A reader has commented on WPI’s statement about Fitna the movie as follows: “Some people could say that this is PC editorial by someone that should not be PC. When do we people discuss the verses used in the movie? For the moment too much of the global debate is about moviemaker rather then the movie.”
The central point of WPI’s statement about Fitna is that this movie and the uproar surrounding it should be understood within the context of the confrontation between two reactionary poles of state terrorism led by the USA and political Islam. Fitna is not a theological statement, nor is it a purely ideological statement. It is, first and foremost, a political statement that takes the side of one of these reactionary poles. It produces and reproduces certain theses that ironically are supported by both sides of this polarisation.
WPI’s statement correctly emphasises that political Islam as a political force that claims a greater share of power on the global scale nowadays is a product of Western governments and not rooted in the beliefs or culture of the people that live in the region. Political Islam was brought to the fore of the political scene during the Cold War against the rival camp of state capitalism that was led by the Soviet Union, on the one hand, and against egalitarianism, libertarianism, left and communism in the countries of the Middle East that are plagued by Islam, on the other hand. Western governments and political Islamic forces and states are in unison in introducing political Islam and Islamic ideology as the representative of the people in Islam-ridden countries – or those who are known to be “Muslims.” Fitna, the movie also repeats this thesis insistently. It also reproduces an ideological idea that is shared by the two poles of international reactionism: the false dichotomy between the “us” and “them.” The “us,” in this particular case, happens to be the Western governments which, on the one hand flirt with political Islam and Islamic terrorism, support Islamists politically, economically, and militarily, bring them into power and legitimise them as the representatives of the people in countries that are plagued by Islam and the “Muslim population,” while, on the other hand, pass anti-immigrant bills, ghettoise immigrants, promote hatred by falsely pointing to them as the cause of unemployment and the source of crime etc. and leave immigrant ‘Muslims’ to the mercy of mullahs, imams, religious schools – the budget of which is generously provided by these very governments. The “them” happens to be the “Muslim,” whom is claimed to be represented by the political Islamic forces and states – a claim that is also supported fiercely by Western political forces both in position and opposition. What is ignored is the fact that the so-called “Muslim” is the firsthand victim of Islam, Islamic ideology, and political Islam. What is kept hidden is the fact that the so-called “Muslim” has escaped to the West from the atrocities and crimes that are committed by political Islam and Islamic terrorism in the hope of finding humane living conditions.
The politics that Fitna, the movie represents is the immediate ally of the policy that has launched the attack against freedom of speech and expression under the pretext of respecting the beliefs of “them” –Muslims. Fitna does not do this indirectly only, that is, it does not only indirectly ally the holy attack on freedom of expression by providing an alibi or forming the ground for a counterattack on freedom of expression by, for instance, provoking the Muslims or hurting their religious feelings and faith. It directly and immediately reproduces the ground for the attack on freedom of expression by blaming the “Muslim” and not the system of belief that is Islam, itself. Even when apparently Islam is the subject of criticism, it is “criticised” for not fitting Europe, that is, it is not criticised as a system of belief per se but as a religion that suites the “Muslim” but happens to be a threat against the European. Therefore, according to this view, Islam is good if it is exercised against the people in countries that are plagued by Islam, in that case it can be tolerated and there is nothing in it to be criticised.
Fitna also participates in this holy jihad against humanity and freedom of expression by promoting racist views and launching ethnicist, racist attacks on people from a Eurocentric point of view. It responds to one political reactionism with another form of political reactionism; it retaliates one superstition with another form of superstition, which is as dangerous as the other. What both poles of reactionism in this backward confrontation sacrifice is human dignity and the most basic of human rights and the ideas of freedom and equality.
The WPI’s statement does not intend to be “politically correct” as it correctly underlines the political and worldly benefits and positions behind the make of the film Fitna, on the one hand, and the holy war against freedom of expression, basic human rights, and humanity in general, on the other hand. The ideological struggle against reactionism in form of religion, ethnicism, nationalism, racism, political Islam etc. can only be perpetually and insistently actualised if it is a part of a political struggle; an important aspect of ideological struggle is to decipher the political realities and necessities that produce and reproduce ideological structures. In the world today, a persistent ideological fight against Islam in particular and religion in general is tightly interwoven with the political struggle of the pole of humanity against the two poles of international reactionism, namely political Islam and Islamic terrorism and state militarism. WPI’s statement on the occasion of Fitna the movie shows the only possible way to launch this struggle.
Siyaves Azeri is the Head of the Committee of International Relations of WPI. He can be contacted directly.