Michael J. Salamon

Are We Safe Anywhere?

Does the Quran permit attacking and killing infidels? According to many that seems to be the case. I have checked with several knowledgeable individuals and some relevant respected research sources. The only corrective I received is that the word used repeatedly in the original, allowing the killing of non-believers, is not accurately translated as infidels but “idolators.” And who are these idolators? Anyone who does not accept the religion of Muhammad, in particular Jews and Christians. That fact seems to be stated evidently in many verses in the Quran. On the other hand, according to historical evidence, Jews and Christians could live and even work, if they paid the Jazyah, a poll tax placed on them by their Muslim rulers. So, either anyone who believed in a religion other than Islam would be killed or be pauperized through heavy taxation. Such is the stated goal of the caliphate envisioned by Islamic extremists toward Jews and Christians then and now.

The late Christopher Hitchens, British author, journalist, and well-known atheist, not someone I necessarily agree with as a general rule, but who had wonderful insight, stated in an interview that “Islamic fundamentalism is not created by American (and I would add Israeli) democracy. It’s a lie to say so. It’s a masochistic lie. And it excuses those who are the real criminal, and it blames us for the attacks made upon us.” Given what happened on October 7 and the response to the Israeli reaction it appears clear that far too many have accepted the “masochistic lie” of Islamic fundamentalism blaming democracy for the horrible, unconscionable attacks that Hitchens saw clearly as a perversion.

Rigid Islamic extremism, as evidenced and practiced by Iran and her proxies, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and their many other supporters have perpetuated the protocols of this fundamentalism. As part of the process, they have compelled a world view that has led to the world’s demands that Israel not protect herself or arrange the return of the hostages Hamas took and to cease firing on the very people that attack and seek to destroy her. Hamas’ leadership has stated that they plan many more October 7 like attacks – for them a war against Jews is a religious doctrine, a war fueled by the fundamentalist belief articulated in their original charter and only mildly modified for the sake of public relations in the most recent iteration.

There are a variety of psychological suggestions as to why some people engage in aggression and terrorism ranging from an uncontrollable drive to fight back against oppression to being motivated unconsciously or subconsciously by a personality disorder and in most instances being reared within a fundamentalist family and community. But none of these explain just how this devastating odious philosophy has managed to spread so broadly and rapidly across the western world. That is unless we accept two basic premises- Madrassas are training youngsters to be militants and funding for organized civil disobedience is coming from militant states and their delegated organizations which include professors lacking nuance and insight funded by Islamic radicals in many Western universities.

These points, in sum, have led to various recent Hamas supporters’ antisocial activities that have taken place across several democratic countries. These poorly educated, TikTok-informed and highly misguided young men and women who believe that they are supporting human rights but are, in fact, supportive of a masochistic lie, a hate filled philosophy that will just as easily turn against them if they do not adhere to the strictest religious caliphate requirements, are being used by a disintegrative approach to life that they are too blinded to see. Included among these activities that they have engaged in is blocking traffic going into major airports and setting off a balloon at JFK airport in New York to obstruct air traffic. Blocking major roadways and initiating physical fights with people who support Israel and Jews is another of their techniques along with blacklisting businesses that have any affiliation with Israel or Judaism. So far, other than some minor physical scuffles and limited financial destruction, there have not been any major tragic events — yet. But that will be inevitable if there is not a more aggressive attempt to prevent this well-funded growing demonization of Israel, and Western thinking.

We can debate interventions and take extremist views, but I fear that democracy has lost its backbone, and we are watching that train as it has left the station. Israel is reeling but with time and effort it will revert to the underlying resilience that has become a part of genetic Judaism. That strength may not exist anywhere else in the world. There may be only one place where we can be safe.

About the Author
Dr. Michael Salamon ,a fellow of the American Psychological Association, is an APA Presidential Citation Awardee for his 'transformative work in raising awareness of the prevention and treatment of childhood sexual abuse". He is the founder and director of ADC Psychological Services in New York and Netanya, the author of numerous articles, several psychological tests and books including "The Shidduch Crisis: Causes and Cures" (Urim Publications), "Every Pot Has a Cover" (University Press of America) and "Abuse in the Jewish Community: Religious and Communal Factors that Undermine the Apprehension of Offenders and the Treatment of Victims."
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