Black Turban Hat Versus White Turban Hat
In a prophetic article, Stephen Schwartz describes Wahabi efforts to dominate Islam and the Balkans and their struggle against the Bektashis and Rumi Sufi Muslim traditions. Samizdata says
"these are forms of Islam antithetical to the Wahhabis, and they are in the majority in places like Bosnia-Herzegovina ... Supporting them ... is surely a strategic move."Meanwhile, Ali Eteraz wonders whether the home for Islamic reform isn't on the Left, as some may think, but in a point of view that can call crime by its name.
I am dropping my left-partisan approach to Islamic Reform (and to some extent politics in general). This is not because I’ve found “the left” unwilling to have the discussion about reform, quite the contrary. ...
Fact is, it was not the politics of the “right” that pushed me away. I don’t agree with many of the right’s policies, that’s true, and probably never will, but that didn’t bother me, because everyone disagrees about politics. Rather, I simply got tired of the overwhelming amount of willful ignorance about Islam and Muslims on right websites and in right commentary, much of which descended to Islamophobia or soft bigotry. ... I cannot in clean conscience engage against religious supremacism and exclusion if I engage in ideological supremacism and exclusion.
I believe in human solidarity. In the elimination of cruelty and humiliation. I believe in living beyond labels and identity markers. My motto is, and was, the following: "Wise men will apply their remedies to vices, not to names; to the causes of evil which are permanent, not to the occasional organs by which they act, and the transitory modes in which they appear."
What frustrated Ali Eteraz about the Left apparently was that it was unable to criticize even the most heinous crimes because of a moral "duplicity".
Western liberals generally shy away from calling Muslim states out on their human rights duplicity. There are many reasons for this. Some of us come from post-colonial theory and believe that the real cause of repression in the Muslim world is the history of Western colonialism. Others among us take the position that we are not in a position to extol human rights norms upon Muslim states given our own violations. Yet others simply abstain from speaking out against violence and repression in Muslim states because we do not wish to provide the right wing hawks with more justification for creating war. This reluctance is reasonable. However, the reluctance degenerates to silence, which then allows our right wing peers to appropriate (and hijack) the entire human rights project. Once appropriated, the right wing then determines which "solutions" to apply. Most of their solutions rely upon force.
There is a deal of truth to Eteraz's criticism. The failure by the Left to meet Islamic extremism intellectually; and indeed to encourage, inevitably means giving up the "Golden Hour" and makes a violent solution not only more likely but possibly inevitable. By appeasing and retreating before the worst elements of Islam, they weaken its best; by abandoning anyone who will stand with us to a brutal retribution we hasten the day when terrorism, they push the fence-sitters onto the side of Osama Bin Laden. Lured on by this show of weakness, Islamic extremism will one day pose an existential threat to the West. And only then will the Left find its voice, but only to demand the absolute extermination of all those who manifestly threaten their treasured social agendas. If there exists a nonviolent road to averting this terrible confrontation; if there exists a way to reform Islam then the effort must be made sooner, rather than later. Later may be too late.