Siding with the oppressor: the pro-Islamist left - Maryam Namazie

Maryam Namazie from the Council of Ex-Muslims on uncritical attitudes to Islamism and Islamists from parts of the left.

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:

Quote:
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.

In some ways, these bogus accusations serve Islamism in the same way that Sharia law serves them where they are in power. It helps to threaten, intimidate and silence criticism and dissent. Charges of offence and Islamophobia are the equivalent of ‘secular’ fatwas. It is a warning by the powers that be of what is acceptable and what is not; of what is sacred and cannot and must not be challenged.

This is of course not to ignore that racism exists. Of course it does. But racism cannot be stopped by silencing much needed criticism of Islam and Islamism. Also as campaigner Rahila Gupta says: ‘Recent anti-racist alliances… reveal the capitulation of the left to the fascists within while organising against the fascists without. We should be sophisticated enough by now to construct a politics that is simultaneously anti-racist and anti-fundamentalist so that vulnerable groups like women, lesbians and gays and religious minorities do not get hung out to dry. As feminists we have been abandoned by those who should have been supporting our right to make ‘legitimate criticism’. They feel now, during the War on Terror, is not the right time. In a racist society, it is never the right time. When we expose the underbelly of our communities we are told that we are providing ammunition for racists. For us it isn’t a choice. We can’t hide one evil to fight another.’

Anti-imperialism and force of resistance

Fundamentally, this Left’s support of Islamism comes down to its affinity with Islamism, which it sees as a force of resistance against imperialism. If racism was its real concern, it wouldn’t support the blatantly racist notion of different and lesser standards and rights for those deemed ‘different’.

This Left is part of an anti-colonial movement whose perspectives coincide with that of the ruling classes in the so-called Third World. It is on the side of the ‘colonies’ no matter what goes on there. And their understanding of the ‘colonies’ is Eurocentric, patronising and even racist. To them the people in these countries (and the ‘Muslim minority in the West’) are one and the same with the Islamists they are struggling against. This is why StWC manhandles and expels anti-Iranian regime activists from its demonstrations and rejects resolutions that simultaneously opposes a war on Iran and the regime’s attacks on the working class and population at large. It sees Islamism as a force for resistance whilst it is nothing more than a regressive force for repression. But an enemy’s enemy is not necessarily an ally.

As Women Living Under Muslim Laws says:

Quote:
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…

What’s most ironic is that Islamism is a force that came into existence as a far-Right, anti-Left movement, supported by Western powers. It’s only after 9/11 that their relationship has changed and only to some extent. It’s still a close ally in helping to manage revolutions and rebellions in the Middle East and North Africa.

This politics of betrayal supports a far-Right movement that has slaughtered an entire generation in a place like Iran, that just recently assassinated socialist leader Chokri Belaid in Tunisia, and that shot 15 year old Malala Yousefzai in Pakistan for wanting education for girls…

Clearly, the Pro-Islamist Left’s politics of betrayal is just as inhuman as that of the far-Right. It’s particularly dangerous given that unlike the far-Right it has managed to gain portrayal in mainstream discourse as ‘progressive politics’.

Any principled position must oppose the far-Right of all varieties but also this pro-Islamist Left and rather side with universalism, equality for all, secularism as well as citizens and human beings, irrespective of beliefs.

Originally posted on Maryam Namazie's blog

Comments

Recke410
Oct 9 2015 14:37

Maajid Nawaz called these leftists the "regressive left".

It has become rather odd to see the left denounce Ayaan Hirsi Ali using some of the most vulgar anti immigrant rhetoric, accusing her of making up her abuse because she lied about the timeline she arrived and in which country first, so she could get asylum. Apparently some segments of the left mirror Rupert Murdoch and fox news when the foreigner in question condemns Islam.

Another funny one is queers for Palestine, on a fierce "anti zionist" crusade against israel, where homosexuality is legal, supporting Palestine where people voted in a group who torture and kill gay and lesbian workers.

