Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Europe's Islamist-Leftist Alliance, Part 2

<<<<< Part 1 Here


In February 2002 former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher published an article entitled "Islamism is the new Bolshevism." In this, she wrote:


Islamic extremism today, like Bolshevism in the past, is an armed doctrine. It is an aggressive ideology promoted by fanatical, well-armed devotees. And, like communism, it requires an all-embracing long-term strategy to defeat it."


Her analogy is both prescient and historically accurate. Many early Bolsheviks made common cause with Islam. The philosopher Bertrand Russell visited Russia in 1920. A year later, his impressions were published in a book, Theory and Practice of Bolshevism. He wrote:


Christianity and Buddhism are primarily personal religions, with mystical doctrines and a love of contemplation. Mohammedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social, unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of this world."


Russell also observed:


Bolshevism combines the characteristics of the French Revolution with those of the rise of Islam.


He was naively optimistic about Bolshevism in these years before Stalin's purges, noting also that:


Marx has taught that Communism is fatally predestined to come about; this produces a state of mind not unlike that of the early successors of Mahommet.


 In 1844, Karl Marx had famously described religion thus:


Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.


Russia's Bolshevik revolution of 1917 was made by people who revered Marx's ideology, but Lenin did not initially oppress religious institutions. Until the 1920s the Bolsheviks actively encouraged Islam, which had received no support from the Tsarist regime, state socialist authors David Crouch and Gerry Byrne.


Crouch wrote an article in late 2003 while his Socialist Workers Party was in the process of wooing political Islam in Britain. Byrne highlights instances of bias in the SWP member's account, but agrees that Lenin initially approved of a Muslim Communist Party and a Muslim Military College. Sharia courts were allowed to administer cases of domestic law in parallel with secular communist courts, but were prevented from dealing with political cases, or enacting stonings.


Chechnya's Muslims had supported the Bolsheviks, but others had fought against communism. In the regions of Central Asia, there was dissent. Here the Jadids had grown at the end of the Tsarist regime - Muslims who wished for an enlightened and modernizing cultural renewal of their faith. They initially found Bolshevism attractive as it appeared to conform to their view of Pan-Islamism, which had been promoted by Jamal al-Din al-Afghani (1838-1897). During the 1920s the Jadids became split by the Pan-Turkic movements of Central Asia, and groups of traditionalists, known as Basmachi, rebelled against both Jadids and communists.


Under Stalin, in 1927 a policy known as khudshum was introduced, which tried to force women's rights on Muslims and abolish the veil. Many women who had thrown off their veils were subsequently massacred by Muslim traditionalists. There followed campaigns of repression whereby Islam in the Soviet Empire was forcibly "tamed" to comply with the Stalinist ethos.


In August 1919 Syrian-born thinker and supporter of Pan-Islamism, Muhammad Rashid Rida (1865-1935), had written:


The Muslims wish for the success of the socialists in eliminating the enslavement of the peoples (all of whom are workers), while they reject such of their practices - and the practices of everyone else - that violate Islamic law.


The Egyptian Mufti of that time, Muhammad Bakhit, had earlier issued a fatwa condemning Bolshevism, a position that Rida, who had studied under Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, did not uphold.


Pan-Islamism sought to unite Muslims from around the world, and to bridge the sectarian divides of Sunni and Shia Islam. When the Turkish-based Ottoman Empire was crushed in March 1924, there was no longer any Islamic center of power in the world. In Saudi Arabia, the Wahhabists of the Al-Saud family took control of Mecca at this time. In 1928, Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt as a youth group.


Though strict and traditionalist, the Saudis welcomed Western oil money. The Muslim Brotherhood soon became political. In the 1950s Sayyid Qutb became the Brotherhood's spiritual leader, and his books, such as Milestones on the Road (Ma'alim fi'l-Tariq), still influence modern Islamists.


Qutb had become radicalized while on a trip to America, and opposed both Western values and Egyptian President Nasser's policies of secular Pan-Arabism. Qutb saw jihad as a global movement, not confined to the Middle East. He was also an anti-Semite. Qutb was hanged in 1966, but he was never a traditional "socialist," despite the Brotherhood's later associations with socialists in Egypt, Europe and beyond.


