Magazine article Insight on the News

Sexual Hang-Ups May Belie Islamic Terrorists' Motivations. (Fair Comment)

Magazine article Insight on the News

Sexual Hang-Ups May Belie Islamic Terrorists' Motivations. (Fair Comment)

Article excerpt

If we try to answer a crucial question about the Islamic terrorists, namely, "What is the source of their hatred and rage?" we must turn our attention to an almost-overlooked aspect of the whole story: sex. I am not being flippant here, nor do I mean to oversimplify the horrible events of Sept. 11. I maintain, however, that if we want to understand the terrorists' rabid hatred, their maniacal anger, we must factor in the element of sexuality as an important part of the story.

We know that they detest the sexual permissiveness of the West, especially the United States. Mohammed Atta, an important figure among the terrorists, perhaps best expresses the extraordinary -- and twisted -- sexual repression of fundamentalist Islam. In his will he stipulated that no women were to attend his funeral or to touch his body after his death. Indeed, he further stipulated that should any men, in cleaning his body for burial, need to touch his genitals, they should wear gloves.

Along these lines, a couple of the hijackers living in Florida just before the attacks had in their room draped a cloth over a framed print of a woman -- whom they evidently considered indecently clad. So far the story of the terrorists' sexuality is bizarre but simple. In the lingo of the sexual revolution of the sixties, they had some hang-ups, man. Real uptight dudes.

But the fuller story is more complex and conflicted. Neighbors in the apartment complex remembered that the men who draped the print often were seen on a balcony overlooking the pool, ogling the sunbathing girls in bikinis and thongs. Other of the hijackers frequented strip clubs in Boston where they stood out from the countless faces of anonymous patrons because of their insatiable but joyless appetite for lap dances. Indeed, they also had made phone calls to escort services and paid prostitutes for sex. …

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