Muslims in the Middle: The Relationship between the Far Right and Islamism
I often rant and rave about religion and I stand vehemently by the claim that all religion is bad for you. I’ll quote Maryam Namazie here and say that religion, much like a pack of smokes, should come with a warning sign. That being said, I fully support everyone’s right to believe in whatever bosh they please, so long as they are not foisting it onto others.
One religion in particular, however, is doing a spectacularly fabulous job at just that, which in the process has managed to confuse many of us, leading the West and others to conflate a religious people like every-day Muslims with a religiously political group like Islamists.
The far Right in both America and Europe has largely capitalized on this confusion, scavenging it to cloak their racism and xenophobia in a cape of well-intentioned nationalism whereby Muslim immigrants are sacrificed on the altar of Western values of freedom and democracy.
This in turn has aided Islamists who, equally fascist, have gleefully lunged at the opportunity to expose the Far Right’s skulking bigotry, bolstering their cause for both greater tolerance and the dissemination of their theocratic values disguised as a besieged minority.
The result of this clash of fascisms has been the demonization of Muslim immigrants and secularists who, using arguments bogarted by the Right, have been lashed and pilloried by self-righteous leftists as islamophobic.
The term ‘islamophobic’ was invented to silence opposition to the theocratic political movement of Islamism. It is meant to evoke images of nasty, irrational xenophobes and homophobes but in reality, it is nothing like them. For one, there are very legitimate reasons to be terrified of Islam or any religion. Secondly, ideologies are not the same as people.
Leftists of all sorts clamor this term, justifiably suspicious of the Far Right and its ‘concern’ with immigrants. But what they don’t seem to understand is the danger of such a term when applied to secularists, atheists and humanists who are legitimately concerned with issues of freedom of speech, media and minorities at the hands of such extremist political agents as Islamists.
It has never been trendier to attack the Far Right and yet their equally chauvinist doppelganger, the theocratic fascists known as Islamists, have been inoculated against critique by the very nomenclature the left created to combat such ideological poison.
Islamism was not concocted by immigrants and they certainly cannot be faulted for it, no more than my Lutheran parents can be faulted for fundamentalist evangelicals. Sharia law in the West was not an issue 40 years ago and there were plenty of Muslims in Europe at that time. Islamism appeared in force after the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran which can be directly correlated with America’s feckless foreign policy to establish a ‘greenbelt’ around the USSR.
Sharia law is the method by which Islamists establish their totalitarianesque grip on society. It is indistinguishable from Far Right political sympathies save for how far leftists will go to depict these fascist theocrats as beleaguered minorities.
The Far Right may use the same arguments that secularists and atheist use to assail theocratic fascism but the agenda is entirely different. How you accomplish something is as important as the accomplishment. The Far Right’s agenda is to darkly coopt the forces of nationalism with liberal nomenclature to create a scapegoat of immigrants, thereby currying popular support and validating their xenophobic values.
Secularists and atheists, however, are not concerned with immigrants, ethnicity or nationalism. We are concerned with religion in the public square and its obvious roots to fascism. The Right, however, is quite pro-religion when it pertains to Christianity. An anti-religious stance is a key distinguishing factor since it is an obvious point of divergence.
Our agenda is the preservation of free speech, media and a secular government that, instead of allowing every religion into the public sphere, excludes all of them. Everyone is entitled to believe what they wish but their beliefs are not entitled to protection from criticism or state sanctioned coercion.
We need to acknowledge that the Far Right’s intentions are insincere while recognizing that criticism of religion’s pernicious and aggressive incursion into public life is legitimate and indeed, necessary. This is no battle against immigrants and it is no battle against Muslims. It is a battle against Islamo-fascists and the Far Right who would have us believe they are the anecdote. One fascism does not negate another.