Slaves of Allah or Slaves of Humanity? Don’t Be Uncritical of Muslim Reformers & Apostates
There are a lot of people who are very open-minded by the standards of the Islam they left, or the Islam to which they wish to provide an alternative, but who actually either:
A. Retain a few very stubborn remnants of bigotry, narrowmindedness or hatred; just for different targets!
B. Still earnestly crave a panacea or solution that ties up every loose end; just a different one from Islam, that’s all.
C. Maintain an unhealthy respect for authority and paternalism; perhaps from enlightened governments, rather than from clerics.
Hence Max Scheler’s ‘zeal of the apostate,’ in his classic text ‘Ressentiment.’ Witness Nietzsche’s mockery of Tertullian’s exultatation at the torments of the damned; Tertullian was not the first, and he will certainly not be the last.
There are those among us in this world today, who have finally escaped loyalty to Allah; only to find their true servitude in the service of ‘Humanity,’ ‘the Proletariat,’ or ‘The Global Village.’
The choice between Humanitarianism and Jihad is ultimately a false dilemma.
So also the choice between Cosmopolitanism, Globalism, Internationalism and Jihad.
One day, they will overturn the rock.
And they will find that we, the beetles and the cockroaches of this world, are an invincible army’s ‘Legion’ in the Eternal Struggle of Ideas.
There should be critical solidarity and support for people like Maajid Nawaz of Quilliam Foundation, or M. Zuhdi Jasser of the Gatestone Institute, who is the President and Founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy.
However, the soft bigotry of low expectations, of multicultural/moral relativist notoriety, can also be found in one’s treatment of Muslim reformers or renewers; as well as ex-Muslims, i.e. ‘murtads’ or ‘apostates.’
This is no good.
One must hold everyone to the same standards; one must judge one’s friends and allies rigorously, and not one’s enemies and adversaries alone.
Here are a few limitations I have noticed among the demographics or groups that I am discussing here.
1. Establishment Video Games
There are those who support humanitarian aggression, or at least, who refuse to steadfastly condemn humanitarian aggression. This is an attitude commonly found among vocal Muslim reformers/renewers/progressives. Hence Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
2. Bourgeois Metropolitanism
There is some class and racial prejudice (even if quite possibly unconscious) found against ‘incompetent’ working class individuals. I.e those who have found themselves on the wrong side of the wilful ‘social dumping’ policies of employers, who are trying to provoke labour schisms and division, reduce bargaining power, and keep the working class destitute. Not everyone manages to avoid metropolitan high-mindedness. Here, as elsewhere, bourgeois anti-racism always leads to a classist bias.
3. Qualified Relativism
It’s not good to support a ‘right to choose’ with regards to coercive and abusive clothing practices.
That said, I have never heard anyone from the demographics at issue ever advocate a right to choose FGM, marital rape or paedophile marriage; so at least everyone seems to be stopping short of a consistent moral relativism and ethical nihilism.
Pro-choice is pro-choice.
4. Lesser Evil Approach to Censorship
It is not enough to regard hate speech laws as preferable (or at least less bad) to blasphemy laws. Hate speech laws, like historical negationism laws, are essentially the same thing as blasphemy laws.
5. The ‘Don’t Drive Them Underground’ Fallacy
Skepticism about banning Islamist ‘parties’ like Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Thus Maajid Nawaz:
My ideal scenario would be not to ban the party but it would be that through the … power of discussion and persuasion that eventually the party would fizzle out in this country.
The difficulty here is that we are dealing with terrorists, with people who explicitly advocate violence; and not with people who are merely ‘peddling bad ideas.’
There are limits to arguments about driving people underground. Does criminalising rape drive sexual violence underground?
Perhaps it is better that way.
There should be no rigid adherence to the (by now) radically implausible left wing/right wing dichotomy. McCarthyite criticism of opponents as left or right wing falls into the traps of those who are in power. Ultimately, the point is not to seek refuge in establishment or radical establishment nostrums and shibboleths.
7. Compromising on Postmodern Values
There are attempts to characterise the postmodernist revaluation of all values (rootless choice, bourgeois diversity, multiculturalism) as having been co-opted by terrorism and Islamic extremism, rather than as being perfectly outcomes of moral relativism. Thus the liberal Muslim critic Kenan Malik (not technically a ‘reformer’ as such, as far as I am aware; rather, a progressive Muslim voice).
Last week, nine British Muslims were arrested on the Syrian border as Nigel Farage tapped into his constituency's…www.theguardian.com
This is a transcript of my talk about multiculturalism that I gave to the Secularism 2014 conference in London last…kenanmalik.wordpress.com
Malik’s opinion, so far as I may understand him correctly, is that people are simply not doing diversity and multiculturalism properly; that these are legitimate values, whose emancipatory promises remain as yet unfulfilled.
This almost Habermasian view, of a kind of ‘Project of Diversity,’ rather than ‘Project of Modernity,’ must inevitable be judged a reformist and rehabilitationist view; not a radical view.
Despite his great contributions, Kenan Malik does not seem to realise that the classically liberal, humanistic, secularistic, individualistic values he advocates mean the death of diversity, the death of multiculturalism, and the restoration of traditional pluralism.
8. Intellectual and Metaphysical Refuge-Seeking
There are those who adhere to Communism, humanitarianism, or other collectivist/group-think ideologies; whether these pertain to the establishment or the ‘radical establishment’ alike.
The Path Ahead
I have deliberately avoided ad hominem criticisms here; part of what I’m doing, in order to avoid a deterioriation of the discussion, is to bracket the distinction between ‘matters of reasonable debate,’ vs. ‘outright unentertainable views.’
Nor have I insisted on clarifying my views on which of the perspectives above, if any, reflect badly on someone in a personal manner. I have my own views on such matters; but I am providing a factual discussion here, more than a value-laden one.
Ultimately, the Project of Modernity requires everyone to avoid two errors:
#1 Relentless Negativity
This is the postmodernist/pre-modernist attitude of dismissiveness and hatred towards those who have either left Islam, or who want to renew it for the better.
#2 Relentless Positivity
This is an uncritical and servile attitude towards such individuals; for that is no less patronising, imperialistic and ‘Orientalist’ than #1.
Ultimately, when you put someone below you, you put yourself above them.
But when you put someone above you, you also put them below you.
Political Islamism and Humanitarian Interventionism share several key elements in common.medium.com
David Cameron has been forced to make a humiliating climbdown, after incorrectly claiming that the Humanitarian…glossynews.com
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