The recent news that anti-globalization movements have directly reached out to, and worked with various Islamic groups, including sexist, homophobic, and anti-democratic groups, should disturb us deeply.
There are plenty of progressive, democratic religious groups, including Islamic groups, to work with. They may not attract attention because they don't kill babies or assassinate people with whom they disagree, but they're there, and they're far better candidates for progressive causes.
Last year, Fred Halliday put it very well:
(More about the status of women in conservative Islam here...straight from the proverbial horse's mouth, in a clumsy attempt to disco around the issue...)
...while it is true that Islamism in its diverse political and violent guises is indeed opposed to the US, to remain there omits a deeper, crucial point: that, long before the Muslim Brotherhood, the jihadis and other Islamic militants were attacking "imperialism", they were attacking and killing the left - and acting across Asia and Africa as the accomplices of the west. [...] The reactionary (the word is used advisedly) nature of much of their programme on women, free speech, the rights of gays and other minorities is evident.There is also a mindset of anti-Jewish prejudice that is riven with racism and religious obscurantism. Only a few in the west noted what many in the Islamic world will have at once understood, that one of the most destructive missiles fired by Hizbollah into Israel bore the name "Khaibar" - not a benign reference to the pass between Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the name of a victorious battle fought against the Jews by the Prophet Mohammad in the 7th century. Here it is worth recalling the saying of the German socialist leader Bebel, that anti-semitism is "the socialism of fools". How many on the left are tolerant if not actively complicit in this foolery today is a painful question to ask.
I think it's time to start a drive to get a broad coalition of progressives, socialists, and left democrats to publicly denounce, and renounce affiliation with, all religious extremism, and all religious movements that advocate the persecution of (or any degree of violence against) labor movements, religious minorities or members of other religions, sexual minorities, women, etc. This is not about being unduly "purist" or fragmentory. This is about foolishly --fatally foolishly-- assuming that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Halliday concludes that the left
does not need slogans to understand that the Islamist programme, ideology and record are diametrically opposed to the left – that is, the left that has existed on the principles founded on and descended from classical socialism, the Enlightenment, the values of the revolutions of 1798 and 1848, and generations of experience. The modern embodiments of this left have no need of the “false consciousness” that drives so many so-called leftists into the arms of jihadis.