Why Attacking Islam is a Poor Tactic for Nationalists

Why Attacking Islam is a Poor Tactic for Nationalists

For those on the right of the political spectrum, it is as trendy today to criticise the Islamic faith as it is for those on the left to criticise bankers or ‘capitalists’. Despite the hysteria that can be found in many a far-right circle, there is in fact very little restriction on the extent to which one can criticise Islam and those who adhere to it, even if a few opponents may cry out in faux outrage. Long gone are the days when, like Salmon Rushdie, you could find yourself living under round the clock police protection for daring to refer to Mohammed in derogatory terms.

However, the accusation often levelled at those on the right who criticise Islam is that they have built up an boogeyman-like perception of the faith, as if it were to blame for all of their problems. It has to be said that this is not without foundation. When listening to some prominent voices on the right such as Geert Wilders or UKIP leadership hopeful Anne-Marie Walters, you could be forgiven for getting the impression that Islam is organised and conspiratorial on a par with freemasonry.

This is of course a false assertion. Islam is not an omnipotent, omnipresent force through which the Muslim leaders of the Middle-East are somehow manipulating the actions of our naive western politicians. Notwithstanding that this would simply offer too much credit to our political leaders, it is also to assume that Islamic leaders and Muslims in general have the intellectual wherewithal to influence our politics to such a degree. That’s not to say they’re stupid or that the intent isn’t there; they’re not and it is. But there is not a political leader or group in all the world, of all faiths and none, who don’t chance their arm at influencing foreign affairs to better suit their aims.

Furthermore, to suggest that there is a secretive Islamic conspiracy to “Islamise the west” is quite frankly preposterous. To claim such a conspiracy exists and is succeeding is to excuse the shortcomings of our own faiths and cultures far too lightly. If Islam is spreading throughout the west, it’s because those native to the  Occident are failing to counter it with their own arguments in favour of their own cultures and faiths, or because they have lost the confidence of the people who claim to be part of said systems.

Do western politicians give Muslims a free pass, where many other faiths and groups may be pushed back? Yes, of course, but this is born out of a misplaced desire to atone for colonial guilt or to curry favour with the influential, anti-European lobby groups and donors, not because they have been won over or otherwise tricked by the persuasive arguments of the cunning Imams. Does the media paint Islam in a favourable light more so than native cultures and faiths? Again, the answer is yes, but the reasons for this are largely the same. The pro-Islam journalists don’t call by the Mosque on their way home each evening; they don’t secretly face Mecca and bow their heads 5 times a day. In fact, many a liberal journalist probably find much of the Islamic faith rather distasteful.

Besides, the evidence for this Islamic master plan simply isn’t there. They do not possess what is necessary to control a nation; they don’t own banks; they don’t own media outlets; they don’t own tech companies; they actually supply very little of the west’s oil and they have relatively few elected representatives in European nations. Of course, this doesn’t prevent the far-right from taking isolated incidents and blowing them out of proportion – veiled pun intended – such as a Saudi consortium purchasing a few percent of Twitter’s shares, or London having a Muslim mayor.

Thus far, we have demonstrated the invalidity of the argument, but as with any other political position the evidence and facts can be twisted to support either point of view. There is also a strong case for those on the right to do this, as it is much more acceptable to slander Islam than it is to, say, discuss the fact that those of African descent commit a disproportionate amount of crime in the west. Nevertheless, this is a tactic that should be avoided by nationalism as a movement, for it is both easily dismissed cliche and a deflection from the real issues.

Consider the argument that Islam must reform, that a more moderate brand of Islam should be adhered to in the west to better suit our liberal sensibilities. By taking such a position, the argument then becomes about the nuances of an Abrahamic faith, as opposed to the issues of immigration and integration. It is an abstract position that has many difficulties, not to mention the fact that it’s a wholly unrealistic demand of the vast majority of Sunni Muslims, who see only Islam or infidelity with no grey areas in between. Added to the fact that European liberals will engage in a constant barrage of accusations of persecution and discrimination, the entire argument can be deconstructed just as quickly as it’s spoken.

Furthermore, it presents mixed messages to the Muslim migrant, who is now unsure as to whether you want him in your country at all, whether the west is multicultural or assimilationist, or what sort of Islam is acceptable to the host population. It leaves too much room for doubt as to what position the right is actually taking. It’s a message with grey areas left for both opponents and Muslims themselves to challenge and debate.

