“Take pleasure in it”: a Wahhabi cleric gives lesson on how to behead (no beheadings shown!); and a poll on Western support of ISIS

August 22, 2014 • 6:02 am

As if you don’t think humans can get any more barbarous and bestial, we have this video via the website of Tarek Fatah, Canadian writer and critic of Islamism. It’s a Wahhabi Muslim cleric instructing his coreligionists on the proper method of and attitude towards beheading.  (Hint: it’s supposed to give you pleasure.) Fatah’s comment:

It’s interesting to note how most Islamist groups in America have condemned the beheading of journalist Foley with claims that such beheadings are not Islamic. As a Muslim, I know these groups are not being truthful. Here to enlighten us all on how to behead the non-Muslim is an Islamic cleric. Watch and weep.

The YouTube notes say this:
A video has recently emerged that shows a Wahhabi cleric explaining to a group of his followers the proper way to behead people. He points out that it is different from slaughtering animals. He states that the sword should be placed on the neck and then moved back and forth while slitting the throat. He said that people performing the killing should enjoy themselves while doing it.
And if you don’t think that is dispiriting, have a look at the results of a poll commissioned by the Russian news agency Rossiya Sevodnia   (Russia Today). Before you discount that because it’s Russian, realize that the poll was actually conducted by ICM Research, a British polling agency that seems quite respectable. As reported in RT, the ICM organization polled citizens of three states—France, the UK, and Germany—about their sympathy for ISIS. Here’s the summary chart:
Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 6.53.04 AM

As you see, France has the highest proportion of people sympathetic to ISIS, followed by considerably lower (but not low enough) percentages for the UK and then Germany.  The French sympathy for ISIS declines with age, but 27% and 20% are still horrifically high.

Lest you think that the French positivity comes only from Muslims, be aware that the proportion of Muslims in France is only 7.5%. In the UK and Germany, however, most of the positive answers could have come from Muslims, as the proportion of Muslim citizens in those countries is 5% and 4.6% respectively.  Nevertheless, we tend to think of Muslims in Western countries as being more temperate than their jihadist brethren, so any number there reflects a disturbing approbation for the terrorist organization of ISIS.

Naturally, excuses abound; here’s one by a Russian who sees the positive figures not as approbation for ISIS, but as something reflecting “the country’s [France’s] accumulated potential rejection of the existing system as a whole”—whatever that means:

“This is not a result of sympathy of a significant number of French people for this extremist terrorist organization,” Yury Rubinsky, the head of the Center of French Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told Rossiya Segodnya. “This is simply a manifestation of the country’s accumulated potential rejection of the existing system as a whole. This is a form of rejection of the elites, a form of protest.”

What mendacious gobbledygook!  It’s just “protest of the existing system”? Which system? And aren’t there better ways of protesting the “system” than conquering, mass executions, forced conversions, and imposition of sharia law? That has nothing to to with approbation of terrorism? I don’t believe it for a second.  This is Muslim apologetics, and Orwellian doublespeak, at its worst.

Finally, there’s been some discussion about foreign nationals fighting for ISIS. There are repeated reports of Europeans and Americans being recruited to kill apostates and establish the Caliphate, but the Russian piece gives some (varying) estimates for British citizens:

Earlier this year the British press cited Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood as saying that at least 1,500 British nationals are likely to have been recruited by IS extremists to fight in Iraq and Syria. Then-Foreign Secretary William Hague earlier this year claimed that around 400 young British nationals have gone to the Middle East to join the fighting.

What with the bloody and seemingly irresolvable conflict between Israel and Palestine,  the war in Ukraine encouraged and funded by the thug Putin, the advances and horrible brutality of ISIS, and the continuing threat of Islam, there doesn’t seem to be much good news in the world these days.  My friend Malgorzata (on Hili’s staff) informed me yesterday that she gave Hili a treat of real cream. When I chastised her for giving such a fatty treat to the cat, she explained:

When I finished reading morning news, with rockets, beheadings, condemnations of Israel, anti-Semitism, dead in the Ukraine, and some other assorted horrors, I looked at Hili: soft, furry, warm and waking up on the sofa. It was time for her to get something to eat and she was so nice to look at after all I’ve been reading that I gave her a bowl of cream. Am I excused?
I excused her.


h/t: Barry


67 thoughts on ““Take pleasure in it”: a Wahhabi cleric gives lesson on how to behead (no beheadings shown!); and a poll on Western support of ISIS

  1. Lest you think that the French positivity comes only from Muslims, be aware that the proportion of Muslims in France is only 7.5%.

