Coffee House

When it comes to jihad porn, abstinence is best

13 August 2014

3:27 PM

13 August 2014

3:27 PM

This feature is a preview from this week’s Spectator, out tomorrow:


I am sure we’re all in agreement that watching videos of adults abusing children is wrong. At least outside the halls of BBC light entertainment (historically speaking) such a consensus must exist. So how has it become not just right, but seemingly virtuous, to watch and then promote pictures of big bearded men chopping off children’s heads?

The proliferation of torture and beheading porn is one of the social media horrors of our day. Every minute millions of people around the world send links to videos and photographs. And as world news gets darker, even if you don’t seek them out, such images find their way to you.

Of course the boastful sadists of Isis and similar groups ‘produce’ most of this content. And of course they have some admirers who pass around their images and videos in support. But it is among the non-admirers, including some of the most outspoken opponents of these barbarians, that the confusion arises. Those who clearly do not approve of the acts shown have begun to use such images and videos to make political points. Others send them round in an extreme effort to demonstrate compassion or virtue. While still others seem intent on displaying just how much they are willing to put themselves through.

[Alt-Text]


Over recent weeks, pictures of dead babies in Gaza have been pushed around
social media by people objecting to Israel’s engagement with Hamas. And pictures of a beheaded baby have been pushed around social media by those calling for international involvement to stop Isis slaughtering Yazidis and Christians in Iraq. The pictures are often of dubious provenance. Some of
the Gaza dead babies turned out to be backdated photos of Syrian dead babies. Others were from a low-budget horror movie. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t dead babies in Gaza, Syria, Iraq and many other places in the world. But why the growing fad for sending them around?

This is an odd corner of modern etiquette. But in a world where people are
checking emails, Facebook and Twitter feeds before their first coffee of the morning, you can find yourself forced to adopt some attitude towards this. In the non-virtual world, I increasingly find people sidling up to me asking if I’ve seen this or that atrocity video. And my response is always the same: no, I
haven’t and I don’t want to. I don’t search it out. I don’t watch such things when they are sent to me. I know what they contain and neither need to be whipped up into a moral lather nor shown a snuff video to know that beheading is painful and wrong. Besides, this is a person in the last seconds of their life and afterwards. Is it beyond anyone’s grasp to realise that watching such footage is not just disrespectful but exploitative? What is the proper procedure? Can one eat or drink while watching such things on the laptop? What if the phone rings and it’s someone you need to speak to (‘No, don’t worry, it’s fine, I can put it on pause’)?

My own attitude towards jihad porn is clearly at odds with an increasing number of internet users. The briefest search shows the internet and social media are awash with it. There’s even an element of machismo at times (‘This is really sick’ or ‘Dare you watch this’). And also an element of putting yourself through something awful as proof that you’re ‘keeping it real’ (jihadi snuff videos as just the thing to assuage the guilt of pleasant bourgeois living).

Then there are the more righteous excuses. ‘The world must know the full horror of what is going on’, say the dead-baby-picture senders. But even without seeing war, most of us understand it is awful. And surely the
‘full horror’ can only be felt if you are there, fearing and seeing things with your own eyes? Those of us who absorb news know that we are at a remove from it. That is the point. It is what makes it possible to observe the quantity of misery in the world and still bother to leave the house. Stranger still is the proliferation of only slightly less explicit stuff on television and in print.

On Monday this week the Metro (a free newspaper available at stations in
London and a fair few other cities) carried a photo of an Iraqi man being crucified. The caption was ‘Trussed up’. Meaning that now you can not only see Isis execution porn on your morning commute but chuckle along to
the captions till you get to your terminus. On the same day, the Mail website had its now classic combination of boob-slips and ultraviolence. It isn’t the world’s most successful news site for nothing, though it is interesting that it now issues the same ‘graphic content’ warning on both sexually explicit stories and violently explicit ones — daring you to try it (an interesting continuation of the fact that the earliest beheading videos from Iraq were apparently first posted on porn sites).

In Mail Online this week you could see a tastefully pixellated image of a man being crucified by Isis in northern Syria. And the sidebar showed that the stories you could click to next included pictures of Leonardo DiCaprio and his model girlfriend paddleboarding in Malibu, Lady Gaga showing off her new ‘fuller figure’ and the barely clad ‘burlesque’ dancer Dita von Teese performing a ‘risky show in man-sized Martini glass at Italy’s The Billionaire Club’. Sex, death, jihad, boobs. Crucifixion, beheading, tits, death. The objectification of the human body and now the objectification of the dead. The tenor of our time, perhaps. But it can — and should — be resisted. An abstinence campaign is overdue.

