It is strange that despite the massive amount of evidence, documentation, analysis, history, etc. which shows us that Islam and democracy are severely at odds with one another, ‘progressive’ Muslims say that this can only be but a typical response from the Western ‘orientalist’. (This term was more or less coined by Edward Said to designate all Westerners who claimed that all Muslim or Islamic countries are fundamentally at odds with the West. Or, alternatively, it’s sometimes hard to decipher in Said himself, ‘orientalists’ are those who see Islamic and Arab states as the mirror-images of the West and thus see these states and individuals through West-tinted spectacles.)
One contemporary Muslim Saidian had these critical words to say about the ‘orientalist’ belief that Islam and democracy are severely at odds with each other:
‘… orientalists who continue to maintain that Islam and democracy are mutually incompatible… and ironically, that they are supported in this view by a small but vocal minority of Islamist militants who claim that democratic values have no place in Islam.’
Apart from the fact that such ‘progressive’ Muslims are themselves a ‘small but vocal minority’, and often very well educated members of the middle classes (who have often also studied and lived in the West, just like Edward Said himself and the oncoming Tariq Ramadan!), you can immediately say that it’s not just ‘Islamist militants’ who think this way about Islam, but the majority of Muslims – many of whom just don’t have the education that the Muslim quoted above has to state their views about their own sincere ‘conservative Islam’.
This raises the question of racism (or ‘orientalism’). On the one hand, the anti-orientalist above is saying that it is racist (or ‘orientalist’) for Westerners to ‘simply assume’ (as if they do such a thing) that Islam and democracy ‘are mutually incompatible’. The claim seems to be the orientalists believe that Arabs and Muslims are racially incapable, as it were, of democracy.
However, I think the opposite may well be the case. Isn’t it racist (or orientalist) to think that every other culture, including Islamic or Muslim ones, is basically ‘the same as us’? Even more precisely than that. Isn’t it racist or orientalist to believe that every other culture and individual basically wants to embrace what is essentially a Western phenomenon – representative liberal democracy? Now isn’t that racist?
Why should every culture be essentially, or at heart, democratic in nature? That simply doesn’t make sense. It like the Trotskyists who think it is wrong to question the assumption that the Arabs who are rebelling throughout the Arab world today basically want a Revolution in their (Trot) sense of the word and even what Justice and Freedom in exactly the same way in which a lecturer or professor who’s a member of the SWP wants Revolution, Justice and Freedom (hence the platonic capitals). To think that of all Muslims or Arabs is racist; and to deny that they may have profoundly different views about democracy, and even freedom and justice, is also racist.
In other words, the SWP, as well as the anti-orientalists of our more politically-hip universities, are essentially doing or believing what the colonists of yore did or thought. They believed that all ‘foreign Johnnies’ would benefit from, and grow to love, the systems of government we imposed on - or gave - them. The Leftists, on the other had, rather than imposing systems of government, are in a sense imposing Leftist, therefore Western, modes of thought and belief on Arabs and Muslims.
The trick, instead, is to be a culturalist rather than a racist. That is, to accept the blatantly obvious fact that cultures can often be, and often are, literally worlds apart. And to think otherwise is itself a kind of racism. The belief that, say, all Arab or Muslims are like SWP lecturers or professors who live in Islington or Hackney is clearly absurd. Indeed these Marxists seem to have suspended that essential Marxist belief that just as class is taken to fundamentally affect ‘consciousness’ and belief, so culture can do so too. Yet the SWP and the rest are denying such a thing when it comes to Muslims and Arabs, just as the earlier anti-orientalist seems to reject even the possibility that Arab and Muslim cultures may be fundamentally against representative democracy, liberalism, etc.
Islamist Progressives: Tariq Ramadan and Salma Yaqoob
[Left: Tariq 'two faces' Ramadan, telling us that Islam and democracy are basically the same thing; just like the claim 'Islam is peace' really. Right: Salma Yaqoob being obscenely sincere and deeply concerned. She likes being photographed by the kuffar and non-progressive. It shows us how well she can affect sincerity and deep concern. What a supreme actress this woman is. Her favourite phrase is: 'Vote for me! Please.']
Tariq Ramadan, to take another ‘progressive’ Muslim (or progressive Islamist?), pits himself, rather deceitfully, against what he claims to see as the despotism of Muslim or Arab states. That is, these states, whether Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Saudi Arabia and even Pakistan, are not despotic because of Islam but because… well, because they’re Arabic? Nationalist? Allied to the West? Capitalist? Who knows?
What I do know is that Ramadan’s position against the Arab autocracies is identical to the position of the Islamists and indeed of the Muslim Brotherhood (which his grandfather, Hassan al-Banna founded and his father later led). This is the kind of taqiyya many Leftists and Liberals are falling for at present in the cases of Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, etc. That is, they think that these terrible despotisms have nothing really to do with Islam at all. They are, in fact, the result of nationalism, or being too closely allied to the West, or of being capitalist, etc.