It seems like the left has adopted the stance that any criticism of Islamism detracts from what they see as the main evil, American imperialism and to denounce both at the same time is to detract from the other and thus objectively condone imperialism.

I can't see the gay and lesbian, atheist and other oppressed groups being oppressed by the majority Muslim societies in which they live being very appreciative of this fairly new stance. Some of the lefties on my facebook get more upset and spurned to action over a Charlie hebdo cartoon than they do over trying to do something to help Raif Badawi. Anyone who points this out is suspect for veiled hatred of Muslims, naturally.

Serge Forward
Oct 9 2015 14:28

Saw Maryam Namazie speak a couple of weeks ago. She seemed pretty sound.

Recke410
Oct 9 2015 14:36
Serge Forward wrote:
Saw Maryam Namazie speak a couple of weeks ago. She seemed pretty sound.

She is a communist, she identifies herself as a "workerist communist" (whatever the f that is). She is a part of the commitee against stoning, which organises for womens rights, takes part in relief aid programs for refugees, is involved in the gay and women's rights movements in places like Iran, where it is dangerous to be so.

Yet all over the internet self proclaimed far leftists/Communists are calling her an islamophobe, a white supremacist and a hate speech figure because she condemns the ideology of islam, an organised religion that is part of the ruling system in many nations which oppresses and often kills the very people communists are supposed to be supporting.

How is this woman more hated on the far left than Hezbollah and Hamas?

jura
Oct 9 2015 15:09
Recke410 wrote:
Serge Forward wrote:
Saw Maryam Namazie speak a couple of weeks ago. She seemed pretty sound.

She is a communist, she identifies herself as a "workerist communist" (whatever the f that is).

Is it perhaps a reference to the "Worker-communist" parties of Iran and Iraq?

radicalgraffiti
Oct 9 2015 15:20
Recke410 wrote:
Yet all over the internet self proclaimed far leftists/Communists are calling her an islamophobe, a white supremacist and a hate speech figure because she condemns the ideology of islam, an organised religion that is part of the ruling system in many nations which oppresses and often kills the very people communists are supposed to be supporting.

How is this woman more hated on the far left than Hezbollah and Hamas?

do you have examples of this?

Entdinglichung
Oct 9 2015 15:52
jura wrote:
Recke410 wrote:
Serge Forward wrote:
Saw Maryam Namazie speak a couple of weeks ago. She seemed pretty sound.

She is a communist, she identifies herself as a "workerist communist" (whatever the f that is).

Is it perhaps a reference to the "Worker-communist" parties of Iran and Iraq?

yes, to the Iranian one ... there was a thread on them: http://libcom.org.libcom.org/forums/general/what-do-u-know-about-these-guys-18032013

Black Badger
Oct 9 2015 15:33
Quote:
How is this woman more hated on the far left than Hezbollah and Hamas?

Because Anti-Imperialism. See for example:

Judith Butler:

“Ok, well, I would just briefly say: I think its imperative to figure out what the mechanisms are of the various lobbies in the US – the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League – how they work to help to formulate US foreign policy toward Israel. I think there’s no question we need an honest, rigorous appraisal. I think there are some versions of it that strike me as perhaps a little too easily subscribing to conspiracy theories, and I think that there can be an antisemitic version, and there can be a really useful, critical version as well. I have no doubt it’s a very powerful lobby – I actually think of it as multifaceted – and I think we need more careful, rigorous analyses of it.

So you know the short answer is: one neither has to dispute the existence of such a lobby, or its power, to prove that one is not antisemitic; but neither does one have to accept every version of that, given that some versions are, I think, problematically bound up with conspiracy theories.

Similarly, I think: Yes, understanding Hamas, Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left, is extremely important. That does not stop us from being critical of certain dimensions of both movements. It doesn’t stop those of us who are interested in non-violent politics from raising the question of whether there are other options besides violence. So again, a critical, important engagement. I mean, I certainly think it should be entered into the conversation on the Left. I similarly think boycotts and divestment procedures are, again, an essential component of any resistance movement.”

