good islamophobia

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By DIOGO FAGUNDES*

No religion, per se, is inherently fascist, despite the fact that it often serves as fuel for reactionaryism.

I have noticed, to my sadness, the proliferation of cases of “Islamophobia of good”, coming from people who politically cannot be classified as reactionaries.

That the usual vultures take advantage of tragedies to resurrect old flaws involving “war of civilizations”, appeal to a verbiage involving “Judeo-Christian legacy” and other pretexts for discriminatory violence, is part of the script. Olavetes are delirious with each new case of violence committed by Islamists in the heart of Europe.

What is new is that the official far-right propaganda has been coloring speeches less laden with the traditional xenophobic and dark pathos.

One wonders about the excessive tolerance of “our societies” (it is clear that the identity between Brasilsão and France is always presupposed, we are parts of the same imaginary family), if these would not have gone too far in accepting what is different or if we would not have misunderstood the real nature of Islam. Our tolerant multiculturalism would perhaps have given rise to the infiltration of harmful and obstinate bodies to destroy our civilizing foundations.

A page that considers itself “centrist”, of “anti-libertarian liberals”, holder of the epitome of thoughtful rationality — which is intertwined with what they learned in business school — even questioned the role of the left in “passing the cloth” to Islam (?), urging followers to discuss the role of this religion in our societies. They omit concrete proposals, which raises curiosities about what we should do. Ban Islam? Ban mosques? Adopt stricter immigration controls?

I will make three brief comments about this campaign of fear that is profoundly ignorant about the country itself, after all it has never had any problem with immigration from countries with a Muslim majority, on the contrary. So “westernized” that they forget the historical ground on which they step.

1 – What our anti-Islam internet warriors teach us, even if they can claim deep hatred for the extreme right, can be summed up in a single sentence: the French National Front — which changed its name a little while ago — was right all along. these years.

Wasn't Le Pen's preaching precisely focused on warning us that Islam and the "West" are incompatible? Why the scandalous screams, the various denunciations against the danger of the European extreme right, then? Was it just a matter of ensuring that the least consistent and determined (Macron) won over the most committed, but both maintaining the same principles? Strange criterion.

The truth is that the attempt to oppose a West of freedoms, modernity and rights to a barbaric Islam is not only ignorant of the history of the Islamic religion, but also makes tabula rasa of the fact that Islam is practiced mostly peacefully by its practitioners (the majority composed of poor immigrants, which certainly has nothing to do with the repressive impetus…), in a true attestation of social insensitivity.

Where are the specialists in statistics and APPLIED SOCIAL SCIENCES™ now to find the percentage of attacks compared to the total population practicing it, or even the dangerousness of Islamic terrorism vis a vis Christian or Jewish terrorism (quite present in various parts of the globe? )?

France has been specializing for a long time now in instrumentalizing a secularist, republican and “modern” discourse, including even feminism — remember the ban on Islamic headscarves in schools, to “liberate” girls? – against a marginalized segment of the population. The differences between Le Pen and the French political mainstream are smaller than imagined: the identity structure, (we, the good, moderns versus barbarian immigrants), under the backdrop of the imminent threat of the Islamic enemy, is the same, changing only the clothes, more archaic and religious (style “zé cruzadinha”) or more modern (white feminist style and pro human rights disseminating prejudiced discourse against religion). Both are subjectivities potentially focused on warlike and excluding discourse.

Incidentally, the fact that one of the most violent extreme right groups in France in the 60s was called Occident is revealing and has a profound meaning, today a term used as an identity and defended in “its values” by large sectors of the political spectrum.

2 – The left, contrary to what the bad guys on the page said, has a history of defending the enemies of “political Islam” in Arab, Turkish or Persian countries.

The USSR and the communists sided with Egyptian “Nasserism” and the Assad family's Syrian Baath, both secularizing political ideologies and opponents of the influence of religious obscurantism in the region. “Arab nationalism” was the norm in the past. Variations of fundamentalism have, in fact, always been supported by the US and Israel to undermine these secular political forces.

The most famous example is that of Afghanistan: a regime supported by the USSR (with military occupation, always reprehensible, it is true), with broad civil rights for women and minorities, was destroyed by the muhajedins, the “freedom fighters” that Reagan and the press western spread. Later they would form the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Contrary to what it may seem, this Islamic religious obscurantism is quite recent, having been promoted incessantly by the winners of the Cold War, even today — which were the “Syrian rebels”, defended by the West, who gave rise to Al Nusra and to Daesh (Islamic State), anyway? Who destroyed the Libyan regime, which promoted coexistence between different peoples, and armed sectarian groups in the region? Who fills with weapons and money the country that most promotes the most pernicious variation of Islamic obscurantism (Wahhabism), including university centers spread around the world, Saudi Arabia? Hint: among them is a country with a tricolor flag that starts with F and ends with A.

The responsibility definitely does not lie with the left.

3 – Lastly, I would just like to note the incredible hypocrisy of propagandists in the liberal West: Islam is a threat to “our values”, but should it be promoted in China and Russia in its most violent variations?

Take a good look at how those who raise their voices to speak of the threat of Islamic terrorism in Europe (even if there is no concrete organizational threat nearby, just tragic cases of “lone wolves”), believe that in these hated countries, benign treatment should predominate, even if , in their case, there is an effective threat.

Russia committed several barbarities — widely denounced by the world — in its anti-terrorist crusade against Dagestan and Chechnya, but in both cases there were organized cells committing attacks in the name of an ethno-religious separatism that actually threatened the Russian State.

The same thing can be said of China: repression in Xinjiang can infringe on rights and freedoms, I don't doubt it. But only hopeless rogues could ignore the fact that there are Uighurs acting in an organized manner to promote territorial separatism based on a fundamentalist version of Islam — with great support from Turkey and the US, it should be said — and that the participation of Uighurs from the Chinese province cited in movements such as the Islamic State was significant.

See the hypocrisy in its most crystalline form: where "Islamic terrorism" is indeed part of political life, respect and human rights are demanded (very reasonable demands), but where it exists only in the form of isolated attacks, a uproar about the role of the Islamic religion and, more broadly, immigration!

What we must stick in our head is that no religion, per se, is inherently fascist, despite the fact that they often serve as fuel for reactionaryism. In general, first you become fascist and then you get the cover of some religion, not the other way around, which explains why any confession can be instrumentalized for ultra-reactionary political ends - even Buddhism, see what happens today in Myanmar, the ancient Burma.

We must investigate in order to act in cases of severe individual disorientation (mainly of young people) that lead to the “fascistization” of the personality and subsequent execution of murderous attacks, even to martyrdom and complete self-annihilation. Thinking about this terrorist nihilism that affects youth — and allows them to indulge in murderous variations of any religion — is much more of a path than ignorant perorations about Islam.

This last path, whether in a light and “secular” way, or in an ultra-reactionary and olavet way, always throws water in the mill of what is worst in politics.

* Diogo Fagundes is a law student at the University of São Paulo (USP).

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