Anything can be justified – a war on Iraq or bombs on buses and decapitations on the streets of London. But having justifications doesn’t necessarily bring legitimacy or mean that they are true.
Just as the Iraq war was not about the liberation of Iraqi women or weapons of mass destruction, the cold-blooded murder of a soldier in Woolwich is not about retaliation for the war on Iraq or Afghanistan. (Just as the English Defence League’s convergence on Woolwich and attacks on mosques have nothing to do with demands for “justice”.)
The decapitation was an act of terror, pure and simple, and characteristic of Islamism and far-Right politics which uses terrorism as a key tool in instilling fear and for social control. The main target of this terror is usually civilians in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere (and often with the acquiescence and appeasement of western governments via funding for or close relations with Islamic organisations and states, defending Sharia law, and the curtailing of universal and citizenship rights and secularism).
As Women Living Under Muslim Laws says: “Fundamentalist terror is by no means a tool of the poor against the rich, of the Third World against the West, of people against capitalism. It is not a legitimate response that can be supported by the progressive forces of the world. Its main target is the internal democratic opposition to their theocratic project and to their project of controlling all aspects of society in the name of religion, including education, the legal system, youth services, etc. When fundamentalists come to power, they silence the people, they physically eliminate dissidents, writers, journalists, poets, musicians, painters – like fascists do. Like fascists, they physically eliminate the ‘untermensch’ – the subhumans -, among them ‘inferior races’, gays, mentally or physically disabled people. And they lock women ‘in their place’, which as we know from experience ends up being a straight jacket…”
Islamism is the main reason behind the murder in Woolwich and the slaughter of countless people across the world for the past several decades – not Muslims or those labelled as such who are in fact Islamism’s first victims and on the frontlines of resistance. Also, whilst Islamism sees Islam as a tool for the far-Right restructuring of power structures, the movement is not fundamentally about Islam as an ideology but about political Islam (gaining power and ruling via Sharia law). Ironically, political Islam and far-Right neo-conservatism and militarism are two sides of the same coin – both seek power and control through sheer violence, terrorism and by targeting civilians…
Of course times are changing. The new era of revolutions and uprisings – many of them women-led – is the real challenge to the far-Right, including Islamism, and terrorism. Only a humanity speaking on its own behalf can and will bring this movement to its knees. And whilst that fight has already begun, how it ends will depend on real solidarity with Islamism’s victims and dissenters and an unequivocal defence of universal human values, freedom, equality and secularism.