Recke410
Oct 9 2015 15:33
jura wrote:
Recke410 wrote:
Serge Forward wrote:
Saw Maryam Namazie speak a couple of weeks ago. She seemed pretty sound.

She is a communist, she identifies herself as a "workerist communist" (whatever the f that is).

Is it perhaps a reference to the "Worker-communist" parties of Iran and Iraq?

It sounds like a Monty Python sketch group name.

Recke410
Oct 9 2015 15:50

Just while we were on the subject of Maryam Namazie, who is active in the muslim world, does anyone have any information of any kind of organising or a history of union struggle or secular movements in saudi Arabia?

I am currently reading path of blood, about Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and their attempt to ignite civil war in the Kingdom. The writer seems to make the case that the Saudi people are more devout and zealous in their religious belief than the state and that many Saudi's considered it verging on apostacy for allowing pictures, television and other modern reforms. He seems to also show that their was quite a high ammount of support for AQAP amongst the general population and the clerics.

If this is so I imagine there isn't much of a movement there, but if anyone has any book reccomendations or documentaries I would be very interested.

ajjohnstone
Oct 9 2015 15:53

She is a member of the Workers Communist Party of Iran
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worker-communist_Party_of_Iran

Some writings of their founder and mentor
https://www.marxists.org/archive/hekmat-mansoor/index.htm

They define their socialism as:

Quote:
Socialism has been defined and interpreted in lots of different ways. We are one of the few currents who emphatically maintain that socialism should be identified with abolition of wage-labour and creation of economic equality between people. It means equality in the status of people in the social production.
This clearly distinguishes us from all those currents who identify socialism with planned state economy, with industrialization, or with redistribution of wealth, etc. We maintain that socialism requires the abolition of wage-labour, and the transformation of the means of labour, means of production, into the common property of society. Social welfare and economic security of people can only be the result of such a revolution in the economic foundations of society.

She was recently centre of an attempt to ban her from speaking at a secular /atheist students meeting in Warwick university by its Students Union but i believe they have eventually relented to let her speak.

Read more at
https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/warwick-university-student-union-bans-feminist-marxist-secularist-maryam-namazie/

She upsets the SWP and their ilk on the Left by not ascribing to the theory that our enemy's enemy is our friend.

Recke410
Oct 9 2015 15:55
Black Badger wrote:
Quote:
How is this woman more hated on the far left than Hezbollah and Hamas?

Because Anti-Imperialism. See for example:

Judith Butler:

“Ok, well, I would just briefly say: I think its imperative to figure out what the mechanisms are of the various lobbies in the US – the American Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League – how they work to help to formulate US foreign policy toward Israel. I think there’s no question we need an honest, rigorous appraisal. I think there are some versions of it that strike me as perhaps a little too easily subscribing to conspiracy theories, and I think that there can be an antisemitic version, and there can be a really useful, critical version as well. I have no doubt it’s a very powerful lobby – I actually think of it as multifaceted – and I think we need more careful, rigorous analyses of it.

So you know the short answer is: one neither has to dispute the existence of such a lobby, or its power, to prove that one is not antisemitic; but neither does one have to accept every version of that, given that some versions are, I think, problematically bound up with conspiracy theories.

Similarly, I think: Yes, understanding Hamas, Hezbollah as social movements that are progressive, that are on the Left, that are part of a global Left, is extremely important. That does not stop us from being critical of certain dimensions of both movements. It doesn’t stop those of us who are interested in non-violent politics from raising the question of whether there are other options besides violence. So again, a critical, important engagement. I mean, I certainly think it should be entered into the conversation on the Left. I similarly think boycotts and divestment procedures are, again, an essential component of any resistance movement.”[/quote]

Sorry, I am confused, is this your position or Judith Butler's? I take it you don't hold this position or regard hamas as progressive.

Flint
Oct 9 2015 16:27

Hi Recke410, welcome to Libcom. Why'd you chose a white Valknut for your avatar?

Recke410
Oct 9 2015 16:36
Flint wrote:
Hi Recke410, welcome to Libcom. Why'd you chose a white Valknut for your avatar?