    Maybe the proportion of Muslims in the lower age brackets listed is higher? But it still doesn’t explain the shocking figure of 20-27%.

    There is a small typo in the next sentence:

    In the UK and Germany, however, most of the positive answers could could from Muslims,

    I think you meant to say “could have come from Muslims”.

    On a lighter note, no excuse is necessary for spoiling a cat, it’s worth it. Małgorzata is right: when the news tell us of unspeakable horrors, the moments of relaxation and beauty are priceless.

    1. re “Am I excused? I excused her.”

      O yes. Of course.

      Post such reads / such states of the World’s humans, then that –– kindnesses –– are utterly necessary for the minds’ ( both mama’s and kitteh’s ) peace.


  2. This is horrifying! Does anyone know why somewhere between one in four or five French people ages 18-44 support IS besides religion?

    1. I’d like to see the raw questions. For example I think opposing imperialism is generally a good thing. ISIS is (likely) popular (in part) because of the power vacuum that imperial misadventures have created. So I suppose suitably interpreted I have a positive impression. That I don’t agree at all with their methods or ideology or anything else is lost in this, hence my first remark.

  3. Thank goodness for Tarek Fatah; he’s a normal Muslim that fights this stupidity every day. Canada is lucky to have him & we need more like him. That video is horrible, and I’m glad he posted it.

    As for the RT piece, what’s up with Yury?

    “This is simply a manifestation of the country’s accumulated potential rejection of the existing system as a whole. This is a form of rejection of the elites, a form of protest.”

    Yury sounds like a communist from the old days. Either he never got past his soviet education which taught that the West was in a constant state of class warfare or this is a bad translation into English.

    RT is of course notorious for misinformation but as Jerry points out, the study was commissioned elsewhere. Not all Russian news is bad however – the Moscow Times runs pretty good stuff but they are foreign owned, in English & meant for an English speaking audience. They have some rather cheeky articles and Tweets that I am surprised they get away with. I find the comments interesting – their Twitter feed is fairly normal, their own site is fairly low key but on their Facebook site, they get a lot of angry comments from English speaking Russians.

  4. I’m pleased to learn of the existence of Moderate Islam appearing in the form of Tarek Fatah. His is a rather rare voice. Still, I note that even he apparently can’t quite break from the Quran. From his Wikipedia page:

    Fatah stressed that “The poison is not coming from the Quran, but from the man-made shariah laws of the 8th and 9th centuries as well as the works of such 20th century scholars as Syed Qutb, Hassan Banna and Maudoodi” and that “The swamp that needs to be drained is the swamp created by Saudi Arabia and Iran and their call for imposition of Shariah.”[17]

    Still, this part is great:

    According to the National Post he has also said “Islam is riddled with termites … and if we don’t cleanse ourselves with truth, the stench of our lies will drive us mad”, and that there are “hateful sermons in almost every mosque” in Canada – Fatah himself does not attend a mosque and encourages Muslim parents to keep their children out of mosques because they have become, in his view, schools for fanaticism.[24]

    1. Yeah, he’s pretty great. I follow him on Twitter and he’s often threatened & in arguments with angry people. He doesn’t mince words and he is very thoughtful.

    2. “The poison is not coming from the Quran,…”

      Sorry, but the poison IS coming from the Qu’ran. Hasn’t he ever read it?

      I am sick to death of that stance. The argument they make when they say that is that there is no connection between the philosophy and the outcome.

      I am with Sam Harris on this one. Those people who are violent actually believe what they say they believe. L

      1. I agree with you. It seems Fatah is trying to cover his rear end there. The history of Islam is bloody from day one.

        Fatah would need to repudiate what Mohamed and his close followers did if he wants to make his argument stick. If he does that, can one call him a Muslim anymore?

        1. While I agree with you in the absolute sense, I’ll take his form of Islam over the dominant forms any day. The world would be a better place if his views spread widely among Muslims.

            1. Islam is also much more decentralized, whereas for a thousand years, Christianity was more or less so. This allows more variation in thought and belief, but unfortunately that cuts both ways – local extremists have no central authority to tell them to shut up and sit down, even if only for self-serving reasons.

              1. It’s time for Islam to develop an authority structure that can speak clearly, loudly and fearlessly against groups like ISIS. Otherwise, Islam risks disintegration.

