It has been announced that the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will include a new condition, Islamopathy, which displays elements both of sociopathy and of cult groups (1).
Classified as a personality disorder, Islamopathy is characterized by enduring antisocial behaviour towards outgroups, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited behavior, often accompanied by free floating rage.
The following cultic style behaviours are also identified in the disorder:
1. Excessively zealous commitment to the leader (Mohammed, a 7th century warlord) and his belief system/ideology.
2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged or even punished.
3. The leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel (for example, what types of clothes to wear, who to marry, how to discipline children, which foot to enter the toilet with and so forth).
4. An elitist outlook, claiming a special, exalted status for the group, its leader and members (for example, the leader is considered a special being or the group and/or the leader is on a special mission to save humanity).
5. A polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society.
6. Teachings that the group’s supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members participating in behaviours they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group (for example, lying to family, friends or potential converts, collecting money for bogus charities or decapitating outgroup members).
7. A belief that there can be no life outside the context of the group. Members believe there is no other way to be and often fear reprisals, including murder and eternal hellfire, to themselves or others if they leave or even consider leaving the group.
The disorder can surface at any time in long-standing nominal Muslims but often presents in its most virulent form in recent converts. Initial symptoms can include the wearing of pyjamas throughout the day and banging the head on the pavement (or the road, in groups, with the intention of holding up the traffic) accompanied by stereotypical chants. These symptoms occasionally progress to more disturbing levels, sometimes involving Kalashnikovs or blunt knives, followed by suicide otherwise called “martyrdom”.
The only current treatment is “de-programming” however this is known to be ineffective and the condition has to be managed by denial on the part of the authorities and enforced acceptance by the victims, otherwise known as “the rest of us”.
(1) Nah, only kidding. We all know that in these days of Big Pharma the pill comes first, followed by the disorder. We can only hope that in a laboratory somewhere in California or Switzerland work has commenced.