Racism, fundamentalism and the anti-war movement

Submitted by Anon on 28 February, 2002 - 12:49

Who are the real racists here?

One of the arguments raised in the anti-war movement against condemning the Taliban and fundamentalism's abuse of women has been that any criticism of islamism, fuels racism. This has the effect of confusing and silencing honest anti-racists. But who are the racists in this argument?

It is true that racists used Sept 11th as an excuse to attack Muslims here (and not just Muslims, anyone with a brown face - racists aren't fussy) and that Muslim women wearing the hijab made a visible target. But how do you get from there, to not criticising fundamentalism?
Unless you think that women in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, etc are less deserving of human rights than their white sisters, which is clearly racist, how can you sacrifice their rights, which are being murderously infringed, to a vague notion of not wanting to add to islamophobia?

And does islamophobia mean that no aspect of Islam including its militant political fascist version can be criticised? Isn't that racist, saying in effect "they're all the same" - Muslim scholar and suicide bomber, they're all "Islam" i.e 'not like us'? The only difference is now they are "all the same" - above criticism.

One of the most persistent racial stereotypes is of Asian and Muslim women as passive victims of oppression. You don't challenge that by pretending, in the face of appalling evidence, that they are not oppressed, but by supporting those sisters fighting oppression.

It's a hideous betrayal of those courageous women (and men) who have stood up to jihadi fascism to lump all opposition to political Islam together and suggest it aids racism.

And it's a small step from that silence in the face of oppression to actively supporting those oppressors. When British-Asian women, but not their white sisters, are pushed into segregated seating at a Stop the War meeting and abused when they object, and so-called socialists stand idly by, that is racist. That is saying that 'they' can do what they like with 'their' women, 'we' won't object. When you espouse one set of rights for women here, but remain silent on the total absence of those rights for women 'there', that's implicitly racist.

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