A new report by One Law for All entitled “Siding with the Oppressor: The Pro-Islamist Left” exposes Stop the War Coalition, Respect Party, Unite Against Fascism and individuals such as Ken Livingstone and George Galloway and their agenda and methods. This section of the Left uses accusations of racism and Islamophobia and a conflation of Muslim with Islamist in order to defend Islamism and Islam rather than out of any real concern for prejudice against Muslims or their rights, particularly since Muslims or those labelled as such are the first victims of Islamism and on the frontlines of resisting it.
The report has been written as a companion volume to “Enemies not Allies: The Far-Right”. Like the far-Right which ‘despises’ multiculturalism yet benefits from its idea of difference to scapegoat the ‘other’ and promote its own form of white identity politics, the pro-Islamist Left also uses multiculturalism to side with the oppressor by viewing the ‘Muslim community’ and ‘Muslim world’ as homogeneous entities thereby ignoring and silencing dissenters. This politics of betrayal sides with the Islamic far-Right and the oppressor. Challenging this perspective is especially important given its wide acceptance as ‘progressive’ in mainstream society.
Any principled point of view must oppose all forms of fascism, including Islamic fascism, and instead side with the countless people, including Muslims, who are fighting and challenging Islamism here in Europe as well as the Middle East, North Africa and the world.
The below is my postscript to One Law for All’s new publication Siding with the Oppressor: The Pro-Islamist Left. It is a companion volume to Enemies not Allies: The Far-Right. You can read full report here.
The politics of the pro-Islamist Left is a politics of betrayal.
It’s a betrayal of the dissenters and victims of Islamism but also of the very principles that the Left has historically defended (from social justice, egalitarianism, secularism, universalism, and human liberation, including from religion).
This Left uses multiculturalism, charges of racism and Islamophobia, and anti-imperialism, amongst others to defend the far-Right political Islamic movement.
Multiculturalism and Cultural Relativism
The Pro-Islamist Left relies on multiculturalism (not as a positive lived experience but as a social policy and political point of view) to deny the existence of dissent by pigeonholing innumerable individuals with innumerable characteristics into one imagined homogeneous grouping: ‘the Muslim community’ or ‘the Muslim world’. And since it is those in power that determine the dominant culture, this point of view sees Islamist values and sensibilities as that of ‘authentic Muslims’.
In fact, ‘Muslims’ or those labelled as such include secularists, ex-Muslims, atheists, free thinkers, women’s rights activists, LGBT campaigners and socialists.
Conflating Islamism with Muslim is a narrative peddled by Islamists in an attempt to feign representation.
Contrary to how it’s viewed, regressive Islamists are given authority as ‘community leaders’ not because they actually represent the ‘Muslim Community’ but because of their access to the state, political power and their links with the political Islamic movement. Multiculturalism is a cheap way for the state to outsource social control.
Clearly, the ‘Muslim community’ is not synonymous with Islamism any more than English is synonymous with the English Defence League or Christian with the Christian-Right.
Ironically, like the far-Right which ‘despises’ multiculturalism yet benefits from its idea of difference to scapegoat the ‘other’ and promote its own form of white identity politics, the post-modernist Left also uses multiculturalism to defend cultural and moral relativism and side with the oppressor.
To accept the Islamist narrative that Muslim equates Islamist is to hand over countless individuals to the political Islamic movement and to ignore the dissent, political, social and civil struggles and class politics.
This conflation means that those who challenge Islamism are accused of cultural imperialism and orientalism because the pro-Islamist Left has bought into the culturally-relativist notion that societies in the Middle East and North Africa (and the ‘Muslim community’ in the west) are ‘Islamic’ and ‘conservative’. Whilst those in power determine the dominant culture, there is no one homogeneous culture anywhere. Those who consider opposition to the veil or Sharia law as ‘foreign’ and ‘culturally inappropriate’ are only considering Islamism’s sensibilities and values, not that of the many who resist.
Only those who see their rights and lives as separate and different from those deemed ‘other’ and who have bought into (or are selling) Islamism’s narrative can see solidarity and the demand for equality in this warped way.
In fact, this politics doesn’t merely ignore dissent, in many ways it forbids it. The likes of StWC, Socialist Workers Party, Unite against Fascism, Islamophobia Watch, and Respect Party or Ken Livingstone and George Galloway are there as prefects to silence dissenters and defend Islamism as a defence of ‘Muslims’. There are many examples to show that they equate Muslim with Islamist.
In responding to those opposing its alliance with the Muslim Association of Britain (which is understood to be a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood), the StWC’s leadership Andrew Murray and Lindsey German have written:
Anyone remotely acquainted with the British trade union movement will be aware that neither sexism nor homophobia are uncommon in its ranks. […] woman can be subjected to more crude sexist behaviour than they might be likely to encounter within the Muslim Association of Britain. No one would suggest that an anti-war movement should have no truck with trade unionism until its ranks are 100 percent cleansed of such behaviour. Yet this is good enough as a stick to beat Muslims. Such attitudes indicate a form of racism, a desire to hold their organisations at arm’s length for the flaws which are, in some measure, tolerable in ours.
The comparison is absurd. The difference of course is that the ethos of the trade union is not anti-woman, its ethos does not say that apostates should be killed or as the head of the MAB said recently at a debate with One Law for All that women should be stoned to death. StWC’s alliance with the MAB is akin to aligning with the EDL and then saying that racism exists in the ranks of the trade unions too so why single out the English!?
Racism and Islamophobia
This pro-Islamist Left deems any criticism of Islam or Islamism as racism or Islamophobia. However, criticising a religion, ideology or political movement – far-Right or otherwise – has nothing to do with racism. In fact, Islamophobia is a political term used to scaremonger people into silence. [Read more…]