I love reading history books, ever since I was young the Germanic tribes were my favourite, I liked their Pagan religion compared to Christianity and how when most of them finally did convert they turned jesus into a warrior god, they carved him into stone holding a spear naked. I also love tattoo's and my favourite style is the all black full body Norse pattern.

I also like German culture, sports, heavy beer, tube shaped meats and what not. I assume you saw it and thought I must be a racist? I always use it as my avatar.

Flint
Oct 9 2015 16:44
Recke410 wrote:
I assume you saw it and thought I must be a racist? I always use it as my avatar.

I didn't assume anything. I asked.

Serge Forward
Oct 9 2015 17:08
radicalgraffiti wrote:
Recke410 wrote:
Yet all over the internet self proclaimed far leftists/Communists are calling her an islamophobe, a white supremacist and a hate speech figure because she condemns the ideology of islam, an organised religion that is part of the ruling system in many nations which oppresses and often kills the very people communists are supposed to be supporting.

How is this woman more hated on the far left than Hezbollah and Hamas?

do you have examples of this?

I think the main culprit on the left would be the "we're all hamas and all hezbollah" SWP/STW/UAF wankers. This is hardly what most people on libcom would term "far left/communist" however. Possible reasons for their dislike of people like Namazie may be: a) my enemy's enemy silliness b) broad left anti imperialism / left nationalism sympathies c) to distance themselves as broad anti racists from those horrible right wing bigots who are always banging on about the hijab, halal meat and the new mosque on the block and d) to cynically recruit people from what they erroneously call the "muslim community" to UAF, STW and the SWP parent organisation.

It's shit politics. The left constantly conflates muslims or people connected in some way with cultures or parts of the world where islam has or had some clout and with islam as a belief system or islamism. Also, I suspect solidarity with Namazie or defending an LGBT person from somewhere where same sex practices are a capital offence may be unpopular with the target recruitment audience.

Recke410
Oct 9 2015 17:31
Serge Forward wrote:
radicalgraffiti wrote:
Recke410 wrote:
Yet all over the internet self proclaimed far leftists/Communists are calling her an islamophobe, a white supremacist and a hate speech figure because she condemns the ideology of islam, an organised religion that is part of the ruling system in many nations which oppresses and often kills the very people communists are supposed to be supporting.

How is this woman more hated on the far left than Hezbollah and Hamas?

do you have examples of this?

I think the main culprit on the left would be the "we're all hamas and all hezbollah" SWP/STW/UAF wankers. This is hardly what most people on libcom would term "far left/communist" however. Possible reasons for their dislike of people like Namazie may be: a) my enemy's enemy silliness b) broad left anti imperialism / left nationalism sympathies c) to distance themselves as broad anti racists from those horrible right wing bigots who are always banging on about the hijab, halal meat and the new mosque on the block and d) to cynically recruit people from what they erroneously call the "muslim community" to UAF, STW and the SWP parent organisation.

It's shit politics. The left constantly conflates muslims or people connected in some way with cultures or parts of the world where islam has or had some clout and with islam as a belief system or islamism. Also, I suspect solidarity with Namazie or defending an LGBT person from somewhere where same sex practices are a capital offence may be unpopular with the target recruitment audience.

I feel obligated to point out left coms and Anarchists are much much less guilty of this than as Serge said, the SWP/UAF types are. George Galloway seems to be pretty into it too, along with most of his "socialist" followers, who glorify Iran, Cuba and "glorious martyrdom operation" where a bunch of power hungry old men trick gullable kids into blowing themselves up and Galloway creams in his pants.

Anyone remember when he was running in Bradford and he was posting leaflets saying he didn't drink alcohol or eat pork and called his election run the Bradford spring? I usually hate Jeremy Paxman but he was pretty funny when he pulled him on it. Galloway is such an opportunist twit.

Black Badger
Oct 9 2015 21:31
Quote:
Sorry, I am confused, is this your position or Judith Butler's? I take it you don't hold this position or regard hamas as progressive.

