Left and Islam
(Gilad.uk.co) -- by Gilad Atzmon --
...In the West we can detect two ideological components that compete for our hearts and minds; both claim to know what is ‘wrong’ and who is ‘right’. The Liberal would insist on praising individual liberty and civil equality; the Leftist would tend to believe that he or she possesses a ‘social scientific’ tool, helping to identify who is ‘progressive’ and who is ‘reactionary’.
As things stand, it is these two modernist-secularist precepts that have taken on the role of acting as our Western political-ethical guards. But in fact, they have achieved precisely the opposite: Each ideology in its own peculiar way has led us to a state of moral blindness, for it is these two so-called ‘humanist’ calls that have either consciously prepared the ground for criminal interventionalist colonial wars (the Liberal), or, have failed to effectively halt or oppose them while employing confused, ineffectual ideologies and faulty arguments (the Left).
Both Liberal and Left in their apparently banal Western (English speaking) forms suggest that secularism is the answer for the world's ailments, and without a doubt, Western secularism may indeed be a remedy for some aspects of a Western social malaise.
However, what many of the proponents of Western Liberal and Left ideologies typically fail to understand, is that that secularism is itself a natural outcome of Christian culture, i.e., a direct product of Christian tradition and openness towards an independent civic existence. In the West, the spiritual and the civil sphere are largely separated . It is this very division that enabled the rise of secularity and the discourse of rationality. It is this very division that also led to the birth of a secular ethical value system in the spirit of enlightenment and modernism.
But this very division led also to the rise of some blunt forms of fundamental-secularism that matured into crude anti religious worldviews that are no different from bigotry. And it is actually that very misleading fundamental secularism that brought the West to a total dismissal of a billion human beings ‘out there,’ just because they wear the wrong scarf, or happen to believe in something we fail to grasp.
Progressive vs. Regressive
Islam and Judaism, unlike Christianity, are tribally orientated belief systems. Rather than ‘enlightened individualism,’ it is actually the survival of the extended family that is at the core interest of those two belief systems. The Taliban that is regarded by most Westerners as the ultimate worst possible, and darkest political setting, is simply not concerned at all with issues to do with personal liberties or personal rights -- It is the safety of the tribe together with the maintenance of family values in the light of the Qur’an that stands at its core. And Rabbinical Judaism is no different at all: It is basically there to preserve the Jewish tribe by maintaining Judaism as a ‘way of life’.
In both Islam and Judaism there is hardly a separation between the spiritual and the civil. Both religions stand as systems that provide thorough answers in terms of spiritual, civil, cultural and day to day matters. Jewish enlightenment (Haskalah) was largely a process of Jewish assimilation through secularization and emancipation, and spawned various modern forms of Jewish identities, Zionism included. Yet Enlightenment values of universalism have never been incorporated into the body of Jewish orthodoxy. As in the case of Rabbinical Judaism, which is totally foreign to the spirit of Enlightenment, Islam is largely estranged to those values of Euro centric Modernism and rationality. If anything, due to the interpretation of the Scriptures (hermeneutic), both Islam and Judaism are actually closer to the spirit of post modernity .
Neither the various Leftist ideologies nor Liberalism engage intellectually or politically with these two religions. And this fact is disastrous, for the biggest current threat to world peace is posed by the Israeli-Arab conflict; a conflict rapidly becoming a war between a Jewish expansionist state and Islamic resistance.
And yet, both the Liberal and the Left ideologies are lacking the necessary theoretical means to understand the complexities of Islam and Judaism -- The Liberals would dismiss Islam as ‘sinister’ because of its approach to human rights and women in particular, whilst the Left would fall into the trap of denouncing religions in general as ‘reactionary’.
But maybe without realizing it, both Liberals and the Left are falling here, into a clearly supremacist argument, for both Islam and Judaism are more than just religions: they convey an entire ‘way of life,’ and stand as a thorough attempt to answer crucial questions regarding being in the world -- in dismissing them therefore, the Western Lib-Left are in danger of a complete dismissal of a large chunk of humanity .
I recently accused a genuine Leftist and a good activist of being an Islamophobe for blaming Hamas for being ‘reactionary’. The activist, who is evidently a true supporter of Palestinian resistance was quick to defend himself claiming that it wasn’t only ‘Islamism’ that he didn’t like, he actually equally hated Christianity and Judaism.
For some reason, he was sure that hating every religion equally was a ‘proper humanist qualification’, but the fact that an Islamophobe also considers himself a Judeophobe and Christiano-phobe is not necessarily a sign of a humanist commitment. I kept challenging that good man; he then argued that it was actually Islamism (i.e., political Islam) which he didn’t approve of. I challenged him again, and bringing to his attention the fact that in Islam, there is no real separation between the spiritual and the political: The notion of political Islam (Islamism) may as well be a Western delusional reading of Islam. I pointed out that Political Islam, and even the rare implementation of ‘armed jihad’, are merely Islam in practice.
Sadly enough, this was more or less the end of the discussion --The Palestinian solidarity campaigner found it too difficult to cope with the Islamic unity of body and soul.
The Left in general is doomed to fail here, unless it grasps the organic Islamic bond between the ‘material’ and the so called ‘opium of the masses’. And for the Leftist to do so, it will be nothing less than a major intellectual shift...MORE...LINK
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