A Reaction Formation is a psychological defense in which an unacceptable thought or feeling is turned into its opposite.
A classic example would be seen in young first born children when a sibling is born (in children of ~3-6, it is often an overt process.) The child goes from being the center of his parent's universe to suddenly finding his mother attending to this newcomers who seems to do nothing but demand her time and energy, and love. This stirs up intense ambivalence in the child who shortly after the excitement of a new arrival wears off, comes to resent the intruder, often to the point of entertaining murderous fantasies and wishes toward the baby (this peaks during that time after the new born becomes mobile and is able to interfere in the older child's play, but before the young sibling has acquired the developmental maturity to become a playmate for the older sibling.) The older sibling only has to express his anger and hatred of the intruder once, to discover how unacceptable such sentiments and behavior is to his parents. In an amazing transformation, the child suddenly discovers he loves his newborn sibling and treats him accordingly. Of course, the original hostility may resurface form time to time. Occasionally you will see the older child hug the baby with such "loving" ferocity that the little one is brought to tears and wailing, and the occasional smack when mom isn't looking is to be expected, but for most children, the reaction formation thus created protects the younger child from danger.
What brings this to mind the recent suicide bombing in Oklahoma. If you don't read blogs, you have probably missed this developing story. Dr. Rusty Shackleford have been keeping an eye on things with a link-rich post:
All of this evidence suggests that there may have been a wider plot by Islamic terrorists to use Joel Henry Hinrichs III as a suicide bomber in exactly the same way as terrorists use suicide bombers around the world: to kill civilians. Hinrichs, like so many other suicide bombers, failed in his attempt and killed only himself.
A word of caution is necessary here. It is definitely possible that Hinrichs did act alone and was just a sad nut with a death wish. Some of the facts presented above could turn out to be untrue, and even if true could be interpreted in a number of ways. We'll just have to wait and see. But, as of this writing I am inclined to believe that Hinrichs was part of a larger plot.
Michelle Malkin has been following the story and updating the news as it appears.
A few thoughts that occur in this context is that disturbed loners who decide to commit suicide do not spend the time and energy necessary to obtain the information and materials to make an unusual explosive which is rare here and common in the Middle East (Mother of Satan); psychiatric suicides tend to use whatever is at hand to do the deed, so Hinrichs had more in mind than suicide, at the least.
However, my interest lies in the reaction of the Muslim community. Baron Bodissey describes the reaction from the local Muslim spokesmen:
Are University of Oklahoma Muslims concerned that some of their community, in association with Joel Hinrichs, may have been planning to blow up a crowd of football spectators?
Not if you believe Hossam Barakat, an OU Arabic instructor. His concern is — wait for it — a backlash against Muslims. People might just get the wrong idea.
According to The Oklahoma Daily:
Now, after the public has seen Hinrichs’ picture and heard that Muslims were questioned by law enforcement agencies, Barakat is more concerned that some people are connecting dots that aren’t there.
“Of course [I’m afraid] of the social reaction,” Barakat said… “I believe everyone is so worried now about what is going to happen.”
Adeel Khan, former Muslim Student Association president and psychology and mathematics junior, said he comes to the mosque “pretty often” and also said he had never heard of Hinrichs or seen him at the mosque.
Khan also said he is worried about people connecting bits of information to establish a false relationship between Hinrichs and Muslims because stereotyping is already so prevalent.
“Stereotyping is so prevalent”??? When a particular religion is so over-represented among explosive-makers, beheaders, killers of children, and suicide bombers, what can you do to stereotype it any further?
I share the Baron's incredulity. After every arrest of Muslims planning "Jihad" we hear the spokesmen mouth the same pieties: Islam is a religion of peace; Jihad refers to an inner struggle. After a while, a line from William Shakespeare (an early Psychoanalyst and student of human behavior-SW) springs unbidden to mind:
The lady doth protest too much, methinks. (Hamlet: Gertrude, III.ii)
The Muslim spokesmen doth protest too much, methinks. Whether it be California, New York, Virginia, not once have I heard the leaders who preside in the Mosques that have been attended by these various young men arrested for plotting terror, condemn the Jihadists; not once have they expressed concern about murderous plots being hatched in their houses of worship. Always they worry about the back lash which, if it has yet occurred, has been strangely missing from the news.
It is not news that the LSM (LameStreamMedia) are ignoring the story of Hinkins and his Islamist connections; at the same time, you can be sure that if there is a Muslim anywhere who is looked at crossly, the New York Times will splash the tale of bias and prejudice on their front page.
It is worth wondering if there is a bigger menace growing than we are aware. I may be wrong, and hope I am, but the evidence suggests we do not yet monitor radical Mosques (or even know which Mosques are the homes of radical Islamists.) Islamic fascist apologists are still treated as responsible spokesmen for Islam (CAIR, for one example) and it seems to me there can only be a limited number of possible explanations for their lack of concern about plans for mass murder from within their own ranks combined with such visible worry about the "social reaction" and stereotyping. Such relative lack of concern for their fellow Americans suggests a disturbing abundance of hostility.
The most favorable view of their insouciance would be that it is the result of a Reaction Formation. We (Muslims) are not filled with hatred of the other; we are so peace loving that we have to constantly remind everyone of it.
A more ominous reading would be that Projection, a more primitive and dangerous defense which I discussed in relation to Islamic Fascism and Paranoid Psychosis, is at work. In Projection, the hatred and aggression of the spokesmen are disavowed and projected onto the outside community. "I do not hate non-Islamic Americans, but they all hate me."
Or it could be an example of Taqiah:
The Quran allows Muslims to have a declared agenda and a secret agenda (of Jihad, slaughter and mayhem) during time of weakness, this licence is called "Taqiah".
None of these possibilities can fill you with any sense of peace and comfort. I am still waiting for the great mass of Moderate Muslims, who have thus far remained hidden, to step forward and reassure a nervous Western public.