Islamism

Qu’est-ce que le racisme antimusulmans ?

Author: 

Sacha Ismail (Traduction: Yves Coleman, pour 'Ni patrie ni frontières')

La gauche et l’extrême gauche britanniques font fréquemment référence au concept d’« islamophobie », mais discutent rarement du sens exact de ce terme. Les musulmans qui vivent en Grande-Bretagne subissent-ils une oppression spécifique, en tant que musulmans, et si oui, laquelle ?

Cet article soutiendra le point de vue que les musulmans qui vivent en Grande-Bretagne souffrent d’une oppression, d’une haine et d’un fanatisme antimusulmans spécifiques, mais que, pour comprendre et décrire ces phénomènes, il nous semble plus adéquats de les qualifier de racisme antimusulmans.

La gauche et l’extrême gauche britanniques font fréquemment référence au concept d’« islamophobie », mais discutent rarement du sens exact de ce terme. Les musulmans qui vivent en Grande-Bretagne subissent-ils une oppression spécifique, en tant que musulmans, et si oui, laquelle ?

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Discovering what socialism should really mean

Author: 

Omar Raii

Socialism has always been a bit of an odd word for me. Growing up, reading about history I could never really understand what it meant. The Labour Party called itself a “democratic socialist party”, the totalitarian dictatorship that ruled Russia was known as the “Union of Soviet Socialist Republics” and Saddam Hussein’s thuggish ruling party in Iraq was known as the “Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party”. So in what sense could it mean anything?

If there is any hope to solving the problems in the Middle East, or changing the world in general, it lies with the international working class.

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Two nations, two states!

Since the latest round of Israeli air bombardments of Gaza began on 8 July, around 200 Palestinians have died.

77% of have been civilians according to UN estimates. Many have been children

Since the latest round of Israeli air bombardments of Gaza began on 8 July, around 200 Palestinians have died.

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Impasse in Iraq

Patrick Cockburn writes in The Independent (13 July): "Since the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) on 10 June, Shia women and children have been killed in villages south of Kirkuk, and Shia air force cadets machine-gunned and buried in mass graves near Tikrit."

Shia-sectarian militias are mobilising against ISIS more effectively than the Iraqi army.

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Iraqi union leader Falah Alwan speaks on workers' struggles in Iraq

On the Saturday night of Ideas for Freedom 2014, Workers' Liberty and comrades from the Worker-Communist Parties of Iraq and Kurdistan organised a fundraiser to support Iraqi workers', women's, and refugee organisations in their struggles against sectarianism.

In this speech Falah Alwan, the President of the Federation of Workers' Council and Unions in Iraq reports on the recent struggles of Iraqi workers.

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Iran-Iraq-Syria: the triple alliance

In a 2011 interview with Associated Press, Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki stated, “The killing or removal of President Bashar in any way will explode into an internal struggle between two groups and this will have an impact on the region.”

The Shia-sectarian nature of the Iraqi Government, and Maliki’s consequent conflicts with Sunni, Kurdish and secular elements from Iraqi politics, have given him a vested interest in the continuing domination in Syria of the Alawi Shia sect, of which Assad is part.

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Take all religion out of our schools!

Over 35 per cent of all state-funded schools in England are “faith schools”. They can freely do all or most of what Ofsted complained of in Birmingham.

A group of three academies, one other academy, and one council-controlled school in Birmingham have been put into “special measures” by Ofsted government inspectors for allegedly acting like “faith schools”.

Ofsted complains that Park View school has weekly “Islamic-themed assemblies”, with invited speakers “not vetted”, and that from year 9 onwards religious education is almost all Islamic. Faith schools are explicitly allowed to have their assemblies, and their religious education, organised around their chosen religion, and to imbue other subjects with religious ideology.

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Boko Haram and Nigerian capitalism

In the year when economists have gushed about the MINT economies (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey) it seems strange that the north of Nigeria is being thrown into crisis by a medievalist religious insurgency. One reason often sighted is the desperate poverty of this part of Nigeria, but this is only part of the picture.

Although Boko Haram’s terror campaign hit the world headlines with its kidnapping of school girls, this group’s hatred of education is not new.

Earlier this year, they attacked a boy’s school killing the children in their beds and burning down the school. What conditions have given rise to the Islamist group?

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Thousands flee Fallujah

Thousands of people have fled from the Iraqi city of Fallujah as the government army attempts to recapture it from Islamist rebel control.

Thousands of people have fled from the Iraqi city of Fallujah as the government army attempts to recapture it from Islamist rebel control.

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Boko Haram and #Bringbackourgirls

I am not a fan of conspiracy theories... not just because they are mostly misguided but because they do tend to cause pain to victims and their families.

However, I know that silence in the face of oppression is never the answer. If things don’t add up in the Chibok kidnappings, better to voice concerns than keep silent especially since I can’t keep saying “No comment” whenever I am asked to comment on the issue.

Yemis Ilesanmi, a Nigerian trade unionist, human rights activist and author, on the #Bringbackourgirls campaign.

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Political change can drive out Boko Haram

The impressive “Bring Our Girls Home” social media campaign has succeeded in drawing attention to the audacious and cruel abduction of 276 schoolgirls by the Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram.

