The emerging alliance between the western liberal establishment and Islamists is one of the most distinctive oddities of our days. Like in a Greek tragedy, spectators and observers are left astonished at the vexatious direction the hero, western culture, is helplessly drawn towards it. There are no answers and no explanations given as if the gods have already sealed our fortune, and we have no option but to embark on the fateful journey.
It is no secret the world’s Muslim population is generally profoundly conservative. Muslim societies still maintain the nuclear family as the epicenter of social and personal life. The Muslim world is essentially male worshiping. Islamism in its origins as a reaction to liberal modernism and at its heart feminism. Islamists have historically presented feminism as the clear primary manifestation of the western moral decadence. It is not a coincidence that the same decade the militant feminist revolution took place in the west, the hijab made a violent resurgence in the lands of Islam. The hijab is above all, an Islamist symbol brought on by the Islamic revival movement and made its way to Muslim mainstream culture successfully reversing the westernization of female attire during the colonial era. Political Islamism succeeded in reorienting Muslim societies, and specifically women, from modernity towards tradition. For a century, Islamist thinkers and intellectuals have railed against the western feminization of society and liberation of the female. Sayed Qutb, the prominent Muslim Brotherhood intellectual, commented extensively on the moral decay he saw in America during the 1950s describing women’s dresses, lipstick, hairstyles, ballroom dances, and public visibility.
This seemingly peculiar alliance between unhinged western progressives and zealous Muslim conservatives is a subject of confusion and perplexity. How did westerners who advocate sex change for six-year-olds are aligned with Islamists who brutally enforce traditional binary gender norms often with force in their countries of origin? How are hijabs considered to be as empowering as pink vagina hats? How in an age of toxic and devastating polarity and moralization, did so clearly clashing moral systems find themselves in complete agreement? How are western conservatives and liberals are struggling to maintain friendships and relationships, while hijabis and militant feminists are not? Some choose to explain the phenomenon in terms of western liberal naivete and pragmatic predatory Islamist behavior. Such a simplistic model holds no actual explanatory value, for it ignores the deeper and more sinister current below the surface, an extraordinary alignment of principles.
Just like Islamism is based on grievances, so is modern progressivism. Dominated by a postmodernist and neo-Marxist view of western history, progressives see the story of the west as that of oppression. For the progressive mind, the west was conceived out of the original sin of power, a sin of which there is no redemption without offering a sacrifice, a new crucifixion yet with no promise of resurrection. Just like Oedipus, western progressives are out to murder the father once and for all. Murdering the father could be their only way out of self-contempt and masochistic self-flagellation. This deep disdain to western roots is the overarching commonality and the underlying substrate of both Islamism and neo-Marxist progressivism.
French philosopher Renee Girard explained the social phenomenon of scapegoating as a necessary social mechanism to maintain a needed level of group harmony. In Girard’s view, every human society is made of a set of rivalries and competing individuals. As the rivalries continue, the very center of society becomes made out of tensions due to some having what others want. As the tensions brew, violence starts to threaten the fabric of the community, at which point all communal tension and resentment are projected onto a single group or a particular individual. Rivals unite their efforts, and former enemies now become friends and community participate in punishing the scapegoat. Death or expulsion is useful as regeneration of communal peace and restoration of relationships. For this process to work, it must remain unconscious. The innocence of the victim must not be ever recognized but rather the victim mus be portrayed as monstrous.
Jews were and remained the most convenient of scapegoats. Not just are they at the foundation of our mythology and sacrificial traditions, but they are also at the center of our culture. Scapegoating is an essentialist aspect of antisemitism. Every ill of society, every tension amongst us, every rivalry, every need, every wrong, and every deprivation is projected onto them. Jews are the original colonizers, they are the most white of all whites, they are the mischief of capitalism, the nefarity of socialism, the engineers of oppression, the inventors of nationalism, and the agent of chaos. They are as responsible for religious fanaticism as they are responsible for the porn industry. They are the creators of the patriarchal ethos as well as destroyers of morality.
In the early 20th century, in the Middle East, Islamists, as well as pan-Arabists, picked the Jews to be their scapegoat. The deep intense desire to project all tensions of Arab and Muslim life onto the Jew has inflicted the culture with hysteria and psychosis. With the birth of American Islamism, the American Islamists were mindful of the prohibition on blatant antisemitic expressions, so instead, they turned their position onto antizionism. In time, and with the virtue of unrivaled Islamist patience, western liberal establishments, looking for a scapegoat, were ready to join in on the endeavors. This allignment of resentment presented a remarkable opportunity for unity and cohesion. Islamists can stand shoulder to shoulder with “Queers for Palestine,” and they all can transcend the tension and project it onto Jews or Zionists and feel the elation of unity.
