Recently, in a conversation with Salman Rushdie on his show EQUAL TIME, Bill Maher defined a term “09/11 Liberal”.
A 09/11 Liberal by his description is someone of a leftist bent perhaps even an atheist who now acknowledges that Islam is different from other religions and poses an existential threat to the West. Maher mentions Sam Harris, Rushdie, Christopher Hitchens etc, as people who share this mindset.
I of course believe this is all bullshit and here’s why….
First off, the liberal part of 09/11 Liberal is a questionable term for these folks. Maher has stated he supported the Vietnam War and civilian casualties and crimes against humanity never seem to bother him when it’s US allies and Israel doing the killing. He believes in American exceptionalism and along with Harris is a big supporter of Israel. His liberalism stops at the border. Harris is a phony atheist who hides his bigotry against Islam behind this shield (as Maher is doing now). Hitchens supported the Iraq War and Rushdie, despite his protestations at a recent PEN event, did support the Iraq War before it started coming out against it only after the war had started. The coddling of ridiculous Islamophobe nuts like Aayan Hirsi Ali, Geert Wilders, and Irshad Manji only undercuts their credibility more.
I should say once again for the record that I am an Atheist but I hate all religions equally. To single out Islam separately is to reveal something about your world view that ties one to Neo Cons, imperialists, tea bagging knuckleheads, and Zionists.
The 09/11 liberal’s mindset has two main faults 1.) It is based on faulty assumptions that border on the pathologically paranoid about the uniform nature of Muslims 2.) They are divorced from history.
There are roughly 1.62 billion Muslims in the world according to Wikipedia. Muslims that fit the profile Maher and others are talking about, those that embrace the ultraviolent backwards looking fundamentalist Wahabbi faith are a tiny percentage of that. Even if you assume everyone in Saudi Arabia is a terrorist that is less than %1 of the world’s Muslim population. Heck, if you assume every Arab in the Middle East and as well as Muslims in North Africa is a terrorist that’s still only 19.9% of the world’s population of Muslims.
What about the rest of the world? Indonesia is 12.7%. Pakistan is 11%. India 10.9%. Bangladesh 9.2% Iran 4.6% Uzbekistan is 1.7% China is 1.4%. 2.7% of the World’s Muslims live in Europe. Malaysia, where I live, has 1.1% of the world Muslim population.
My point here is that the idea Islam is an amphorous global conspiracy like the Borg from Star Trek is just not backed up by reality. No, Islam does not have denominations but it does mold itself to local practices in the countries where it is practiced in a way that Christianity (which went along the last few hundred with the sense of biological and cultural superiority created by colonialism) does not. Islam in Malaysia, for example, is mostly laid back and infused with local animist belief while Islam in the Middle East has taken on many of the elements of violent tribal culture (which came before Islam).
To argue that a relatively tiny percentage of the world’s Muslims define their faith is illogical. All people who live in Hollywood are drug addicted perverts I know this because I read some of them are in the newspaper.
There are places where Muslims are fighting wars of liberation. These wars would be going on even if those fighting for freedom practiced a different faith. The situation of the Palestinians (Christians as well as Muslims), The Chechens in Russia, and the Uyghurs in China are valid struggles and I support all of them in their battles for their own states and freedom.
In addition, as I have noted many times on this blog, I don’t support Israel at all, the last bastion of colonialism, a give away by The West they had no right to give, The Zionist is the true creator of modern day terrorism as he was the first in this ongoing conflict not to make the separation between non-combatant and combatant.
My second point about ignoring history – The other day I saw Bill Maher have his ass handed to him by Glenn Greenwald, best journalist working together, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYG7GR13DnU
The way the ignorant stand-up comedian Maher tries to disassemble here is almost uncomfortable to watch. Of course, US colonial history backing dictatorships influences events now. The situation in Iran (as Greenwald points out) is a direct result of the US intervening in the 50’s and the CIA getting rid of the democratically elected government of Mosaddegh. We are still doing this today. Yemen has a dictatorship which the USA supports. When a movement similar to Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia came into being there, the CIA helped the Yemeni government destroy it. In many places (such as Syria), fundamentalist Islam has taken on the role of resistance but it doesn’t make the cause any less right.
My general feeling is global terrorism inspired by extremist Islam is an anomaly of history like Nazism and will vanish soon enough. Only its disappearance will not be caused by war but rather by information and education, opportunities for women and the Internet. Allowing it to usurp the mantle of representative for those fighting for freedom and survival is to prolong and strengthen it. However, in many places, they are the only game in town as the CIA has been complicit in wiping out resistance movements with more of a leftist or socialist bent.
Islam never went through a reformation but it is a younger religion than Christianity. Once it goes through that it will be less harsh and brutal and sexist and controlling.
The bigger problem has been and will continue to be imperialism either in a bipolar world (where there are two or more world powers) or a unipolar world (like we have now) where only one country rules. This makes international law subjects to the whims of those who run the world rather than being an objective standard. This has been true with America and once America’s time at the top is done and China takes over, I have no illusions about them either.
Some further writings by me on similar topics