The actions of the nihilistic group, who view the girls’ lives as more-or-less expendable (no more than their value in ransom), have rightly been condemned. But we need to discuss the political conditions in which such an organisation takes root.

The impressive “Bring Our Girls Home” social media campaign has succeeded in drawing attention to the audacious and cruel abduction of 276 schoolgirls by the Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram.

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529 death sentences

An Egyptian court has sentenced 529 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death.

The judge in the central city of Minya took only two court sessions to issue the death sentences, and lawyers for the defence had no opportunity to argue their case.

In the summer of 2013, hundreds of thousands of Brotherhood supporters took the streets in protest at the army’s coup against the government of Mohamed Morsi.

The military brutally suppressed these demonstrations and declared the Islamist organisation illegal.

An Egyptian court has sentenced 529 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death.

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Defying fundamentalism

In an article originally appearing in Against The Current, the publication of the US socialist group Solidarity, Haideh Moghissi reviews Karima Bennoune's Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism.. This article originally appeared online here, and is from the March/April edition of ATC (No. 169).

An article from Against The Current, the publication of the US socialist group Solidarity, in which Haideh Moghissi reviews Karima Bennoune's Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism.

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Why we defended Salman Rushdie

Twenty-five years ago Salman Rushdie published The Satanic Verses. Two week later the theocratic ruler of Iran Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa declaring it permissible for Muslims to assassinate Rushdie because of the suposedly “blasphemous” subject of the book.

This is how an Iranian comrade of ours defended Rushdie.


We defend Salman Rushdie because we've experienced Khomeinism in practice. Many Iranians in Iran and in exile, oppose the “Islamic Republic”, and want a secular Iran.

Twenty-five years ago Salman Rushdie published The Satanic Verses. Two week later the theocratic ruler of Iran Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa declaring it permissible for Muslims to assassinate Rushdie because of the suposedly “blasphemous” subject of the book.

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The meaning of outrage

After Liberal Democrat Maajid Nawaz tweeted a cartoon from the satirical web comic ‘Jesus and Mo’, along with words outlining how he, as a Muslim, did not find it offensive, the response was disappointing, but predictable.

Dozens of people (including liberals and of course, that great champion of freedom so long as it isn’t in Iran, Cuba or Syria, George Galloway) expressed outrage at Nawaz’s actions, many of whom are demanding that he be recalled as Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn.

After Liberal Democrat Maajid Nawaz tweeted a cartoon from the satirical web comic ‘Jesus and Mo’, along with words outlining how he, as a Muslim, did not find it offensive, the response was disappointing, but predictable.

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Socialist Worker looks two ways on Islamists

Socialist Worker of 21 January cites approvingly "a statement issued by the Revolutionary Left Current [in Syria which] spoke of 'the double repression' suffered by the popular movement - from the regime and armed Islamist groups".

It quotes an RLC activist: "people say we need a second revolution".

Until now, mostly, Socialist Worker, and related currents of thought, have been willing to criticise Islamists only when, and on the grounds that, they are neo-liberal, pro-IMF, etc.

Socialist Worker of 21 January wrote of "the double repression suffered by the popular movement in Syria - from the regime and armed Islamist groups".

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Revolutionary politics, imperialism, and anti-racism: a further reply in the "Marxism and religion" controversy

In an October 2013 article, Marcus Halaby of Workers Power attacked the AWL for our "neo-Shachtmanite" refusal to unconditionally support anyone fighting imperialism. Here, two AWL members respond.

Marcus Halaby’s polemic against Workers’ Liberty’s politics on religion, Islamism, and anti-imperialism (“The AWL’s anti-anti-imperialist Islamophobia”) is worth reading because it illustrates some differences between the political method of Workers Power and ourselves in Workers’ Liberty.

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Turkey: pro-US or Putin path?

Recent developments in Turkey represent a new crisis within the political establishment.

On the surface we see an investigation into corruption initiated by the judiciary. The scandal reached the top of the ruling AKP (Freedom and Justice Party) and government officials, even Prime Minister Erdogan’s son. A cabinet reshuffle followed, with many ministers being forced to resign by Erdogan.

On one level this is a power struggle between the Gülen movement and the Erdoganists. The AKP and the Gülen movement are both soft-Islamists, but with different roots.

Recent developments in Turkey represent a new crisis within the political establishment.

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Fighting for secularism among London's Bengalis

Ansar Ahmed Ullah, an activist with the Nirmul Committee (International Forum for Secular Bangladesh), based in East London, spoke to Solidarity about the conflicts between secularists and Islamists in Bengali communities.


The issues facing Bengali people are the same social issues faced by any other community, including the white working class, living in a deprived inner-city area. Bengalis suffer from high unemployment, underachievement in education, bad health, and overcrowded housing conditions.

An activist with the Nirmul Committee (International Forum for Secular Bangladesh), based in East London, explains the conflicts between secularists and Islamists in Bengali communities.

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Iraqi labour at risk in sectarian battles

Escalating sectarian conflict in Iraq reached a new peak on 2 January.

