Radical Islam’s Fellow-Travellers


An interesting article by Nick Cohen that contains much though provoking material regarding Islam … its worth reading …

First a bit of context. The publication “Standpoint”, that contains the article, describes its mission statement as …

…celebrate our civilization, its arts and its values — in particular democracy, debate and freedom of speech — at a time when they are under threat. Standpoint aims to be an antidote to the parochialism of British political magazines and to introduce British readers to brilliant writers and thinkers from across the Atlantic, across the Channel and around the world.
Now, on to the article by Nick Cohen itself …

Contemplating with his customary scorn the artists who had embraced the Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky wondered what it would take to break their attachment to a cause that would eventually murder many of them — and kill Trotsky too, although he was yet to know it. “As regards a fellow-traveller,” he said, “the question always comes up — how far will he go?” Would the barbarism of the dictatorship of the proletariat persuade him to “change at one of the stations on to the train going the other way”? Or would he stay on for the rest of the ride?

As Trotsky implied, fellow-travelling with communism was not always akin to endorsing the creed. Communists accepted crimes committed in the name of the revolution without hesitation. The fellow-traveller looked away from communism’s victims and invited others to do the same. Communists damned “bourgeois democracy”. It disillusioned communism’s fellow-travellers, too, but not enough to persuade them to give up on democratic politics completely and join the revolution. They wished the Soviet Union well and found its experiments on the human race bracing. But in the words of David Caute, the best historian of fellow-travelling, their support was a “commitment at a distance”.

The reception given to Tariq Ramadan when he arrived in New York in April showed that today a type of fellow-travelling with radical Islam has spread from Europe to America. From the applause he drew, it seemed to me that no one involved would be changing trains for a while. The willingness of Ramadan’s admirers to ignore the victims of totalitarianism was familiar but everything else was different. The readers of the New York Review of Books and the Nation, like the readers of Le Monde Diplomatique and the New Statesman, are not committing to radical Islam, even at a distance. They do not believe in the subjugation of women, the murder of homosexuals and apostates, the Jewish conspiracy theory and the creation of a theocratic empire in the way that communism’s old fellow-travellers in socialism believed to varying degrees. The best they can manage is a feeble relativism. “But it’s their culture to oppress women,” they insist. “It’s imperialist to impose Western human rights standards on others.”

Standpoint: read the rest of the article here …

Least you wonder about it all, consider this quote from the article  …

“Defending freedom of speech is one thing. Permissively — or passively — agreeing with the speaker is another.”

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