First posted: 8 July 2010
The EDL’s - and everybody else’s - ‘Islamophobia’ has been ‘engendered from the top’, says Tariq Ali. I didn’t know that. Did you know that? I’m glad Master Tariq has enlightened us ‘bout that cos he be wise, man. Anyway. I thought it was the Jews. Or the ‘neocons’. Or the ‘neoliberals’… All the people who think for the EDL and control the EDL; but don’t think or control the wise souls of far leftists, such as Ali. For the latter be wise and clever. They all went to university, you know. Some even went to Balliol College, Oxford. How can they possibly be wrong about these things?
Perhaps it is the Trots who really want to think for the EDL and others and control the EDL and others. Only they would substitute ‘Islamophobia’ with Trotskyism or Islamism. That would be good thought-control. You know, the kind the Central Committee of the Socialist Workers Party exercises over first-year university students from the Home Counties.
Of course, at other times it isn’t those ‘at the top’ who control the EDL’s thought processes, it’s the BNP. Oh well. As long as Tariq Ali doesn’t make the fatal mistake of thinking that the EDL and its members control their own thought processes. We couldn’t have that because that would mean that Ali and the like would actually need to engage or debate with us. And if they did that, they'd be fucked!
Tariq Ali goes further into this strange world of ‘false consciousness’ and claims that ‘Islamophobia’ is ‘useful for the authorities’. Really? Which authorities? The police authorities in Birmingham who have just backed down because of Muslim threats of ‘civil unrest’ if they didn’t remove the CCTVs (which were being used in areas which had the highest rate of terrorist convictions in the UK)? Or the council authorities which will arrest you for farting outside a mosque and call it a ‘hate crime’? Or the numerous press authorities which will never criticise Islam, the Koran or Mohammed but do indeed criticise Islamic terrorists and Islamist militants – which is precisely what Ali means by an ‘Islamophobic media’ – a media which dare criticise Islamist terrorists and militants, not ‘ordinary Muslims’.
He also says that the ‘authorities’ like ‘to keep their own populations worried’. Not those mindless or brainless populations again! Why shouldn’t they be worried anyway? Why shouldn’t 9/11, Bali, Madrid, 7/7, Glasgow, as well as the many other deaths which are due to the Global Jihad, worry people? If they aren't worth worrying about, what is? Oh yes! That’s right. The EDL are worth worrying about because of the many bombings and killings it has carried out. Yes, the EDL is far worse than the Taliban. Perhaps this is why Ali doesn’t include a single criticism of the Taliban, al-Qaeda, etc. in his article; yet it has many blanket condemnations of all things ‘Western’ and ‘capitalist’. Why criticise the Taliban and al-Qaeda anyway? They are the mere mindless epiphenomena 'of Western imperialism' and 'Israeli crimes'. And that’s why the Islamic Jihad has been going on for over 1,400 years… Urm.
Ali cites yet more imperialist and capitalist epiphenomena – the rioting and belligerent French Muslims. It is not their fault that ‘they build barricades’ and riot because, like the EDL, like the ‘populations’, they too are victims of something else. Only far leftists like Ali can truly think for themselves. The rest of us are mere stooges of neo-liberalism or Jews or capitalism or…. Except that the mindless EDL are castigated for being mindless. Mindless French Muslims are not castigated.
The Platonic Media
Tariq Ali says that after the July bombings in London all we heard was ‘Islam, Islam, Islam, Islam’. Really? All I heard, from Blair, etc., and even from George Bush, was: Not Islam, not Islam, not Islam. Islam was never found guilty by the platonic Media or Press for these bombings. Islamic terrorists were found guilty. Is that the same thing to Tariq Ali? Is criticism of Islamic terrorism the same as ‘Islam, Islam, Islam’ to him? Thus, is he really talking about the criticism of everyday ‘moderate’ Muslims or is he actually talking about criticism of any Muslims – in this case, even Islamic terrorists?
Ali and the far left accuse the EDL and others of conflating ordinary Muslims with Islamic terrorists when in actual fact it is they who are doing this. To these Trots criticism of Islamic terrorists and militants is deemed to be criticism of all Muslims. (After all, Islamic terrorists are mere epiphenomena of capitalism, imperialist wars, etc.)
The Neocon Conspiracy
Did you know that New Labour were ‘neocon apologists’? I didn’t know that. Tariq Ali is enlightening us with his paranoid and conspiratorial leftist fantasies. All of us think that politics is dreadfully complicated. It’s not. It’s all about capitalism, imperialism, neo-liberalism and the Jewish/Zionist conspiracy. And, in a sense, all these things can themselves be boiled down to… well, capitalism or imperialism. The great simplicity and comfort of the far left’s monocausal explanations. We need not ever be in the dark again. The neo-liberals did it!
Jews and Muslims
It is interesting to hear Tariq Ali talking about the anti-Semitism in this article. He says that the
"arguments that have been used against [Muslims] are very similar to those used against the Jews in the first half of the last century."