According to academic Juan Cole, an Al Qaeda group took over “big swathes of some al-Anbar cities and... police stations”, abandoned by the cops after mass anti-government demonstrations by local people.

“Allegedly half of Fallujah had fallen to the Al Qaeda affiliate”.

Anbar is a large but mostly desert province in the west of Iraq, bordering Syria and Jordan, and mostly inhabited by Iraq’s large Sunni minority.

Escalating sectarian conflict in Iraq has reached a new peak.

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Grist and the Islamist mill

I think my reply to Yassamine Mather covers Janine Booth’s first point about the introduction to Workers’ Liberty 3/1 (“Prioritise clarity over rhetorical flourish”, Solidarity 306, 4 December 2013).

Political Islam is characterised by “envy and covetousness” towards the wealth of advanced capitalist societies. It is not a levelling doctrine. It aspires not to liberate nations from big-power control, but to create a different big power, “the caliphate”. It aspires not to equalise societies, but to make the rich observe their religious obligations to the poor.

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No gender segregation in universities

In November 2013 Universities UK, the organisation which represents university managements, published guidelines which said it could be discriminatory (undermining of free speech) for universities not to allow segregation by gender in meetings if external speakers wanted that arrangement. The ruling has been backed by the National Union of Students.

On 13 December the umbrella body for university bosses withdrew guidance to permit gender segregation in events at universities.

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Prioritise clarity over rhetorical flourish

In the discussion arising from Sean Matgamna’s introduction to Workers’ Liberty 3/1: Marxism and Religion, there are perhaps two issues that need a little more debate.

A contribution to the debate around the introduction to Workers’ Liberty 3/1: "Marxism and Religion".

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Solidarity with Ifa Muaza!

Ifa Muaza, a refugee from Nigeria, has been on hunger strike for over 80 days after his request for asylum was rejected by the Home Office.

Muaza is being held at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre, near Heathrow. His lawyer argues that keeping him in detention amounts to a death sentence, and staff at the centre have been warned to expect a detainee to die.

Ifa Muaza, a refugee from Nigeria, has been on hunger strike for over 80 days after his request for asylum was rejected by the Home Office.

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Debate on Islamism and imperialism

The introduction to Workers' Liberty 3/1, on Marxism and religion, has sparked controversy recently.

The introduction to a January 2006 pull-out from SolidarityWorkers' Liberty 3/1, on “Marxism and religion” — has sparked controversy recently, after being moved to a more prominent position on our website as part of our routine circulation of content to make less-ephemeral items from our large archive more accessible. Here we reprint an abridged version of a reply by Sacha Ismail of Workers’ Liberty to a polemic against the introduction by Simon Hardy of the Anti-Capitalist Initiative.

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Reply to Yassamine Mather

Political Islam as a reactionary anti-imperialist force with its own roots, its own dynamic, and its own autonomy, not just something "installed" or "deployed" by the USA.

Our 2006 introduction to Workers' Liberty 3/1, about Marxism and religion, has been much reviled on Facebook, but little criticised.

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The Communist Party with Catholic Irish Immigrants, and the Left with Muslims now

There are striking parallels between the conventional Left's attitude to Islam now and the way the Communist Party used to relate to Irish Catholic immigrants in Britain. I had some experience of that.

For a while, over forty years ago, I was involved in the work of the Communist Party among Irish people of devout Catholic background in Britain, people from the nearest thing to a theocracy in Europe, where clerics ruled within the glove-puppet institutions of a bourgeois democracy.

Parallels between the Left's attitude to Islam now, and the way the Communist Party used to relate to Irish Catholic immigrants in Britain.

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Muslims, Christians, Marxists, free speech: the Muhammad cartoons dispute. An attempt at a dialogue. [2006]

Debate on the issues in the "Muhammad cartoons" affair of 2006.

Debate on the issues in the "Muhammad cartoons" affair of 2006.

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Q. What for socialists is the issue in the uproar over the cartoons depicting Muhammad?

A. Whether or not the devotees of a religion should be allowed to enforce the precepts, rules, and customs of a set of religious believers on people who do not voluntarily accept that religion and its rules. (Or - and this is important, too, for many of Islamic background - on people who, accepting much of the religion, disagree with some of its rules and customs).

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A reply to Simon Hardy on Islamism and imperialism

Simon Hardy’s article criticising “The AWL on Islamism” avoids the wilder claims made against us, but it looks as if he has not read Sean Matgamna’s 2006 piece very thoroughly, or thought about it very hard.

Does Workers' Liberty ignore the role of imperialism in the rise of Islamism? Or does much of the British left reproduce a simplistic picture which blurs over Islamism's counter-revolutionary character?

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A fighter for freedom

A review of I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Christina Lamb (Little, Brown and Company, 2013).

When it was revealed on 11 October that Malala Yousafzai, the teenage girl that captured the world’s imagination after being shot by a Taliban rifleman, was not awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, it came as a relief.

Malala no doubt deserved it more than any other person in the world, but to tarnish her name by giving her the same prize given to such renowned peacemakers as Henry Kissinger and Menachem Begin would have been a disservice to everything she had stood for.

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