Saturday, September 20, 2008

Layton's NDP betrays itself and Canada

Terry Glavin has been going on about the left's and the NDP's betrayal of its anti-fascist values for some time now. His argument is being picked up in the Edmonton Sun by Salim Mansur(HT: Catfur):
...The NDP made a vital political/moral contribution in opposing Communism and denying Communists in Canada the opportunity to acquire any shred of legitimacy by posing as defenders of the working people.

But that good sense, which characterized the NDP leadership from its founding years in the Depression era of the 1930s to the end of the Cold War, seems to be lost to the present leader, Jack Layton, and his federal caucus as it embraces Islamists of the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC).
Since most Canadians are generally uninformed of the distinction between Islam and Islamism, they are readily open to the deception of Islamists.

The tragedy and the scandal in the present circumstance is that while too many brave Canadian soldiers have fallen in securing Afghanistan from Islamist jihad (war), CIC and its allies in Canada go about unchecked in promoting their agenda and making propaganda in support of Islamist organizations such as the Palestinian Hamas, the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood, the Pakistan-based Jamaat-i-Islami and its offshoots including the Taliban.

It is, however, inexcusable for any federal party to be uninformed about the nature of Islamism and Islamists in Canada. It should be a matter of embarrassment for any federal party to receive public endorsement from an Islamist organization as the NDP has received from the CIC.

Instead of repudiating CIC chief Mohamed Elmasry's support for the NDP, Jack Layton has opened the party to front for Canadian Islamists. In the riding of Bourassa in Montreal, Layton is running a CIC operative, Samira Laouni of Moroccan origin, as NDP candidate.

The mildest thing that can be said about this embrace is how dimwitted the political opportunism of the NDP is in promoting Islamists in Canada.

Opportunism is the staple of politicians, but Layton's dismal judgment backed by his Quebec deputy, Thomas Mulcair, MP for Outremont, comes close to betrayal of Canada's honour and the brave men and women who have given their lives in keeping peace and defending freedom.


Dag said...

That's all well and fine, but I do hope to see Mansur come here and show me jut where Elmasry and his fellow jihadis contradict the orthodoxies of Islam, particularly in its Sunni, i.e. mainstream and majority, manifestation. What, in short, if Osama bin Laden doing that is against Islam and Islamic orthodoxy? Until he does that, Mansur is not doing anything to convince me that he is anything other than a taqiyya practitioner himself. I await the word.

truepeers said...

Oh I think you can disagree with Mansur's interpretation of what is orthodox Islam. I would agree that Elmasry could probably make a good claim to be closer to orthodoxy.

But, with respect, to suggest that Mansur is a conscious taqiyya practitioner makes you look a little paranoid. Following Ockham, it is easier to believe the guy genuinely believes that there is a real or essential Islam rooted in the relationship between God and man, in the act of prayer, that need not have anything to do with the kind of political project Elmasry is promoting.

Now you can readily argue Mansur is being naive about his hopes for a depoliticized Islam, for the retrieval of a core "true religion"; but to suggest that all his writing to that end is just cynical manipulation begs the question of whether any man can be so deep inside a charade, one that requires him to speak clearly and knowledgeably on the evils of political Islam, all the while secretly and consciously supporting it. It is almost as if we have to believe he is the mad (Jewish) genius of a James Bond film who knows perfectly how to fit into polite high society all the while wanting to overthrow it. But that is really something only a very few can ever be born into a position to perform. Very few are capable of both having a genuine revelation (e.g. about the evils of political Islam) and deeply resenting this same revelation and trying to manipulate it for ulterior motives. Obama might be an example - someone who both knows and resents the white middle-class world of which he is clearly part. Mansur? I can't see it.

Dag said...

But where is Mansur's problem with the orthodoxy of bin Laden? Does Mansur claim bin Laden is not orthodox? Can he be so bold without being a taqiyya practitioner? If so, then I'm very pleased to meet such a person. Mansur is not here, of course, but he could be. Then let him show where bin Laden in unorthodox. Let me see where Mansur instead is orthodox, believable to any but a tiny minority of extremist apostate Muslims.