Surely, a less disruptive position would be to say that every man or woman is free to practise the faith of their native land, provided it is in that native land. Why should Frenchmen or Swedes concern themselves with what faith is practised in Saudi Arabia or Bangladesh? Why is it the preserve of the European to demand immigrants come here, but then relinquish their faith and become like the host population? Practises that seem barbaric to us, such as those legislated under Sharia law, may be celebrated by the vast majority of another country, as we can see in many an Arabic land. Therefore, it is not such an extreme position to say that a Muslim should be free to practise this faith in a Muslim country.

The argument can then become one of identity, giving nationalism the fortunate position of being able to argue a wholly moral point; every faith and culture should have a homeland in which their practises are the majority. This is to preserve the beautiful natural diversity of the world, as opposed to the culturally deficient melting pots that the powers that be desire.

But Islam is not a race, or so those of the right might argue. This is a useful point to deflect from accusations of racism, but if you’re still labouring under the delusion that Islam and race are entirely separate from one another then you’ve become engulfed in your own excuses. It is no mere coincidence that the Middle-East is Muslim and European nations are not. Cultural practises evolve to suit those who practise them. To assert that Islam is totally separate from race is akin to stating that Judaism is a purely religious doctrine, despite the fact that a great number of influential Jews are as atheistic as one can get.

In the same way that Sikhism and Hinduism are native to the Indian sub-continent, and Shinto is the native religion of the Japanese, so Islam is the native religion of the Arab. Yes, it is true that the religion has spread to parts of Asia, in particular Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, but despite repeated attempts its ideas have never gained any real traction on the European continent. Why is this, if not because of the natural dispositions of the people choosing a faith?

Therefore it is a more confident and morally agreeable position to argue that, rather than changing their faith to suit their hosts, Muslims should instead practise their faith to its fullest extent – in a Muslim country.

This also goes hand in hand with another important argument for the nationalistic movement, namely who has brought the Muslim hordes to the gates of Europe? We have already established that this cannot plausibly be the grand conspiracy of President Erdogan for instance, to grow an Islamic caliphate on the European continent. Rather, the answer is much more disheartening, but perhaps easier to present in an argument that stands up to scrutiny.

That’s because the people behind the massive immigration of Muslims to the west are a common enemy for the left and nationalism alike; the elitist, corporate classes, who see not Muslim nor Christian, not European or African, but a workforce, easy labour and quick profits. The fact that the people they have brought here are Muslim is a secondary concern to these people, who are intent on growing their profits despite the destructive affect this has on their own people. It is a small, rootless, international clique, intent on a creating melting pot which suits their corporate aims, and who are infinitely better equipped to import millions of immigrants than the Muslim nations are to export them.

Immigration truly is the secret weapon of international finance, making this globalist entity the real enemy of Europeans as opposed to the Muslim immigrants, who are merely the vehicle of their choosing to grow their stock market value. It does of course help that derided giant capitalists is not only more morally agreeable to the general populous, but could even help build bridges of understanding and cooperation with the left. That’s not to say however that adopting the principles of the left is the right thing to do, rather that it makes it less impossible to bring social democrats and liberals over to the nationalistic movements.

Neither is it to say that directing the animosity toward the financial elite is to accept the existence of a multicultural society. However, it enables us to make the crucial distinction that the Muslim migrants are as much a victim in this cycle as the native peoples of Europe, as opposed to them being the chief antagonists as those of PEGIDA and Britain First for example would have us believe. Surely any sensible person will recognise the advantages of such a position in contrast to the disadvantages of the latter. After all, is it not this aggressive rhetoric against Muslims that have endeared them to the do-gooder media class, who now pollute the population with story after story and examples of alleged Islamic virtue?

Obviously there will be some who read this who will level accusations of sympathy and feebleness at this argument. However, what is really evident here is pragmatism and adaptability. As I have clearly stated, to take such a position is in no way an endorsement of a multicultural, multi-ethnic society, quite the opposite; the only way to preserve the natural diversity of the world is to have clear dividing lines between people from one group and people from another. There must be clear borders where the Muslim world ends and the European world begins, just as there is to differentiate between Chinese culture and Russian culture or the Buddhist-majority regions of Asia. Without such borders we are nothing, for it’s these borders and dividing lines that enable us to be one thing and not another.

 

William is a journalist based in the United Kingdom.