Islam and the Left

The Ties that Bind Western Leftists and Islam

7 December 2023

5.7 MINS

I’ve always believed that extremist political positions of Left and Right are actually much closer aligned to each other than they are to their less extreme sources located close to the centre. But it’s always been a wonder to me how there could be such a bond between Western Leftists and Islamic extremism.

But no longer. It is, I now realise, that Islam itself is an extremist view. Why do I say that? Because Islam, like all extremist views, is completely “black and white”. If you are not a follower, or even if you are and you err even minutely from orthodoxy, you are unacceptable and liable to condemnation.

And this is what we see in the West, with Left-wing extremist groups labelling any view that’s less extreme than their myopic orthodoxy as “Fascist”.

Simplistic and Dangerous Ideologies

But you might wonder how a religion can be anything like an extreme political ideology. That’s easy. It’s not only a religion. Although I can’t find the exact quote, I recall somebody once describing Islam as a political system of repression masquerading as a religion. And more recently there have been similar statements by political figures in America.

“When we discuss ‘Islam,’ it should be assumed that we are talking about both a religion and a political-social ideology.”
— former assistant US attorney Andrew McCarthy

“Islam is not even a religion; it is a political system that uses a deity to advance its agenda of global conquest.”
— former Republican member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives John Bennett

“Islam is a political ideology [that] hides behind the notion of it being a religion.”
— national security adviser Michael Flynn

As such, it is then easier to see how it is not such a “strange bedfellow” of the Left in the West, as it is to them just another minority victim group fighting the “corrupt” West. And as we know, as long as you’re a minority, to the Left you are by definition oppressed.

As former Iranian Muslim-turned-atheist Armin Navabi wrote in an article in the online journal Quillette following the October 7th massacre:

“Leftists in English-speaking nations tend to see Palestinians (including Hamas) as an oppressed, brown victim class, whose freedom-fighting “resistance” against their oppressive, white, US-backed colonizers in Israel is a righteous cause with which to stand in solidarity. This facile view of the long-standing conflict in the Middle East leads to confused and contradictory thinking…”

So, in the case of this sudden trend among our youth supporting Hamas against Israel, and even, as reported in an article by author Julie Burchill in Spiked, converting to Islam, it now makes sense to me.

It’s why they’re drawn to Islam as though it were some Progressive “light on the hill”. And as a quote from the Daily Mail in Burchill’s article notes:

“Millennial and Gen Z women say they’ve been inspired to convert to Islam by the Israel-Hamas war – and are sharing their religious awakenings on TikTok… Among those sharing their journey is a self-described “leftist queer gremlin” named Alex, who recently purchased a copy of the Koran – even though most interpretations of Islam take a dim view of LGBT relationships. Alex, who has begun covering her hair with a hijab in line with Islamic teachings on modesty, says she began after the 7 October terror attacks and the retaliatory strikes on Gaza.”

Australian Youth Call for Genocide

Recently, we’ve seen school students in Australian capitals attending public protests, the most recent being at Sydney Town Hall. I’m sure that I’m not alone in wondering who has been organising these strikes.

And now we know!

As reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, posts on Facebook and Instagram, as well as other resources for the classroom walkout, are being produced by university students associated with the Socialist Alternative and other activist groups, primarily the Palestine Justice Movement Sydney, with the backing of the Maritime Union of Australia.

In other words, children from every stage, from Kindergarten to Year 12, are being used as “useful idiots” for radical Left-wing groups.

Isn’t it the ultimate hypocrisy that they hold up signs accusing Israel of committing genocide in Gaza while they chant, “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free”, a slogan referring to the Palestinian vow of genocide against Israel! The logical disconnect is staggering!

As philosophy professor David Benatar notes in another recent Quillette article:

“How are we to interpret this call? Some critics see it as a call for genocide against Jewish Israelis, while some supporters propose that it has an entirely benign meaning. But according to any reasonable interpretation, the slogan is a call for the end of the state of Israel. If Palestine extends “from the river to the sea,” that leaves no place for the Jewish nation…

… Many critics of the Palestinian slogan want to go further and claim that it is a call for genocide against the Jews in Israel. There are certainly some people, including Hamas, who mean precisely this. Hamas expresses this genocidal fantasy in its Charter and the 7 October attack has provided yet more evidence that they mean what they say, as have their promises to repeat such attacks until Israel is annihilated.

Once a chant is used with genocidal intent by enough people, anybody else claiming to use it in a benign way knows that it might reasonably be interpreted as either noxious or at least ambiguous.

Context does matter, but only within reason. For example, if a group with a suspected antisemitic agenda were parading with a swastika, they wouldn’t fool anyone if they explained that the swastika is a symbol of divinity in eastern religions. It is not that this claim is false. It’s that we wouldn’t believe that that is why they are brandishing the swastika.

The fact that the “from the river to the sea” chant is associated with genocidal aspirations should be an even stronger consideration for those progressives who eschew even the mention — as distinct from the use — of racial slurs. (To mention a slur is to refer to it, rather than wield it.) If you will not even mention the slurs that others use, it is harder to justify using the slogans of those calling for genocide.”

In reference to these school children mindlessly chanting it, I have a possible response. Perhaps the more senior students at these protests should be seated down in a room and shown some of the bodycam footage that the Hamas terrorists proudly took as they raped and beheaded Jewish civilians on October 7th.


This also further highlights the “facile view” noted by Armin Navabi, which “leads to confused and contradictory thinking”. And possibly the most obvious example is the one he refers to:

“… as seen in the incoherent slogan (and now meme) “Queers for Palestine,” emblazoned on banners brandished at anti-Israel rallies.

“Queers for Palestine” attempts to meld LGBT advocacy with Palestinian liberation, a juxtaposition that has precipitated a whirlwind of criticism and ridicule, since LGBT rights scarcely exist within the Muslim world, and the Palestinian territories are no exception. The slogan has been widely satirised. Variations like “Chickens for KFC” and “Blacks for the KKK” highlight its proponents’ basic lack of awareness of just how incompatible the values of the Western left are with those of the Islamic right they so readily champion.”

Herein lies the fatal flaw at the heart of both these extremist ideologies. They are founded on lies and self-contradictions.

As Jesus tells us, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan is casting out Satan, he has become divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?” (Matthew 12:25-26 NASB)

This is where, as Christians, we can take comfort in the fact that these equally contradictory, but equally oppressive, ideologies will fail. Although we know from history that such repressive ideologies may occasionally hold sway for a time, as Socialism did over Russia for three-quarters of a century, they ultimately crack and collapse.

And I don’t mean the kind of comfort that soothes into relaxation, but that which is found in the original Latin, which is to strengthen one’s resolve. The comfort this knowledge provides should provide encouragement to better understand the flaws and logical inconsistencies of any false ideology or belief, so that whoever you are, you can contend against them with those who hold to those ideologies.

If there are enough people with a voice provided to them by outlets like those I’ve cited here, as well as those who recently met at the inaugural conference of The Alliance for Responsible Citizenship, there will always be hope that these incoherent extremisms will fall apart under the weight of their own irrationalities. And the rest of us, by being informed by these, can hope to inform others.


Photo: Kurt Bauschardt/Wikimedia Commons

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