Unfortunately, there are non-Muslim organizations in the West that believe they are opposing Islamists but who have misguidedly turned to making all Muslims and Islam their enemies.
We are daily inundated with news of horrors from the Arab-Muslim world to the extent that for many in the West Islam as a venerable faith-tradition can no longer be distinguished from the organized terror and violence of radical Muslims, or Islamists.
There is something gone terribly wrong in the world of Islam, and setting aside political correctness there is the urgent need to publicly identify and discuss the evil of Islamism masquerading as a religion.
But what is this ideology, Islamism, for which we must not make any allowance, as we would not for Nazism?
From leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Arab countries, the Iran of Khomeini, fundamentalist parties in Pakistan, and affiliated groups — Hamas, Hezbollah, the al-Qaida network, al-Shabaab and the Taliban — we hear their politics is the genuine expression of Islam as practised by “Salafis” or the first generation of Muslims in seventh-century Arabia. In this view Muslims who disagree with Islamists are heretics or, even worse, apostates deserving to be killed.
Islamism must be fought against by Muslims and non-Muslims together.
Unfortunately, there are non-Muslim organizations in the West believing they are opposing Islamists but who have misguidedly turned to making all Muslims and Islam their enemies.
One such group is the English Defence League (EDL), founded in 2009, devoted to fighting the “Islamization” of Britain. But by failing to distinguish between Islamists and non- or anti-Islamist Muslims, EDL’s activism has inflamed community relations, while being counter-productive in actually helping ordinary Muslims resist Islamists in their midst.
Another person in this anti-Islamist struggle is Gavin Boby, a British lawyer, and his Law and Freedom Foundation. Boby’s organization is linked to the EDL and it goes about encouraging communities stop mosque construction by using existing zoning laws in municipalities across Britain. He will be in Canada for a speaking tour in early February.
On the surface, the efforts of these anti-Islamist organizations appear courageous, even noble. But they end up ironically supporting the Islamist view there is no Islam other than what Islamists insist it is.
When anti-Islamist Muslims are denied the space and legitimacy to oppose Islamism then the inescapable paradox is that non-Muslim opponents of Islamists have conceded the Islamist propaganda that Islamists are Islam’s only legitimate representatives. It then becomes easier for mainstream politicians and their allies in the West to appease and accommodate Islamists as once their predecessors sought to placate Communists.
Hence, our concern is with those in Canada foolishly or mistakenly inviting Gavin Boby, or EDL members, to build support for anti-Islamist activism.
We confront a hugely important struggle against Islamists. We cannot afford to get this wrong.
Fred Litwin is president of the Free Thinking Film Society and Salim Mansur is the author of Delectable Lie: A Liberal Repudiation of Multiculturalism.
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