Why is the left so blinkered to Islamic extremism?

The result, a new report by the One Law for All campaign: Siding with the Oppressor: The Pro-Islamist Left notes, has been an anti-war movement working enthusiastically with those advocating the murder of homosexuals, a left-wing Mayor of London embracing a man who said Adolf Hitler had been sent by Allah to punish the Jews, and a group set up ostensibly to oppose fascism warmly welcoming religious fascists into its own ranks. Because the left doesn’t police its borders in the way that the right has learned to do – social democrats like to pretend the far-left are on the same side as them – extremists regularly sneak into the mainstream on the back of ostensibly progressive front groups.

 

A good example is Unite Against Fascism. Launched in 2003 as a response to the electoral activity of the British National Party, UAF spends most of its time these days organising counter demonstrations against the EDL. An honourable way to pass the time, you might think. UAF’s definition of what constitutes fascism, however, is a peculiar one. Not only are those advocating the resurrection of a fascistic Islamic caliphate seemingly not worth opposing, they have been actively welcomed into the UAF fold by the leadership. One of UAF’s vice-chairs is Azad Ali, affairs co-ordinator for the Islamic Forum of Europe, an offshoot of the far-right Islamist group Jamaat-e-Islami. As well as quoting an Islamist militant on his website in 2008 who claimed it was a religious obligation to kill British and American soldiers, Ali is on record as saying of democracy that “if it means, you know, at the expense of not implementing the Sharia, no-one’s gonna [sic] agree with that. Of course no-one agrees with that”.

 

On telephoning UAF’s office to clarify the group’s position on Islamic fascism, One Law for All was told by a UAF representative that there was “no such thing”.

 

As you make your way through the report you notice that the people who have brought Islamists inside the progressive tent crop up in various left-wing campaigns again and again – usually to accuse those expressing concern about extreme religious conservatism of Islamophobia. The individuals mentioned in the report ever been disowned by the political left. On the contrary, they remain ubiquitous and their organisations are still treated as if they were respectable progressive outfits.

 

In a disastrous irony, the pro-Islamist left has ended up in the same place as the white far-right. The perception of Muslims as synonymous with Islamism – criticism of Islamism is characterised as criticism of Muslims – is precisely the view taken by groups such as the EDL.

 

The best way to fight the EDL’s anti-Muslim bigotry is by showing solidarity on the streets

Before the renewed wave of anti-Muslim bile after the horrendous murder of Lee Rigby, the EDL seemed to be staring into the abyss. Their rallies attracted increasingly derisory turnouts, notable for punch-ups between drunk racists: impressive shows of force by anti-racists in Walthamstow and elsewhere humiliated them.

 

But last week, their leader – who operates under the pseudonym “Tommy Robinson”– was treated to a reprehensibly soft interview on BBC’s Today programme: the activities and beliefs of Robinson and his gangs were barely scrutinised. Such appearances do nothing but help legitimise racism, treating it as just another valid political perspective that can be calmly engaged and debated with just like any other set of beliefs. A bunch of thuggish racists are running rings around the Establishment. In the Daily Telegraph, its former editor Charles Moore defends the EDL as “merely reactive”, as non-violent, as “the instinctive reaction of elements of an indigenous working class which rightly perceives itself [as] marginalised by authority, whereas Muslim groups are subsidised and excused by it”. Allegations of racism or fascism “are not strictly accurate”, he reassures us. Tommy Robinson himself demands that Muslims follow British law: odd from someone who struggles with the same advice, having served a 12-month prison sentence for assaulting an off-duty police officer who tried to stop a domestic incident with his partner, as well as convictions for “threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour.” He once warned “every single Muslim watching” that the “Islamic community” would face “the full force of the English Defence League” if any British citizen was hurt or killed. Here are Moore’s non-racist, non-violent “reactive” band.

