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Islamism and the “Left”

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What’s this notion that the “Left” has been blind to Islamic radicalism? In the 80s, leftists like Noam Chomsky, Andrew Kopkind and many others warned that arming the Islamic extremists in Afghanistan, and supporting the fundamentalist Zia dictatorship in Pakistan, would fuel religious based terrorism.

They were attacked as Communist dupes and America haters. Then, when their prophecies came true, and they reminded everyone of this after 9/11, they were attacked as Islamist dupes and America haters.

As William Blum and others have pointed out, you can regard the funding of the Afghan jihad as one of the greatest armings of a terrorist network in the history of the world. Islamic radicals took the CIA training manuals and weapons we gave them, and proceeded to promote Islamic extremism and terrorism in Egypt, Algeria, Pakistan, and numerous other countries. The U.S. looked the other way, in part because these Islamists were often fighting secular Arab nationalism, which the U.S. opposed.

As any idiot could have foreseen, once the Soviet Union collapsed, the Islamists trained their sights on their other Great Satan, the United States. As they always said they would.

The Soviet Union may have essentially created Islamic extremism by invading Afghanistan and suppressing its own Muslim populations, but it was the U.S. that funded and greatly, greatly inflamed it.

I think that’s very relevant to any discussion of how to fight Islamist intolerance these days.

Another canard is that the European left is finally “waking up” to the Islamist threat, as evidenced by actions like the French ban on the veil in public schools. Again, total bullshit. France has long been a secularist society, one where leftists and liberals have demanded that religion be subordinate to the state. (This is the so-called doctrine of “laicite,” one I do not share.)

Muslims in Europe are subject to fierce persecution and hatred, far worse than anything that exists (so far) in the U.S. It is this persecution that helps fuel the desperate nihilism among Muslim youth.

Critics who attack what they call “the Left” should head down to the library and get their facts straight. I’m sick of being scapegoated by people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

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About mike larkin

  • mike

    And, of course, I’m forgetting my all time favorite: invading a secular Arab country like Iraq to fight Islamism, only to watch Islamism be greatly strengthened in said Arab country. Like, DUH!

  • Shark

    Mike, excellent points.


    The late-great comedian Bill Hicks had a bit:

    “Man, they’ve got some awesome weapons!”

    “How do you know?”

    “We looked at the receipts.”

  • mike

    But it’s also important to keep in mind that Islamism is an autonomously evil force, regardless of where it came from. And it flourishes and morphs in conditions of military struggle and repression.

    As many, many studies have suggested, the best way to fight it is to expand civil liberties and promote moderate Islam. That sounds counter-intuitive to some people, but the facts seem to support it.