So the EDL are in my city today, breaking stuff and assaulting people. Beneath the mask of “we just don’t like terrorists” lies quite obvious fascist sentiment by a bunch of illiterate chav thugs in cheap tracksuits. We must remember that there is nothing ‘English’ about exclusion. We are a diverse and dynamic culture. We are not a divisive and static culture. The EDL promote a very divisive and static agenda. Nationalist rhetoric tends to increase at times of economic hardship. Our ‘culture’ is vastly under threat from a neoliberal elite, and a Tory government insisting on an economic and social engineering project that seems to show new signs of failure every day. What neoliberalism has been utterly superb at achieving, is dividing the poorer communities on the basis of race. As noted in previous blogs, this tool of economic division disguised as racial division was really first used before the American civil war. And it works every time. The EDL are a confused product of that division.
It is of course necessary, given the title of this blog, to explain what I interpret as Fascism. Fascism is not a single doctrine, with a single goal, and cannot be explained so simply as perhaps Communism can. And so we must allow for a variety of explanations, but each has common threads. For me, it is a range of ideas merged into one: Mass movement ideologically opposed to full political emancipation, indoctrination at the point of childhood through education, violent, oppressive, free expression is very limited, pressing for some sort of utopia based on a very narrow vision of what they consider to be decent and correct, nostalgia based on a time before all was lost to a perceived threatening force from ‘outside’, extreme dogma, intent on running a social system in a very repressive way in order to keep on a sort of ‘righteous’ path, adverse to even the most fundamental human rights.
Whilst regimes may cite the supremacy of what they see as a master race to be the reason for following that line, others use what they consider the supremacy of their religion. Politically, it has traditionally been a very useful tool to divide lower classes against each other. Religiously, it has been a way to divide what those in control call “true” believers, with those considered not religious enough. This is how the Taliban controlled most of Afghan in the 90s, it is how Saddam kept control of Iraq for so long; especially in his ability to perpetuate and deepen the divisions between Sunni and Shia. This is the essence of fascism for me. It is not restrained to the political, it incorporates and sometimes manifests itself through religion.
It does seem to me that if you do have a criticism of Islam, people automatically presume you’re a bit racist. That you haven’t thought it through. That either you accept this religion as a beacon of peace, or you’re racist. Personally, I happen to despise Nationalism as much as Religion. And so groups like the EDL are just as much of a cancer to me, as Islam. It seems that Islamofascism has a lot in common with Nationalist fascism and the EDL. I’m of the belief that both Nationalism and Religion hold divisive principles based on abstractions that just aren’t real. Nationalists hold the concept of some sort of nostalgic Nation above the individual. Religion uses ‘prophets’ and ‘gods’ in the same way. But essentially, both are fighting for a fairy tale, using the most vicious and oppressive methods that are abhorrent to me as a Secularist.
The fear of criticising Islam is quite widespread. Muslims tend to claim “offence” at anything slightly critical, but fail to see the irony in their own behaviour. When the Danish cartoons were published in Jyllands-Posten, the Pope criticised the Danish papers. Politicians criticised the Danish papers. The Washington Post started its column by depicting the outrage felt at the publishing of the cartoons. The real crime , was the Islamic response, including the bombing of the Danish embassy in Pakistan, 100 deaths, Hotel Jørgensen bomb explosion, and countless death threats. These people are the enemies of free thought and free speech and should be forever dismissed as such. Whilst Danish papers often satirise religious figures within the Jewish and Christian traditions, the only time violence erupted was when the paper satirised Islam. Islam likes to claim special treatment, it cannot abide criticism, it cannot abide satirisation and it certainly cannot abide freedom of speech.. The hypocrisy of the Islamic reaction to the Danish cartoons can be seen more evidently, when we examine cartoons coming out of the Islamic press:
This cartoon was printed in ‘Arab News’ an English language publication in Saudi Arabia. It is considered a moderate paper. What it shows is rats, with the Jewish star of David as eyes, running in and out of a building called “Palestine House”. Racism, propaganda, hatred and hypocrisy all in one cartoon.
