True Believers

A Symbolic Anthropological Study of Islamist Culture

Edited by Dawn Perlmutter

© 2017 – CRC Press

300 pages | 50 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781439899151
pub: 2017-07-26

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About the Book

Written for defense, intelligence and law enforcement professionals, True Believers: A Symbolic Anthropological Study of Islamist Culture provides a comprehensive overview of the symbols, rituals, beliefs, customs, and unfamiliar practices of Islamist culture. Ritualistic crime expert Dawn Perlmutter reveals a heretofore unidentified Islamist Symbolic Code—a shame-based tribal honor code that incites and justifies murder, mutilation, and acts of terrorism. The Islamist Symbolic Code is a syncretic tradition that is a combination of tribal honor code, Sharia Law, and Islamic rites of purity. This symbolic anthropological approach to counterterrorism illustrates how traditions and taboos rooted in the Islamist Code are relevant to a variety of strategic and intelligence operations.

A leading Hamas member stated, "We like to grow them from kindergarten through college.” This book explains exactly how that is accomplished with emphasis on Islamist rites of passage, indoctrination, education, and initiation rituals. Readers are introduced to the "symbolization" process—a form of repetitive symbolic conditioning similar to the indoctrination techniques of cult and totalitarian groups that use words, images, symbols, and rituals to embed ideals that resonate throughout life. This book identifies the symbols, language, and images that trigger violence, hatred, fear, and shame that are used to grow an army of true believers.

Seemingly inexplicable violent acts are explained—such as children joyfully participating in the dismemberment of dead bodies, suicide bombers who are willing to self-detonate for Islam, fathers killing their daughters, beheadings, mutilation, amputations, gouging out eyes, stoning women, and literally crucifying enemies. It is demonstrated that the primary motivation of Islamist atrocity is an irrepressible impulse to alleviate shame and a sacred duty to restore honor, serve vengeance, preserve purity, maintain tradition, and save face.

Perlmutter also introduces readers to "Symbolic Warfare," a form of psychological operations and information warfare that exploits Muslim traditions and taboos to recruit moderates, indoctrinate soldiers, and wage global war. Knowledge of the rites of purity, traditional customs, what is held sacred, and what is designated taboo provides relevant insights into the minds and hearts of Islamist True Believers. This book is a valuable aid for strategic, tactical, and intelligence operations.

Dawn Perlmutter was interviewed by Robert Siegel August 29, 2014 on National Public Radio's All Things Considered in a segment about beheading as a modern warfare tactic.

Table of Contents

Symbolization – True Believers – The Islamist Symbolic Code

The Islamist Symbolic Code

Symbolization – The Sacred Process

Symbolic Warfare – The Profane Process

The Semiotics of Terrorism

Initiation - Growing Up Islamist – Instilling the Code

Broadcasting Jihad -Television Programming

Digihad, Jihad Rap & Mujahideen Music Videos

Islamogaming - Videogames

Jihad on Facebook & Myspace - The Internet

Coming of Age in the West Bank - Islamist Initiation Rites

Inculcation - Islamist Myths and Folklore – The Origin of the Code

Classic Propaganda - Conspiracy Theories

The Protocols

Blood Libel

Holocaust Denial

Creation Myths: The Origin of the Symbolic Code

Evocation - Sympathetic Rites – Summoning the Code

Sacred Propaganda – Cult of Victimhood

Muhammad Cartoon Controversy

Quran Desecration

Popes Speech

Protest Rituals

Profanation - The Voice of Islamism in America – Transmitting the Code

Secular Propaganda – The Realm of the Profane

Academic Jihad - The Infiltration of America

Media Apologetics – Pallywood, Fauxtography and Reutersgate

Perpetuating Islamist Myths -The Fallacy of Root Causes

Ritualization – Rites of Purity – The Nature of the Code

Islamist Purification Rituals

Purity and Pollution - Islamists versus Dirty Unbelievers Special Accommodations – Airports, Businesses, Colleges

Ritualization – The Symbolic Code becomes Visceral

Participation – Blood Rituals – Code Conduct

Mujahideen – Holy Warriors

Blood Vengeance – Proscribed Bloodshed – Retribution

Blood Sacrifice –Beheadings - Initiation

Primal Bloodshed - Ritual Atrocities – Desecration

Purification through Blood and Fire

Salvation - Martyrdom – Code Accomplished

Jihadi Graduation -Martyrdom Operations

Brides of Paradise – Female Suicide Bombers

The Power of Images - Culture of Martyrdom

Perpetuating Islamist Myths – Explanations for Suicide Attacks

Salvation - Martyr’s Paradise (Lost)

Funeral / Wedding Procession - Martyrs Symbols, Rituals & Burial Rites

Human Sacrifice - Suicide Attacks as Sacrificial Blood Rituals

Confrontation - Nature Versus Nurtured – The Clash of Codes

Tribal versus Rational - Islamism versus the West

Traditions and Taboos

True Believers are True Breeders – Marriage & Childbearing

Nature versus Nurtured – Child Rearing Practices

Multiculturalism vs Madrassas – Educational Practices & School Rituals

Survival of the Fittest

Translation - The Signs of Jihad – Deciphering the Code

Islamist Code Words

Decoding Islamist Images

Decoding Islamist Rituals

Distress Signals

Reputation – Honor Killing – Preserving the Code

Sacred Violence - Honor Killing

Blood Vengeance: Ritual Murder of Enemies

Mutilation The Archetypical Sign of Dishonor

The New Iconoclasm

About the Editor

Dawn Perlmutter, Director and founder of Symbol & Ritual Intelligence, (formerly the Institute for the Research of Organized & Ritual Violence, LLC) is considered one of the leading subject matter experts in the areas of symbols, unfamiliar customs, ritualistic crimes, and religious violence. She routinely provides law enforcement investigators and defense and intelligence agencies with specialized information to assist in investigation and analysis. She regularly trains law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, has advised police departments and prosecutors offices on numerous cases of ritual homicides, and has presented expert witness testimony on ritualistic crimes. She is the author of two books and numerous publications on ritual violence. As an expert on ritual murder, she has been interviewed for many documentaries, newspapers and newscasts, including The O’Reilly Factor, the Fox News Channel, NBC, CBS, The Learning Channel, the CBC and the BBC. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy from New York University and a Masters Degree from The American University, Washington, D.C. Dawn Perlmutter is an active member of the distinguished Vidocq Society, an exclusive crime-solving organization that solves cold case homicides.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Criminal Law / General
LAW / Forensic Science
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / International Security
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism