By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog
The 10-year anniversary of France’s anti-burqa law was just celebrated by France’s most deranged.
The law was always just a means to distract from new, Brussels-imposed austerity measures despite the start of the Great Recession, and also – from the perspective of the journalist-class: a way to give journalists work, which Sarkozy was very good at and which Jupiter Macron will not deign to do. But what a waste of time….
So, this “tin/aluminium anniversary” arriving while being temporarily posted to the US has me rather sentimental for good old European Islamophobia – they really are the gold standard. It has me asking: where are all the good Islamophobic times here?
As the Great Lockdown/Covid hysteria proved: It’s crazy what a fella can get used to….
But there is no Islamophobic joy in Mudville because the United States is seemingly the only Western country which has zero influence from Muslims or Islamic culture: Muslims aren’t really seen, nor discussed, nor in any positions of power. Yes, multiculturalism also means “de facto segregation”, but in France we might be on the bottom of the social ladder but we at least we know occupy a rung, dammit!
France is the Muslim capital of Europe; the UK and Canada have plenty of Pakistanis and curry shops; since 1917 the former Yugoslavia has merely gone from referring to “Turks” to referring to “Muslims” (among the intelligent: “Slavic Muslims” (gasp, what’s that strange term?!)); Cervantes acknowledged in Don Quixote that his book was the product of stealing from the Moors (partly true, partly false, and part proto-multiculturalism); Australia is repeatedly Islamophobically incensed that Islam is the second-largest religion even though they’re less than 3% of the population.
Japan – in my estimation – is a Western country, but we have to exclude them because of their rather incredible demand for a citizenry comprised of total Japanese homogeneity means they are impermeable to all foreign influences within their domestic culture.
Russia – in my estimation – has reverted to being a Western country ever since they gave up socialism, which is dominated by Asian countries (Cuba and Venezuela combined is a population fraction of China, Vietnam, N. Korea and Iran). They just want to be non-aligned, is all.
In the US – it’s like… “Muslims… meh. I don’t know any.” There is less than 4 million out 330 million, after all.
By far the biggest Muslim influence in American history is from the Nation of Islam and Black Muslims, which many Americans would incorrectly say “aren’t Muslim”. However, Black Muslims are so oppressed, isolated and blacklisted that one could say that they don’t have zero cultural influence here, but negative cultural influence. FYI – I don’t know any Muslim who says African-American Muslims “aren’t Muslim”, but I do hear that regularly about Saudi Wahhabis.
That’s what makes last week’s 19th anniversary of the US-led invasion of Afghanistan so significant: finally, American culture was confronted with the actual, breathing existence of Islam and Muslims (who aren’t hounded by police in US ghettos).
Hitherto these things were totally ignored, and everyone was fine with that ignorance.
Take, for example, one of 20th century America’s most prominent thinkers among the average American, but not the US intelligentsia, Joseph Campbell. He was a very interesting thinker on the power of myths, and I should write a review of his work someday. Basically, Campbell’s huge popularity with the lower classes – not just via his influence on Star Wars but his regular presence on PBS (the lone public TV channel) in the era of <10 TV channels – is explained not only by the fact of his genuine merit, but also by the fact that he did not at all question the absolute correctness and dominance of American-style capitalism and Christianity. For a man who discusses religion so much – and religion is a very big deal to the American lower classes, further explaining Campbell’s popularity, and probably why he is not remembered much today – it was always very amusing to read him repeatedly dismissing Islam as a “pagan” religion.
LOL… not only is Islam not pagan, it is the most anti-pagan religion out there. The primary ideological dispute of Islam is against pagan idolatry (although Muslims are forbidden to mock or fight pagans, lest that would turn them against the One True God).
Campbell – like most educated Americans – is a latently-ardent-yet-unmotivated supporter of Christianity, but like most Americans he doesn’t even seem to know what Abraham is most important for: smashing false idols. (This is a huge thing in Islam – because Islam logically understands you can be either polytheist or monotheist (or atheist) – whereas Christians mostly connote Abraham with his willingness to sacrifice his son). Campbell, like seemingly all Americans, had absolutely no idea regarding the way that Islam is an undeniable continuation of Jesus, Moses, Abraham and Adam which can in no way at all be separated nor questioned.
