The question of religion, specifically Islam, is being played out as a stalking horse on the political left. As so many left intellectuals sign on with Islamophobia there has been a lot of chatter dedicated to the business of proving how right it is to see Islam as on par with rabid imperialism as the twin apocalyptic enemies of our time. Such is this determination to claim the high moral ground that Bush’s incursion into Iraq is seen as a necessary evil in order to assert the values of the European Enlightenment against the barbarity of fundamentalist Islam.
At stake is a new way to view religion as a sin unto itself without allowing it the leeway of its actual everyday social and political context –as though religiosity is something that is sucked from the thumb of a deity or the mind of a diabolical mullah. So too is a negligence in addressing religion, specifically Islam, as without mass appeal, even necessity, and takeup — as though millions of Moslems are prone to terrorism because they choose to visit mosques to pray.
In way of political irony and hypocrisy,here’s a free speech fight you won’t hear about, say, in comparison with some hue and cry over free speech when it supposedly came to the right to cartoon: Danish journalists on trial for publishing leaked intelligence reports on Iraq.