Whether Mansur is devious or no, I couldn't say, only imagining, at best, his life in a bicameral mind as a displaced and potentially mentally ill jihadi. No, I can't give him credit for being a "moderate" Muslim till he shows me where and how bin Laden is unorthodox and where Mansur is orthodox instead, or even basically Muslim in anything but his own mind, which in not enough in the real world to be anything. Any and all of us can make self-pronouncements of our personal reality, but facts tell in the material world.

Nothing personal against Mansur, but let him show me that bin Laden in not orthodox. I can wait.

Tick tock, tick tock....

truepeers said...

Well there are present realities and then there are sheer necessities emerging from these same realities that suggest new freedoms and "orthodoxies" must be coming, unless you think the entire Islamic world wants to destroy the world and themselves, as if orthodoxy required everyone to be a suicide bomber. The empirical reality is that Muslims have to adapt to modernity, or bomb us (i.e. the few survivors) back to the stone age.

A guy like Mansur looks at the world of Islamist violence, in so many countries, and has to conclude either that his religion is evil, and that everything he knows is a lie - and maybe he sees hard evidence that not everything is a lie - or that a lot of people are misinterpreting the true nature of God and man of which the human goodness he has genuinely known is evidence. And, on the latter, he has a point. The truth of God (as an anthropological if not dogmatic religious matter) is that humanity begins in an act of love, and not violence. That's why it's possible that we're all here. Imams can preach what they want, but there are certain human facts which are immutable.

Furthermore, one might imagine that Mansur's empirical observation on many ordinary Muslims is that they are capable of love, and this love is ultimately guaranteed by the fact of a true human relationship to divine Being.

There is thus a necessity, which promises a new freedom, that the fact of a loving God be further recognized by Muslims who in fact show some knowledge of that love. Therefore the hate of the Islamists is a lie, because a modern Muslim man in the modern world can see it is a lie.

That way of thinking might not be your idea of "orthodoxy" but it is as much an appeal to empirical reality as you are making. You seem to take the view that Islamic reality is predicated on Islamic texts, as if one could unproblematically assimilate text and lived reality (one cannot, in any culture). You further seem to take the view that Islamic texts are in good part false and inhuman. But if the latter is true, then Muslim reality, or orthodoxy, cannot be what you profess it is: the mirror of the texts.

The point being that there is always a distance between lived experience and the ways we represent that experience. And there is always something irreducibly mysterious about that distance (which entails both semantic differentiation and temporal deferral). One can be well aware that present representations are rather unsatisfactory to represent our experiences, without denying the realities and seeking the orthodoxies that can explain them. One becomes aware that one's experiences and one's culture's failures to represent them create a pressing need for new orthodoxies, such that writers will anticipate these orthodoxies. In short, orthodox is indeed something tested by reality and as such it is always changing because human reality is changing.

In so anticipating, the writer may rightly declare that the actions of those who presume to bomb the world in order to create the transcendent reality - the new Caliphate - that they pretend to obey are being Satanic. It is not at all obvious that the Koran requires one to, say, blow up hotels in Islamabad. Clearly, what the bombers want is to create a world in which they imagine they will find the truth they can obey. But, as I say, this is Satanic.

How exactly is bin Laden following the orthodox word of God if he himself has to create the transcendence - the holy order that will come after the bloodshed - he pretends to obey? It should be easy for Mansur to see bin Laden as a desperate gambler, part Gnostic, part Satanic, taking on the work of defining Jihad for his own purposes. Why would "orthodoxy" not allow thinking Muslims to question what bin Laden is doing?

truepeers said...

Just to clarify: I know the Koran and Hadith is a book full of violent rhetoric - especially in its treatment of the non-believer - and that it's not at all obvious that it represents a loving God.

However, what's a guy to do with the fact that a bunch of ordinary Muslims who dutifully go about their prayers and then get on with their families and lives show some capacity for love? Why not conclude that human reality is part of Muslim reality, awaiting further clarification of something many interpretations miss?

