Threat To Humankind
Political Islam VS. Secularism
'Islam against Islam' is an interesting topic. The irony of a
believer criticising the beliefs is provocative. I
am not a Moslem; I am an atheist. However, I have lived Islam; I have
firsthand experience of Islam. I was born within a religious conflict: a
religious mother and an atheist father. From childhood, I began to see
the flaws, the restrictions, the misogyny, the backwardness, the dogma,
the superstition, and uncritical nature of Islam vis-à-vis the
enlightenment, the freethinking spirit of atheist thinking.
I became an atheist at the age of 12.
The establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran after a failed
revolution laid bare many other appalling and cruel dimensions of Islam,
which we later came to label political Islam. It was not only dogma or
superstition anymore. It was torture, summary executions, stonings,
amputations, and the rape of 9-year-olds in the name of marriage.
Another face of Islam? Perhaps. But a real one. Millions in Iran,
Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, Nigeria, and Iraq are experiencing
this true face of Islam daily.
With the coming to power of the Islamic Republic in Iran, we began to
witness a revival of the Islamic movement as a political movement, i.e.
the emergence of political Islam. I prefer not to talk about this
movement as fundamentalism, but rather political Islam. We are talking
here about a contemporary political movement which refers to Islam as
its ideological framework and vision. It is not necessarily a
doctrinaire and scholastic movement, but it embodies different and
varied trends of Islamic tendencies. It is a political movement seeking
hegemony and a share of power in the Middle East, North Africa and in
This movement embodies Islamists who hypocritically defend freedom of
clothing, so as to oppose the banning of veils in schools and for
under-aged girls in their fight against the secularisation of society in
the West, and those in Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Algeria who throw
acid at unveiled women, slash them with knives and razors, and who flog
them for not observing veiling. They are part and parcel of one
movement. This movement is a threat to humankind. It is a movement,
against which all freedom loving, equality seeking human beings must
take a firm and uncompromising position.
'Islam against Islam' may imply finding ways and means to reform Islam,
to resort to so-called more moderate interpretations of Islam. As a
personal, private belief this may be possible, but as a political
movement it is not. The movement which has terrorised the world, we are
experiencing today, and which we have become firsthand victims of, is
incapable of reform.
We are dealing with a political movement which resorts to terror as
the main means of achieving power. My experience in Iran explicitly
shows that the only way to deal with this movement is to relegate it
into the private spheres, eradicate it from the state, education and
societal sphere. To do this, we need to build a strong movement both in
the region and worldwide.