By Majid Morceli
By Majid Morceli
San Francisco- When Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer, also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal committed murder and dismemberment of 17 men and boys, Psychologists and prison psychiatrists immediately diagnosed him as someone suffering from a borderline personality disorder (BPD).
Conversely, the so-called Islamic State terrorists who commit the same crimes if not worse are diagnosed as “Islamic terrorists.” As if decapitating, beheading, and burning alive other humans are normal things to do in the Muslim world, and, therefore, these heinous acts are part of the Muslim persona.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states that anyone with BPD can experience the following symptoms:
- Extreme reactions—including panic, depression, rage, or frantic actions—to abandonment, whether real or perceived
- A pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often veering from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
- Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self, which can result in sudden changes in feelings, opinions, values, or plans and goals for the future (such as school or career choices)
- Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting
- Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
- Chronic feelings of emptiness and/or boredom
- Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
- Having stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality.
You do not have to be a mental health professional to conclude that ISIS fighters suffer from BPD described above.
on Wednesday the New York Times published this piece From a Private School in Cairo to ISIS Killing Fields in Syria (With Video) which depicts an Egyptian jihadi who went from a normal middle class upbringing in Egypt to a jihadi showing himself in Facebook with human corpses he decapitated. If Beheading a human being and proudly posing with the corps is not a mental illness, then what it is considered as such?
Treating mental illness in the Muslim world and in the Arab world especially is almost inexistent. Mentally ill persons are considered possessed by demons and they usually fall prey to charlatans who claim that reading to them verses from the Koran is the ultimate cure. Many of these young men and women suffer in silence from this disease, and instead of getting help from professionals, as it is the case in the West, they instead turn to mosques that are run by fundamentalists like Muhammad Hussein Yacoub who called for genocide against Jews and non Muslims. Little that he know that some of his followers took his advice a step further and went on to decapitate Muslims who do not believe in the so called Islamic Caliphate.
The world is making a big mistake fighting mentally ill individuals with airstrikes and bombs. Why not declare ISIS terrorists seriously mentally ill persons who need serious therapy to control their illness.
Why spend funds on weaponry when these funds can be spent on preventing this population from falling into the darkness of the disease?
People regardless of their religious belief are born to be good citizens, but when a small majority deviates from what is considered normal, intervention needs to take place quickly. The family of a deranged person should get all the help it needs for a successful intervention. Governments should set aside budgets to help families in need, and not wait until they hear that these families’ sons or daughters bought one-way ticket to Syria or Iraq.
Obama just asked Congress for permission and funding to fight ISIS. He believes that air power alone will defeat the Islamic State terorists. I wish he could know that for every terrorist killed using F16s and B2 bombers, 100s are patiently waiting to join their comrades. Just on Thursday, Moroccan authorities arrested three Individuals in Casablanca and Oujda before joining IS in Libya and last month eight were arrested over ISIS recruitment.
The world has been increasing its budget and coordination to fight terror, from purchasing surveillance technology to information sharing to capturing terrorists before they commit the crime. This is a feel-good solution and not the real solution. How about preventing the problems before it occurs and declare war on mental illness?
Time is now ripe to look at mental illness as one very possible root of the terror problem the world is facing. In the Arab world especially, time has come to recognize that Arabs too succumb to this disease. Arab decision-makers need to urgently start looking at putting a mechanism to treat this illness before the problem becomes unmanageable.
The NYTimes clip shows clearly that ISIS members were not born terrorists. Many of them never even prayed before succumbing to mental illness. Mental illness comes in all shades and colors, i is varied it does not discriminate based on religion, race, gender, etc. The solution has to be varied as well, using all means to find the cure, rather than relying on one-size-fits-all solution.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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