Doesn’t Ali mean the arguments that are used by Islamists and far leftists today? More than anyone, even more than the far right, the far left and the Islamists are responsible for today’s anti-Semitism. Yet Ali has the audacity to talk about early-20th century anti-Semitism and compare it today’s fictional Islamophobia. The hatred and monomania of the Islamists and Trots against Israel and the Jews is just as bad as any early-20th century anti-Semitism; yet Ali doesn’t even mention today’s anti-Semitism – which is almost the sole preserve of far leftists and Islamists. The type of people who Ali will know and be friends with. No wonder he keeps quiet about today’s anti-Semitism because this time it is his friends on the far left, as well as the Islamists, who are responsible - not the Nazis of yore.
So we don’t need any lessons on anti-Semitism from a far leftist and a friend of Islamism. Unless Islamist anti-Semitism is epiphenomenal (the result of imperialism, etc.), whereas Nazi anti-Semitism was just plain evil! Is far-leftist anti-Semitism epiphenomenal too, I wonder?
And if it’s just a question of ‘hostility to people of different cultures’, why isn't the EDL against Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, and God knows who else? No. It’s not a question of ‘different cultures’. It’s a question of a single culture – Islamic culture, whether or not it is a ‘monolithic bloc’. Muslims do not constitute a ‘monolithic block’ – but, in a sense, Islam does. After all, Islam is the Koran, when all is said and done. And the Koran is a pretty obscene and hateful book. So the EDL can happily accept that Muslims are ‘a huge gap of ordinary people, some believers, some non-believers’, without softening its attitude to the Koran and Islam itself. Indeed, without softening its position on Islamist militants and Islamic terrorists.
Having the Wrong Reasons for Bringing About Good
It’s not just the EDL and other Islamophobes that Ali’s against. He’s also against others on the left (i.e. the wrong kind of leftist), as well as Greens. He is against:
i) ‘Some [leftists] criticising Amnesty International’s defence of political prisoners from Guantanamo.’
ii) ‘Many German Greens’ – the ones who said ‘that the war in Afghanistan was justifiable because we were going in to liberate women.’
These leftists and Greens are naïve. That is, they aren't Trots. They ain't got an ornate edifice of theory which towers above all that is actual and real. Thus you cannot criticise the prisoners of Guantanomo because they are brown, anti-Western and also the mere epiphenomena of the underlying evil of imperialism, etc. You cannot liberate Afghanistani women because they are brown and not white and also because the liberation was carried out by Western soldiers on the behest of the ‘neocons’ or the ‘neoliberals’ or the neosomethings. Not only that. Taliban brutality towards brown women is yet another case of mere epiphenomena above the more important reality of Western imperialism, etc. Not only that again. It ‘wasn’t a war to liberate women in Afghanistan’. Thus, even if the US did liberate Afghan women, it would still have been wrong and the Trots would still have been against it. That is, the women of Afghanistan who were liberated, and indeed many were liberated in those early days of the war, were liberated by the wrong people. Thus they shouldn't have been liberated at all! Exactly the same argument was used when the US liberated the Iraqis from the psycho, Saddam Hussein. That was wrong simply because the Americans did it. If Hezbollah, Hamas or some Trots had liberated the Iraqis, that would have been OK. Of course no Trot or Islamist would have ever even tried to liberate the Iraqis from Saddam Hussein. Ali even implies that it was not entirely a good thing that the Jews were freed from Nazi concentration camps because the ‘Second World War was [not] a war to liberate the Jews from Hitler’. It was a war to ‘preserve and defend Western interests’. In any case, I don’t believe many ‘Westerners’ actually claimed that it was solely a war to liberate the Jews. So what is Ali actually saying here? If I accidentally come across an unexploded bomb, should I leave it there because I wasn’t actually looking for unexploded bombs?
More Hijab Stuff
Tariq Ali says that
"many young women who wear the hijab aren’t even religious – they do it because they’re told they can’t do it."
So Ali agrees with the EDL! That’s what we’ve been saying all along. Hijab-wearing has little to do with religion or female ‘modesty’. It a sign of the woman's commitment to Islamism and in some cases even sympathy for Islamic terrorists. It’s also a fashion statement for many girls in Birmingham and other places. They think they look both exotic and sexy. And it’s also an identity statement which says: Look! I’m totally different from all those white kuffar slags. (Even though three weeks earlier these ‘Muslimahs’ might well have been brown Muslim slags.) In any case, if it were all about modesty, why do they also wear stilettos, makeup and glamorous fashionable clothes alongside their hijab? Why don’t they go the whole way and wear the burka or niqab? They would be no point in wearing makeup then; though they could keep their leopard-skin thongs on.
That’s the reality of Ali’s ‘cultural response’ to being told not to wear a hijab. If Christian men were told not to jump off tower blocks, would that encourage the ‘cultural response’ of loads of Christian men throwing themselves off tower blocks?
*) The Socialist Worker article: