Ex-Muslims and progressive Muslim secularists face the double-bind of being attacked by right-wing Islamists and other Islamic supremacists, who will refer them to as traitors to their religious identity and dangle the crime and punishment of apostasy over their heads. While at the same time they are attacked by dead-ender bigots for being “cultural Muslims” and face the risk of having their positions appropriated by the right wing and anti-Muslim bigots.
A superb interview (in VICE magazine) of Hiba Kisht aka Marwa Berro addresses this question.
VICE: As with many endeavours that progressive Muslims or ex-Muslims might engage in, there is always the possibility that it might be used to advance a right-wing agenda or even promote outright anti-Muslim bigotry in the US and abroad. What are your thoughts on this?
Hugo Schmidt, occassional contributor to this blog, has his first piece published in Standpoint. And very good it is too.
The death of socialism has been like the fall of some rainforest giant, leaving a space for lesser growths. For most of the 20th century socialism — the government control of the economy — was the aim of most left-wing movements, no matter their disagreements about its form or the means to achieve it. With socialism discredited by its real practice and the success of capitalism, other movements, some of which would have once been anathema to left-wingers, have filled the ideological space. Where Marxism once promised industrial abundance, environmentalism condemns abundance as evil. Whereas once it was hoped that all divisions of race, nation and creed could be superseded by universal cosmopolitanism, identity politics proclaims that men are the inescapable product of their background and it is wrong to expect them to abandon it.
What do the fascist Nick Griffin (BNP), the totalitarian pro-Islamist George Galloway (RESPECT) and the neo-liberal Douglas Murray all have in common? They all oppose NATO intervention in Syria. A curious and diverse set of opinio-makers all converging on the same point.
On close examination, there are bound to be other points where the three doyennes of British illiberalism will converge, partly because, as any political theorist will tell you, in politics the points of extremism will always meet. In the case of our three protagonists, it is their inherent illiberalism that corrals them together.
Here is a catalogue of reasons why the Labour Party should cut ties with the illiberal Henry Jackson society by James Bloodworth:
The associate director of the HJS is Douglas Murray, a columnist for the Spectator and Standpoint, who joined the organisation in April 2011. In March, Murray wrote an article following the release of the results of the 2011 census in which he bemoaned the fact that in “23 of London’s 33 boroughs ‘white Britons’ are now in a minority”.
From a leftist point of view, western capitalism is deeply flawed; everything that is wrong with the world today is down the western capitalism and the greed it promotes. The world is in need of revolutionary change and therefore foreign leaders and developing world revolutionaries who stand up to the west are heroes. This perspective is also underpinned by a soft racism of lower expectation; they don’t view developing world revolutionaries as being capable of formulating complex political ideology, rather they construe their actions as entirely defensive.
The right, in contrast, views the western enlightenment as being the ultimate high point in human civilisation. Therefore, all attempts to create orderly societies should be rooted in enlightenment principles and there is very little to be learnt from others. The developing world is viewed as an exotic place that one must understood and navigated through whilst holding onto and preaching western enlightenment values.
The scene is a number of shaven-headed types protesting against an immigrant group. Except that in this case, the shaven headed chaps are brandishing signs proclaiming their defense of gay right and womens rights and their hatred of the BNP and “Black and White, Unite!”.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the English Defence League.
The EDL is a very peculiar organization. Denounced on the one hand by the establishment as another far-right group, and on the other hand, by Nick Griffin as a neocon Zionist front organization, it sometimes seems that there’s a different EDL for everyone you talk to. To untangle this, I thought it useful to take a look into the EDL’s beginnings.
we at the spittoon have for some time been a target for the not-very-impressive “spinwatch” site, which appears to be the hobby-horse of strathclyde university’s answer to bob pitt, dr david miller. dr miller, we hardly need remind you, appears to think that spittoon authors are without exception rabid “neo-cons”, by which he appears to mean some sort of catch-all imperialism of liberal democracy imposed by force of arms on the bucolic, picaresque and entirely pacifist natives of the middle-east and south asia. as if this wasn’t bad (or inaccurate) enough, we are also supposed to be apostles of islamophobia; apparently it isn’t clear enough to someone who is supposed to be an academic that what we oppose is the virulent political ideology known as islamism – as well as other forms of religious and political extremism; jewish, christian, atheist, muslim, ethnicity-based – we are equal-opportunity anti-extremists, or we certainly try to be.
This is a cross-post of Adam Barnett’s (‘One Law for All’) response to Robert Spencer’s statement on the report
Following the publication of ‘Enemies Not Allies: The Far-Right’, our new report which investigates his and similar organisations, Stop Islamization of America director Robert Spencer has invited One Law for All to ‘substantiate [our] charges, or withdraw them and issue a public apology.’ One could simply recommend that Mr. Spencer read our report. Indeed, in his ‘rebuttal’, he writes as if he has answered all of these charges before. It’s therefore strange that he felt the need to reply to them at ‘11:53pm’ on a Sunday night, and to attempt to smear his critics as ‘racist anti-Semites’ and ‘supporters of Jihad’. One could be forgiven for thinking that Mr. Spencer hoped to prevent people from reading the report for themselves.
Meet Alan Lake, the British millionaire who finances the EDL, directs the online content of the extreme far-right in the UK and is believed to be the spiritual leader of Breivik:
The Guardian runs a more extensive profile of the man after it has surfaced that he wrote an onlne article in which he conducted a wishful thought experiment on torturing and executing UK’s political and religious leaders.
On 23 May 2010, Alan Lake posted on his 4 Freedoms website an article outlining his belief that “in 20 or 30 years the UK will start to fragment into Islamic enclaves”. He went on: “It’s time we decide… who we will force in the Islamic enclaves (and who we will execute if they sneak out.) By forcing these liberal twits into those enclaves, we will be sending them to their death at worst, and at best they and their families will be subjected to all the depredations, persecution and abuse that non-Muslims worldwide currently ‘enjoy’ in countries like Pakistan… It will be great to see them executed or tortured to death.”
This is a cross-post by Dave Rich from the CST blog
When Anders Behring Breivik set out to commit mass murder last Friday, he left behind a huge amount of material explaining his motivations, intentions and preparations: mainly in the form of a 1,516-page written manifesto and a 12 minute video, both of which can be found here. There is something very unpleasant about poring over Breivik’s political testimony, knowing that this is precisely what he wants everybody to be doing; but nonetheless, it contains important pointers to his motivations and the new kind of far right politics he represents.
The manifesto covers a huge amount of ground. Titled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, it is designed as a handbook for what Breivik believes will be a European civil war between the “cultural Marxists” who currently control Europe, and the “cultural conservatives” like himself who will overthrow them. This war, he believes, began in 1999 and will end in 2083. The manifesto is written in English, under an English-pseudonym (Andrew Berwick of London), and has a particular focus on the United Kingdom and France as key countries for his struggle.