In 1997 the Runnymede Trust defined Islamophobia as the “dread or hatred of Islam and therefore, [the] fear and dislike of all Muslims”. The logic is absurd. Dreading or hating religion is normal and progressive. Religions are hierarchical, organised forms of social control.
History, past and current, is littered with examples of the horrors perpetrated when religion becomes fused with government. Of course, all religions in opposition are for tolerance and peace. Look at the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. But to hate religions doesn’t mean hating those who believe in them. Why on earth should it? Any more than liking one religion means liking all its adherents.
And yet the Runnymede formula, however ludicrous, has gained currency. After the Stockholm International Forum on Combating Intolerance, the EU took up the idea in 2001 – a sure indicator that it might be flawed.
Worse, the definition presents Muslims as an undifferentiated mass, with no class divisions, no political divisions, no ideological differences – a strange oversimplification. Ridiculous when you look at the nature of many present conflicts in the world.
Do we really accept this view here in Britain? We certainly too often allow trade union meetings to be diverted and derailed by the dreaded “Islamophobic” insult. Such name-calling is used by the ultra-left to stop discussion and inspire fear, and thus get us off what should be the business at hand.
Since our goal is to unite the working class we do not exclude or discriminate against anyone on grounds other than class; the only questions we ask are whether the person is worker or employer and, if worker, is he or she committed to the interest of our class? Any attempt to impede our common fight is pernicious to our class.
So when fascist Islamists killed 52 Londoners on July 7 2005, they were following the pernicious ideology of terrorist jihadism against British workers. Those who tried to blow up a march in Dewsbury last year had similar ideas. But the ultra-left said on both occasions that blaming their ideology was Islamophobic, refusing to distinguish between their terrorism and their religion. They want to identify Islamists with Muslims, conflating the two in an attempt to prevent any critique of Islamist terrorists.
Jihadists use the “Islamophobia” slur as cover for their jihadism, just as Zionists use the “anti-Semitism” slur as cover for their Zionism. Criticism of Zionism is not anti-Semitic; criticism of jihadism is not “Islamophobic”. The terms are used to intimidate and close down critical thought.
We denounce all terrorism, “left” or “right”, pro-Islamist or anti-Islamist. We must stop the use of insult to divide us. At work our fellow workers are class comrades. Arise ye starvelings from your slumbers (OK, smile, but look around: if you don’t fight you too will soon be a starveling). Fight the class fight with all your might! No diversions! ■