Atta obviously had a lot of problems.
But far from being the testament of an alienated madman, Atta’s will directly reflects the deep-rooted misogyny within Islam itself. And it is misogyny, and all the self-contempt and rage that it nurtures in males, that fertilized the soil in which the pernicious evil of Atta – and of his colleagues -- grew.
In Woman in the Muslim Unconscious, Moroccan scholar Fatna Sabbah documents how the crucial criteria of female "beauty" in Islamic society are silence, immobility, and obedience. Women are supposed to dehumanize themselves in order to be tolerated.
In Islam, males are taught to control desire (shahwa). Women are the incarnation of shahwa. Shahwa comes from the devil. It becomes clear, therefore, why the association of shahwa, the devil and woman is rife throughout Islamic religious literature.
Imam Ibn al-Jawzi taught that female beauty was a manifestation of the devil himself. In his text Dhamm al-hawa, he wrote that the "beauty of women is one of the poisoned arrows of the devil." It is no wonder, therefore, why Islam teaches that hell is largely populated by women. According to a hadith (the record of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad) in Imam Bukhari’s Al-Sahih, the Prophet Muhammad states that, as he stood at the gate of hell, he observed that, "Most of those who entered there were women."
In Islam, sex is allowed only in marriage, but even then it is not viewed as an act between two complementary and equal human beings. It is an act concerning only the orgasmic need of the male. Since this need is prioritized, Islam allows the male to marry four wives at a time. The male can also go through serial marriages, since he is allowed to dissolve a marriage unilaterally at any time by simply saying to his wife: "you are repudiated."
Thus, a man does not have to invest in one woman. The concept of "the couple" is shattered; the individual woman is seen as useless and expendable. The confusion in which Middle Eastern boys grow up, therefore, is a given. With all kinds of siblings born of different women -- who obviously weren’t good enough to be cherished alone –- the boys get their first taste of misogyny and, therefore, self-hate (since they internalize the notion that their own mothers were valueless).
Since it emphasizes the importance of Muslims conquering all non-Muslims, Islam bestows some intriguing sexual incentives. While it is a sin for a male to have sex with an unmarried woman, Allah makes an exemption for the Muslim male who rapes the women of the infidels that he kills. Muhammad did just that.
This explains why any time Islamic warriors defeat another nation, they call the inhabitants kafir (the one who, according to the Qur'an, is ungrateful to the blessings showered by Allah) and rape their women. Pakistani Muslim soldiers raped a quarter of a million Bangali women in 1971 after they massacred 3 million unarmed civilians. This atrocity is not considered a sin in Islam, because the religious leader of the soldiers decreed that Bangladeshis were infidels.
The Islamic temptation to wage violent war against non-Muslims also involves the sexual incentive of the houries (the 72 eternal virgins in paradise that are given to the Muslim warrior who dies in battle). The houri makes earthly women even more redundant. Yet even the individual houri herself is not sacred or special in any way. As Fatna Sabbah notes, she "has no spiritual dimension; she is a thing because she has neither will nor any possibility of development. . . . [she] has no intellect; she does not think. She is a thing that awaits consumption."
The houri is a manifestation of the ultimate misogyny.
In thinking about Atta’s will in this context, his worries become understandable. So does his rage. A male cannot despise women and simultaneously love himself. Misogyny is the ultimate death wish.
Men like Atta and Osama bin Laden detest – and wish to destroy – the world that they see outside their cages. It is a world that delights in the beauty that they have demonized -- outside and inside of themselves.
See these related articles:
The Childhood Origins of Terrorism, Lloyd deMause
The Wellsprings of Horror in the Cradle, Alice Miller
The Sexual Rage Behind Islamic Terror, Jamie Glazov
The School for Violence, Riane Eisler.
Yes, This Is About Islam, Salman Rushdie
Afghan Boy Gets Lesson in Manhood, Philip Caputo.