Latest update: December 30th, 2013
Anat Berko is a criminologist and author who grew up in Israel, but whose parents and ancestors going back generations lived in Iraq.
Berko is best known outside of Israel for her books about suicide bombers. Her first book, “The Path to Paradise: The Inner World of Suicide Bombers and Their Dispatchers,” was published in 2007. Her second book, “The Smarter Bomb: Women and Children as Suicide Bombers” was published in 2012.
Berko is very familiar with the psychology of suicide bombers and those who play a role in the industry, such as the dispatchers, the drivers, and the recruiters. She spent 15 years interviewing those involved in the industry of suicide bombings, especially the women who attempted to blow themselves up. She has many insights into what drives the kind of violence which is largely unique to Arab culture. Some of what she describes in her books support general theories about violent cultures, while other insights are unique to this particular culture.
So Berko knows the Arab world very well, both because her family history is firmly rooted in the Arab world, and her professional work brought her into almost daily, extensive, contact with Arabs who were willing to risk everything, or to induce others to risk everything, for an Arab nationalist cause.
In an article published in Gatestone this week, “The Arab Spring in Europe,” Berko explores several themes, but in her very matter of fact manner writes about the refusal of the west to talk directly about the problem of Islamic violence. She brushes aside that reluctance and, with her hand to the back of the head of the readers, reveals in plain language what should be obvious, but which isn’t, because the reluctance to see it is so great.
One would expect that Muslim immigrants, whose children were born in the West, would adapt, become part of the Western society and partake of its freedom — otherwise, why did they immigrate? What we see, however, is the opposite. The beheading of a British soldier in London, and the murder of a soldier in France, are only the beginning of a wave of violence and a dictatorship of fundamentalists who will call the tune. The wave of riots and vandalism carried out by Muslim immigrants in France in 2005 was just a hint at what is to come. The immigrants are brainwashed in the mosques, the madrasas [Islamic religious schools] and informal discussion groups, all of which represent the West as worse than Sodom and Gomorrah.
Did we really need her to explain that to us? Why, yes, we did, because so few others will say those very obvious things out loud. The idea that multiculturalism is one of the greatest goods and that it therefore places no demands of adaptation to one’s host country is wrong, is her message.
Berko wants the west to recognize when tolerance moves from being a positive quality and instead endangers western countries, western identity and western freedoms.
If immigrants chose to move to a particular country, then they have decided it is a better place than the one from which they came. And while pride in one’s origins is touching and sweet, a rigid demand that one’s new home adopt the foreign cultures of the homelands of its immigrants makes no sense. And worse than that, it leads to an inevitable clash, one which need not have been inevitable.
As Berko explains in a lengthy interview with The Jewish Press, the values and the will of the west have become atrophied.
“What, Germany and France are unable to say that Hezbollah is a terrorist group for fear of offending Muslims,” Berko asks incredulously. “And yet, Bahrain is able to say out loud: No! We do not want them here, that is a terrorist group.”
Once a country starts making excuses for the illegal acts of immigrants, and the excuse is that the people come from a different culture, the end is near.
“It has to be the same law for everybody, no excuses, no cultural justifications,” Berko says. “Without clear boundaries, there will never be a rejection of the violence that is acceptable in their own culture.”
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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