                R.Joseph Hoffman has an excellent essay about this:


              2. I don’t know. It doesn’t seem like Christianity is any less decentralized than Islam to me. Perhaps during its earliest period it was more centralized than Islam is now, but then that was also the case during Islam’s earliest period.

                The Pope is certainly a large central authority figure, but there are at least 33,000 other christian sects that don’t look to him.

    3. I agree with him that it is modern Saudi Arabia which is the real source of harm in the Muslim world. The contemporary Wahhabism has been massively exported and promoted in the Muslim world through the massive oil wealth of Saudi Arabia (and helped by its prestige as being the guardians of Mecca and Medina). Follow the money, almost all of today’s most vile political Islamist movements can trace back to Wahhabism money.

      And yet, and yet, Saudi Arabia is the only untouchable US and western ally in the middle east. Even American presidents will criticize Israel sometimes (if not Congress). I wish more of the middle east was like Iran than like Saudi Arabia!

      1. Yes. Saudi is untouchable because of their relationship with the US, but despite its faults, Iran is actually relatively tolerant. I’m not an apologist for Iran by any means, but they have been demonized by the US. Iran, for example, has by far the lowest levels of anti-Semitism of any country in the region, although they’re still high of course.

  5. As a French citizen, who has lived in France for the last 7 years, I find the percentages given by the cited poll for my country highly suspicious. The upper bound for the Muslim population in France is 10%. Even in a fantasy world where they would all support ISIS, we would need 17% of non-muslim 18-24 years old to support ISIS. That age slice represent about 5.5 million people, so it is just short of 1 million.

    This excuse of the journalist of RT about a “rejection of the elites, a form of protest” is a ludicrous explanation of why a million of mostly non-believers (as catholicism has a very low penetration in the young generations) would support an organisation that they know is the mortal enemy of their very way of life.

    Now could the given numbers be a percentage of the muslim population? I don’t think for a minute that so many young French muslims support the horrors of ISIS but I could believe that, depending how the questions were formulated, some youngsters from the Maghreb ethnic minorities could have been provocative to show their discontent with how the French society treats them.

    1. I, too, am suspicious. I don’t trust RT to deliver news much more than I trust Rupert Murdock. And I wonder what the questions were that determined whether a respondent was sympathetic or not towards ISIS.

      1. Funny you should say that. I often make the remark that state influenced/controlled (RT isn’t controlled per se, it’s more given strong incentive to please the state) media is not much different than partisan media – they are both slanted and both shitty journalism.

    2. My initial guess was that the high numbers represented a knee-jerk “colonial powers bad, nonwestern natives good” response. IOW, the non-muslim supporters in all three countries are viewing ISIS through the lens of a local group fighting against a US-imposed Iraqi regime.

      But “bad survey” is a pretty likely explanation too.

      1. My money’s on “bad survey”. I’ll wager that the questions may not have been well translated between languages, either.

      2. ISIS had been butchering only “natives” when the poll was done. So that explanation does not work either imho.

        1. I didn’t say it was a reasonable or realistic lens 😉 The fringes of the western left can be just as myopic and biased as the fringes of the western right. Post-modernism and anti-enlightenment sentiment have been part of that (left-leaning) fringe, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they played a part in that huge French response.

          But, as I said above, “bad survey” is pretty reasonable explanation too.

            1. The fringes of the western left had enough power to keep Al Gore out of the Oval Office in 2000. If Gore had had the support of the Naderites, we wouldn’t be having this conversation about ISIS today.

      3. “My initial guess was that the high numbers represented a knee-jerk “colonial powers bad, nonwestern natives good” response.”

        That’s my thinking too. This response is becoming an all too common knee-jerk reaction on the left and it needs to stop. It’s one thing to mount a well evinced, factual critique of western foreign policy over-reach and quite another to meander into naked anti-semitism by citing the Elders of Zion when critiquing the IDF.

    3. Why do people interpret these polls under the assumption that everyone who answered has a sufficiently good understanding of the situation to have a real opinion?

      The vast majority of people in every country outside of the immediate neighborhood of the conflict has absolutely no idea what ISIS and what the conflict is about. And they don’t care much either.

    4. Yesterday I would have agreed with you. After seeing the reports of anti-semitist violence in France this morning, there may be more support for extremist groups than I thought.

    5. No way! Germany has only 1.8% Turks, and they are the largest “muslim” group by a long shot. I’d be surprised if even a significant fraction of them had a positive attitude towards ISIS

    6. One factor in the higher % from France (or anything above ~0% anywhere in the west) is that the poll might have been taken several months or a year ago. ISIS was in Syria only, and was mostly seen as resistance fighters. Yes, they were imposing draconian laws and repressing minority religions, but that may not come to mind at first for some people.

