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Interview with psychologist Nicolai Sennels: “Muslims instinctively see our lack of reaction as fear, its an invitation to attack”


Interview in the Hapeles Orthodox Jewish newspaper. Here is the original English interview:

1) What are the differences between the Muslim and Western man?

Nicolai: Working with Muslim clients I found four important psychological differences. Understanding these differences makes us more able to understand the psychological aspects of integration problems that the West experiences when it comes to Muslim immigrants.

The first difference concerns anger. Western cultures see anger as a weakness, and expression of anger is a way to lose social status. In the Muslim culture, where , “might is right”, anger is seen as strength. Some Muslim communities even declares “days of anger”, where they try to convince others by screaming, shooting in the air and hopping up and down. While we Westerners see such behaviour as embracing or even psychiatric, Muslim cultures defines our lack of aggression as weakness, that can – and should – be exploited. To avoid such invitations to exploitation, we should speak the truth, make demands, be consequent – and carry a big stick.

The second difference concerns honor and self confidence. Inside the Western culture it is generally seen as a sign of honor and self confidence, if we are able to handle criticism either with and shrug (if we disagree) or with a “I think you are right – thanks for helping me to improve”. In Muslim culture, it is honorable to defend against criticism with aggression and exhibit the courage to risk physical confrontation – no matter if the criticism is true or not. Islam can not defend, Islam can only attack. This is why we very seldom hear Muslims defend their religion through logic or reason, but almost always with intimidation and violence: It does not matter who is right, it matters who is the strongest. From the perspective of traditional Muslim culture, the Western concept of honor is dishonorable. It makes us look pathetic and fearful, and for a religion that is basically imperialistic and aggressive, it is an invitation to attack.

The third difference concerns self responsibility, and here the psychological term “locus of control” is important to understand. Western culture leans towards an inner locus of control, meaning that we think that our lives are mainly governed by inner factors, such as our own choices, our own view and our way of handling our emotions. That is why we have countless therapists, coaches etc., and countless books and magazines, which all aim at helping us to be better at helping ourselves. Muslim culture and especially Islam is strongly characterized by outer locus of control. Everything happens “Inshallah”; almost every aspect of life is regulated by Islamic law, the brutal sharia that steals away so many human rights from the people living under it; male authorities – fathers, big brothers, uncles, imams, etc. – make the rules and have enormous power over especially the women. There is very little room for personal choices and freedoms, and this naturally creates a feeling of outer locus of control: Your life is created by outside factors, and the freedom to explore and train inner locus of control is very limited. This is also the reason for the world famous, and – from a Western perspective – embarrassing and childish victim mentality, that characterizes many Muslim communities and immigrants. When this victim mentality meets with our Western compassion and questions like “what would you like to do”, integration is doomed to fail. Only now Western authorities are beginning to learn that we need to meet Muslim immigrants with demands, consequences – “you have to do this and that and this is the consequences if you do not.” People with outer locus of control mostly have very little control and needs clear communication, a clear frame work and clear consequences if they break the rules. But even though we are starting to realize this now, it might be too late to stop the failed integration of millions of people from this very different culture from destroying our societies.

The fourth difference concerns tolerance and openness. In the West, being “tolerant and open” is considered a de facto definition of a good person. Hundred years ago, “good persons” went to church every Sunday, while today they stand with #RefugeesWelcome signs on train stations. In Islam, at good person is somebody adhering strictly to the sharia, which is very intolerant and closed – even violent – towards outsiders. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to predict how the meeting between to such different cultures will evolve: As a cultural osmosis, the “open” culture will be consumed by the intolerant culture: The cultural exchange will be a one-way street. This is what is eating up our countries these years in the form of Islamic parallel societies that develop into small Gaza Strips with extreme dense population; radical Islam going viral; poverty, low education and dependence on economic support from outside; and a hostile and violent attitude towards their non-Muslim surroundings: A constant source of aggression that needs constant containment in order not to spill over and into its context.

2) What are the characteristics of Arab culture, as expressed in communication with the Western world?

Nicolai: Arab culture’s, or Muslim culture’s exchange with the Western world is mainly characterized by the Western world trying to contain – or sometime even harvest and exploit it through proxy wars – Muslim aggression. There is very little communication based on the two parties being equal. Instead, the West use appeasement, diplomacy, bribing or bombs in an attempt to tame the constant flow of violence and aggressive imperialism. From the Islamic side, they instinctively have spotted our weaknesses mentioned above, and they are convinced that through the power of their god and through patience and intimidation, they will continue and finish the work that their prophet began one and a half millenium ago and which has already emptied most of the Middle East, North Africa and great parts of Asia from non-Muslims.

3) How can a Muslim change and build a different personality that integrates in the western world?

Well, since this would mean that they would have to adopt a long list of human rights (democracy, freedom of speech, sexuality, religion, etc.) that the sharia punishes with death, it would first and foremost be based on security for those wishing to change. We can start by undermining the sources of the sharia, the imams and the mosques.

4) If they are so different, what are they looking for in Western countries?

Nicolai: Safety, freedom, money and material goods, uniting with their families, and spreading the sharia. Unfortunately, on an average, they give very little back to the countries they enter, and often their concept of freedom is not compatible with human rights and democracy. Of course there are also many Muslims who want to really integrate and embrace our values and rights, but much too often they are stopped by their Islamic surroundings or their own lack of motivation or skills.

5) One who does not integrate – what happens to him? When does he turn into a criminal and when does he run a normal life?

Nicolai: To integrate you need three things. You have to want it, you have to be allowed by you Muslim peers and family, and you have to be able to. Much too few Muslim immigrants, refugees and their descendants manages all three. Because of their intolerant culture, they many have very little or no feeling of commitment and thankfulness towards


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