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Show comments
  • jason

    dougy boy was you bullied by muslims at school or something? you have a unhealthy obsession with them a bit like hitler did with the jews. id go see a doctor if i was you

  • Max Williams

    The west is incredibly weak and cowardice. Our politicians are a bunch of inept and useless people who cannot see the threat of radical Islam and its ideology it imposes. Its essentially important that the US,UK and France take action NOW and launches the most devastating air strikes, because this will utterly destroy ISIS and cripple their ability to wage wage war in the long term. No appeasement or peaceful negotiations these people are utter psychopaths, barbaric and evil people who will eventually commit widespread genocide if we do not encounter them militarily and leave them unchecked. If we don’t annihilate radical Islamists around the world by forceful means especially in the middle east. If we don’t do anything about this they will become ever more powerful and stronger in the long term in being able to build a caliphate that will pose the biggest threat to the whole of Europe since the Nazis and Hitler in the 1930’s and 40s.

  • lookout

    Today’s walid shoebat.com photo’s and reports should not be ignored if the truth of Islam is to be understood by both its adherents and critics.

  • TimboX

    Murray, while you may have the moral high ground, I doubt you will win this particular battle.

    It’s a strange coincidence, but I was recently contemplating how society has become so much more violent in step with how TV and new media has become increasingly more violent. There is a certain childishness and lack of empathy that seems to occur in the psyche when people are continually exposed to such material.

    Certainly, charity organisations have ironically played no small part by normalising the viewing of such graphic depictions of cruelty.

    • Damaris Tighe

      I’m glad you mentioned charities. The effect of wall-to-wall images of sick people, especially at dinner time, just makes me turn off the sound & look away – surely the opposite of what was intended. The appeals make me less not more compassionate.

      • TimboX

        Yeah, I really do think that violence has become more normalised in society through graphic videos and images.

        • Damaris Tighe

          Agree entirely. And I remember the fuss over Tom & Jerry cartoons! Who would have thought that within a few decades children would be exposed to unimaginable real life violence.

  • James Eyre

    There’s a golden mean between being repulsed by the repulsive, falling for ‘false-flag’ propaganda, and burying one’s head in the sand.

  • Val Cocora

    islam is a zoo full of inbred animals.

  • AJH1968

    We face a determined and implacable enemy who fights without
    reason or honour. He deploys any method or resource to gain advantage no matter
    how low, craven or despicable. They revel in defeat as tool to provoke sympathy
    the media is used ruthlessly for images of dead children. We thus end up with
    two parties in our quarrel both serving an equally dastardly purpose. I believe
    the reactions of the left in shielding and enabling this death cult border on
    treason. Every attempt they make to understand them or side with them (as in
    the case of Hamas) bring us closer to the precipice. They most certainly do not
    see our fairness and hard one freedoms as virtues they see them as a weakness
    they despise and will most certainly exploit.

  • Liz

    If you support something, you should witness what that something is.

    • Penny

      Don’t you think there’s “witnessing”, and then there’s “wallowing”, Liz?

      • Liz

        I do. But Douglas promotes the bombing of Gaza, and refuses to witness the results of his work. That’s self-indulgent.

        • Penny

          Douglas hasn’t “promoted” the bombing of Gaza.

          There are two sides to this particular story, Liz so by extension would it be right to assume that you promote the bombing of Israeli civilians or to ask whether you have witnessed the results of its effects over time?

  • bruce lorraine

    Well I suppose we could all hide from the horrors of islam and pretend that they don’t exist, forget about the holocaust and the Armenian genocide as well.

    Was it Caesar that said, those who forget the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them?

    I’ve seen enough of the pictures I don’t need to see anymore. But then again I consider myself reasonable well informed. I don’t think those photos are necessarily for me but for those who aren’t informed and really aware of what islam is doing.

    • global city

      It is all either voyeurism or self flagellation. What have we seen lately/ pictures of children cruelly killed by Islamists with the caption “look what the Jew did”

      I don’t need to see a kid crushed by a lorry to understand.

      • bruce lorraine

        The old adage ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ comes to mind.
        A picture brings the horror up close and makes it personal.

        In Belsan you didn’t need to see the 300 children being raped to know the horror, you just needed to see most of them coming out of the school in their underwear to understand what happened.

        These photos only need a little play, they’re over used but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be used as a small part of the message for informational purposes

  • Damaris Tighe

    Good article Douglas. But apart from the prurience another good reason for avoiding these images is that they generate unthinking emotion. The frenzy against Israel was drummed up via pictures of dead babies which halted people in their tracks from considering why this might have happened & what they would do in the same circumstances. If the media continue to circulate such pictures it will become impossible for the west to prosecute even a just war because of the screams of horror at home. We are the first generation to be able to view the true horror of war in our living rooms. Remember the cries of anguish at the sight of the Iraqi convoy that was bombed by coalition forces?

    • GraveDave

      We are the first generation to be able to view the true horror of war in our living rooms.