Most Islamic cartoons aimed at Jewish people, show themes of Jewish blood lust and a people who wish to control the World. It is eerily similar to propaganda printed by the Nazis. Islamic countries in the Middle East (including the Palestinian Authority in Palestine, and the Islamist groups in the new Egyptian Parliament) are Fascists. Dr. Joël Kotek, a political scientist at the Free University of Brussells states of the anti-Semitic cartoons:
“The collective image of the Jews created by Arab cartoons lays the groundwork for a possibility of genocide. My collection of Arab caricatures demonstrates this. One can argue about whether these genocidal ideas are conscious or subconscious. My view is that they are still at the subconscious stage.”
- It is against this backdrop, that we must look at the Danish cartoons, and understand that they are not the issue. The issue must be a sort of Islamic sense of superiority free from criticism and satirisation.
Through fear of causing offence, there is a horrible denial that Islamofascism exists at all. And so groups like ‘Unite Against Fascism‘ pop up. The UAF is a group that opposes one sort of fascism. Nationalist fascism. Islamic fascism, which is widespread also, it tends to ignore. It ignores the attacks on free speech that Islam seems to plague us with. It is very difficult to engage with Muslims, when even a cartoon satirising a religious figure like Mohammad, is manipulated to appear like a serious racist attack. It is actually a disgrace. It is fascism. It is demanding a special place in society, above criticism. Groups like the UAF ignore this.
If you go to the UAF website and search “Tommy Robinson” the leader of the EDL, you get countless articles attacking him. And rightly so. The man is a nazi. But, if you type the name “Anjem Choudhary“, you get no results whatsoever. Choudary is one of the idiots who will refer to Muslims in war torn countries as “brothers and sisters“. It’s a rather curious sentiment, because these people didn’t seem to give a shit when Iraq was run by the Hussein crime family. Or when Afghanistan was under the heavy hand of the Taliban. I am lead to the conclusion that “brothers and sisters” is a mask. It seems to show support for individuals, yet what it is actually suggesting is that when you’re killed or tortured under a Islamic fundamentalist regime, it is fine, because you are simply a sacrifice in the name of the perpetuation of Islamic rule. Motive is important here. When Islamic regimes kill their own people and their “brothers” in the UK keep quiet, the regimes notice that they can get away with it. When Saddam took out Halabja, there was very little condemnation in Western countries. No march through London. No anti-Saddam protests. Saddam killed thousands on purpose. If an American bomb hits the wrong target, and kills innocents; suddenly Muslims in the UK come out in force against Western “imperialism“. Here is what Choudhary said on BBC Hardtalk:
Look, at the end of the day innocent people—when we say ‘innocent people’ we mean Muslims—as far as non-Muslims are concerned they have not accepted Islam and as far as we are concerned that is a crime against God.
- Now here is the problem as I see it with Islam. The Koran is so very vague, and has intense amount of contradictions, that for moderates to claim that a nut case like Choudhary is “taking the Koran out of context“, is entirely disingenuous. It goes without saying that Choudhary does not represent Islam. But his views are no more illogical or irrational than moderate Muslims. It is easy to find passages that support Choudhary’s interpretation of the Koran. It is easy to find imperialistic, war driven, hate filled diatribe within the Koran and because it is easy, it will absolutely always have Fascist support, such as that of Choudhary. Islam is an imperialistic religion. The Koran sets the tone. The Hadith follow up:
Paradise is in the shadow of the swords.
He who dies without having taking part in a campaign dies in a kind of unbelief.
A day and a night fighting on the frontier is better than a month of fasting and prayer.
