Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Times Columnist Lays Down A Challenge

The Times has an interesting opinion piece by Phyllis Chesler about Islamism. She describes how her brief marriage to an Afghan man shaped her view of radical Islam before going on to challenge the liberal left. Here is an extract:

Nevertheless, Western intellectual-ideologues, including feminists, have demonised me as a reactionary and racist “Islamophobe” for arguing that Islam, not Israel, is the largest practitioner of both sexual and religious apartheid in the world and that if Westerners do not stand up to this apartheid, morally, economically and militarily, we will not only have the blood of innocents on our hands; we will also be overrun by Sharia in the West.....

Now is the time for Western intellectuals who claim to be antiracists and committed to human rights to stand with these dissidents. To do so requires that we adopt a universal standard of human rights and abandon our loyalty to multicultural relativism, which justifies, even romanticises, indigenous Islamist barbarism, totalitarian terrorism and the persecution of women, religious minorities, homosexuals and intellectuals. Our abject refusal to judge between civilisation and barbarism, and between enlightened rationalism and theocratic fundamentalism, endangers and condemns the victims of Islamic tyranny.

This contradiction of liberal values coupled with support for illiberal Islamism has been quite apparent to those on the right wing for some time and seems to finally be coming visible to many on the left as well.