I often find myself on the borders of getting sucked into a debate online about how christianity and christians are ‘just as bad as islam/muslims’ any time the topic of islam comes up, usually around a terrorist attack which seems to bring the regressive left islam-defending knee-jerkers out in spades before they forget for a while and go back to their US-politics-absorbed lives. The feeling of being pulled into these debates is like circling the drain, with a bit of being back in the third grade mixed in, and I am usually left with a bitter taste in my mouth when I am dealing with what I consider the ‘uninitiated’ in terms of the youngest version of abrahamic depravity.
The simple conclusion I’ve come to about people who want to shut down any criticism of islam by saying that this that or the other is ‘just as bad’ is that they are simply opportunists using islam as part of their leftist political identity in order to be an irritant to those on the right, but that beyond this manipulation of a sect of over a billion human beings for their own political purposes they really couldn’t care less about islam or people affected by it. The main evidence of this is that these folks never, ever speak up in defense of apostates of islam, people who risk their lives to leave the religion of their birth. In fact it is usually the case that people who launch into the ‘but christianity’ debates don’t even know the definition of apostasy, which is the renunciation of one’s religious belief of birth, or the penalties for it in various islamic theocracies. Here is a map of countries that punish apostasy by death, (also, a map of where people think the death penalty is reasonable for leaving islam).
Apostasy is not even a topic in christian countries so it almost always comes as a surprise to people that such countries exist in which people can be put to death for leaving islam. People are put to death for a lot more than that in theocracies of course, especially females who are suspected of breeding outside of approved racial and religious genetic lines (abrahamic fundamentalist religions are essentially racial purity religions but no one likes to talk about it in those terms). In their devotion to racist eugenics, the families of women so accused often kill their family member for even the suggestion that non-approved sperm has been let into (or anywhere near) the religion-sanctified line of patrilineal-succession-only genetic material. In keeping with the high standards of all good religious propaganda operations this is referred to under the woefully ironic terminology of ‘honor crimes’. Most leftists have at least a vague familiarity with the definition of ‘honor’ murder though as time goes on they will probably become less willing to speak against them as it is so politically incorrect to say anything in defense of the victims of islamofascist depravity currently.
There are many, many activists all over the islamic world that are trying to reform their communities and draw them out of the dark ages that abrahamic fundamentalism always visits on any culture diseased by it (for it is not wedded to any chronology but is a human maladaptation having force-bred itself into a culture & continues to spread by conquest). They are the bravest people on the face of the earth right now and many are forced into exile in other countries because they would not live very long in their countries of origin if they tried to stay and do activist work there. Many face threat of death from their own families if they were to stay and try to do activist work where they were born, others are fortunate enough to have families who love them but who nonetheless don’t understand their motivations.
I grew up idolizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his work in the civil rights movement in the United States until he was assassinated. Every single one of these MENA activists is another Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, facing the same threats he faced every day as they fight a system that would gleefully see them dead any day of the week. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one of the most famous and she has to travel with security every day of her life. When Dutch film-maker Theo Van Gogh was murdered for their film critical of Islam, a note pinned to his clothing predicted her murder would be next. Hirsi Ali grew up muslim and was a victim of female genital mutilation, and has to fear for her life every day, yet she continues to speak out bravely for the victims of islamist abrahamic fundamentalism, despite the risk to her own safety. As a child and teenager in school I was taught to admire brave activists who fight for human rights, for women’s rights, for, literally, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There is no one on the planet right now fighting harder for these things than apostates and reformers of islam, MENA secularists and moderate muslims who want to live in a world of peace and civility, some who have left their religion and others who reform their religion from within. My personal viewpoint is that it is a travesty when progressives and leftists fail these people, when we throw our support behind religious conservative islamofascists who would legislate out of existence democracy if given even half a chance.
Many MENA activists accuse western leftists and progressives of racism, of cultural relativism, of what they have called ‘the soft-bigotry of low expectations’ when they refuse to accept that the muslim world has its fascists and it’s progressives, it’s right and left wings just like western political demographics, and of course they are right. Unfortunately many progressives simply do not care what our progressive counterparts in the islamic world think, because the truth is those progressives are simply using muslims in a manipulative way, filtering a people through the lens of US politics, supporting every flavor of islam that appears on the scene or screen because it falls in line with their ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ philosophy; they are exploiting islam to offend the right wing in US politics, and they care little about people suffering under islamofascism, because that is not conducive to their western political goals. In doing so they are betraying people who desperately need their support, the leftists and progressives of MENA countries, because it is simply not expedient to these western progressives to support a complex, nuanced understanding of the issues that these secularists, activists, apostates and reformers of islam confront while facing down threats that few in the west have any concept of or experience with.
Maybe it is because I am from Appalachia that I always think back to that famous folk song “Whose Side Are You On” sung by Hazel Dickens, which talked about coal miners battling the company bosses and their company-paid armies (hired to keep the striking miners in line). It makes me sick to see leftists and progressives so eager to exploit muslims for their own political goals without giving any investigation to just who they are standing behind and why. I think it is safe to say that secularist and progressive muslim reformers, ex-muslims and apostates are pretty exasperated right now with this massive and unforgivable failure of leftists in western countries to draw a line in the sand between good and evil, between progressive values and fascist ones, in order to put forward a reactionary political view that holds islam as benign simply because the right wing so opposes it. This is the first time in my life I’ve found western leftists and progressives to be profoundly reactionary and it has me questioning if perhaps I’ve somehow missed this tendency in the past. In any event, I know whom I support, and that is the very brave people in these communities that support democratic, progressive principles, not fascism and theocracy, and risk their lives to fight for what we in the west take for granted. The regressive-leftist insistence that the muslim diaspora is one big conglomerate without individuating characteristics is no less racist than saying that all people of one race or another look the same.
Copyright 2017 Starshine Kerr. All Rights Reserved.