It could not be otherwise and the the media continued its attention to the Paris attacks. Unfortunately the liberal press, in the main, continued to miss the point and continued to try and separate the attacks from Islam. Though there are glimmers of light. This article in Left Foot Forward raises the importance of tackling this issue. As it reports..
“But something somewhere is seriously wrong when prejudice against a community is one’s primary concern on the day a nation suffers the biggest acts of violence in decades.”
and we are unlikely to be able to tackle this problem unless we discuss it. Dissenting voices in the Muslim community need to be encouraged and removing the link removes the impetus for change.
Why, after all, would we Muslims work on solving a problem that isn’t ours to being with?
it is also increasingly clear that facing this problem with Islam could also help deal with the problem of Islamophobia.
It’s a no-brainer that once Islamist extremism is curtailed, anti-Muslim bigotry will be gradually snuffed out in synchrony.
During the 1970s and 1980s in Britain there was a strong and initially vibrant anti-fascist movement. Through organizations such as the Anti-Nazi League (ANL) it involved the young and with Searchlight is spread the word and kept the world aware. However, it seems that the antifascists feel they have done their job, they can retire content in the knowledge that they have defeated the enemy. Certainly the state of the far right in UK politics, particularly the weak and inconsequential states of the British National Party (BNP), National Front (NF) and English Defence League (EDL) might suggest we can rest on our laurels. Occasionally writers raise the warning flag after the Europeans support Golden Dawn, Pegida or the French National Front, and at home attempts are sometimes made to tar UKIP with a racist or fascit brush. But there is a problem.
Much of the fascism that was met previously used simple racism to whip up fear and support. When the fascist was a thug who expressed his hatred of people because of the colour of their skin he was easy to spot, and easy to tackle. Some fascists shifted their focus from “the blacks” to “the muslims” in the hope that they would be able to maintain their fearmongering and calls for power. In part this worked, campaigns against Hallal meat and honour crimes did gain more traction. People who would never fall for a racist move based on skin colour were sometimes drawn into campaigns of racist anti-islamic feeling under apparently liberal and humane banners. But there was a further problem.
While it is true that our home grown fascists use islamophobia to garner support it is also true that some groups with Islamic origins are themselves fascistic.Indeed, it is these fascists who prove the greatest threat to our future. Christopher Hitchins spoke of “fascism with an Islamic face” as he disliked the term Islamofascism but he did recognise this as a valid term (1). Our fears to avoid stoking islamophobia mean we avoid this term and it leads us towards much more dangerous problems. Many on the left, who would be naturally anti-fascists, find themselves allied with anti-Semitic and frequently fascist groups. Even Owen Jones has started to realize the blindness that this causes (2).
Make no mistake, it is not that these groups are ‘partially’ or ‘in a fashion‘ fascistic. They are fascist at their core. An old, but still valuable, piece by Lee Jenkins (3) was quite celar in the common core of the ideologies of ISIS and its related organizations. He noted :-
Glorification of Violence
Hyper social conservatism
Strength through Unity
Sexism and brutalhomophobia
A yearning for a Golden Age
are all themes that these organizations hold in common. There is very little to separate ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda and Hezbolla from other fascist groups. A difference in victim does not avoid the obvious conclusion. As Michael Onfray has said the Islamic Revolution “gave birth to an authentic Muslim fascism” (4).Just as in the middle of the last century we were called on to fight and destroy fascism developed in Europe. This century we face the same task dealing with the fascism developing out of the the middle-east.
An excellent piece by Brendan O’Neill on the need to, as he says, “fight — really fight — for the Enlightenment.” His criticism of our self-loathing is both trenchant and important and he has expressed my feeling much better than I would have managed myself.
I have sat and watched in horror what has just happened in Paris. Scores dead; men, women and children, and all civilians. If this is a war, then this is a further war crime by the Islamists.
But while I shrink in horror on what has happened and my incomprehension as to how we can tackle this, and prevent future massacres, I start to notice a second affront to dignity and civilisation. While we should be focussing on the dead and injured and seeking a remedy for this the media and social pundits have started their usual self-flagellation.
What can we expect, they cry,when we have caused Islamophobia ? Don’t let this misfortune cause problems for the innocent muslims amongst us ! Pity the poor Calais migrants who have been attacked tonight in revenge (A false story as it transpired) ! All the concerns are for possible future victims of suspicion or abuse with no real thought for the dead or their families.
This is inappropriate and wrong and should not be our focus at the moment.
These are usually the same people who caution us against criticism of Palestinian actions in the middle east and never seem worried one whit when anti-semitic atrocities occur. They may be right that events like this increase feeling of animosity to muslims, but, if this is the case then there is a pressing need to stop events like this.
Just for common decency our thoughts should be with the victims and their families at the moment, we can deal with these less pressing risks later but in the interim just shut the fuck up.