Strange Bedfellows

People are sometimes puzzled as to why we find that figures on what is loosely termed the far Left are so often tied in with Islamist extremists. Those who, on the surface, should be at daggers drawn are often found in alliance

Chatting About The Good Old Days

We need look no further than the egregious George Galloway who appears heart and soul behind every barely legal radical Islamist cause. The same Galloway who, having been rejected by the London electorate, intends to stand at the next Holyrood elections in order to “bring a touch of class to the Scottish Parliament.”

This is something much wider than the antics of Gorgeous George in Bethnal Green. The Palestine Liberation Organisation has always been composed of a ménage of radical Islamists and radical Marxists.

Although operating on differing presuppositions the Iranian Communist Party rejoiced at Khomeini’s 1979 revolution. They rejoiced only for a short time, actually a very short time.

Last year’s “peace flotilla” attempting to break Israel’s blockade of Hamas controlled Gaza was composed of Islamist radicals and progressives. Some of the progressives were well meaning and deluded into thinking they were on a humanitarian mission, others were more realistic and were determined to undermine the only state in the Middle East with pretentions to recognisable democracy.

To understand these alliances, or marriages of convenience, we must go back to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, godfather of modern progressivism. In 1762 he wrote The Social Contract one of the pivotal books of Western culture. In it he developed the concept of the “social contract” by which every member of society, irrespective of wealth or position, was bound to the other members in a compact of corporate wellbeing in which they agreed to abide by certain mutually determined laws.

This is sometimes portrayed as the wellspring of liberal society. However, Rousseau considered it essential to his utopia that there be an “undertaking which alone can give force to the rest,” which was, “Whoever refuses to obey the general will shall be compelled to do so by the whole body.” For Rousseau the concept of “freedom” depended upon submission to the general will. This “means nothing less than that he will be forced to be free.” That is why Rousseau, and those who follow him, so admired Islam.

Perhaps the most influential theologian of the Muslim Brotherhood is Sayyid Qutb. His work, 44 years after his death, is still required reading for budding Islamists.

Sayyid Qutb

His stance is perhaps most clearly illustrated in his tract, Social Justice in Islam where he teaches that Islam is about the collective, and that those who resist the Muslim ummah (the community of believers) must, as Rousseau would have said, be “forced to be free.”

According to Qutb, “integrating” humanity into “an essential unity” under sharia is “a prerequisite for true and complete human life, even justifying the use of force against those who deviate from it, so that those who wander from the true path may be brought back to it.” Qutb argues sharia makes unbelief a crime that is “reckoned as equal in punishment” to the “crime of murder.” Forms of treason such as apostasy and fomenting discord in the ummah are capital offenses. As in all totalitarian systems, freedom is merely an illusion.

The Islamist and the progressive, despite their utterly contradictory views of morality and basic presuppositions will willingly embrace when opposition appears to their utopian ideals. Today their shared enemy is individual liberty based upon the Judeo Christian concept of a personal relationship with, and responsibility before, God.

Progressives and Islamists alike share a fundamental belief in the collective as a body requiring the submission of the individual. The Christian also firmly believes in the collective, the Church or fellowship of believers. For the Christian this is a body into which the individual willingly enters and freely explores and develops his relationship with God in company with other believers. These are vastly differing concepts.

Totalising ideologies, whether they be Islamist, progressive, Nazi or communist will always seek to, at the very least, sideline biblical Christians. We insist on making up our own minds and where necessary resisting the general will. That makes us intolerable people to have around.

Advertisements

About Campbell

Now retired but once upon a time a parish minister in Glasgow, before that the South West and initially the Black Isle. Been a prison chaplain and lecturer. Still am constantly bemused by the weird world around me.
This entry was posted in Islam and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Strange Bedfellows

  1. Jennifer Clark says:

    Interesting article Campbell.

    As Orwell stated, these type of ideologies usually also try to diminish or destroy the strengh of family bonds, for similar reasons, i.e. that the family is an inherently self interested bastion against state intrusion and indocrination.

    Where I am puzzled is that the family appears to be very strong within Islamic cultures, which is contrary to what one might expect of totalitarian ideology. On the other hand, the family in strict Islamic societies appears to be a quite conformist and a very strong extension of the state (or theocratic) ideology. Perhaps only certain types of family are encouraged.

    What are your thoughts on this?

  2. Campbell says:

    Thank you for the question Jennifer. It has challenged my ignorance and I really will need to study this area some more.

    Strongly conformist ideologies such as Nazis and communists do subvert the family as they see it is a possible hindrance to the power of the state.

    Islam, however, which is a strongly totalising ideology, does have a very strong family ethic. A fact all the more noticeable when we in the West see how the strength of the family has been steadily and successfully undermined by progressive legislation. There is much about the Islamic family which is to be admired, usually the things we have lost.

    I am no expert in Islamic theology but the impression I get is that in Islam it performs a function in service of the ideology. In Christian thought the family is essentially seen as an inward looking structure where the members support each other, the closer the relationship the greater the call for support. In Islam it appears that whilst the family serves this function it also, and more fundamentally, serves an upward looking authority function. If you are going to be properly submissive to Allah you have to be properly submissive to Papa because it is Allah who put your father in control of your family.

    It appears to function as a control mechanism whereby, especially in its more traditionalist eastern manifestations, women are confined to a particular role, where children have their futures decided by their parents and where the ideology is strictly enforced. Disobedience to one’s father can be punishable by death, as we see in supposed honour killings. The underlying reason for such a act is not so much because of any damage it does to the family but because of the damage it does to the faith.

    It would appear that Islam has successfully done what other totalising ideologies have failed to do. Instead of destroying the family they have taken it over and used it.

    As I said, I will have to think more on this. Thank you.

  3. Jennifer Clark says:

    Thank you for your reply Campbell.

    As you mention, it is indeed a matter requiring much contemplation. I wonder if any light might be shed on this matter by examining the nature of the family in a Christian context, which has surely changed throughout history.

    I am aware that what we currently in the West perceive as the family is a relatively recent construct. Perhaps there may be more similiarities between a Christian family of many centuries ago and families in the Islamic tradition?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s