What we have to realise is that these regimes have indeed incorporated many aspects of Islam into their governments. Indeed how could they not do so considering the fact that they are Arabic and Muslim regimes which belong to countries which have been Islamic or Muslim for well over a thousand years?
The problem is that the Islamists, and perhaps Ramadan himself, think they are not Islamic enough. And, low and behold, the lie being sold to the West, particularly to Leftists and gullible liberals, is that these countries would be more democratic, tolerant and respectful of human rights if they were more, not less, Islamic. What an incredibly audacious deceit the Islamists are attempting to pull on us! If anything, these states, whether Egypt, Algeria and even Libya, would be infinitely worse, in terms of just about everything, from human rights to economic wealth, if the Islamists took over.
A year after the Iranian Islamists took over in 1979, were things better in terms of human rights, liberty and even economics? Of course not! Were things better after General Zia thoroughly Islamised Pakistan in 1979? No. They were a hell of a lot worse - at least on the terms of Western democrats, if not for Islamists themselves and even Western Leftists. Did the Sudan improve when it was Islamised in 1983 and Islamised again in 1989? Somalia? Islamisation has turned that godforsaken country into a massive hellhole.
So Islamist rhetoric against the Arab autocracies has to be seen for what it is: a desire to substitute one kind of autocracy and hell for another kind of autocracy and hell. And for the Tariq Ramadans and the anti-orientalists amongst us who hint otherwise, that hint must be seen for what it is – Islamic taqiyya.
Ramadan is simply using the classic Muslim Brotherhood strategy. That of soft-soaping the middle classes and the ‘intellectuals’ with bollocks about democracy and freedom, as well as using democracy, and even using Western democracies, against themselves to establish, in the end, an Islamic state – just as the rather more fearsome Islamist radicals with guns and longer beards who prefer to establish Islamic states with outright military jihad rather than taqiyya and the infiltration of democracies.
This Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist position on democracy, and in some cases on Western democracies, is exactly the same as the position as the Trotskyists and Communists within Western democracies who work from inside the system - all the better to destroy that system (like Galloway, Red Ken, etc.).
Here in Birmingham, we have a perfect example that fuses Islamist, or Muslim Brotherhood, strategies of deceit and destroying the system from within, with Trotskyist strategise of deceit and destroying the system from with. Her name is Salma Yaqoob, and she is the leader of the IslamoTrot party Respect. Indeed she is a good example of that new breed – the IslamoTrot, who fuses all that’s bad in Islamism with all that’s bad in Trotskyism. However, above and beyond that fusion is the fact that both Trotskyists and Islamists want to destroy Western ‘capitalism’, along with every Zionist and ‘right winger’ on the planet. And both are of course deeply totalitarian in nature. No wonder Islamism can fuse with Trotskyism. And no wonder some people can fuse their Trotskyism with their Islamism.
So it’s not strange at all that Tariq Ramadan, just like Salma Yaqoob (as well as Red Ken, George Galloway, etc.) encourages Muslims to make the most of the rights of citizenship which Western states, rather suicidally, confer on every type of Muslim.
Ramadan champions democracy in exactly the same manner in which the Muslim Brotherhood has always championed democracy (despite some temporary hiatuses): as a means to destroy Western democracy and install Islamic states. After all, this is not conjecture or a conspiracy theory on my part because the Muslim Brotherhood has always explicitly and honestly stated that its aim is to establish Islamic states and Islamic supremacy - at one and the same time as endorsing democracy as a means to do so. The fact that many Trotskyists and gullible liberals have not seen this blatant strategy of deceit says more about them than it says about the deceitful nature of the Brothers.
This fundamental deceit about democracy is stretched even more by Tariq Ramadan, and indeed by the Muslim Brotherhood, in that it has enabled him to distance himself from all those radical Islamist groups with longer beards and guns and thus portray himself, or his beliefs, as the embodiment, in Islam, of democracy. The Muslim Brotherhood, for example, has pitted itself against the Islamist radicals in many Arabic countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Algeria, Palestine (despite Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas violence) and elsewhere.
Much has been also said about Ramadan’s position on Muslim integration in the West. However, on top of the fact that this academic writes quite deliberately obscure prose (as a stratagem of Islamic taqiyya), he has also said that such integration ‘will be on our terms’. Now that could just about obliterate everything that was potentially good about Ramadan’s Muslim intergrationism (to use the type of term that an ‘intellectual’ like Ramadan would probably be keen on). In other words, if integration is exclusively on ‘Muslim terms’, then it ain’t integration at all! It’s like saying that I am prepared to be democratically elected, as long as everyone is forced to vote for me.
Ramadan, who has a severe case of forked-tongue and is also a supreme taqiyya merchant if ever there was one, is here, as elsewhere, playing games with us. And he thinks he can get away with his Islamist project by coming out with very muddy prose, fluffy stuff about multiculturalism and Embracing Diversity (yes, of course he has picked up the jargon), along with a whole host of near-nonsensical academese. In other words, the sort of stuff which only ever goes down well at the more politically-hip universities in the United States and perhaps at Respect meetings and InterFaith jamborees in the UK.