Leaving Islam






 Why Left is Wrong on Islam


By Mobeen Shirazi, 

Dear Karla, 

I’m very sorry I've taken so long to analyze things before formally deciding whether to join or not join The Socialist Movement.  I needed that lengthy time because, while I am quite meticulous and detailed, I also tend to move at my own pace.  I really needed to consider some things and watch what the movement officially stands for in words and in actions. 

I have finally reached a decision. 

Given the amount of time and thought I have put into my decision, I hope you will read this entire letter in detail and give serious thought to what I am about to share with you. 

While I support many Socialist social, political, and democratic goals, I have decided not to join formally the socialist movement.  I am not joining because of assorted official Socialist groups’ collective stand on Islam as well as the current Israel-Palestine conflict.  

The reason these two issues are so overwhelmingly important to me is I am an Ex-Moslem:  I was raised in the United States by Middle-Eastern Moslems who were Western-educated in the 1950s and 1960s – and I am well aware of the underlying motives behind what Islam stands for:  I was one of the indoctrinated for 27 years. 

Before I explain further, I think it’s very important to note here Islam is not just a religion.  Islam is a religion, a social structure, a legal system that decides innocence and guilt, a penal system that metes out punishment, and a way of thinking about the world based around the four preceding ideas. 

Islam, using the five ideas I mention, plays a key role in oppression, deception, human rights abuses, and maintaining “the status quo.”  Islamic countries and movements lead Amnesty International’s and Human Rights Watch’s list of wrongdoers against basic human rights “All Movements Left,” including The Socialist Movement, stand for.  I add with great vigor that I, as an Ex-Moslem, also stand for these human rights:  I know what it is like to live without them, even in a Western country.  Such abuses within the social structure of Islam are not limited to the Middle East, I assure you. 

It bothers me, in this time of moral crisis, that The Socialist Movement takes a pro-Islam, pro-Palestine stance.  I know the arguments:  the underdog, fostering change, supporting the oppressed.  But what I have watched “All Movements Left” do over the last year shocks me – because I was once a part of that pro-Islamic, pro-Palestinian community and I know all too well where the greater oppression lies. 

Never once have I heard the atrocities done by Moslems to Moslems (in a world-wide sense) condemned.  I know such atrocities happen:  I have not only heard of them, I have seen them.  Yet, The Socialists are silent:  why? 

Never once have I heard the Palestinian contingent criticized for acts of war (given the definition “freedom fighter” in place of “terrorist”) against civilians – ANY civilians.  I assume that “All Movements Left” have decided killing Jews is okay because Jews are part of that “oppressor?”  That’s a profoundly offensive question, I know – but as often as I ask, I cannot get a legitimate answer:  that bothers me.  I keep asking, “Why?” 

Most importantly, never once have I heard the assorted Islamic clans within Palestine (or any other place, for that matter) criticized for their own human rights abuses against their own people – for Israel is not the only “oppressor” in this conflict.  The Palestinians themselves – the gays, the lesbians, the mentally handicapped, the alcoholic and addicted, the Christian, the Apostate, and plenty of others – are also “punished for wrongdoing” with the same vigor “the freedom fighters” punish others.  Yet “All Movements Left” are quiet.  Why? 

Now, in the Unites States, “The Right” has mounted an anti-Islamic agenda designed to whip the general public into a frenzy about Islam and the atrocities done . . .  likely to help turn the oppression I address to American economic advantage.  By addressing the very concerns I mention, “The Right,” depending on how issues in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Saudi evolve, will turn Moslem oppression into Capitalist oppression.  No solutions – just more oppression. Why? 

My “last straw” was the banning of Rabbi Michael Lerner from the coming anti-war rally in San Francisco.  The official Socialist banning of a man who heads the humanitarian “Tikkun,” who advised the late Senator Paul Wellstone, and who worked for solutions to current problems in the Middle East just reeks of either (1) ignorance of Moslem and Palestinian misdeeds, (2) an incredible arrogance about being right above being fair, or (3) anti-Semitism.  Furthermore, given the work FaithFreedom International has done (www.faithfreedom.org) in exposing the human rights abuses I mention, I can’t see any logical rationalization for the current Socialist position. 

In any case, the gross closed-mindedness now demonstrated around these issues I mention is enough to keep me from joining.  The Socialist Movement has proven, via its leaders’ actions, it is as intolerant as “The Right,”  just on the opposite end of the political spectrum. 

Intolerance does not work for me.   

As a former Moslem who is now an agnostic Jew, a person of non-traditional orientation, a liberal American who has heavily traveled the Middle East, and a person in the healthcare profession, the idea of “the party line” and “silencing others” is as about as appealing as John Ashcroft’s civil liberties assaults in the name of “Homeland Security.” 

I thank you most sincerely for the insight, the correspondence, and the perspective.  I will continue to vigorously support much of what you and The Socialist Movement tries to achieve.  But I will not join you, give you my time, give you my money, or otherwise vest in you until the movement more honestly, even-handedly, and objectively addresses the concerns I mention. 

Thank you – with both greatest sincerity and regret. 


Mobeen Shirazi,






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