As a little child in Egypt, I grew up learning about the historical evil of the west. The Christian white west is evil, greedy, moralless, and predatory. In Muslim lands, the history of the Middle East is written as a long saga of continuous episodes of western aggression. The crusades of the 9th and 10th centuries are viewed as a prototype of western colonialism. Modern Middle Eastern history is nothing but a long struggle to wash off the European yoke, and all the accumulated sins are projected onto America and its global imperialism. Islamists have espoused this narrative for a century blaming the west for feminism, social decay, moral decadence, failing states, crumbling economies, cultural degradation, etc. and a long list of anti-western grievances. Those grievances are built upon a pre-existing model of understanding the world in the Muslim binary notions of Dar Al-Islam, the House of Islam, and Dar Al Harb, the House of War, or the lands of the infidels. In early Muslim history, and due to the continues rivalry, the Christian West became the archetypal infidel par excellence dwelling in nothing but darkness and ignorance.
It was not too long before many western professors, journalists, writers, and politicians came to the same conclusion. The popularity of the neo-Marxist condemnatory views on the capitalistic social hierarchy as a manifestation of western exploitation created a generation of anti-American and anti-western westerners. For the new college-educated liberals driving a Prius with a Berni Sanders bumper sticker, the white Christian west is nothing but a perpetrator of historical injustice, oppression, and racism. All wrongs in the world come only from “whiteness.” Even if other groups of people of color did something wrong such as Muslim antisemitism or strict heteronormativity, then it must be because of white colonial influence. With the proliferation of victimhood studies, post-colonial studies, ethnic studies, gender studies, etc. a new generation of westerners independently reached Islamist conclusions. Europe is wicked, and America is evil. Nothing good came out of the west. Literature and culture created by white Christian males are nothing but a bastion of western aggression and evil. Islamists couldn’t agree more. Islamists and postmodernist progressives share a deep disdain for the west.
THE EVILNESS OF THE NATION-STATE
The mothership of Islamism, the Muslim Brotherhood, was founded in 1928 as a response to the collapse of the last iteration of Muslim caliphates, the Ottoman Empire. The rise of the Islamic political project of the Brotherhood was shaped by the opposition to one new political phenomenon, the rise of Muslim nation-states. Islamists viewed the rise of nation-states in the lands of Islam to be an abomination, a western conspiracy to break off Muslim unity. For Islamists, Muslim strength lays in the Muslim unity under one polity. The nation-state wasn’t just viewed as an undesired political structure or an intruding western invention but an actual assault on Muslim power. This western crime against Islamic unity has a name, “Sykes-Picot.” For nearly a century imams have used Friday sermons to remind the Muslims of the Sykes-Picot English-French conspiracy in dividing Muslim lands with meaningless borders. In Islamist literature, Sykes-Picot is the evidence of the conspiracy and the crime.
The name “Muslim Brotherhood” is taken from the Quranic passage asserting fellowship of the common faith trumps in other affiliations. For Islamists, borders between the lands of Muslims are an obscenity. Muslims are not to be defined by nationality but by faith. Nationalism is a heresy and a sin. Patriotism is a vice. Pride is to be found only in being a Muslim. “To hell with the homeland” is an actual Islamist phrase. This idea is rooted in the founding story of Islam itself. As a religion of the Arabs, Islam sought to unite disparate waring tribes urging them to transcend their love and loyalty to the tribe and create a new nation built on faith and submission to the sovereignty of God, a nation that became Islam.
With a peculiar blow of fate, many western liberals have grown to disdain the nation-state and to abhor nationalism. Patriotism became bigotry, and love for one’s nation became racism. The presence of borders became an assault on humanity. Seeing it as a remnant of our tribal past, neo-liberals deem the nation-state to be obsolete and imagine a future where we transcend our nation groups. American coastal and European elites fantasize about a “stateless” world of environmentally sustainable urbanization in which states become just technology-based administrations.
From the bureaucrats of the EU to the representatives of the Democratic party, the deeply western notion of civics, which has ancient Greco-Roman roots, became not just devoid of meaning, but evil. Protecting your own national borders is a continuation of western evil racism. Western states are expected to accommodate millions of refugees. European nation-states fail to distinguish between the rights of a citizen and a non-citizen, the same as in California. Middle-class Berkley adult-children chant “No border. No Wall. No USA at all.” For many westerners, the newly found hatred of the nation-state is a new-found conclusion, for Islamists, it is a doctrine.