- There is absolutely a very clear link between Islamic text, and Islamic violence. To deny it, is to turn our backs to the root of the problem. We then tend to fill that hole, with “George Bush” or “The West” or “Imperialism“. Let’s also not forget, that Islamic regimes are not simply standing tall against Western oppressors. I have lifted this from a blog I wrote on Palestine a few months back, but it is entirely relevant to this entry:
Fatah is a political party within the Palestinian Liberation Organisation. Even though the UN officially recognised the PLO as representative of the Palestinian people in 1974, and gave it the right to participate in debates in the Security Council, in 1976; its largest member Fatah still carried out terrorist attacks in which they took over and killed 11 people in the Savoy hotel in 1975 and the Coastal Road Massacre in 1978 killing 37 Israelis. To take over the Savoy in the centre of Tel Aviv, they threw grenades at anyone who came close, and threatened to kill all hostages unless the Israeli government released five Palestinian prisoners. The killings were planned by Khalil al-Wazir, the man who set up Fatah. Al-Wazir, who is viewed as a great martyr in Palestine, was not simply retaliating for Israeli aggression, he believed Jerusalem was divinely handed to Muslims, and that Israel had stole it from them. The problem here, is religious fundamentalism. Fatah hasn’t changed that.
Today, the Constitution of the Fatah Party states quite clearly:
12. Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.
13. Establishing an independent democratic state with complete sovereignty on all Palestinian lands, and Jerusalem is its capital city, and protecting the citizens’ legal and equal rights without any racial or religious discrimination.
- It wants Israel gone. How can a State like Israel really expect to support the Statehood of a Nation next door, who wish to see it destroyed? How is that responsible? To compare, as Abbas has done, and as many Pro-Palestine bloggers do, the Arab Spring to the Palestinian problem is not helpful and very short sighted. The Egyptian people do not wish the wipe their next door neighbours off the map. There is no mention of setting up a Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. It wants Israel gone, and Jerusalem entirely an Islamic city. It is a religious problem, nothing less.
- Fatah is Islamofascist. It isn’t the product of Western aggression. It plays the victim card perfectly. It is imperialistic by its very nature. And yet it is viewed as a force for progression and good. Its ideology does not require Western imperialism, or Israel. Its ideology is autonomous, and transcends the cultural landscape of the time, because it is firmly rooted in 7th century tribal society. Mahmoud Abbas, is not a good man.
As noted, the claim of imperialism against the West coming from Islamic writers, is also widely hypocritical. History of Islam expert Bernard Lewis, writes:
Imperialism is a particularly important theme in the Middle Eastern and principally the Islamic case, against the West. For them, the word “Imperialism” has an inimitable meaning. This word is for example, never used by Muslims of the so-called ‘great Muslim empires’ which conquered vast territories and populations and incorporated them in the “House of Islam.” It was perfectly legitimate for Muslims to conquer and rule Europe and Europeans and thus enable them to embrace the true faith. It was a crime and a sin however, for Europeans, to conquer and rule Muslims.
- In the 21st Century, there is a tendency to blame the West, for the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. As if, maybe if we be a bit nicer, it wont exist. It is again a horrible attempt to deny that the Koran contains passages that permit the use of Fascist methods of war to promote an Islamic Imperialistic agenda. The argument is not with oppression against Islamic states…. it is with anyone who attempts to block the spread of this putrid little ideology. It starts with education. It is Fascist education, in the following way. In a study into Palestinian textbooks called “From Nationalist Battle to Religious Conflict: New 12th Grade Palestinian Textbooks Present a World Without Israel”, it was found that text books in schools throughout Palestine, teach:
