Psychological Difference Number Two: Locus of Control

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 "locus of control." I will quote from the article:

The locus of control is central to our understanding of problems and their solutions. If we are raised in a culture where we learn that "…I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul," as William Ernest Henley wrote in his famous poem Invictus in 1875; we will, in case of personal problems, look at ourselves and ask: "…What did I do wrong?" and "…What can I do to change the situation?" People who have been taught throughout their entire lives that outer rules and traditions are more important than individual freedom and self reflection, will ask: "Who did this to me?" and "Who has to do something for me?"

Thus, the locus of control is central to the individual's understanding of freedom and responsibility. Even though our Christian based societies may, in certain situations, give too much emphasis on feelings of guilt; it also strengthens the individual's sense of being able to take responsibility for, and change one's own life.

In societies shaped under Islamic and Qu’ranic influence there may be fewer feelings of guilt and thus, more freedom to demand the surroundings to adapt to one's own wishes and desires. This may include demands to wear Islamic costumes which can result in more Muslim demands for Islamization of our Western societies, but it is also a powerful source of victim mentality and leads to endless demands on one's surroundings.

In a very concrete way this cultural tendency, shows itself in therapy, as a lack of remorse. The standard answer from violent Muslims was always: "…It is his own fault that I beat him up. He provoked me."

Such excuses show that people experience their own reactions as caused by external factors and not by their own emotions, motivation and free will. Even though one's own feelings, when experiencing an insult, can be moderated by one's own point of view, this kind of self reflection does not happen to the same degree among Muslims as it does among Westerners.

It only takes one person to beat up another: the guy who is doing the hitting. It also only takes one person to feel insulted. Being beaten and feeling insulted are thus strictly different social events. The latter depends on ones self, while the former is solely caused by outer circumstances. Unfortunately, this fact is not considered in Muslim culture and apparently also not by the supporters of laws on hate speech, racism and defamation.

The difference in mentality is clearly stated by the old Indian proverb:

You can walk around softly everywhere by putting on a pair of shoes, or you can demand that the whole Earth becomes covered by soft leather.

It is a question of locus of control.

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

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

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