That's pure Butler. I don't find anything progressive or leftist about Hamas or Hezbollah; they are religious obscurantists, and as such, hold no views I find compatible with self-organized resistance to capitalism, the state, or any other type of institutionalized domination/exploitation.

Mark.
Oct 11 2015 18:00
Entdinglichung
Oct 12 2015 20:20

the Youtube channel run by her and her comrade Fariborz Pooya: https://www.youtube.com/user/BreadandRosesTV/videos

there was some valid criticism of her and the WP Iran's activities being focused too much on atheist propaganda and high-profile conferences with (sometimes dodgy) bourgeois secularists/atheists and critics of Islam which led e.g. to a split in the WP Iran in 2007/08 (among them Azar Majedi, Mansoor Hekmat's widow and leading speaker on women's issues of the org) but I think that they've learned the lesson e.g. when they did organize together with a few other groups the 2nd "Critical Islam Conference" in Germany in 2013 ... and their "Third Campism" is far less problematic than e.g. the one of the AWL

rudo
Oct 12 2015 15:21
Flint wrote:
Hi Recke410, welcome to Libcom. Why'd you chose a white Valknut for your avatar?

Because they're either fash or a fash sympathiser.

Im a lurker and i made this account purely to call Recke410 out. He was recently banned from Revleft for spouting EDL propaganda in this thread: http://www.revleft.com/vb/so-we-fucked-t194181/index.html

He was blaming muslims for vandal attacks despite having no fucking evidence...

jahbread
Oct 12 2015 15:34

Recke410 wrote:

Quote:
How is this woman more hated on the far left than Hezbollah and Hamas?

Because she is seen as more of a competitor than they are, I suppose. For a start she is in the UK, which is where these organisations have their constituency.

ocelot
Oct 12 2015 15:59

While I would agree with the main thrust of the OP blog, i.e. the despicable "anti-imperialist" my-enemies-enemy-is-my-friend politics of the SWP and their alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood and footsie with Hamas, etc, etc, there are still problems with Namazie and the Hekmatiarists in general. In essence the problem is that the very thing they start off denouncing - i.e. the equation of Muslim and Islamist, is the one thing they themselves do repeatedly, and, I would argue, for rather cynical, mercenary motives.

Quote:
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.
[...]
In fact, ‘Muslims’ or those labelled as such include secularists, ex-Muslims, atheists, free thinkers, women’s rights activists, LGBT campaigners and socialists.
[...]
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.

The first para here is correct. The second para rather symptomatically omits any mention of non-Islamist believing or practicing muslims from the "included" list. And the third paragraph is misleading. Actually there is such as thing as Islamophobia, even if the term is abused by the likes of Respect, SWP, etc. That is the creation of an undifferentiated mass "muslim menace" that amalgamates ordinary muslims and jihadis and conflates Islam and Islamism (the two terms are usually conjoined in the Hekmatiarist discourse.

The reasons for this stance are to be found in Mansoor Hekmat's turn towards considering Islamism as the "main contradiction" and Islam as being a special case in world religions, as being uniquely reactionary in the contemporary era. This "Islamic exceptionalism" lies behind the Hekmatiarist discourse which, for example, suggests there is no discernible difference between Shia and Sunni islamists, such as the militias of Hizbollah and regime-loyal Alawites on the one hand and those of Al Nusra and Daesh on the other.

From the Hekmat piece I quoted in the Charlie Hebdo thread (translated by Namazie)