This issue, in particular, extends into the intense hatred for Israel and Zionism. In a time when Europe is content not being Christian and not confident it should remain European, Sweden doesn’t want to continue being Swedish, and Germany not sure it will remain German. Israelis are adamant about remaining Israeli and Jewish. For progressives, Zionism is the last stronghold of western nationalistic stubbornness. The more stubborn Israel is, the more neurotic and obsessed everyone becomes. For both neo-liberals and Islamists, the insistence on Zionism is maddening. Israeli pride and patriotism are an abomination. Keeping with the practice of projecting all evil onto Jews, Israel became the symbol of all crimes of nationalism. Jewish history is seen as the prototype of this obscene, immoral, racist model. Both Islamists and neo-liberals are ready to accept Israelis only if they agree to stop being Jewish. In the Hamas charter, the Islamist organization declares Jews can live peacefully as long as they are subjects to an Islamic state. A few weeks before John Kerry left office, he said, “Israel can either be Jewish or democratic, it cannot be both.”
For the previous two points of agreement that occur, western scholarship had to go through a process of robust historical revisionism. History had to be rewritten in light of the new discovery of innate western immorality. All of western history now revolved around western crimes, colonialism, capitalism, racism, slavery, misogyny, etc. The New York Times, a beacon of coastal liberal enlightenment, recently embarked on the grand project “1610” to write all American history centered around slavery.
A view of the self can’t exist without a view of the other, so the degradation of western history had to be done simultaneously with the gratification of all other histories. The history of native communities was rewritten as a history of gender-neutral peace-loving brown tree people living in harmony and serenity with nature before the arrival of the white tyrant with his polluting machines and patriarchal exploitive systems. Nevermind institutionalized slavery in Muslim culture, genocidal tribal wars between North American native tribes, human sacrifice of Aztecs, and the deforestation to extinction in the Pacific Islands. Muslim culture is elevated to the status of an icon. Everything originated in the lands of Islam. The hijab is the true symbol of women’s empowerment. Liberal online Buzzfeed-like outlets run stories at how even Lady Liberty is a Muslim woman. Islam became peace, and the west is war. US troops are aggressors, and the founder of ISIS is an austere scholar.
IDENTITY VS. VALUES
For the Islamists, identity trumps values. Islamic jurist Ahmad Al Wansharisi once wrote, “Rather Muslim tyranny than Christian Justice.” Islamists hold Muslim solidarity above all else for the loyalty to identity is paramount. In Islamist political systems, the identity of the polity matters above all else; justice, freedom, competency, etc. Muslim pan-solidarity is so crucial, even leaders of Muslim nation-states have to explicitly express it even if nominally. It is with this principle that homophobic socially hyper-conservative Islamists enter an alliance with western liberals.
With the rise of the liberal identity politics ethos, otherwise known as intersectionality, liberals arrived at the same conclusion. Identity is, above all else, including objective truth. Ivy League schools revised their admission system from competence-based to identity-based in order to elevate certain identities and diminish others. In a complete reversal of Martin Luther King’s dream of judging men by the content of their character, not the color of their skin, liberals now believe nothing matters more than the color of the skin. This notion was propelled to a new dimension with the idea that identity is not a socially negotiated structure between the individual and the group, however, it remains entirely at the discretion of the individual. This worldview is perfectly suitable to receive the Islamist view of the self and the other. Islamists want to define themselves as Muslim women and men and nothing else.
Islamism is founded and defined by grievances viewing the Muslim world as a victim of a major and continuous western conspiracy. Western powers conspired to steal Palestine, destroy Muslim unity, oppress Muslim nations, divide the Muslim world into nation-states, spread moral corruption, and tyrannical autocratic governments. Parallel to “racism,” the notion of “Islamophobia,” a senseless term borrowed from western notions of racial prejudice, is used as a frame of reference to all Muslim problems. Muslims became another victim group of the west. This narrative fits perfectly into the new liberal model of victimhood politics. For woke liberals, oppression is the most definitive element of identity.
While moral relativism is not a new idea, it is now officially at the center of the western liberal moral philosophy. The absence of moral truth allows the Islamist and the atheist sexually liberal westerner to cooperate without moral tension. The liberal of the west can’t judge the hijab, the traditional gender roles, the antisemitism, etc. of the Islamist for “Who is he to judge?” A liberal western culture of moral irresponsibly, selfishness, and brutal individualism allows the western progressive youth to feel liberated from any moral responsibility towards Muslim women. This issue becomes even more critical when it comes to the question of free speech.