Like I say it's a subtle but important point. He might not win over any of the many resentful Muslims who flock to hear Elmasry types.

Still no one can have the final word on anything religious if he is really honest about recognizing the mystery in which mind transcends experience and does not try only to look at mind from the impossible position of an "objective" outsider, but recognizes his mind too is part of the reality...

Dag said...

"[T]here are present realities and then there are sheer necessities Well there are present realities and then there are sheer necessities emerging from these same realities that suggest new freedoms and "orthodoxies" must be coming, unless you think the entire Islamic world wants to destroy the world and themselves, as if orthodoxy required everyone to be a suicide bomber. The empirical reality is that Muslims have to adapt to modernity, or bomb us (i.e. the few survivors) back to the stone age."

I think most people outside Islam misunderstand it completely. First, most people are rational and prudent mature adults. They understand such things as "present realities." The Muslim, the unexceptional one, does not recognize such. There is no present reality outside Islam: there is only the eternality of the Will of Allah. No present realities outside of what Allah wills, and forget linear time, logic, coherence. Nothing but Allah and the illusion of man's hubris and infidelity, which itself is predetermined to destruction and the casting into Hell on Judgment Day. No present reality. Our present reality is a sham in the eyes of Islam. It doesn't exist in the immutable universe of Allah. Earthly life is not a present reality, for the Muslim, it is a test of ones predetermined soul, incoherent as it is to put it so. Life is a mere acting out of the decided. Thus there is no sheer necessity, cannot be, other than the Will of Allah. Toi argue for the will of Man is to deny the supremacy of Allah, to be kuffar, to sin and be cast into Hell, to refuse to submit: to refuse Islam.

"[A]and then there are sheer necessities."

There are no necessities outside the Will of Allah. None, and there is no coherent possibility of anything outside the Will of Allah. You are not a Muslim. You are not thinking like a Muslim. If not, then there is no hope of graping Islam. Your life, the life of others, the lives of your children, nothing is necessary but the fulfillment of the Will of Allah; hence, one may kill and be killed in the way of Allah and expect from that Paradise eternally. This life is not the real life but a shadow of life. No necessary thing here but jihad and submission to the Will of Allah.

Rida, rida, rida! There is no innovation! "Emerging from these same realities that suggest new freedoms and "orthodoxies" must be coming...."

Innovation is evil. The Qur'an is perfect, and Islam is perfect for the Muslim, and all must submit to it. There is no emergence. Anyone who makes such a claim is not a Muslim. There is no freedom in Islam. It is submission. It is not freedom. One is meant to be "the slave of Allah." Freedom is disobedience. Changing perfection from its eternal state of perfection is corruption. Change is evil. Islam is perfect, for the Muslim. If one changes perfection, one h committed a destruction of perfection. There is no 'coming.' No emergence. All of Islam i revealed and the Gates of Ijtihad are closed permanently to the orthodox, with the rare exception of those who are ultra-orthodox, such a bin Laden and his kind, those who restore the original "purity" of the revelation. Restoration is not innovation. It is not emergence. It is a submission to the revelation. Islam is not 18th century Rationalism in another guise. Islam is not Descartes in a bathrobe. Islam is not Occam's Razor. Islam is the Sword of Allah. There is nothing new under the Islamic moon.

"Unless you think the entire Islamic world wants to destroy the world and themselves, as if orthodoxy required everyone to be a suicide bomber."

What I think is unimportant. Islam requires all Muslims to engage in jihad, though it does not demand that all engage in physical warfare. It does require that all engage in support of violence, if violence is feasible at the time, and later if not now, in the furtherance of Islamic rule till there is no religion but Allah's. If the world must be destroyed in the attempt, then for the Muslim, for the Muslim rather than for the displaced and confounded and torn, the hypocrite, the one who has given up his revelation, then yes, the self, the place, the world must be destroyed. You're rational. You are not submitting. You are not Muslim.

"The empirical reality is that Muslims have to adapt to modernity..."

