Deep Resentment and the Appeal of Islam

Deep Resentment and the Appeal of Islam, by Anthony Daniels.

The perpetrator of the attack [iin Paris, killing four people at a police station where he worked], a forty-five-year-old computer operator called Michaël Harpon, … had converted to Islam about eighteen months beforehand …

Was Harpon persuaded by the sheer transcendent truth of the claims of Islam or was there something more, psychologically speaking, to account for his conversion? …

I refer to my experience as a prison doctor.

I wondered why it was that so many black prisoners converted to Islam rather than to the evangelical Christianity that was often the religion of their mothers or grandmothers. Perhaps it was merely because of the greater effort of Islamic evangelism, but I suspect there was more to it than that.

Religious conversion is often the cause, or at least the pretext, of the decision of prisoners to give up crime. Crime, at least of the kind that lands you in prison, is overwhelmingly a young man’s game; there comes a time when the criminal is not up to it any more. But he seeks a reason other than this for why he should no longer commit it, and religious conversion is often it.

But black prisoners do not like to feel that they have meekly surrendered to society by henceforth keeping to its laws. Because they feel that they have been so ill-treated by it (irrespective of whether or not they have been) they want to feel that they are still in opposition to it, and if possible revenge themselves upon it. Knowing how most people in society regard Islam, conversion to it suits their purposes admirably. It is not theological truth that they seek, and resentment is what Gibbon might ironically have called the secondary cause of their conversion to Islam.