, allowing them to manipulate visuals to stir up rage. TV channels like Al Jazeera serve Islamic propaganda in a manner similar to how the famous German film producer, Leni Riefenstahl, served the Nazis. Respectable channels in our democratic nations, like the BBC, follow suit, though their motivations may differ.