 

Anti-Muslim prejudice, however, remains worryingly widespread. Over a third of Britons think they pose a serious threat to democracy; and while the number who believe Muslims are compatible with the “British way of life” has increased, just one in three believe that. The EDL threat has to be taken seriously, but it needs careful thought. The truth is the EDL are simply a striking symptom of a society where anti-Muslim bigotry is acceptable: it passes the “dinner table test”, as Tory minister Sayeeda Warsi has put it. Now it’s Muslims; once it was Irish people who faced racist scapegoating after terrorist attacks: a twisted irony, then, that Tommy Robinson is himself the son of Irish immigrant parents. But this prejudice is not confined to the right. Some on the left seem to believe defending Muslims  is somehow a betrayal of secularism. Studies show newspapers routinely portray Muslims in a negative light. And so here is the dark truth. After a month in which the EDL have enjoyed a resurgence; Muslims abused on the streets and online; mosques firebombed – all those who have fanned bigotry, take responsibility, because these thugs are your children.

Essay: Constructing the Self, Constructing the Other

In her essay US-Turkish philosopher Şeyla Benhabib criticises the current lack of any serious multicultural dialogue between the civilisations. Instead, European and US intellectuals continue to focus on “Islamo-fascism”, thereby blocking any constructive debate on Islam and migration in the West

Last year marked the 50th Anniversary German-Turkish Recruitment Agreement, when Turkish guest-workers began to arrive in Germany, and this was celebrated with big fanfare by Turkish and German politicians on all sides. But the ink had hardly dried on some of these articles and the speeches had hardly ended, when the immigrant community in Germany was shaken to their core because of a set of murders committed by a neo-Nazi terrorist cell from the east German town of Zwickau, disregardfully referred to with the phrase “Döner-murders”.

These so-called Döner-murders involved Turkish street vendors, some of them selling flowers, some of them selling Döners. The murders were committed in the years from 2000 to 2006 but came to light only in the spring of 2011. This reminded the immigrant community – now going on to 60 years of presence in unified Germany – of the arson attack in Moelln in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, in which three Turkish women in were killed in 1992 when a house was set on fire and a grandmother and her grandchildren were burned down.

Bin Laden’s personal letters reveal Muslims are part of the solution to securing the United States

On the heels of the one-year milestone of Osama bin Laden’s death, the U.S. government recently released a series of letters and messages bin Laden sent to colleagues and subordinates around the world. Among other things, the documents reveal bin Laden to have been a man who became increasingly isolated and irrelevant to Muslims due to his ceaseless bloodshed and the growing power of the Arab Spring protest movement.
Reading between the lines, the documents reveal something else from which all of us can benefit – the power of seeing Muslims as partners – rather than as obstacles – in combating violent extremism. The effects of this vision manifest themselves through the documents in at least two important ways, but the overarching point is this: It is time to underscore the vital, positive role American Muslims play in contributing to not just U.S. national security, but to the diverse religious and cultural fabric of our nation, of which we are so proud.
Learning from bin Laden’s documents can positively affect our messaging as our nation fights to push back on al Qaeda’s narrative. Bin Ladin understood that words impact perceptions, and therefore knew that his choice in language had the power to create realities for his benefit. Throughout his violent career, bin Ladin sought to push the narrative that the West was at war with Islam. When U.S. officials used religiously-laden terms such as “violent Islamist terrorism,” “Islamo-fascism,” and the like, they unknowingly played into this narrative and strengthened the impact of the terrorist’s message.

Anti-Sharia Leader Yerushalmi Claims ‘I’ve Never Called For Discrimination Against Muslims’

On July 30, the New York Times profiled David Yerushalmi, the man behind the anti-sharia movement, looking into the hysterical claims of the “creeping sharia” crowd, as well as Yerushalmi’s own history of inflammatory and bigoted statements.

Yesterday, Yerushalmi responded in the American Thinker, accusing the writer Andrea Elliott of taking his words “out of context” (his standard claim whenever confronted with his own past writings) and insisting, “I have never written anything that calls for discrimination against…Muslims qua Muslims.”
Really? Here’s Yerushalmi on the very same website in 2006:

Islam was born in violence; it will die that way. Any wish to the contrary is sheer Pollyannaism. The same way the post World War II German youth were taught by their German teachers and political leaders to despise the fascism of their fathers, with strict laws extant still today restricting even speech that casts doubt on the Holocaust, so too must the Muslim youth be taught from the cradle to reject the religion of their forebears.

