An ex-Muslim's reflections on Islam and the left
As a North African who comes from a Muslim background, I have been asked quite a lot these past couple of years about my opinion on the political scene in Europe and The U.S, and in general about my political views and where I take my stand on the politico-economic spectrum.
Now, for some reason, many people assume that I would be left leaning and to be fair, if they would have asked me a few years ago, they would meet a leftist anarchist 16 year old, who idolises Noam Chomsky, instead of a right wing classical liberal. Now, a lot has changed since then and I have been through quite a lot, which unavoidably influenced my political views. But the main factor behind my political switches was me leaving Islam, dogma in general and becoming agnostic.
Yes, this can be quite surprising to some of you, especially to those who tend to relate irreligiousness and liberalism to the left leaning side of the political spectrum and assume that a classical liberal would align himself with progressive leftism rather than conservatism and reactionaries. But alas, being left or right wing nowadays is so complex and incorporates so many aspects that being on one side doesn't do justice to your personal political views. The whole system is outdated and identifying one’s self in one camp generally carries other connotations that one may or may not agree with. Nevertheless, this isn’t about reforming the spectrum. It is about what excites the masses, what drives them mad in a sea of conflicting emotions, the modern Colosseum: Politics.
I won’t be talking much about economic policies and the whole debate between higher public spending and neoliberal economic conservatism, that topic is excruciatingly boring if I may say. I will be focusing on topics that are influencing the modern political scene in the west and that are obviously affecting on a much bigger scale, for example: Islam in the west and the left nowadays…
I will be frank with you, I absolutely despise Islam. Being born to a Muslim family in a Muslim country, I had to learn about this religion since I was a toddler, and in my very humble opinion it is a disgusting dogma that is based on continuous military expansion and strives for world domination. Now I am talking mostly about Islam here, because it is the religion that I grew up in, therefore it is the one I know the most about. I am sure other religions can be as equally messed up. However, the most compelling thing about Islam is that it lagged behind other religions in becoming modernised. Christianity and the Judeo-Christian world changed throughout the centuries, from the Renaissance era, the rise of Protestantism to the enlightenment era and the rise of secularism. Yet, the Arab-Islamic world did not go through this, at least not since the rational Mu'tazilah creed disappeared in the 10th century and the Hellenistic-based Islamic Neo-Platonism school of thought died. Right now, I would easily say that the current version od Islam is completely incompatible with the post-Enlightenment western values and the modern world. Now, don’t misinterpret this as being against Muslims as fellow human beings, my family follows the Sunni sect after all, thus hating Muslims would prove to be hypocritical. Everybody has the right to believe in whatever they want to believe, as long as it does not affect others.
Why am I explaining all of this? Because Islam is ruining Europe at the moment. A big portion of the Muslim population has been engaging in strict communitarianism which leads them to separate themselves from the rest of the population. Of course, I won’t say it is solely their mistake, as some state policies especially in the 70’s and the 80’s have been very marginalizing to minorities in general, by encouraging and bring foreign labour to help rebuilding Europe yet not implementing policies to properly integrate them in western society. However, the main reason behind the fact that a big part of the Muslim community did not fully integrate was not, in the end, their host countries. After all, other minorities such as the Chinese and the Indian have been quite successful in doing so. It is the influence of Islam that did not allow these Muslim communities to integrate and prosper in an advanced society.
Islam ruined the multicultural experience. Nowadays, many admit that multiculturalism has failed, and it did. I would be the first to agree with that. As a concept, it does not work and will not work in the future. Some cultures are morally superior simply because they have evolved past the others that are still trapped in the vestige of the past. We should aspire for a multi-ethnic society rather than a multicultural one, because in the end, cultures have diverged to a point where mutual understanding and coexistence is impossible without dividing society.
The left has been very blind when it comes to these issues for last the few decades. In fact, it has been very pro-Islam, which is absolutely baffling. It is for some reason very supportive of Islam to the point it disregards what happens to minorities in Islamic nations, from women to the LGBT community and the many instances of human rights violations in multiple Muslim countries. The new wave of leftist rhetoric considers criticism of dogmas and cultures other than the Judeo-Christian one as racism. Other than that, the main reason I have cut all my ties with the left was the rise of identity politics.
Contrary to what many believe, Identity politics nowadays is not civil rights. It is simply a modern version of tribalism which falsely assumes collective agency of different peoples. This is completely unhealthy and very divisive for a society. In the end, it does nothing to improve the standards of living for minorities and other groups that are in need of help and assistance. It encourages the partition of society into different groups, thus throwing us back to senseless tribalist struggles which is just absolutely regressive. Sadly, leftist thought has fallen for this trap and is nowadays considered the mecca of identity politics. No, I do not want you to paint me as a brown man who needs special treatment as if I am not normal, I only need equal rights. Treating me and other people as special cases will only lead to creating hostile feelings towards us and may just throw us back in darker times.
To be honest, I really don’t know why I have written all of this. It’s a snowy Saturday and I usually just oversleep the whole morning. But for some reason I decided to write all this politically motivated essay. Perhaps, it is a subconscious plea from my part to the left to rethink what it is doing and how it is driving people away. An important portion of new populist parties’ supporters are ex-left leaning individuals who grew tired of the hypocrisy in modern left-wing politics. It’s time to stop.