Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Europe's Islamist-Leftist Alliance, Part 3

<<<<< Part 2 Here


By Adrian Morgan


 Last September, French philosopher Robert Redeker wrote: "Islam presents itself, in the image of defunct Communism, as an alternative to the western world. In the manner of Communism before it, Islam, to conquer spirits, plays on a sensitive nerve. It prides itself on a legitimacy which troubles the attentive-to-others western conscience: to be the voice of the oppressed of the planet. Yesterday, the voice of the poor claimed to come from Moscow, today it comes from Mecca! Today again, intellectuals express the views of the Koran, as they expressed the views of Moscow yesterday. They excommunicate people for Islamophobia, as yesterday they did for anti-communism."


  A bizarre aspect of many leftist politicians is their desire to make deals with Islamists who would act against all their professed socialist "principles". On March 11, 2004, multiple train bombings at Madrid, carried out by radical Muslims, caused 191 people to die and 1,700 to be injured. Three days later, a general election saw the minority left-wing PSOE or Spanish Socialist Workers' Party taking the reins of power. This party was led by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.


 One of the hallmarks of democracy is freedom of speech. In February 2006, Muslims around the world protested against freedom of speech, angered by publication of "blasphemous" cartoons of Mohammed. 50 people were killed in the global demonstrations. Yet in March 2006 Zapatero's government colluded with Pakistan to encourage the UN to enforce an international law prohibiting any kind of blasphemy.


 Back in 1994, Chris Harman, a leading figure in the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), wrote: "The left has made two mistakes in relation to the Islamists in the past. The first has been to write them off as fascists, with whom we have nothing in common. The second has been to see them as 'progressives' who must not be criticized. These mistakes have jointly played a part in helping the Islamists to grow at the expense of the left in much of the Middle East. The need is for a different approach that sees Islamism as the product of a deep social crisis which it can do nothing to resolve, and which fights to win some of the young people who support it to a very different, independent, revolutionary socialist perspective." His party's uncritical support for Islamism has recently flourished, particularly since the Iraq invasion.


 In France, mainstream politicians rarely promote any religious viewpoint due to the traditional separation of Church and State. The current candidate of the Socialist Party for the 2007 presidential elections, Segolene Royal, has even proposed a motion to the National Assembly to reinforce constitutional secularism. The Socialist Party was in power for most of the 1980s, but alienated Muslim voters by failing to deliver social reforms.


 For the French extreme left, unions with Islamists are not frowned upon. In 2004, a new group called Euro-Palestine was formed from a coalition of members of Lutte Ouvrière (Worker's Struggle) and Muslim representatives. The latter included anti-semitic Muslim "comedian" anti-semitic Muslim "comedian" Dieudonné M'bala M'bala.


 Another Trotskyite group in France, similar to the UK's SWP, is Socialisme Par En Bas (SPEB, or "Socialism from Below") which had split off from Lutte Ouvrière. Though small, SPEB has attracted Muslims from the Sorbonne and Jussieu universities. It has led most of the French anti-Iraq War protests. In 2004 Arlette Laguillere of Lutte Ouvrière said: "the struggle for Palestine" was an integral part of the "global proletarian revolution."


 One leftist group based in Italy, Campo Antiimperialista operates in several European nations. Its anti-Iraq War stance has caused it to ally itself with Islamist groups. It supports Palestinian "resistance" and its French members include Serge Thion, a Holocaust denier.


 In 2003 the European Social Forum (ESF), an annual anti-globalization conference, included several Muslim representatives and groups, including the grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Tariq Ramadan. This conference, held in November in Paris, also included Islamist groups Présence Musulmane, Secours Islamique and Collectif des Musulmans de France, inclusions that led to controversy. The fourth ESF conference, held in London in October 2004, similarly included prominent leftists and also Muslim groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain, and the Muslim Association of Britain.


 It is to be expected that disadvantaged groups will vote for left-wing politicians. In Norway in 2005, 83% of Muslims voted for socialist parties. In Britain, members of ethnic minorities, including Muslims, have traditionally voted for the Labour Party.


