Secularism

‘Islamophobia Watch’

Islamophobia, as a racist tool of Western Imperialism, is strongly advocated by the political right but has also found an echo in the left, particularly sections of the left in France and the countries that make up the United Kingdom.

Islamophobia Watch will regularly report opinion columns and news items which match the editorial brief of the website, both articles that we believe advocate Islamophobia and those writers and organisations taking a stand against Islamophobia.

The blog, which is produced by socialists, handily categorises various ‘Islamophobes’ with special sections for left, secular and liberal ‘Islamophobes’. Featured names include socialist activist Andrew Coates, journalist Nick Cohen, the Workers Communist Party of Iran, gay rights group Outrage, Kenan Malik, journalist Stuart Jeffries and of course Peter Tatchell.

The interesting thing is that the site takes the Runnymede Trust’s definition of Islamophobia as its guide for its ‘name and shame’ blog. Here is point one of their eight-point definition:

1) Islam is seen as a monolithic bloc, static and unresponsive to change.

We don’t really need to go beyond point one to realise that most if not all of the names listed above would not accept that view. The whole point of supporting liberal progressives, socialists or gay activists in Muslim countries or in the ‘Muslim community’ is that there is the potential for change and that Islam most certainly isn’t a monolothic bloc.

In fact one could make an argument that is precisely those who accept existing oppression within Muslim societies and communities, the cultural relativists, who are guilty of viewing Islam as a monolithic, unchanging bloc – particularly those who view any criticism of conservative, reactionary-militant or fundamentalist Islam as a ‘phobia’.

We can see this perfectly in point three of the definition: Islam is seen as inferior to the West. It is seen as barbaric, irrational, primitive and sexist.

It is the likes of Samuel Huntingdon with his lazy and crass ‘Clash of Civilizations’ thesis which accepts the notions of ‘The West’ and ‘Islam’ as being monolithic blocs but so it seems do our ‘anti-Islamophobes’. Progressives or liberals or secularists or socialists within Muslim environments would never accept such a stupid generalisation but nor would they deny that within such environments there is indeed barbarity, irrationality and sexism. Neither should progressives outside of Muslim societies or communities deny that there are struggles going on inside the ‘Muslim world’.

It is precisely those who seek with the label ‘Islamophobe’ to shut off any discussion of oppression within a Muslim dominated environment who are accepting the idea that Islam and/or Muslims cannot change.

In other words, once again, parts of the left show themselves to be the exact opposite of what they claim to be — they are conservatives to the core, siding with clerical elites rather than those seeking change.

(Hat Tip: Matewan)

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