Fear and dogma on the political left has rendered opposition to Islamic extremism the property of the far right in the Western world - It's time to take it back.
You may question why I am bringing this up now years after the Rushdie fatwa, the Taliban takeover, 9/11, 7/7, and the Danish cartoons. I do so because this threat has not vanished and because the grounds on which extremism is opposed matter greatly. Criticism of Islamic extremism is largely associated with bigots like the English Defence League, British National Party and Britain First. Similarly, condemnation of Abu Hamza and Anjem Choudary types is most vigorously pursued by the thugs that populate these parties.
This has resulted in the left's widespread refusal to share a common enemy with delinquents, racists and ultra-conservative forces determined to retard civilisation. As such, the fight against Islamic fundamentalism is not the priority it should be. However the left has more reason to oppose fascistic Islamic organisations than the right in this country. For the left at its best tends towards equality, forsaking conservatism. Whereas fascists from Adolf Hitler to Taliban founder Mullah Omar, act in the name of tradition- imagined or otherwise.
It will not do to have the strongest British opposition to Islamic fundamentalists motivated by racism.
For this is the bizarre condition that caused liberals to line up to express concern over the offence a knighthood given to Salman Rushdie in 2011 might cause. Fronting this madness was Liberal Democrat Shirley Williams said the appointment was a "mistake" on the grounds that "this was a man who has deeply offended many Muslims in a very powerful way." Her opposition should have been directed against the bigoted Ayatollah Khomeini and those who supported the fatwa issued against Rushdie and the enemies of civilisation who felt it necessary to pander to this extremism.
Such is the sensitivity surrounding this tension that, if you're a good leftist reading this, chances are you tutted at the term "Islamofascists". Yet there is no better term than this neologism used by Christopher Hitchens for a group like the Taliban who bulldozed homosexuals, murdered and raped Hazara tribe members because of their ethnicity, obliterated women's rights and enforced dress codes in the name of fundamentalism.
It is crucial the left destroys the monopoly the right has on opposing Islamic extremism in order to remain true to leftist thought. The fight against fundamentalism is not the fight of the EDL who fly under flags of theocracy. Nor is it the business of Christian extremists like the Britain First. The fight against fascism, whether Islamic or otherwise is the fight of the left. The promotion and appeasement of extremism is contrary to leftist progression. These realities need to be acknowledged and articulated in order to bring the fight against fundamentalism home.
Were leftists in Britain to do this and not to observe the paradoxical orthodoxy of George Galloway's left, they would probably find themselves on the side of millions of Muslims angry at the oppression Fundamentalists unleash. I simply do not believe it the case that were this opposition vocalised with the vigour it necessitates that the majority of people who call themselves Muslim would be offended. It should not be considered offensive to oppose Islamic fundamentalism even when doing so creates a common ground with undesirable fascists who also invoke totalitarianism. Actually, to regard this condemnation as offensive to decent Muslims is to insult their character. It serves to align them to sordid and oppressive groups that have made miserable the lives of many fellow Muslims. The only people we run the risk of alienating with this opposition are extremists, apologists and severely misguided individuals.
For our own coherence let us eschew the taboo that is choking the life out of this much-needed fight. Maybe then opposition to Islamic tyranny can be divorced from the poison spewed by our own extremists.