Liberal Extremism Disguised as Defense of Muslims

Published on Dissident Voice (first on Matt’s Blog), by Matt Peppe, Dec 14, 2015.

After 14 people were killed and 22 more injured in the San Bernardino massacre by a couple whom authorities claim were “radicalized” by Islamist ideology, Islamophobia among the American public has seemingly reached a fever pitch. But while many people are fighting back against hateful discrimination against Muslims, many are doing so with a liberal narrative of American values that rationalizes and perpetuates American state violence, while failing to recognize this violence as its own form of extremism//

… Groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS did not form in a vacuum but as a reaction to this historical context . They are not a manifestation of Islamic theology found in texts like the Quran, but of specific social, political and cultural conditions – conditions the United States played no small role in creating. Some people who feel powerless and desperate will inevitably resort to violence against those they see as responsible. While indiscriminate violence is not morally justifiable, it is also not irrational

Swan’s metaphor of radical Islamists as wolves mercilessly attacking a flock of sheep, detached from any social or political objectives, evokes Edward Said’s description of Islam symbolizing among Westerners “terror, devastation, the demonic, hordes of hated barbarians.”

“The argument, when reduced to its simplest form, was clear, it was precise, it was easy to grasp,” Said writes in Orientalism. “There are Westerners, and there are Orientals. The former dominate; the latter must be dominated, which usually means having their land occupied, their internal affairs rigidly controlled, their blood and treasure put at the disposal of one or another Western power” … //

… A former British soldier who lost his leg in the Iraq war writes that despite people expecting him to hate Muslims because of what happened to him he refuses to hold an entire religion responsible for groups and individuals who sought him harm.

This is an admirable sentiment. But it presupposes that the violence against the soldier was more reprehensible than the violence he was himself responsible for. The soldier was a combatant taking part in an illegal war of aggression. The people who took up arms in resistance against him have a legal and moral right to do so, just as he would have a right to defend his own country from a foreign invasion. If people selectively condemn individual Muslims for violence, it should be no surprise that many people will use this to fuel racist stereotypes.

Murderous assaults on hospitals, - sadistic torture, - “shock and awe” – aerial bombardment, – and assassinations against unknown targets are terrorism just as much as indiscriminate shooting sprees, suicide bombings or summary executions of hostages. Those seeking to defend Muslims would be well served to question whether their own nationalist doctrines help rationalize the plague of state terrorism that the War on Terror has normalized, and which is falsely portrayed as moderate and noble.

(full text).

(Matt Peppe writes about politics, U.S. foreign policy, and Latin America. You can follow him on twitter. Read other articles by Matt, or visit Matt’s website).


Russia proposes trade partnership between EEU, OSC, ASEAN countries – Medvedev, on RT, Dec 15, 2015;

Wal-Mart, Red Lobster, Whole Foods and other retailers sell slave-peeled shrimp – report, on RT, Dec 14, 2015;

Krampus runners wreak havoc on streets of Munich, on RT, Dec 14, 2015;

Is Corporate Media a danger to Society? Coverage of Trump vs. Sanders, on informed COMMENT, by Juan Cole, Dec 13, 2015;

How Central Banks Disguise Money Printing, on Daily Reckoning UK, by John Redwood, Dec 11, 2015;

Finland’s Brilliant New Idea to Fight Poverty, on attn, by Thor Benson, Dec 10, 2015; (related: The Story Behind Finland’s Thousand Dollar Speeding Tickets);

Money and Power – Yanis Varoufakis, 129.33 min, uploaded by Arno Kathollnig, Nov 5, 2015 … flooding Europe with Democracy, public lecture at Vienna’s University of Economics;

Book: A Life Beyond the Boundaries, A Memoir, authored by Benedict Anderson (passed away on Saturday 12th December, 2015), will be edited on Verso Books July 2016: an intellectual memoir by the author of the acclaimed Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson is one of the leading historians of nationalism and Southeast Asia …;

… and this – uploaded by columbiauniversity, with Prof. Richard Bulliet:

Comments are closed.