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Alex Morton holds the keys to defeating ’Islamism’

Guest post By J. Spooner & Jono Stubbins

Alex Morton holds the keys to defeating “Islamism”. He’s been gracious enough to share them in Conservative Home. Presumably, Alex knows what he is talking about. After all, he was an advisor to Prime Minister Cameron when the UK supported an Islamist jihad in Libya. First he must set up the false premises on which his policy suggestions will be based.

Islamism is a threat both inside and outside the Islamic world on a scale comparable with fascism and communism in the 20th century

This is absurd. The West is largely allied with the major players in the Muslim world. There is no existential threat from without, least of all from within from any imagined fifth-column. Comparing the so-called Islamic State with the capabilities of the militarised Third Reich and the expansionist and nuclear armed Soviet Union is alarmist nonsense.

It needs a comparable response.

This response includes a new World War. Sixty-million people were killed in our most recent World War.

There is an ongoing conflict within Islam, and we are not neutral in this struggle.

The conflict is not “within Islam”. It is conflicts between rival powers with the Muslim World. When Al Qaeda are shooting back at Daesh it has no more to do with Islamic doctrine than the Gambinos fighting the Castellanos has to do with Catholicism.

However, Morton is correct on the following point, “we are not neutral in this struggle” – Wildly inconsistent but never neutral. Examples include: Supporting the anti-Soviet Sunni Jihad in Afghanistan in the 80’s, siding with the secularist PLO in their coup against Sunni Hamas, empowering Shia Iran by invading and occupying Iraq in the 2000s, financing and training Sunni jihadists to overthrow the Secular Gadaffi regime, supporting the Sunni Rebels in Syria and enabling the Wahabbi Saudi Arabian bombing of the Houthis in Yemen.

Not all versions of Islam are compatible with our society. There is no other way of saying this. Islamism believes that government must enforce (almost always a strict version of) Islam, and crucially rejects freedom of religion, thought, and secularism based on its readings of the Quran and the hadiths. It is incompatible with a secular liberal democracy, and is by nature extremist on the Government definition of “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs”.

Ironically, by the Government’s definition Morton is also an “extremist”.

Not all versions of Islamism are compatible with our society. This much is true, However, disingenuously conflating all Islamist movements with Daesh as Morton does, only muddies the water. Consider that not all versions of Zionism (such as Kahanism) are compatible with our society yet all three major British political parties have significant and influential ”friends of Israel” sub-groups.

The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood predates al-Baghdadi’s monstrosity in Iraq and Syria by almost a century. Contrary to Morton’s vapid claims they have embraced democracy, denounced violence and remain committed to the non-violent protest of the removal of their democratically elected President Morsi in a fascist coup.

This is not to say that Islam, the religion, is incompatible with a secular liberal democracy. There are various more tolerant versions of Islam and some Muslims focus on other parts of the Quran, such as those stating there is no compulsion in religion or action (e.g. verses 2:256 and 18:29). There are good and bad versions of Islam – and most Muslims believe in a mixture of the good and bad elements. But Islamism believes in use of government power and brute force in enforcing its version of Islam on others, and attacks the moderate or tolerant strains.

This is a roundabout way of saying I will reluctantly tolerate an existence with Muslims as long as their faith doesn’t influence their politics i.e. the ethnics don’t get any ideas above their station. This is anti-democratic. Morton is again qualifying under the ”extremist” definition he provided.

True to form he is justifying his own advocacy of oppression through the lie that all Islamists are de-facto violent and anti-democracy. Islamist groups have denounced violence and embraced democracy (despite having already been betrayed by the promise of democracy and suffered terrible atrocities).

Islamists try to demand special treatment for Islam and, once they have it, use it to force their more aggressive version of Islam forward, arguing those who disagree are blasphemous or not respecting Islam. Countries which have tried to placate Islamist extremists became trapped in a cycle in which Islamists are given freedom to bully others, and have used this freedom to drive their version of Islam forward. This is why for Islamists and quasi-Islamist states such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Pakistan there is no crime worse than blasphemy – because enforcing their version of Islam is the foundation of their power.

This is a bizarre and predictably disingenuous passage which wouldn’t find itself out of place in Anders Breivik’s Manifesto. Morton buttresses his Muslims as a fifth-column conspiracy with his fabricated fantasies of these undetermined nations who are allowing themselves to be bullied by ”Islamist extremists”. These under-the-boot-of-Muslims tropes are what drives the anti-state and anti-Muslim militants. He then proceeds to connect this imagined fifth-column to Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

When I worked in Number Ten, the people who grasped most clearly Islamism’s threat were my Muslim co-workers, because they knew Islamists were determined to destroy more tolerant and decent versions of Islam and replace it with their own cancerous version – using a mixture of theology, guilt and brute force to theorise and terrorise those who oppose them, both non-Muslims and Muslims.

