Religion’s political role

George Galloway (1)Andrew Anthony (G2, August 31) accuses me of inconsistency, even hypocrisy. But that charge rebounds. By his own casuistry, the anti-religious Anthony must surely be inconsistent in celebrating the passing of the atheist Soviet Union. The inconsistency mounts when, in the name of liberal values, he equates all expression of political Islam with fascism. Those Muslim activists who draw on their traditions in the fight against the BNP are, in his eyes, of a piece with Mussolini and Hitler.

Movements against oppression and exploitation have fought under many different banners. For many it has been a version of socialism or radical nationalism. For many others today it is through radical interpretations of religion. Are the Latin American liberation theologists to be considered part of Anthony’s fascist menace? Or is he, as seems apparent, slandering Islam as a uniquely evil religion?

The grotesque intolerance of self-appointed “liberal” defenders of tolerance stands bare. They should come clean. Their problem is not with religion over secularism; it is with the increasing numbers of people – religious and non-religious – who are coming together in political movements to challenge corporate power and the Bush/Blair doctrine of permanent war.

George Galloway MP
Respect, Bethnal Green and Bow

Letter in Guardian, 1 September 2005