Psychological Difference Number One: Anger

Saturday, July 3, 2010

IN AN article by Nicolai Sennels, who was a therapist and counselor for 150 Muslim criminals in Denmark prisons and 100 non-Muslim criminals, he expresses his concern that the way Muslims think may be incompatible with Western civilization.

He discovered several important differences between Muslim criminals and non-Muslim criminals, all of which stem from their culture, which stems primarily from basic Islamic teachings. One of the most important psychological differences he found was anger. I will quote from the article:

Muslim culture has a very different view of anger and in many ways opposite to what we experience here in the West.

Expressions of anger and threats are probably the quickest way to lose one's face in Western culture. In discussions, those who lose their temper have automatically lost, and I guess most people have observed the feeling of shame and loss of social status following expressions of aggression at one's work place or at home. In the Muslim culture, aggressive behavior, especially threats, are generally seen to be accepted, and even expected as a way of handling conflicts and social discrepancies. If a Muslim does not respond in a threatening way to insults or social irritation, he, not "she" (Muslim women are, mostly, expected to be humble and to not show power) is seen as weak, as someone who cannot be depended upon and loses face...

The Islamic expression of "holy anger" is therefore completely contradictory to any Western understanding. Those two words in the same sentence sound contradictory to us. The terror-threatening and violent reaction of Muslims to the Danish Mohammed cartoons showing their prophet as a man willing to use violence to spread his message, is seen from our Western eyes as ironic. Muslims’ aggressive reaction to a picture showing their prophet as aggressive, completely confirms the truth of the statement made by Kurt Westergaard in his satiric drawing.

This cultural difference is exceedingly important when dealing with Muslim regimes and organizations. Our way of handling political disagreement goes through diplomatic dialogue, and calls on Muslim leaders to use compassion, compromise and common sense. This peaceful approach is seen by Muslims as an expression of weakness and lack of courage. Thus avoiding the risks of a real fight is seen by them as weakness; when experienced in Muslim culture, it is an invitation to exploitation.

Read the whole article: Muslims and Westerners: The Psychological Differences.

Read other differences: The Psychological Differences Between Muslims and Westerners.

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