Reformation and Enlightenment

David T over at Harry’s Place has discovered a Muslim he’s prepared to do business with. It’s Abdel Nour Brado, Secretary of the Islamic Commission of Spain, who wants to open a discussion among Muslims about the possibility of recognising same-sex marriages. Brado and his co-thinkers are the sort of “religious political progressives within Islam” to whom the left can relate, David T argues.

Harry’s Place, 7 April 2005

Unfortunately, by this definition progressives probably amount to somewhat less than 1% of the Muslim world. The remaining 99% who would reject same-sex marriages are all categorised by David T as “religious and political conservatives”, and no distinctions are made between them.

Thus the reformist Yusuf al-Qaradawi is described by David T as a “qutbist”, i.e. a supporter of the Egyptian Islamist Sayyid Qutb who was executed by Nasser in 1966. Qutb’s denunciation of the entire Muslim world as “jahiliyya” (pagan ignorance and barbarism), his call for armed struggle against every existing regime in the Islamic world and his condemnation of all those Muslims who decline to participate in this struggle as apostates have nothing in common with Qaradawi’s views whatsoever. Indeed, Qaradawi has accused Qutb of promoting an extremist ideology “which justified the takfir (excommunication) of (whole) societies … and the announcement of a destructive jihad against the whole of mankind”. Some Qutbist!

But this is the method adopted by “left” Islamophobes like those at Harry’s Place. They issue a formal declaration that Islam is not a monolithic bloc and proclaim their support for progressive, reformist Muslims – but they define this category so narrowly that only a minuscule minority of actually existing Muslims qualify, and they then dismiss the remainder as one reactionary, undifferentiated mass.