The ambivalence (not shared by David Cameron) in government came from guilt ridden non-Muslims and those Muslims who buy into one of the main Islamist narratives – that no version of Islam is a problem, and only ‘Islamophobia’ is the problem. This ignores the widespread abuse of human rights by Islamist states or states that want to placate Islamism.

Thankfully, Morton worked as a housing advisor to David Cameron and not in counter-terrorism. Morton presents the tired and patently ridiculous strawman of the leftist say “no version of Islam is the problem”. Literally nobody (outside of ISIS supporters) has ever said that ISIS isn’t a problem. This is proceeded by alluding to the ”white guilt” of leftists and the “ISIS or Islamophobia” false dichotomy. His claimed anecdotal evidence is suspect given either his inability to understand the ”Islamist threat” or perhaps more likely his dishonesty in addressing it.

The Left has largely capitulated to Islamism

With honourable and principled exceptions such as Nick Cohen, much of the Left has long since abandoned those who are women, LGBT, minority faiths or nonreligious, and others unfortunate enough to be born where Islamism is strongest. They will speak out against Saudi Arabia, but only in the same breath as condemning the USA’s support for it – because for them this is all about the West. They see themselves as educated multiculturalists but they are, ironically, deeply ignorant about what Islamism is and how it works.

Morton creates the perfect strawman to knock down. That of the self-hating western liberal who for reasons unknown has a secret affinity for Islamism – Which in Morton’s world is al-Baghdadi himself.

Their use of the weasel word “Islamophobia” and attempt to blame every failure in the Middle East on western intervention is deeply harmful.

So there we have it, simply using the word Islamophobia and not Islamophobia itself is ’deeply harmful.

Western intervention has made things worse, but Islamism and the Middle East’s difficulties are part of an internal struggle with modernity that the Muslim world is going through. Islamophobia – as opposed to discrimination against Muslims as individuals, and which should never be tolerated – is a word that Islamists love because they can twist it. Cartoons of Mohammed – Islamophobia. Stopping Islamist indoctrination in state schools – Islamophobia. Concerns about basic human rights in Islamic countries – Islamophobia.

Morton disingenuously lists off a series of non-Islamophobic scenarios to debunk the entire existence of Islamophobia. It’s pure sophistry.

Yet if the Left has capitulated, the Centre and Right have failed to understand what is necessary. In fighting Islamism, there are various key policies – fortunately few of which require legislation:

  • Islam is not to be given special treatment and sensitivity will not prevent enforcement of the law or the same treatment being given to Islam as other religions.
  • Islamists (as opposed to Muslims) are to be excluded from every government funding source, platform, and other official interaction and publicly criticised.
  • We will work with anti-Islamist Muslims wherever possible.

So these are Morton’s supposed solutions? Measures which are already in place? Excluding peaceful Islamists from the democratic process pushes towards the fringes. Closing doors on the democratically elected “taghut” Morsi opens doors for Baghdadi. Morton’s dishonest and coded zero-sum war on Muslims is typically short-sighted and counterproductive. His “Clash of Civilizations” is from the same cloth as the Islamic State’s.

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    • B.D.S

      In the comment section that is. Not articles.

    • B.D.S

      I left this site because apologia for zionism settler colonialism was getting oppressive enough, not to mention the open anti Muslim abuse from random white supremacists.

    • B.D.S

      i am so glad that Disqus introduced the Block option.

    • B.D.S.

      You’re garbage.

    • B.D.S.

      Sarah, what does this words say to you: “Becky high n up yt supremacy is splaining ” ?

  • Just_Stopping_By

    So, using the common definition, your question was: “What would a peaceful democratic regime that imposes religious tenets via state power look like?”

    Well, if you consider the College of Cardinals democratic, the answer might be “The Vatican, after the Papal States disappeared.”

America and Pakistan: A Love Story

Jackie O in Karachi

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis perched on a Camel in Karachi, Pakistan, 1962

by Ilisha

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when the president of Pakistan was warmly greeted by the US president, the first lady, and throngs of ordinary Americans, lined up in the streets to catch a glimpse and celebrate his arrival. It’s hard to imagine the Pakistani president being greeted with ticker tape parades in New York City, and standing ovations in Congress.