    1. I needed that. I think I will have to sit back with a banjo tonight and ignite the world away with a vicious cup of tea.

  6. The upper bound for the muslim population in France is 10% whereas the age slice 18-24 years old represents 5.5 million people. Thus we must conclude that at least 900,000 non-muslim French youngsters, most of them atheists with a small fraction of catholics, support an organisation that they know is the mortal enemy of their very way of life? And that the excuse of that is a “rejection of the elites, a form of protest”?

    No offense but this is crazy.

    However could those numbers be percentages with respect to the muslim population instead of the whole population? Depending on how the poll questions were phrased, I could imagine that some youngsters whose parents came from Maghreb answered provocatively because they feel the French society treats them poorly. This would still be a stretch though.

    For the record, I was raised in France and I have been living there for the last 7 years.

    1. You are right to point out the different percentages of “d’origine musulmane” for the young as opposed to the old.

      But if you’re looking for knee-jerk antisemitism on the part of Franco-gallo-white French people on the Left, try reading Médiapart and especially the comments.

  7. I apologise for the double posting, as I thought my first attempt had been rejected because I was not logged into WordPress. And, yes, I rephrased because I had to rewrite from scratch! Sorry for the noise again.

  8. the war in Ukraine encouraged and funded by the thug Putin,

    I think someone has neglected to do the critical thinking that his overall body of work makes others expect from him.

  9. Regardless of the possibility that the numbers are the result of a misunderstanding, I think that some percentage of the ISIS supporters in a traditionally leftist country like France could be related to the general anti-Americanism there. By many people on the left, Arabs are considered victims of Western (and also Israeli) imperialism and some young people may automatically support any movement that opposes the US and Israel, as part of a knee-jerk reaction.

    Still, if one takes just a few minutes to educate oneself on what ISIS actually does, there is no excuse for this support.

  10. I’m unclear. Do you think that the 27% positive attitude in young French people does represent approbation for ISIS?

    The reason I ask this is because I think if you polled Americans of that age, you could get sickeningly high numbers that would express, for example, the opinion that maybe the “mainstream accounts” of the Holocaust are overblown and that it wasn’t so bad. In this country, I find that young people are shockingly ignorant of what is going on and has gone on in the world … and the young people I see all the time are in college! I think that there are millions of Americans who are utterly ignorant who are manipulated into believing incredibly implausible things. (After all, who votes for Louis Gohmert or Michelle Bachmann or listens to Glenn Beck or Ken Ham?)

    Is it possible that a certain fraction of young French people are similarly ignorant and so “frustrated with the system” that they will express horrible opinions?

    1. From what I’ve seen the problems you listed are by no means limited to young people, nor do young people seem to have these problems more than older age groups.

      One crystal clear example from the things you mention. The average age of viewers of shows like Glenn Beck and Bill O’Really(?) is a lot closer to my parent’s age than to my children’s, niece’s and nephew’s ages.

      Many people compain about the younger generation, but it just doesn’t seem to hold up to me. From an over all perspective our societies have been steadily improving for centuries, at an accelerating pace on many things, and historically it sure as heck isn’t the older generations that are the instigators of change.

  11. I’ll buck the trend and say I’m surprised the French numbers weren’t _higher_. This goes back to the US-French tizzy over the 2003 invasion of Iraq. What would delight a Frenchman more than a jihadi takeover of Iraq? (haw haw haw, who are the cheese-eating surrender monkeys now?)

    1. I am surprised the 27% number is as high as it is, but agree with you that there may be a component of ‘I don’t know what ISIS does, but if they’re fighting Americans, I’m for it’ going on here.

    2. If the question asked by the poller was along the line of
      “Do you think that ISIS is a logical evolution of the events in Irak since the toppling of Saddam Hussein?”
      then, yes, your explanation could make sense. But then to label that as “a positive attitude toward ISIS” would be a plain lie, wouldn’t it? On the contrary, if the question was along the line of
      “Do you approve of the actions of ISIS?”
      then, no, sorry, I do not think your explanation would work.

      1. This is just something you made up.

        How do you account for the general barbarism of Muslims in countries that the US hasn’t invaded?

        1. That’ll be a short list of countries, but it probably includes Indonesia and Malaysia, nations with large muslim majorities and – while not necessarily one’s democratic cup of tea – not noted for extreme general barbarism. Lately.

