The strange case of the Muslim-loving Islamophobes

One of the fascinating things about some of the most vehemently anti-Islamic commentators in the blogosphere (they seldom make it into the mainstream press, at least not in the UK) is how concerned they appear for the welfare of certain groups of Muslims. Robert Spencer currently has two stories on Muslim women on his “Dhimmi Watch” blog. One of them is about the injuries recently revealed by the Saudi TV presenter (you can read the story on the BBC’s website here). This woman’s husband faces charges of attempted murder, but the problem of violence against women in some Arab countries is not in question, even within the Arab and wider Muslim community. “How many other cases like this have gone unreported and unnoticed?” asks the sanctimonious Spencer, despite the fact that western society has its own problems with wife-beating and rape. (The report also mentions the old chestnut about women not being able to drive or vote in Saudi; in fact, Saudi is not a democracy, and nobody can vote, and women not being able to drive is local law, which isn’t followed by Muslims outside Saudi.) Neither is Spencer short of sympathy for the good women of Afghanistan, like “Zahara” from Herat who poured petrol over herself and set herself alight during one of many rows with her violent husband. The news story he quotes points out that the US’s ‘intervention’ in Afghanistan in 2001 have not really improved matters for women, particularly in Herat which is ruled by the warlord Ismail Khan, whose return to power was assisted by the US through the 2001 invasion. Given that such actions are therefore in no way guaranteed to improve matters for local women, or indeed any local people other than warlords and other criminals, one might ask whether Spencer and his ilk will continue to support these actions while complaining about the awful status of women in Muslim countries. (But Zahara herself is lucky, because she has parents - yes, two of them - who are willing and able to take her to Iran for treatment. Let’s hope no-one bombs Iran in the meanwhile.)

But it’s not just on the anti-Muslim right that we see Islamophobes eager to embrace sections of the Muslim community (whether or not they want to be embraced). In our country we see groups belonging to the extreme, Marxist Left producing banners proclaiming their support for the freedom of French schoolgirls to wear the hijab, which is even more comical (and funny) than Muslims carrying Socialist Worker banners on anti-war demonstrations. The problem is that their solidarity will end when (and if) the current battle is over, because they actually have no time for Islam, and Communists in their short history have never been in the least favourable to us. Come the “Glorious Day” when the workers and peasants throw off their shackles and overthrow their capitalist oppressors, we will be expected to join them, leave our ‘bourgeois’ hijabs and robes and religious books, let party bureaucrats steal the businesses we spent years building up, or else await our carriage to the Gulag. Much the same can be said for some on the more moderate left such as Michael Moore, whose theories on who was behind the 9/11 attacks would result in an attack on Saudi Arabia if they gained acceptance.

So just watch who you take for friends, folks … it’s not just the Zionist and Christian fundamentalist right we have to watch out for.

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