vrijdag 18 juli 2014

Alcoholism and Jihad

It’s bold what Lamyae Aharouay did in her column lately, but I can appreciate it. There she draws a parallel between Isis supporters and alcoholics. This is in the context of her argument that it is not appropriate to reproach moderate muslims for the behavior of fanatical jihadists. She had recently heard one of our politicians do so, and also another columnist who had said: “If Muslims slaughter Muslims on a grand scale it remains virtually silent”.

The comparison consists in the observation that alcohol abuse and jihadism are both problematic. And that, a little as you can blame moderate Muslims for the danger of  problematic drinkers, just as little you can hold moderate Muslims accountable for the danger of the extremists.

This statement by Aharouay is right, I think. At one point, however, the comparison is wanting, and I would like to see the parallels extended, precisely on that point.

The point I have in mind is the extent to which the problem is recognized as a serious threat and the extent to which the problem is being actively combated. As Aharouay indicates, alcohol addiction is explicitly mentioned by the World Health Organization as a serious threat to public health. The organization reports on it, so we know that alcohol makes for one of the 20 deaths per year, which is 3.3 million people worldwide.

Apparently our society is quite aware of the danger of addiction, and has established an organization to analyse the connecting problems and to encourage further awareness. This includes for example asking questions such as: to what extent is alcohol abuse encouraged by our individualistic lifestyles and widespread loneliness? What is the role of the intrusive adverts?

Elaborating on the comparison, something like that would seem to me desirable with respect to the addiction danger of Islam. Here too, analysis and reflection are needed that  penetrate to the heart of the matter. Where that addiction danger could be located? Could there possibly be something intoxicating in the central doctrine of complete surrender to Allah? And could the absence of the relativistic effect of (moderate) use of alcohol possibly stimulate religious radicalization?

Asking these questions and reflecting on them seems to me to be very urgent. Again, and in accordance with what Aharouay says about that, not in order to harass moderate Muslims  with it. But, as with alcohol, to discover the mechanisms that in interaction with social conditions lead to death and destruction.

Also see Alcohol