HERESY LAWS AND POLITICAL CORRECTNESS
The Islamist’s moral code, which is genuinely theist and religious, doesn’t approve of western notions of free speech. Criticism of the faith or religious figures is heretical and amounts to a declaration of war. Islamists relentlessly advocate punishment for those who offend their beliefs. Muslim countries do have and execute heresy laws mercilessly.
While absent from the west for centuries, heresy laws made a surprising and shocking comeback virtually to all western establishments. Though secular, political correctness is nothing but a western post-Christian form of heresy laws. Losing one’s job, place in collage, social ostracization, moral crucifixion, and sometimes financial and prison penalties are the punitive tools of the new hyper-vigilant order. This new western repudiation of freedom of speech as we once understood it, is the same exact view of Islamists and Muslim conservatives alike, that there are words you can not and must not say and that there are red lines. That there will be swift and quick punishment for problematic utterances. This is how criticism of Muslim doctrine became hate speech, a crime against humanity. Netflix can make a show ridiculing a gay Jesus, yet no one dares to mention Muhammed. On national TV, you can tear apart the biblical beliefs of Mike Pence, yet dare not to mention those of Ilhan Omar’s. This amazing and impressive re-calibration of values is the most dangerous aspect of the Islamo-Left alliance.
With the peculiar rise of trans issues at the forefront of liberalism, one would have expected the issue to alienate Muslim conservatives immediately, yet it didn’t. For centuries, Muslim scholars have been trying to reframe the issue of homosexuality into trans terms. In Islamic jurisprudence, Allah has divided the world so sharply into the binary lines of masculine and feminine. The division is so sharp that men are required to look as masculine as a man could be, and a woman to be as feminine as possible. Islamic jurists have debated the issue of effeminate men and muscular women as the issue of confusion, and it is their role to discover which side of the gender of the binary they belong. The trans identity is the Islamic solution to homosexuality. This is the way the Islamic Republic of Iran chooses to deal with homosexuality; gay men who get caught have to choose between death or sex change. In Afghanistan, the same transsexual model is used to explain the phenomenon of dancing boys. Yet again, Islamists and liberals find themselves aligned.
Aside from principles, there is also a unity of vision. Islamism was based on a strong belief in activism. The Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t established as just a political movement but also social, educational, spiritual, medical, economic, and so on. For Islamists “Islam is the solution” for all your life. Islamism is governed by a totalitarian dynamism. The western culture of social justice warfare is nearly identical. It wants to take its fights everywhere, to your TV, books, entertainment, schools, banks, food, fashion, sports, etc. Your gestations are carrying rainbow sandwiches, your banks make ads saying “love happens here,” your shaving razor blades are criticizing toxic masculinity, etc. Neo-Marxist progressives want to bring the fight of equality to your kid’s kindergarten, to the presidency, to the Oscars, to A/C room temperature, to maths classes, etc. Social justice warriors do not different in vision or in tactics from Muslim Brotherhood youth in Muslim countries. The keyword is totalitarianism.
William James Durant once wrote, “The story of man runs in a dreary circle because he is not yet master of the earth that holds him.” The history of civilization is an astonishing saga of constant rise and fall, glory and demise, myth and tragedy. So shocking are the things the minds of men can do. We all celebrate imagination, yet our imagination can rarely catch up with our reality. Thirty years ago, no one would have predicted Islamist hijabis will one-day head the most massive women’s liberation rights movement. I have no doubt as much as there is a calibration of values, there is also clear Islamist predetaroy pragmatism. Claiming a hijab and a vagina pink hate are both symbols of female empowerment does entail some clear deception. Or that western liberal intellectuals will promote an essentially racist world view. Western culture is in a moment of crisis. Once the forefront of human art, wisdom, and liberty today western universities condemn free speech, western radios play urban music discussing genitals, western architecture is failing to inspire or be inspired, and the western view of the world is dominated by hesitation and self-doubt. It is at this moment, ideas that are hostile to our freedom and hostile to our liberty are festering like open wounds and threatening the wellbeing of our society and our institutions. This is the time for honesty, not for apathy. This is the time to ask decent men and women to take a stand against this wave of pure madness. We can’t afford ambivalence, and we can’t afford to lose. The alliance of the new representatives of modern fascism, yet again, is starting with the Jews, yet, indeed, it won’t stop there. Here is the west, we have so much knowledge, but do we have any wisdom?