….repeatedly reject Israel’s right to exist, present the conflict as a religious battle for Islam, teach Israel’s founding as imperialism, and actively portray a picture of the Middle East, both verbally and visually, in which Israel does not exist at all. The following description of Israel’s founding represents the dominant dogma about Israel in Palestinian schoolbooks: Defining Israel’s founding as a “catastrophe unprecedented in history,” “a theft perpetrated by “Zionist gangs,” together with numerous other hateful descriptions of Israel as “colonial imperialist” and “racist”, compounded by the presentation of the conflict as a religious war, leaves no latitude for students to have positive or even neutral attitudes towards Israel. This negative imagery and religious packaging are compounded by hateful presentations of Israeli policy. The young students are imbued with a Palestinian identity as “victims” just by virtue of Israel’s existence. The well-meaning student is left with no logical justification or religious option to accept Israel as a neighbor or to seek coexistence. Given the total rejection of Israel’s right to exist, on nationalistic and religious grounds, Palestinian terror against Israel since Israel’s founding in 1948 is defined as: “resistance … acts of most glorious heroism.” PA educators teach that fighting Israel is not merely a territorial conflict, but also a religious battle for Islam. The schoolbooks define the conflict with Israel as “Ribat for Allah” – “one of the actions related to Jihad for Allah, and it means: Being found in areas where there is a struggle between Muslims and their enemies”
This has absolutely nothing to do with the West. We may have funded fundamentalists in the past for short sighted anti-communist reasons. We may have trained them. And we are responsible for encouraging their growth. We did not create them. The victim card, the refusal to accept you might be to blame at all, is very Fascist because it helps add credit to the notion that your cause is ‘right’ and those on the outside must be wrong. It is actually a tactic the EDL use often. To add to that, the education that promotes a victim-like mentality, does so in conjunction with promoting hatred, in the above case toward the Jewish people. An easy target. Create a false enemy to rally a mass movement. Fascist reasoning. And i’m sure you do not need me to point out the obvious link between the suggestion of a sort of Jewish conspiracy, and the literature coming out of 1930s Germany.
My intense lack of respect for Islam (note; not a lack of respect for individual muslims. I believe you should be free to practice your faith in private whenever you wish, regardless of the Country you reside) stems from the apparent demand for respect, without actually offering a reason why it should be respected especially when the passages concerning the fate of nonbelievers such as myself are so insulting and offensive anyway. How dare Islam demand respect from me, when it condemns me to horrific eternal punishment simply for my lack of faith:
Allah has, surely, cursed the disbelievers, and has prepared for them a blazing fire,
Wherein they will abide forever. They will find therein no friend, nor helper.
Sura 33:65 – 66
We shall let them live for a while and then shall drag them to the scouge of the fire.
Allah is an enemy to unbelievers.
Now, I didn’t ask to be made the enemy of ‘Allah’. He made it that way. And so I have to ask, why on Earth should I respect my enemy? He apparently has nothing but eternal torture for me, which is perfectly fine (the rather pathetic excuse from Muslims about these passages is; “Well you don’t believe in Hell, so it doesn’t matter“…. the fact that billions of people who don’t know me, think I deserve eternal punishment is disgusting enough, thank you) but if you draw a cartoon, you’re offensive? What a crock of shit. It goes on too. Unbeliever bigotry: 2:85, 2:154, 2:114, 2:162, 2:175, 2:24, 3:12, 3:19. Respect it? No. It is a disgrace. It is a cancer. Taught to kids, it perpetuates division. It is no different to anti-Semitic Nazi literature. One must note that Islamic fascism – that is, Islam based fundamentally on the teachings of the Koran – is poisonous.
I think it is important for anti-fascist groups to step up and not be afraid to speak out against all varieties of fascism. The EDL represent a Nationalist fascism. They are the product of a World system based on the continual tug of war between the concept and culture of previously devised pre-capitalist Nation States and the concept of Capitalism itself. People like Choudhary and in fact, most modern Muslims to one extent (whether they claim offense at any criticism, thus attacking the very foundation of freedom of speech, or they promote widely fundamentalist Islamic principles) are the product of an outdated Holy book that preaches imperialism and war at its very core. Nationalist Fascism exists. We must distinguish between those who are proud to be a certain Nationality, and those who promote Nationalist Fascist agendas. Similarly, it must be said that Islamofascism exists too. We must distinguish between those Muslims who are simply privately practising their faith, and those who wish to promote a mixing of Islam and politics; these are fascists. Those of us who consider ourselves children of the enlightenment, should be vigilant against both vicious menaces.