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Why Left takes Islamism lightly

Why Left takes Islamism lightly

Author: Daniel Pipes
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: February 12, 2007

Those of my political outlook are alarmed by Islamism's advances in the West. Much of the Left approaches the topic in a far more relaxed fashion.

Why this difference? Why is the Right generally alarmed, and the Left much more sanguine? There are many differences; there are many reasons, but let us focus on two.

One is a sense of shared opponents between the Islamists and those on the Left. George Galloway explained in 2005, "The progressive movement around the world and Muslims have the same enemies," which he then went on to indicate were Israel, the US and Great Britain.

And if one listens to the words that are spoken about, say the US, one can see that this is the case. Howard Pinter has described America as "a country run by a bunch of criminal lunatics". And Osama Bin Laden called the US "unjust, criminal, and tyrannical".

Noam Chomsky termed the US leading terrorist state". And Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, a leading Pakistani political leader, called it the "biggest terrorist state". Such common ground makes it tempting for those on the Left to make common cause with Islamists.

At other times, the Left feels a kinship with Islamist attacks on the West, forgiving, understanding why these would happen. A couple of notorious quotes make this point. German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen termed the 9/11 attacks "the greatest work of art for the whole cosmos", while American novelist Norman Mailer commented that "the people who did this were brilliant".

Such attitudes tempt the Left not to take seriously the Islamist threat to the West. With Mr. John Kerry, a former aspirant to the US presidency, they dismiss terrorism as a mere "nuisance".

That is one reason: The bounds between the two camps. The second is that on the Left one finds a tendency to focus on terrorism - not on Islamism or radical Islam. Terrorism is blamed on such problems as Western colonialism of the past century, Western "neo-imperialism" of the present day, Western policies - particularly in places like Iraq and the Palestinian Authority - or from unemployment, poverty, desperation.

There is no way to appease Islamism. There is no amount of money that can solve it. It must be fought and defeated.

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