Again, there is no empirical reality outside Islam and Allah's revelation as given to Mohammed and the hadiths as transmitted with varying degrees of truth. No empirical reality. There is the reality of Allah who is not constrained. Allah's universe if not rational. Allah is not constrained by logic and non-contradiction. You cannot be logical and submit at the same time. To do so is to refuse to submit, and to refuse to be Muslim.

"Bomb us (i.e. the few survivors) back to the stone age"? And why not? Islam is the ultimate Irrationality, to my knowledge. To think, a bad thing in Islam, is to be prudentially is to be rational. To thing in terms of futurity is against Islam. There is only submission.

to miss the point of submission and the eternality of the revelation of the Qur'an is to miss the whole pint of Islam. The point is not Muslims: The point is Islam.

And that is my reaction to your first paragraph.

truepeers said...

Yeah, but we were talking about Salim Mansur, about someone who cannot accept your interpretation of Islam, someone who knows there is another reality that must be accounted for...

Why insist he must be either taqiyya artist or fool? Why not find a way of describing him in his own terms and assume they recognize a God-given reality? You have to see it from the perspective of someone who really believes in God... I believe in God; here's his reality; it's not what Elmasry says it is...

What's the point of insisting the Gates of Ijtihad are closed if someone is really questioning? you cannot be sure that Mansur's fate is to be killed by the orthodox at some future date. You cannot know how the vision of Islam in which you are invested will fare, when in faces reality as it must, in the long run.

The question is does Mansur deserve respect as a fellow player in a game he might well lose? Or do we just try to disallow his entry to the field because of supposed uniform violations? Are we only capable of playing one kind of game, against a certain enemy, or might not our purpose benefit from denying reality is as many Muslims think? You don't seem willing to accept and play with the confusion that Muslims in the modern world evidently live.

Vancouver visitor said...

I was going to point out Mansur's misinformation re. Islam vs. Islamism, but Dag beat me to it.

The question that one has to ask is this: if "moderate" (conflicted?, self-hating?, apparently harmless?, ignorant? double-talking?, piecemeal?) Moslems like Mansur and that other guy, Tareq Fatah, know all about the orthodox doctrine of Jihad as a means to impose Sharia over all mankind, and make all the right noises about rejecting it, why are they still sticking to Islam and the Umma?

Fatah himself is no fan of Israel and sympathizes with that pet Arab self-victimization project, the Pseudostinians.

truepeers said...

if "moderate" (conflicted?, self-hating?, apparently harmless?, ignorant? double-talking?, piecemeal?) Moslems like Mansur and that other guy, Tareq Fatah, know all about the orthodox doctrine of Jihad as a means to impose Sharia over all mankind, and make all the right noises about rejecting it, why are they still sticking to Islam and the Umma?

-Well, no doubt I have already gone too far down the road of making up an argument for Mansur. I don't often know why people come to the conclusions they do, but the fact some people think they can be non-Sharia, non-Jihad, Muslims deserves more then cynical write-offs on our part. It's fine to take a wait and see attitude, to see if they can really make anything serious of their reforming desires. But there is also a need for us to use such people as models to make demands on others, as do these guys.

Are the linked group cynically playing at taqiyya too, calling for many of their fellow Muslims to be banned from entry into the US? However likely their movement may or may not be to fail, I have trouble seeing this as taqiyya. I think we need to allow some other way of seeing the problem of Muslims gripped by modernity. Whatever Muslim orthodoxy says, and Dag no doubt neatly captures much about the dominant orthodoxy, a lot of that ideology is simpoly not in tune with human reality, no matter how much a die-hard wants or unquestioningly believes it to be so. No ideology is immune to doubts creeping in from outside, even an ideology that teaches one must not doubt but just submit. The need for a more realistic faith is very real, at least for some, and for many apostasy or conversion will be too radical a step; their identity is in so many ways wrapped up with being a Muslim and it is very hard to just change completely who you are... and so you make compromises that may not be allowed by certain orthodoxies and for just that reason you have to contest those orthodoxies and promote your own. It's not like there's any Pope in Islam who gets the final word, only the Ulema who are increasingly marginalized by both "left" and "right".