It’s even harder to imagine a US president referring to the Pakistani president as a “leader of the free world,” and the Pakistani president in turn reassuring the US president of the two countries’ warm and enduring friendship. And yet all of that happened, in 1961.

The footage of Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan’s visit to America almost seems surreal, given the current state of affairs. Pakistan is still officially a US ally, but an unwitting observer could be forgiven for failing to notice.

It’s an understatement to say the optimistic prognosis for Pakistan as a thriving democracy has not panned out, nor has the admiration the new nation once engendered lasted. Pakistan is fraught with problems, and at least one poll positions it as one of the least popular countries in the world, ranking just below Israel and North Korea, one notch above Iran. Who could have imagined that outcome a half a century ago, when people in America and Pakistan seemed so optimistic?

What’s happened in the intervening decades would involve a long and complex discussion. But the implications with regard to Islamophobia are far more obvious.

It simply isn’t true that the West has always hated Muslims and Muslims have always hated the West, as some anti-Muslim bigots would have us believe.  The notion of an eternal Clash of Civilizations is reductionist and must be challenged.

Pakistan was no less Muslim, and the US no less Western, when President Ayub Khan came to America in 1961,

America Welcomes President Ayub Khan of Pakistan

Related: Message from Iran: Tell All Americans We Love Them

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    • Mehdi

      I don’t have too many ideas either, I think the first thing is to see how to get foreign interventions out of the country, especially the US with its drones, this is tied with finding a way to fix matters out in Afghanistan, I know, not easy.

      Another part is about trusting the society more and promoting democracy, the last elections are quite promising from that side, shows that there are alternatives. This would mean less corruption and more sound economical measures in the long run.

      But THE key thing for me is about finding peace with India, this is absolutely necessary, neither country can make it without the other, India and Pakistan need each other and have to end this rivalry madness, this is the key part for me. Making peace would create a real economical cooperation, open new perspectives and also significantly reduce the huge amounts of money spent on armies and unnecessary weapons. Both countries need real leaders and confident societies to make this happen.

    • Mehdi

      What’s sad is the extent to which Pakistan (but also many other countries) have been a victim of many destructive forces and circumstances: – The cold war and the way the US (and also China somewhat) used Pakistan as a proxy for conflicts such as for Afghanistan, then leaving when the soviets left the country.

      – The antagonism with India (where both sides have their share of blame) has led the country to a constant arms race that is very expensive and ruining to the economy, and led to dangerous alliances between the army, ISI intelligence services, and extremist forces. India has a huge responsibility in this madness, especially for Kashmir, but the army also chose to escalate the conflict to dangerous levels.

      – The country is held hostage by a fluctuating and informal alliance of forces that includes political parties (including the Bhutto family, or guys like Nawaz Sharif), the army (which is a strong economic actor), and fundamentalist groups (I’m not saying islamists :-)) – The usual suspects (IMF, world bank, etc.) have also shown up and played their usual routine

      The main loser has been the society, held hostage in the midst of growing violence, and huge economic failures. This is a huge tragedy!

    • Rights

      Aah, so incredibly nostalgic for me. Ayub had some charisma. During his time Pakistan showed pretty rapid economic development. It was also he who introduced the basic democracy, or BD, system in Pakistan. If memory serves, this was in 1961. There were a lot of elections happening during Ayub’s time. It did give people a sense of freedom, democracy, and empowerment. I think the man was sincere in making Pakistan a modern, prosperous nation. Of course by 1969 his rule had run its course. All through the 1960s a certain photograph of his, copied as paintings, appeared all over in Pakistan: General Muhammad Ayub Khan in his field marshal’s outfit adorned with the due insignia appeared on trucks, buses, walls, doors, flags, and even trees. It was a strange phenomenon. To this day one can find the same paintings on many trucks and buses in Pakistan.

      Thank you for posting the clip.

    • GaribaldiOfLoonwatch

      Perhaps if the evil Soviet empire is resurrected and the Cold War resumes will another Pakistani president be received with such buoyant spirit.

      Views in Pakistan of the US, where 74% consider America the enemy would be greatly improved when and if the drone war/war on terror ever ends.

      As for calling Ayub Khan the leader of the free world, I think that was rather absurd even for that time period. Leader of the free world in the sense that he wholeheartedly embraced the free market and capitalism.

      From what I’ve read he was however not very fond of democracy or its potential in Pakistanis, this led to some rather unfortunate consequences: a weak civil society, the eventual civil war between East and West Pakistan a few years after he was forced into resignation, etc.

    • mindy1

      We used to be friends, what happend?? :((

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