Muslims understand that last link as easily as 2+2=4, but those in America who are ignorant of it are currently scratching their head and about to get testy and defensive, which is what happens when you point out someone’s “logic” is illogical.
Of course, celebrating this Abrahamic brotherhood is not happening anytime soon in the West or in just the US, but in 2020 Campbell would at least be called out on Twitter with: “What the heck… Islam isn’t pagan at all?” Campbell’s absurd non-assessment wouldn’t stand.
So that’s progress.
Europe had this type of progress earlier, and I have already referenced it: Cervantes. But Europe has a totally different relationship with Islam because Islam is all over southeast and southwest of Europe, and because even the eugenic-loving Protestants know that a bunch of Muslims are not an ocean away.
Therefore the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq brought Islam and Muslim culture – finally – to the US.
Indeed, there are many anti-Muslims now who are thinking, “And what a shame that is!”
These racists (if you want to foolishly call Islam a race, as many Americans foolishly do for Jews) and idiots, who likely don’t even understand their own Christian religion, would surely have sided with the UK and French when the US intervened, incredibly, on the side of Egypt during the Suez crisis of 1956. “What are you doing,” Europe’s anti-Muslims raged, “don’t you understand what a threat these pagans are?”
The US did not see it that way. Not because – influential yet flawed thinkers like Campbell remind us – they understood that Islam is as close to Christianity and Judaism as (to steal Mao’s description of the relationship of China to Vietnam) lips are to teeth, but because the US wanted only – then as now – to impose their imperialist domination of foes and allies alike.
Paradoxically, the influence of Islam on America has been non-existent yet also terribly destructive for American culture: the Patriot Act, the militarisation of US society, the wasting of tax receipts to fund failed wars amid a Great Recession, giving American culture a new foe to evangelise against after the American Indians and communists, etc and etc and etc.
But of course that is all attributable to the influence of capitalist-imperialist thought, not Islamic thought – thus, Islam has not influenced America yet.
There wasn’t ever a post-Cervantes “golden age of reconciliation” between Europe and the neighbouring Islamic world, sadly. There was an age of reconciliation between Europeans and Muslims (but not Islam): the age of worker brotherhood, affirmative action, and anti-imperialism in the socialist Eastern Bloc.
The lack of this “golden age of reconciliation” is entirely due to the total one-way ignorance of Christians and Jews towards Islam – Islam, it is impossible to understate, embraces and understands the revealers of revelations which are entirely shared forever among these three Abrahamic religions. All Muslims know that good Christians and Jews are going to paradise – even if those two don’t think the same of Muslims – but… whatever – Muslims can’t compel faith or insult them any more than they can be bothered about pagans who worship a god/idol made of their own hands.
Muslims in India, for example, can only roll their eyes at such shirk much as they roll they eyes at the Hindu who truly made and prayed to an idol of Donald Trump. That article concludes: “The village headman said his neighbors were discussing how best to maintain their neighbor’s Trump shrine.” Really? Do they have to keep it up even after his death, per Hindu culture? I have no idea. Was I accurate to call this man a “Hindu”, even? Again, I don’t know.
What I should do is ask an American – since the 1960s Hinduism and Buddhism have had a huge, huge influence on not just American culture but all of Western culture. Islam – not at all, and not until the 21st century. Campbell was big on not just Indian polytheism but European paganism as well, which further explains his popularity among the US lower classes, who are descended from lower-class Europeans.
Of course, Christians who worship “three gods” are actually being polytheistic instead of worshiping the One True God – at least in Islamic thinking – so I can see why Americans are so very receptive to Hinduism, Buddhism and even the American Indian religions (now that the American Indians are nearly exterminated, of course). Islam is just too logical for them – we can’t build and pray to a god of money, for example, as in some polytheistic religions. Why anyone at all would build and pray to an idol of Donald Trump… I’m sure there’s a religious logic behind this which a polytheist could explain, and Inshallah one day I’ll be less ignorant about what goes on in this world, but I’ll leave these (entirely respectful and logical) discussions here, lest some American Christian Karen get micro-triggered and “cancel” my existence like I’m some aboriginal….
Back to how Muslims and Islam are finally influencing the lone Western holdout, the US: it’s off to a bad start – going from total ignorance to total war – but things have nowhere to go but up, at least. And Americans know this well already: following the French lead can’t possibly be right.
Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections. He is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.