Islamic fundamentalism is essentially driven by adherence to scripture, whereas Islamic socialist countries tend to be superficially secular. Herein lies the paradox- why are Western socialists so enamored with Islamic fundamentalism? Radical Muslims seek to force the dominance of their beliefs upon societies -- something they have in common with extreme socialists. At the heart of both ideologies is the idea of implementing a form of "retributive justice," either redressing the evils of consumerism and capitalism, or redressing the evils of infidel godlessness. Both systems believe that a society should be classless, but only Islamists believe the words of a 7th century "prophet" should dictate all aspects of life.


"Islamic socialism," a term which came into being in the 1960s, is nothing like Western notions of socialism, particularly those which thrive in Europe. Principally, Islamic socialism has to balance religious principles with socialism, which in essence is secular. In Pakistan, Islamic "socialism" was exemplified by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founder of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP). He was president of Pakistan after Bangladesh's war of secession from Pakistan until 1973, and then Prime Minister until 1977. After years of military dictatorship and a civil war, Bhutto's Islamic socialism was popular among many strands of society.


What finally destroyed Bhutto's "Islamic socialism" were the two things which had blighted Pakistan since independence - Islamism and military dictatorship. General Zia ul-Haq allied himself with the Islamists of the Jamaat-e-Islami, which had had been formed by Sayyid Abul A'la Maududi (1903-1979) in 1941. Maududi, like Qutb, is one of the founding fathers of modern Islamism. Though members of Jamaat-e-Islami still take part in the democratic process, their aim is to abolish democracy and establish a theocratic society based upon sharia law.


Zia introduced the notorious Hudood laws in 1979, which meant that rape victims who could not produce four male Muslim witnesses became charged with adultery, and jailed. In 1986, Zia introduced Islamic blasphemy laws, which blatantly discriminate against members of the Ahmadiyyah sect of Islam. Article 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code states that anyone who blasphemes against Mohammed can receive the death penalty. In 1990, the Federal Shariat (Islamic) Court ruled that any breach of Article 295-C now merits a mandatory death sentence, with no rights of appeal.


Though his PPP party still exists in Pakistan's parliamentary system, Ali Bhutto paid the price for trying to unite his country under "Islamic socialism" with its slogan: "Islam is our faith; Democracy is our polity; Socialism is our economy; All power to the people." He was hanged on the orders of Zia ul-Haq on April 4, 1979.


One thing is certain. Political Islam and democracy can never mix. Those in the West who seek alliances with Islamism do so at their own peril. Politically Muslim countries in the modern world have to strike a compromise with Islamist hardliners. Even "moderate" countries such as Indonesia have a constant battle with Islamists who are never repressed for fear of revolt, and others such as Malaysia have a system based entirely on racism. From age 12, all Malays are defined as Muslim, and no Malay is allowed to change their faith, despite a constitution which guarantees religious freedom.


In 1953 in Jerusalem, an Islamist scholar called Taqiuddin al-Nabhani (1909-1977) instituted Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist political group which now has branches in most Western countries, apart from the Netherlands and Germany, where it is banned. It is banned in Russia, the countries of Central Asia, and all nations in the Middle East. Its aims are to destroy democracies and national boundaries to institute a Caliphate, a pan-national system of Islamic rule.


Its open contempt for democracy has not stopped leftist politicians in Western countries from trying to make alliances with Hizb-ut Tahrir. In March 2006, Clare Short, MP for Birmingham Ladywood, invited members of Hizb to the UK Houses of Parliament. This leftist former member of Tony Blair's cabinet resisted all calls to cancel the event.


Why do Western leftists want to make common cause with Islamists who wish to destroy their democratic societies and subjugate them under sharia law? In part three, I will detail how far the problem has spread, and examine the rationale of these radicals of the left.


Perhaps, as I began with the words of a philosopher, I should finish here with the words of Robert Redeker, a French philosopher, who said:


The Westerner, the heir to Christianity, is to be the one to make his soul exposed. He runs the risk of passing himself off as weak. With the same ardor as Communism, Islam treats generosity, broadmindedness, tolerance, gentleness, freedom of women and of manners, democratic values, as signs of decadence. These are the weaknesses that it seeks to exploit, by means of 'useful idiots', those of good consciences imbued with fine sentiments, in order to impose the Koranic order on the Western world itself."


Redeker's unflinching assessment of Islamism, and the moral poverty of Islam's founder, caused him to lose his job and his home after receiving Islamist death threats.


>>>> Continued in Part 3

Adrian Morgan is a British based writer and artist who has written for Western Resistance since its inception. He also writes for Spero News, Family Security Matters and He has previously contributed to various publications, including the Guardian and New Scientist and is a former Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Society.

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