Richard Bartholomew has a piece up on the launch of a new US group that calls itself “Stop Islamization of America”. Some of those involved in this organisation have an impressive track record of moonbattery, including Martin Mawyer of the “Christian Action Network”, who only recently turned his attention from attacking gays, to having a pop at Muslims.
The piece ends with a postscript that is worth reposting in full, because I think it is spot on:
I sometimes get irritated comments from people (particularly a certain “June” of late) who think my blog entries on this kind of thing mean that I must be wishing to minimise or ignore the threat of Islamic extremism. That’s not actually the case, and for a every right-wing demagogue who wants to whip up anti-Islamic feeling, it should be remembered there are Muslim extremists who are perhaps even more effective in causing people to fear the religion (and I have written about those, too). But as with the 1950s “Red Scare” (and other situations), the existence of a real security threat does not mean that one should uncritically embrace anyone who comes along with some posturing rhetoric and self-proclaimed expertise offering easy answers.
The parallel is a good one. We should be concerned about the activities of totalitarian and anti-liberal democratic political groups. We need also be vigilant about attempts by bigots and extremists of other stripes to hijack proper and proportionate concern about the activities of a number of specific Islamist political parties, in order to promote a general fear and loathing of Muslims.
There are certainly some people who, echoing the rhetoric of these Islamist groups, take the view that jihadism is the inevitable and natural consequence of a Muslim identity. It is true that Islamist rhetoric will resonate most strongly with a Muslim audience: but then, that should no surprise at all, as it is calibrated to do precisely that. We should recall that the Red Army Fraction enjoyed a short lived but high level of support in certain parts of Germany with particular age groups. That fact no more exposed an “essential truth” about the German national character than does the similar argument that is now directed as Muslims, generally.
If you are a liberal and a democrat and a pluralist, you oppose totalitarian and repressive political movements. It is as simple as that. In doing so, our primary allies are those who share our political values. That is why our comrades are the likes of The Spittoon and why we reject the various “anti-Islamisation” campaigns which almost always turn out to be similarly conspiracist and bigoted attempts to promote a sectarian agenda.
I do think that Richard might slightly tighten his focus on the British Islamist scene: he gets they’re bad news, but doesn’t always understand who they are and where they’re coming from. But that’s a minor criticism of a man whose nutterdom-detecting antennae are pretty finely tuned, and whose writing on other areas of extremism is absolutely invaluable.