      No we’re not. Not by a long chalk. And I’m glad people still cry out in anguish when the horrors of war are brought home close. Or do you think we should only cry out for those we’re supposed to be siding with. .

      • Damaris Tighe

        Of course we cry out for human suffering on whatever side we see it. And rightly so. But that’s why it’s surely best we don’t see it if we want to successfully prosecute a war. Otherwise we’re ‘disarmed’ figuratively & literally. It’s already well known that in the west public support for a war wobbles as soon as we see the images of collateral damage or even bombed convoys on TV. You might be pleased with this if you disagree with the war, but suppose it’s a just war that you support?

      • sevanclaig

        “….conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
        And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”

        “God mend thine every flaw, Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law! 
        O beautiful for heroes proved In liberating strife. 
        Who more than self their country lovedAnd mercy more than life”

  • William Haworth

    We need to understand that the difference between Muslims and Jihadis in 2020 will be as relevant as the difference between Nazis and Germans in 1940.

    • Mike

      Most people do understand the difference between Muslims and Jihadists but the problem is, just like the Nazis, its the Jihadists that are in control as 95% of Muslims are irrelevant in their scheme of things.

  • Ricky Strong

    I think you make a good point but I also believe many people watch such things because for a long time we were barred by the media from these images. The internet is the last refuge of the truth and of reality.

    • GraveDave

      Yes , well… you go on believing that. But I believe many people watch such things because they like it. It turns them on.
      How’s that for truth and reality.

      • monty61

        Unfortunately I think this is the truth.

      • TimboX

        There is no doubt that that is true too.

    • TimboX

      If only it were that easy or true. But there are as many lies on the internet as there are on mainstream media, this for example. Supposedly Palestinians killed by Israelis…

      http://patriotsbillboard.org/gaza-corpses-caught-moving-when-they-dont-know-the-cameras-are-on-them/

  • lookout

    The left are never wrong, one or two will have a Damascus road experience and they will be hung out to dry for it, the rest will just carry on seeing no problem no matter how lunatic the agenda, climate change/global warming ( man made especially ) just listen to Eagle. Walid Shoebat.com and Caroline Glick.com have warned for a decade what’s in store for Blighty and the rest of civilization if we act like cowards, you reap what you sow.

  • http://paulweston101.blogspot.com Paul Weston

    I wonder when the left/liberals will finally admit to their catastrophic error in inviting the supremacist monoculture of Islam into the West? It really isn’t difficult to join the dots. Liberals could easily open their eyes, should they want to….

    Two things are all they need to understand:

    “When you meet the unbelievers, strike the necks…” Qur’an 47:4

    “I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Apostle.” Hadith, Bukhari, 2:24

    If left/liberals refuse to believe the evidence all around them, then we are only one generation away from witnessing in Surbiton what we now witness in Syria and Iraq.

    • Shazza

      Paul, unfortunately they won’t and if they did, it in all probability is too late now.

      I have been having an interesting discussion over on LabourList regarding the ridiculously posh hypocrite Tristram Hunt’s education policies which morphed into my trying to explain, in a most civilised way that the UK will be an islamic state within 30 years. I lost.

      They are in total denial. I fear that the Left would sooner sacrifice our precious liberty, our Western civilisation on the altar of their multi culti nightmare, than admit their willful blindness to the evil which they deliberately foisted on us. We are like Isaac but unfortunately, nothing is going to stay Abraham’s hand.

      Have to agree with you regarding Dan Hodges’ Damascene conversion – I bet he is in Mummy’s bad books now.

      • Tom M

        The trouble is that there are genuine British people who are quite happy with the way things are or will be going. They just don’t care. For example my brother is one of those hand-wringing liberal types (God knows how he ended up like that).
        When he was told that in 20 years or so his daughters would like as not need to wear the niqab he shrugged and said that if this was what the people of Britian wanted then fine.
        He is a now retired highly qualified professional. Politics is not his great interest but hand wringing and Political Correctness is. So beware our very own fifth column.

        • Shazza

          Why am I not even shocked by this. I have said this on numerous occasions, apathy will be the downfall of the British people and you have just used your brother as a perfect illustration of this.

          The very sad fact of your story is how little he cares for his daughters’ futures – I will give him the benefit of the doubt in that he is possibly quite ignorant of the true facts regarding the RoP’s attitude to women.

          The bald fact of the matter is that for men, islam is not so bad providing you are heterosexual and don’t drink – then you can indulge in misogyny, treat women as chattel, etc.
          Bit different for the rest of us though.

          • Damaris Tighe

            There is a cruel word for people who don’t care enough about their own culture to defend it, even on behalf of their children: degenerate.