 Until the election of Tony Blair in 1997 the Labour Party espoused socialist principals. The party still contains radical leftists, and the courting of Muslim groups has continued. The Muslim Council of Britain comprises leaders who have supported bin Laden, but it nonetheless has the ear of government. Intelligence agency MI6 has actively courted the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, as has the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.


  Labour politician Ken Livingstone was demonized throughout the 1980s by the press as a radical, dubbed "Red Ken". Livingstone's commitment to the working classes is secondary to his commitment to his own self-aggrandizement. Livingstone was expelled from the Labour party on April 4, 2004, over the elections for the new post of London mayor. He had promised not to stand against Labour's official candidate, but broke his word, standing as an Independent. He won the election, and in 2004 he was readmitted to the Labour party. He was reelected as London Mayor in the same year.


 In July 2004, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, visited London. Livingstone welcomed him, even though the sheikh had advocated suicide bombings against Israeli civilians, and recommended that homosexuals should be thrown from cliffs. In September 2005 Livingstone compared Qaradawi to Pope John XXIII, calling him an "absolutely sane Islamist" and "the most powerfully progressive force for change and for engaging Islam with western values."


 Qaradawi, who has a regular slot on Al Jazeera TV, has clearly made his intentions known: "Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor, after being expelled from it twice - once from the South, from Andalusia, and a second time from the East, when it knocked several times on the door of Athens." He also said on TV: "Islam will return to Europe. Islam entered Europe twice and left - Perhaps the next conquest, Allah willing, will be by means of preaching and ideology. The conquest need not necessarily be by the sword."


 Livingstone recently spoke at a debate on the "Clash of Civilizations" against Daniel Pipes. Here, Livingstone again spoke in favor of Qaradawi, calling him the "future of Islam". Red Ken's choice of supporting speaker was Salma Yaqoob, who is a city councillor in Birmingham. In the debate, she blamed the terror attacks of 7/7 upon British foreign policy, rather than global Islamism. Yaqoob is a member of the Respect Party, which has sought to combine the politics of the Trotskyite Socialist Workers Party with Islamism.


 Respect's policies are not favored by all socialists. Tariq Ali was a famous student activist in the 1960s. He said in 2005: "The Left is at present very weak. As far as the radical Left is concerned I am not optimistic. In Britain I am not a member of Respect. I disagree with them on some points. The way things are happening in Respect is pure opportunism. Obviously I am in favor of working with Muslim groups, but for socialists the goal must be to win followers of religion to our own point of view, not to leave them in their entrenched positions."


  Across Britain, Respect has only 20 elected town and city councillors. The only elected member of Parliament in the Respect party is one of its founders - George Galloway. For 30 years, Galloway had been a Labour MP, representing constituencies in Glasgow, Scotland. He was expelled from the Labour Party in October 2003, when he said: "The best thing British troops can do is to refuse to obey illegal orders". In 2005, he was elected as Respect's MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, a London constituency with a large Muslim population. He won this election by only 823 votes. While a Labour MP, Galloway had a poor voting record. In early 2006, Galloway upset his Muslim constituents by appearing on a "Big Brother" reality TV show, rather than representing them in parliament.


 On a visit to Iraq in 1994, Galloway had said to Saddam Hussein: "Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability." In a January 23 interview for BBC's Hardtalk show, Galloway claimed he had praised the "indefatigability" of the Iraqi people, and not Saddam. Galloway admits that he has no chance of getting into power. even though he defends the Respect party as "a radical alternative to the rightward march of New Labour that will speak for millions." He has a thrice-weekly show on TalkSport Radio, and makes many TV and radio appearances, admitting that he uses these to promote his views. His voting record in parliament is as poor as ever. As a politician, Galloway is a spent force.


 Radical leftism is also a spent force, despite the agitation of fringe parties and pressure groups across Europe. Islamism, however, is not. With 16 million Muslims in Europe, with a younger generation becoming increasingly radicalized, Islamism is not going to disappear quietly. In Europe, but also in America, radical Islam's most extreme expression - terrorism - will be with us for longer than most would care to admit. As MI5 head Eliza Mannigham-Buller has said: "That threat is serious, is growing and will, I believe, be with us for a generation. It is a sustained campaign, not a series of isolated incidents. It aims to wear down our will to resist."


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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