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A Demonstration of Loyalty to Islam, Normal Actions of a Shaheed, But Not A Syndrome

Reader comment on item: Muslim Soldiers in the West, Criticized by their Communities
in response to reader comment: Surely this is another case of 'Sudden Jihad Syndrome'?

Submitted by Doc Tater (United States), Nov 27, 2009 at 16:07

Let's be perfectly clear on this: there is no such thing as a clinical psychiatric syndrome called Sudden Jihad Syndrome. It's a catchy phrase, and the phrase is fun to toss around, but we need to use another term in order to avoid suggesting there is justification for an insanity plea every time some Muslim decides to bet his life on a hunch that a martyrdom mission might boost him up to paradise, and then runs into defenders who don't shoot very well and lives long enough to go to court.

Nidal Malik Hasan came to a turning point where he had to choose loyalty to one side or the other, and he chose loyalty to Islam. He explained this to classmates and faculty when he was a grad student, and also explained it to other doctors and med students and even to patients. He was calm and polite and mild when not on his political podium. His actions in the Fort Hood shooting spree, and leading up to it, were nothing more nor less than mainstream jihadist behavior.

As was the case with Naveed Haq, the inconvenient fact that Hasan failed to be killed (as he apparently planned to be) means we will almost certainly face an insanity defense by Hasan's lawyer(s). We can only hope that Hasan doesn't slide through the system like Haq did, and that a military court won't be as gullible as most civilian courts.

Naveed Haq's lawyers used the question of competency to stand trial and the insanity defense to confuse the issues and conveniently exclude evidence of criminal guilt by bringing that evidence up in the stages of the trial when the court considers competency to stand trial and mental status at the time of the alleged defense. In Washington State the evidence presented during the insanity defense arguments is not admissable during the consideration of guilt or innocence. Haq got a hung jury because the good stuff was excluded from evidence during the meat of the trial, and because a left coast jury got turned around in their seats by a weak-wristed, P.C. prosecution and a sneaky defense.

If these procedural rules were applied to Nidal Hasan's case, any mention of Hasan's belief that Allah wanted Hasan to kill unbeliever American military personnel in the holy war, and that he'd go to paradise if he died as a shaheed killing them, could be raised as evidence that supported a defense claim that Hasan had religious delusions and delusions of influence, and was unaware of the criminal nature of his behavior. Once these facts were raised in the insanity stage, defense would argue they couldn't be raised later on as evidence that supported a first degree murder charge by demonstrating his intent or his deliberate planning.

Psychiatric expert witnesses are usually affiliated with academic psychiatry departments, and are the most "diverse" and most politically liberal departments in any medical school. They almost always avoid making any statements as expert witnesses that normative Islamist belief sounds psychotic to Americans, but that such belief and such behavior is consistent with the norms for that culture and that religion. It is a standard definition in psychiatry that beliefs and behaviors that are normal within one's culture or one's religion are not psychotic.

Because of the Islamic apologist posture in most University-affiliated medical schools, the following discrepancy occurs. Psychiatrists will routinely offer the opinion that Christians who say they killed somebody because they heard God's voice tell them to kill somebody are psychotic and were hallucinating, and that the belief that God wanted the Christian defendant to kill somebody because the victim was sinning is a delusional belief. They explain, if asked, that within the culture and religion of the Christian defendant is isn't normative to believe that God wants individual Christians to kill sinners, and it isn't normative to actually hear God's voice commanding somebody to kill, so those beliefs and perceptions must be evidence of psychosis. On that line of reasoning they offer the opinion that the defendant had an inability to perceive reality at the time of the alleged murder, and because of this mental defenct had an inability to recognize right from wrong as is normatively done in our society.

Psychiatrists in the United States will usually not express the opinion that within normative Islamist belief it is normative to believe Allah wants individual Muslims to kill sinners, non-believers, and people of the book. Most American psychiatrists study psychiatry and religion, and are familiar with Christian and to a lesser extent Jewish norms. They aren't familiar with Muslim norms, and the little they do know is basically dictated by politically correct humanities departments that assert that Islam is a religion of peace and love, and all this pesky killing of innocents is not sanctioned by Islamic law. They don't get the point that, by definition in sharia, non-Muslims are simply not innocent, and that the Quran commands them to kill non-believers wherever the Muslim finds them.

In other words, Islamists use our willingness to use insanity defenses in a way that gives them an advantage in criminal court, and in the court of public opinion.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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