Tuesday, March 13, 2007

An Uncomfortable Silence

John Hooper, in The Guardian's CiF section, criticises the Left for their failure to confront radical Islam. His starting off point is a case in Italy in which a young Muslim girl was killed by her family because they didn't approve of the way she was becoming Westernised. He exposes the fact that none of Italy's feminist groups got involved in the case. Only one lone woman took action, Ms Gemilli, she explained the problem:

Her explanation, which at least one noted feminist agreed with, is that Italy's women's groups - all of the left - were scared witless of seeming racist or anti-immigrant.
Hooper goes on to say:

This is not really a story about Italy at all. Another woman commentator said feminist groups in Germany had reacted in a similarly paralysed fashion to the case of a lawyer of Turkish origin who had been beaten up for defending the rights of Muslim women.

So if feminists and the left are not going to help, who will? The case of Hina Saleem offers a possible answer. It was not till last month that she was buried. Only one woman - apart from Loredana Gemelli - turned out for her funeral. Her name is Daniela Santanche and she is a member of the Italian parliament for the "post-fascist" National Alliance.

For anyone who regards himself or herself as liberal, that is cringe-makingly shameful.

What Hooper appears to be saying is that the Left has become unable to campaign for equal rights, while at the same time, the Right has learnt to accept equal rights but has retained the moral fibre necessary to take strong action to bring about these rights.

Some will no doubt claim that the Right was only there to score political points out of this as part of an Islamophobic attempt to gain more votes from the far-Right. Perhaps so. But that shouldn't take away from the fact the the Left has become unable to criticise certain people for their abuses.