          • Colonel Mustard

            It is mystery why it seems to appeal to lefties. The authoritarianism I suppose. In the film about ISIS one of the ISIS goons warned a man on the street that the pattern on the material his wife was wearing was not Islamic. Lefties seem to like that level of intervention and control too.

            • allan

              As a leftie I don’t want to control people, tell them what to wear or have a secret sympathy for Islamic extremists. I think there are self hating lefties that blame all the ills of the world on ‘ the west’. They’re a fairly small minority.

          • Tom M

            A very sad story indeed Shazza but he doesn’t think so. I mentioned him because we were brought up together in the same mining community and sugject to the s

            • Tom M

              I’ll try again. …….subject to the same social influences but the results are totally different.
              Apologies for hitting some rogue key somewhere.

              • Shazza

                Heartbreaking for you.

              • Damaris Tighe

                It does rather show that there’s no such thing as social determinism though.

        • English Majority

          Tom,

          I have exactly the same type of brother as yourself. I’m young White working class, but he went to university, lived and studied in various cities, and he’s now an extremely well educated professional. He’s a really nice lad as well; polite, kind and all that.

          Thing is, he’s far-Left. I have debates with him, and he just spouts off such deranged sh*t. And I do mean proper far-Left boll*cks.

          If he was anyone other than my brother, I’d despise him intensely, but of course you can’t hate your brother, no matter what madness they speak.

        • Colonel Mustard

          People like your brother actually scare me more than ISIS.

      • http://paulweston101.blogspot.com Paul Weston

        I looked at the Labourlist article. As you say, total denial of reality.

        I just wonder how many years away we are from an anti-left revolution.

        • Colonel Mustard

          I think it has already started. I think an increasing number of people are waking up to what the left is really about and starting to get really pissed off about them. All of the stuff they have used to intimidate and cow people is starting to be rejected and thrown back at them. People are getting bolder about what they say.

          From tiny acorns mighty oaks do grow.

          But if Red Ed gets in expect Leveson to be back on the agenda and a real drive for lefty censorship.

        • TimboX

          It pretty much has started already I think. I think the question is will it gain enough support and fast enough to make a difference?

          You might disagree, but the huge swell of support for UKIP is a clear sign that people aren’t happy with the status quo. It’s certainly a swing to a new type of right, only one that includes the former left.

          • Damaris Tighe

            Paul Weston will at the very least be ambivalent about UKIP as he heads up his own party, LibertyGB, which is openly anti-Islam.

      • Daviejohn

        What these poor deluded souls on the left fail to realize is that it will be them that will be led first to the slaughter and their wives,husbands and children will surely follow quickly after.

        • TimboX

          Yep, but they are in denial or they figure that they’ll be dead by the time the civil war comes so they don’t care.

    • http://surewoodforest.blogspot.com/ dicere

      5th pillar of faith. Convert em or kill em.

    • Kitty MLB

      Very well said Paul. An intolerant and barbaric cult has no place amongst civilized people in the West. And the Left think all we need to do is hug them.
      As Churchill said: There are those who feed the crocodile first, thinking it will eat us last.

  • English Majority

    I disagree.

    All people should see these things. People should see full reality. They need to see precisely what Islam and Muslims represent.

    People need to see exactly what happens once Muslims rise in sufficient numbers (eventually, beheadings etc, just like in the vids, will take place in England and Britain as the Muslim immigrants become dominant).

    • bruce lorraine

      Deport them to where? Back to their home countries to help finish slaughtering the non-believers? That’s a great solution for your problem but it just worsens the problems in the country they wind up in.

      There is no way this is going to be settled peacefully, islam will only lie in your face while it strengthens it’s hand prior to attack and eventual genocide.

      • noix

        Taqiyya

      • Alexsandr

        start a colony for them on Rockall.

      • English Majority

        First things first – let’s get them all OUT of our nations.

        The rest can be debated.

        • bruce lorraine

          Who’s going to do that, our governments? Do you really think our governments will do that when it’s they who are intentionally bringing them in for cheap labor to line their pockets with more profits?
          Look at what’s happening in GB, I can see the end of the English culture on the horizon from here in America and my culture isn’t far behind.

      • TimboX

        Just like Lebanon.

    • Alexsandr

      its not just the violence. Its the FGM – chopping up little girl s3xual organs so they can never have s3xual pleasure.

      mafa kathat – a s3x act with pre -pb3scent girls -as practiced by the paedophile mohammed.

      their attitude that white girls are just trash for their taking, lured with drugs and alcohol.

      • bruce lorraine

        It’s not only their violence and FGM, it’s their whole way of life.
        I don’t want muslims praying in my streets, I refuse to eat halal or shop where it’s sold or do business with companies that promote islam. At 65 I’ve been a Coke drinker all of my life, no more. Their outreach to islam sickens me. Our war with islam isn’t only on the battlefield, but in our streets and in our marketplace.

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