Quote:
Negah: The existence and conduct of Islamic groups and governments in the Middle East and North Africa in recent years have instigated disagreements over how to deal with religion and religious movements and governments. There are those who say that ‘we must differentiate between Islamic groups/governments and Islam’. They also claim that: ‘what takes place in these countries have nothing to do with Islam but are the result of a mis-interpretation of Islam’ and that ‘one mustn’t speak out against religion because it insults people’s beliefs and divides them’. What do you think about these statements?
.
Mansoor Hekmat: I realise that the interests of some require that they rescue Islam (as much as possible) from the wrath of those who have witnessed the indescribable atrocities of or been victimised by Islamists. I also realise that the extent of these atrocities and holocausts is such that even some Islamists themselves do not want to take responsibility for them. So it is natural that the debate on ‘true Islam’ vis-à-vis ‘practical Islam’ is broached over and over again. These justifications, however, are foolish from my point of view (that of a communist and atheist) and from the points of views of those of us who have seen or been the victims of Islam’s crimes. They are foolish for those of us who are living through a colossal social, political and intellectual struggle with this beast. The doctrinal and Koranic foundations of Islam, the development of Islam’s history, and the political identity and affiliation of Islam and Islamists in the battle between reaction and freedom in our era are too obvious to allow the debate on the various interpretations of Islam and the existence or likelihood of other interpretations to be taken seriously. [...] In Islam, be it true or untrue, the individual has no rights or dignity. In Islam, the woman is a slave. In Islam, the child is on par with animals. In Islam, freethinking is a sin deserving of punishment. Music is corrupt. Sex without permission and religious certification, is the greatest of sins. This is the religion of death. In reality, all religions are such but most religions have been restrained by freethinking and freedom-loving humanity over hundreds of years. This one was never restrained or controlled. With every move, it brings abominations and misery.
[...]
Today, it is our movement – worker-communism – and the deep-seated hatred of Islam by the vast population at large in Iran, particularly women and youth, which is building the foundations of a serious anti-religious and de-Islamised development in Iran. If the people in Iran are to experience prosperity, this movement must become victorious. I am sure that along the way and with the people’s advancement, a section of freethinking intellectuals will join this front.

If "deep-seated hatred of Islam" is a precondition for progressive politics, then, sure enough, differentiating between jihadism and islamism on the one hand, and the religion itself, is a waste of time. And if you take it that Islam is responsible for FGM, forced marriages and "honour" killings , as Namazie repeatedly - and falsely - claims, then it is easy to hire yourself out to the various Western (and Israeli) sources of funding for groups promoting Huntingdon's "clash of civilisations" so beloved of neocons and their repellant apologists like Bernard Henri Levy (with who Namazie signed the infamous "Manifeste des douze").

None of which makes Namzie's criticism of the SWP and those fools who think that Hamas or Hezbollah are somehow "on the Left" (I mean, seriously? wtf..). But it does mean that her feminism and her socialism take a back seat to the main strategy of painting Islam as the source of all evil in the Middle East. Patriarchy in the Middle East, and social institutions such as "Namus" (inadequately translated as honour), have been around since long before the major monotheistic religions arose. The community most aflicted with honour-killings in Egypt, for e.g., are the Christian copts. Every middle eastern feminist knows this, including Namazie, she just pretends otherwise in the pursuit of her political agenda. That's cynicism in my book. And it's not her hobby, it's her income, her job.

hassanradwan
Oct 12 2015 17:00

I think you are being far too harsh on Maryam, ocelot. She has been one of the few voices to make a real effort to distinguish between Islamists and ordinary Muslims. I worked with her on many campaigns. She is a much needed voice in this debate.

Hassan Radwan.

Khawaga
Oct 12 2015 17:23
rudo wrote:
Flint wrote:
Hi Recke410, welcome to Libcom. Why'd you chose a white Valknut for your avatar?
Because they're either fash or a fash sympathiser.

Im a lurker and i made this account purely to call Recke410 out. He was recently banned from Revleft for spouting EDL propaganda in this thread: http://www.revleft.com/vb/so-we-fucked-t194181/index.html

He was blaming muslims for vandal attacks despite having no fucking evidence...

Yep, it's pretty clear that he is. And a lot of us thinks that he is another poster, who like Recke also has fascist sympathise and only seem to care about immigration and Islam and fuck all else.

Admin, when are you going to ban that fucker?

Rachel
Oct 12 2015 19:00

Hassan, it's a pleasure and privilege to see you here on Libcom. One of your kutbah's helped me out with something just yesterday!

