Anti Fascism

Neither Fascism Nor Communism but International Mawdudism

MCB Watch has produced a comprehensive and scholarly critical account of Mawdudi’s political philosophy which deserves to be read in full:

In extensive citations from a range of Mawdudi’s writings on Islamic law, politics and Qur’anic commentary, we have seen how his view of the Islamic State is one of a totalitarian theocracy, whose laws cannot be challenged (since they are divinely given), in which non-Muslims are subjugated and cannot be involved in political leadership, in which Muslims who wish to convert from Islam are to be executed and non-Muslims are forbidden from preaching their religious beliefs. It would seem that Mawdudi’s recognition that such a state bears some resemblances to Communism or Fascism was an accurate assessment and Panorama’s quotation of his words a fair summary of his thought. Perhaps our biggest complaint with Panorama is that they should have quoted more of Mawdudi’s writings, since he makes no attempt to play down his nastier opinions.

But what of the MCB? Why quote misleadingly from Mawdudi when trying to prove Panorama were themselves quoting wrongly? Why cover up Mawdudi’s views about non-Muslims, apostasy, religious freedom, or the need for Islam to take over the world and suppress all non-Islamic systems of government?

We would suggest that the answer is twofold. First, the MCB wanted to attack the BBC with all guns blazing and the admission that Panorama were correct about Mawdudi would detract from this. When it comes to winning arguments, the MCB seem to think that the end justifies the means and that truth is an irrelevance. Second, there was the need to defend an affiliate. The Islamic Foundation promote and expound the works of Mawdudi and his views obviously cast them in a bad light. Since the MCB allow no criticism of themselves or affiliates, the need to defend The Islamic Foundation required generating a smokescreen in the hope that nobody would actually read Mawdudi.

In yesterday’s press release, the MCB opposed the Government’s proposal to bar political extremists from the United Kingdom in the following terms:

In an age of global communications, banning entry or deportations may not achieve the intended results. Moreover, such actions against those expressing support for any of the liberation movements anywhere in the world, would be viewed as oppressive.

It is clear that the MCB regards not simply Mawdudism, but other political movements which are clearer in their intent to murder and oppress, as “liberation movements“.

In my view, the left should oppose proposals to deport people – irrespective of their views – to countries in which they are likely to be tortured. We should make these points clearly, but on our own terms. The one thing which we should never do is to join with pressure groups which openly and unapologetically support and defend the advocates of those politically oppressive systems of government which are premised upon the systematic denial of fundamental freedoms.

Today’s letter in the Guardian, signed by the Muslim Council of Britain, and also by Ken Livingstone, Mark Oaten MP, Alex Salmond MP, and a number of other worthies, constitutes just such a coalition. The basis upon which the signatories have put their name to this letter appears to be – not that civil liberties are threatened by the proposals – but rather that they:

“risk criminalising or excluding people who condemn terrorist attacks and whose cooperation is indispensable to the work of the police in fighting terrorism.”

In other words, the best reason that the letter can come up with for opposing certain of the “security measures” is that to do so would be a tactical mistake. This is the same argument which has been deployed in support of bridge-building with Qaradawi. Yes, some argue, he may be an advocate of the murder of civilians. But – so the argument goes – he is our last defence against jihadism.

That argument is nonsense. Compromising with those who support terrorism is no way to defeat it. In fact, such coalitions have the effect of legitimising the deliberate targeted murder of civilians.

Instead of trying to cut deals with extremists, isn’t it about time that the left started to form alliances only with those who genuinely and unconditionally oppose terrorism?