          1. The list is not short. It includes Mali, Sudan, Brunai, Bangaladesh, Niger, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. There are many others that the google machine can produce.

  12. On the more important subject of cats, in lieu of cream try a spoonful of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. Mine love it.

    1. My dogs love Greek yogurt. Hitch, my labrador/spaniel will eat any kind of Greek yogurt but Lebron, my golden retriever, only likes non-fat, organic Greek yogurt. I think he knows he’s named after an NBA player, he is such a prima donna.

  13. You got one thing wrong.
    “Naturally, excuses abound; here’s one by a Russian…. This is Muslim apologetics, and Orwellian doublespeak, at its worst.”

    You see, RT is scraping the bottom of the barrel to find any news that would “prove” that the West is in deep financial, humanitarian and moral crisis.

    It has recently reported that South Tyrol is going to have a referendum on leaving Italy, with a clear hint that it is roughly the same thing as happened in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine. Neglecting the minor differences, e.g. the absence of Austrian troops in Tyrol and no private citizens of Austria seen tearing down Italian flags and organizing guerrilla squads.

    Also, European farmers, in RT’s version, are about to overthrow the EU leaders and demand to cancel the sanctions so that they won’t all go broke. I believe you’ve got some friends in Poland who may give you firsthand comments whether this is right.

    And naturally, a lot of attention is being given to events in Ferguson. Again, the message is clear: US are cruelly suppressing riots in their own country, therefore they can’t criticize our own laws on public meetings. Oh, and the same should have been done at Kiev.

    So, this was not intended to be a “Muslim apologetics”. The real aim was to show that Europe is decadent and about to fall, either to Islamic hordes or because of underpopulation due to everyone becoming gay. All in all, RT has completely abandoned reporting in favor of blatant propaganda, so I would trust them no farther than I could throw my TV.

  14. “And naturally, a lot of attention is being given to events in Ferguson. Again, the message is clear: US are cruelly suppressing riots in their own country, therefore they can’t criticize our own laws on public meetings. Oh, and the same should have been done at Kiev.”

    Good call. I read something like what you’re describing yesterday that made the actions of the Ferguson police out to be part and parcel with US Foreign policy, like Susan Rice is the town sheriff or something. It’s happening a lot and it represents grossly misinformed, if not bad faith, reporting.

  15. First I go from Hili’s amusing consternation over an empty bowl, to gleeful Reader’s Wildlife Photographs to an instructional video on how to behead with pleasure. Talk about emotional extremes. I’m glad there is the wide variety here (and I’m definitely not complaining/critiquing) but sometimes the juxtaposition of emotions gets to me. Perhaps I should start with the grim posts and move towards the perky posts, instead of what I usually do.

  16. Here’s the ICM Research page on this poll: http://www.icmresearch.com/media-centre/press/isis-poll-for-rossiya-segodnya

    If somebody wants more information about the poll, there is a phone number and email address on that page (click on “for more information click here”). (I didn’t try to make contact.)

    There’s also a link “Download tables in PDF”, that leads to this PDF file: http://www.icmresearch.com/data/media/pdf/New%20EU%20Members-Combined-July%202014-V3.pdf

    According to this, the three substantive questions were:
    Q.1 Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose the admission of new members such as Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to the EU?
    Q.2 From what you know, please, tell me if you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable opinion of the Islamic State of Iraq and
    the Levant otherwise known as ISIS?
    Q.3 Which of the following comes closest to your view:
    a) The instability in Iraq is the result of military action in Iraq
    b) The instability in Iraq is the result of general political development within Iraq
    c) Don’t know

  17. When two stories like this are bundled together I get this head hurting feeling the human planet is coming apart at the seams.. it’s not, I still have to go to work..
    I just watched a documentary on a group of surf life savers in NZ who were shielded by a pod of dolphin after being stalked by a four metre white pointer. They (the dolphins) put together a strategy, for instance, they called in reinforcements, and surrounded the group of life savers, to keep them safe, extraordinary. Pure altruism by another species? For over 45 minutes the dolphin keep this up. After they saw the shark off, they left.
    The whole thing had multiple witnesses and investigated, not to mention well re enacted.

      1. I suppose…

        I’ll see pictures of Muslim families/get-togethers in fancy suburban houses in Dearborn, and the rooms are bare save for wall-to-wall carpets and everyone is sitting on the floor. It always distracts me. I fear it sounds sect-ist to talk about such a thing…but I always think, don’t they get arthritis like the rest of us?

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