The ex Muslim scenes around e.g. CEMB and Faith to Faithless, from what I can see, far from building a firewall between atheism and Islam, are actually opening up spaces for dialogue, debate, agnosticism, pluralism, anti-fundamentalism, and spirituality and all sorts of other good things that people need to breathe and live. Thank you.

Sorry we have to share this thread with a fascist/anti-Muslim bigot.

ocelot
Oct 12 2015 20:32
hassanradwan wrote:
I think you are being far too harsh on Maryam, ocelot. She has been one of the few voices to make a real effort to distinguish between Islamists and ordinary Muslims. I worked with her on many campaigns. She is a much needed voice in this debate.

Hassan Radwan.

Well I've never even met her or heard her speak. And working with people on campaigns is the only real way to find out whether you can trust someone or not, so I defer to your experience. But I still have problems with some of the stuff she says about Islam being the source of patriarchy in MENA, FGM, forced marriages, etc, because it's just not the whole truth.

Mark.
Oct 14 2015 14:50

Maryam Namazie's response to a critical Guardian cif article

http://freethoughtblogs.com/maryamnamazie/2015/10/13/the-guardian-through-islamist-eyes/

Quote:
[...]
The labelling of much-needed criticism of Islam and Islamism as ‘antisocial, even dangerous‘ by ‘Left’ apologists sees dissent through the eyes of Islamists and not the many who refuse and resist. How else are we to show real solidarity with those who struggle against the theocracies we have fled from – if not through criticism? The fight against Islamism and the need for international solidarity does not manage to enter into their calculation.

Even their paternalistic ‘concern’ for British Muslims is incoherent. After all, aren’t many critics of Islamism, Muslims too? In fact, Muslims or those labelled as such are often the first victims of Islamism and at the forefront of resistance. Also, not everyone in the ‘community’ are Muslims and even if they are, religion is not the only characteristic that defines them. Moreover, the rise of Islamism has brought with it a corresponding rise in the demand for atheism, secularism, and women’s liberation.

At its core, this is a global fight between theocrats and the religious-Right on the one hand and secularists and those fighting for social justice on the other. It’s a fight taking place within and across communities and borders. Notwithstanding, this ‘Left’s’ ‘concern’ only encompasses the ‘authentic Muslim’ which to them is the Islamist. It has become their go-to catchphrase to deflect criticism by dishonestly conflating condemnation of Islamists with the demonisation of people so as to justify siding with the religious-Right at the expense of dissenters. In fact, conflating ordinary Muslims with Islamists does nothing to challenge anti-Muslim bigotry but reinforces it.

In their ‘anti-colonialist’ worldview, which unsurprisingly coincides with that of the ruling classes in the ‘Islamic world’ or ‘Muslim community,’ dissenters are either ‘native informants‘ or contributing to the ‘demonisation of Muslims.’

For those who have bought into the Islamist narrative, there are no social and political movements, class politics, dissenters, women’s rights campaigners, socialists… – just homogenised ‘Muslims’ [read Islamists] who face ‘intimidation’ and ‘discrimination’ if an ex-Muslim woman speaks on an university campus.

This politics of betrayal denies universalism, sees rights, equality and secularism as ‘western,’ justifies the suppression of women, apostates and blasphemers under the guise of respect for other ‘cultures’ – imputing on innumerable people the most reactionary elements of culture and religion, which is that of the religious-Right. In the world according to them, the oppressor is victim, the oppressed ‘incite hatred’, and any criticism is bigotry.
[...]

Serge Forward
Oct 14 2015 15:23
ocelot wrote:
Well I've never even met her or heard her speak. And working with people on campaigns is the only real way to find out whether you can trust someone or not, so I defer to your experience. But I still have problems with some of the stuff she says about Islam being the source of patriarchy in MENA, FGM, forced marriages, etc, because it's just not the whole truth.

No it's not the whole truth but neither does that mean that islam, like pretty much all major religions, isn't a patriarchal ideology that's often linked to oppressive and misogynistic practices. The fact that bigots like Recke410 happen to selectively support some of Namazie's comments doesn't make her a bigot as well. Ocelot, you really should go and hear her speak and have a chat with her.