Islam matters because of political Islam

Maryam Namazie speaking on Sharia law

This commentary by Maryam Namazie is insightful, rational and articulate. I also admire her courage for speaking openly – unlike the network cowards who caved in to fear and intimidation and refused to air the recent South Park episode.

Maybe I shouldn’t be too harsh on them, though, since they are victims of terrorism (if you don’t do something because you fear the threat of violent retaliation, isn’t that terrorism?)

Not that I agree with what seems like her complete rejection of religion, but considering her story, I can hardly blame her and I applaud the worthy effort she is making to be the voice of reason. And the risk she is taking.

Maryam is spokesperson for Iran Solidarity, Equal Rights Now, the One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. This excerpt is from her blog:

“Islam matters because of political Islam

More than many other things, Islam matters.

But I think it matters mostly because it is the banner of a reactionary political movement.

Otherwise, Islam is no different from other religions.

You can find just as much misogyny, cruelty and inhumanity in the Bible or other religious books as you can in the Koran… But even so, today – as we speak – there is still a distinction to be made between religion in general and Islam in particular but for no other reason than that it is the ideology behind a movement that is, in many places, part and parcel of the state, the law, criminal so-called ‘justice’ system, judiciary, and educational system.

I think this point is key for a principled criticism of Islam and more importantly a progressive and humane response to the totalitarianism of our era.

This means, firstly, that we have a duty to criticise Islam; this goes beyond the mere right to and freedom of speech and expression.”

For the rest of this essay, check out her blog here:

In spite of efforts by some to sidetrack the debate by shouting accusations of “bigot!” or “hater!” the fact remains: if we are to grow as a civilization into our full potential as humans, we must resist totalitarianism in all its forms, even if it’s cloaked in the trappings of religion. Maybe especially when it’s disguised in religion.

People throw the word “tolerance” around as if that ends the debate. Sure, we need to be tolerant – but tolerant of what? Priests abusing children? Should we tolerate that? Oppression of women? Injustice? Do we want to say it’s a good thing to tolerate injustice? Hiding behind a label of religion to justify or excuse abuse is something that we cannot tolerate, whether that label has a crescent moon or a cross on it.

It would be great if we could resolve every conflict with a discussion, if we could prevent totalitarianism through negotiation and reason, then we would not need warriors.

In some cases the only honorable and effective response is to resist, to be a warrior in whatever form that might require. Ideally that will be done keeping in mind the warning of Frederick Nietzsche (another person whose views on religion run counter to mine but whom I have nevertheless learned from).

“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster himself”.

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