I’d say that advocating a legal regime that forces Muslims to reject Islam pretty clearly qualifies as “calls for discrimination against…Muslims qua Muslims.”

UK troubled by right-wing anti-Islam rallies

Violent clashes between anti-Islam demonstrators and Muslim counter-protesters in English cities are worrying the government, with one British minister comparing the disturbances to 1930s-era fascist incitement. The violence that has hit Luton, Birmingham and London in the last few months has involved a loose collection of far-right groups — such as the previously unknown English Defense League — on one side and anti-fascist organizations and Muslim youth on the other.

In an interview published Saturday, Communities Minister John Denham accused the anti-Islam protesters of deliberately stirring up trouble. “The tactic of trying to provoke a response in the hope of causing wider violence and mayhem is long established on the far-right and among extremist groups,” Denham was quoted as saying by The Guardian newspaper. “You could go back to the 1930s if you wanted to — Cable Street.”

Denham was referring to a 1936 confrontation sparked by British fascist leader Oswald Mosley’s decision to march through the then-heavily Jewish East End of London. Mosley’s pro-Nazi followers were met at Cable Street by Jews, communists and anarchists, and a pitched battle ensued.

The English Defense League rejects the fascist label, arguing that it only opposes militant Islam. On its website, the group claims that the violence at its rallies has been provoked by Muslims and far-left groups.

Interview with Islam Expert Dietrich Reetz: ‘Muslims Have a Right to Be Different’

Islam expert Dietrich Reetz of Berlin’s Center for Modern Oriental Studies (ZMO) speaks to SPIEGEL about Muslims in Germany, social tensions and the prospects for dialogue between the communities. SPIEGEL: Mr. Reetz, recently the debate about the propensity to violence, among young Muslim men in particular, has heated up in Germany. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung co-editor Frank Schirrmacher wrote that, the mixture of youth criminality and Muslim fundamentalism is the closest thing today to the deadly ideologies of the 20th century. He is drawing an analogy to fascism and Stalinism. Is that excessive dramatization or is there a real threat?

Author Ian Buruma on Wilders’ Politics: ‘Condemning Islam, Per Se, Is Unhelpful’

In a SPIEGEL ONLINE interview, Dutch author Ian Buruma discusses the run-up to the release of Gert Wilders’ anti-Islam film, populist trends in the Netherlands and the environment that the led to polemics against Muslims like “Fitna.” Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders released on Thursday his video comparing the threat of Islam in Europe to the fascism that triggered World War II. The film calls for Europeans to put a stop to what he alleges is the Islamization of Western Europe caused by mass immigration from Turkey, North Africa and the Middle East. It’s a kind of rhetoric that would have been impossible in the Netherlands little more than a decade ago — a country long known abroad as a kind of overgrown Berkeley, a bastion of 1960s idealism. Cops looked the other way as coffee shops sold soft drugs, it became one of the first countries to adopt same-sex marriages and the peaceful co-existence of Dutch society with its immigrants, many of the Muslim, seemed exemplary.

Stop the Islamophobia of Europe

As the far-Right organisation Stop the Islamisation of Europe holds its first demonstration in London (to coincide with the US’ ‘Islamo-fascism’ Awareness week) the IRR’s European Race Bulletin argues that European countries’ new security laws are removing Muslim communities from the protection of the ordinary rule of law and legitimising the Islamophobia of extreme-Right movements and parties across Europe.

At Baptist convention, former Watergate figure warns of militant Islam, atheism

SAN ANTONIO: A figure from the 1970s Watergate political scandal, Chuck Colson, warned a gathering of Southern Baptist pastors against what he described as two dire threats: the deadly marriage of Islam and fascism and a new, militant atheism growing in popularity in the West. Colson, a former “hatchet man” for former President Richard Nixon who became a born-again Christian and founded an evangelical ministry to prisoners, called on Christians to do a better job of explaining their religion’s worldview. Colson, 75, spoke Sunday at a conference that precedes the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, which begins here Tuesday. At one point, Colson said “Islam is a vicious, evil … ” and then before finishing the sentence, said, “Islamo-fascism is evil incarnate.” “Islamists,” Colson said, “are very different. We will die for what we believe. They will kill for what they believe.”