Thursday, December 28, 2006

The metropolitan left and the Muslim world

The metropolitan left and the Muslim world by Aasim Sajjad Akhtar. December 27, 2006

In much of the western world, progressive political and social forces have rallied to the defence of Muslim immigrant communities that face systematic discrimination following the launching of the ‘war on terror’. In the anti-war movement in the United States and Great Britain for example, Muslim associations have worked closely with secular groups that broadly associate themselves with the political left. This intriguing alignment of forces would appear to be a logical and measured response to the jingoism of many western governments as well as the attendant suspicions and harassment that have become commonplace within larger society.

It is important to be clear that in most cases the left is allying with social and cultural groups that have been associated with the Muslim community, as opposed to overtly political entities that could be categorized as ‘Islamist’. However the effective result of this policy of alignment of progressive groups in Europe and North America is enhanced interaction and even cooperation with political forces that are currently at the forefront of resistance to imperial invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the ongoing brutal occupation of Palestine.

In the final analysis, this resistance is spearheaded by parties and movements that make no bones of their commitment to Islam as the guiding ideology of their politics. In other words, such groups not only seek to defend the rights of Muslims from foreign aggression but also assert their belief in the need for a transformative project that will culminate in a socio-political system guided by the tenets of the Shari’a, or Islamic law.

(Click here to read more)