Moving Beyond The Left-Right Culture Wars: A Dilemma For Muslim Communities In The West


The Muslim neighborhood within the West has to carve out its distinctiveness past the slim social and political debates in society.

Speaking on the annual US Conservative Conference (CPAC) in early August, Hungary’s controversial prime minister Viktor Orban declared that Conservative Christians on either side of the Atlantic needed to unite to take again energy. To rapturous applause, he spoke of the evils of unlawful migration, globalism, transgenderism, feminism. and the conflict of civilizations; a litany of conservative grievances echoed inside European and America’s resurgent white nativist circles. Liberals, it’s stated, had conspired to weaken Western civilization, and it was the obligation of all conservatives to defeat them.

The speech confirmed most of the objections propelling this motion into public consciousness, broadly characterised as an exclusivist white nativist grouping. In Europe, Orban has courted controversy for railing towards multiculturalism, calling for safe borders towards the ‘suicide’ of Muslim migration and not too long ago talking of the ills of blending European and non-European cultures – a thinly veiled affirmation of racial hierarchy. Orban is just not alone; throughout the crusading west, a lot of the social and political unrest we’re witnessing displays what some name a backlash towards progressive liberalism. It incorporates a number of grievances, some actual, some perceived. Dubbed a ‘culture war’, it’s doubtless the following decade will likely be a polarizing one for the West, with some commentators speaking of the potential for actual civil strife and even civil warfare as opportunist politicians like Boris Johnson in Britain incite resentment for political ends.

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I’ve beforehand written that this motion acts as a conveyor belt. Politicians incite for his or her slim ends, feeding on actual resentments that come from a flailing west. In such flamable occasions, ‘retribution’ quickly follows. The New Zealand Mosque attacker was consumed a weight-reduction plan of white alienation, contained inside ‘The Great Replacement Theory’ – the concept the white race would quickly die out due to inter-marriage, the autumn of Christendom, and beginning charges inside non-white races. This ‘genocide’, based on his manifesto, was exacerbated by a progressive institution that had conspired to carry down the West. Such rhetoric is echoed within the social media postings of a number of mass shooters throughout the United States in latest months.

White Nativists in Suits and Armani Jeans

But whereas these assailants gown in military fatigue, these in fits do the rounds on respectable tv channels and fill column inches that stir this cauldron of angst. Douglas Murray, a culture-war warrior, not too long ago revealed ‘The War on the West’, seeking to capitalize on the zeitgeist. He observes that darkish forces have coalesced to undermine the liberal (small ‘l’) West. As I argued in a earlier piece, Murray’s actual goal is to forge a brand new alliance, not dissimilar to the clarion name of Orban, towards all that look to undo the privilege the West has acquired via the systematic use of violence. For years, Islam was his invading military – at the moment, as priorities shift, China poses an existential risk to Western universalism.

And let’s not neglect the lads that peddle these anxieties past conventional media. Jordan Peterson, an enthusiastic proponent of Murray, echoes this sense of disaster within the West and, like his extra high-brow counterparts, presents his pseudo-intellectual prescriptions that feed this conveyor belt. As the astute researcher Yayha Birt factors out, he represents one a part of this White-nativist continuum. The angle of those pseudo-intellectuals is to deal with the worthlessness felt by younger males in a society the place their position is traduced. This is why in Britain, the vile Youtube influencer Andrew Tate instructions respect inside some younger Muslim male circles – for he endorses a lifetime of manhood and masculinity – a backlash towards the brand new supine selection supported by liberal modernity. These are all totally different iterations of the identical phenomenon, White nativism.

The Muslim Community’s Dilemma

Within this polarizing atmosphere, the Muslim communities, primarily within the West, discover themselves compelled to take a place. This isn’t a surprise, since a lot of what occurs within the mainstream instantly impacts our communities. Muslim dad and mom fear about their kids’s publicity to problematic social relationships and a rising sexual hedonism that undermines ethical household values. In Europe, the expansion of the interventionist state signifies that choices right-minded believers could have had are slowly being narrowed. As New York Muslims flee to Texas to claw again some spiritual autonomy, some Muslims in Europe migrate to the Muslim world. But these choices are the posh of some.

This immense stress the neighborhood is topic to has led some to help the political proper; Orban or Trump could have some objectionable views, however it’s claimed that they’re preventing for a similar social causes we consider in. At the identical time, many, particularly younger Muslims with a special set of priorities, have signed as much as the left’s promise of equality and equity within the hope that they will discover safety away from the racism and Islamophobia that emanates from conservatives. A trade-off is made, which camp will act in a means that greatest serves Muslims, however this trade-off comes at a excessive worth.

Young Muslims are compelled to embrace most of the thick values that accompany social liberalism, and people who hook their fortunes on the political proper should settle for the second-class standing that comes with such a Faustian discount. In Britain, Conservative Party Member of Parliament Nusrat Ghani was sacked as a authorities minister due to her ‘Muslimness’–  the message was easy: Muslims who wish to get entangled with the occasion should dispense with any shows of Islam or help for Muslim causes. Within time, Muslims seem to parrot the speaking factors of the tradition wars. Feminism and poisonous masculinity, abortion, and a lady’s proper to decide on; spark an explosion of polarizing debate, most pronounced on social media. These disputes are not often productive and, like in broader society, assist to additional divide Muslims on political, gender and generational traces.

How we navigate the minefield that’s western political polarization will say quite a bit concerning the Muslim neighborhood. Both the left and the proper hurt us and, extra importantly, harm how we perceive our religion. Unless we uncover our distinctiveness, we will likely be co-opted into this battle.

Our present predicament isn’t a surprise; because the demise of the Ottoman Caliphate, Muslims have needed to outline our religion within the shadow of dominant ideologies. Embracing liberalism got here with the promise of everlasting progress and prosperity; people who rejected it, to safeguard their households, needed to regularly undertake a bunch of ‘strict’ Islamic opinions to carve a division between themselves and the corruption round them. This solely furthered the generational divides as younger folks uncovered to Western norms noticed little on this defensive model of Islam to assist them.

It is just not uncommon at the moment to seek out Muslim students and influencers that outlaw girls’s training as a result of it ‘”results in fitna”- a catch-all time period that supposedly provides them the proper to show the allowable (mubah) into haraam (forbidden), or employs probably the most obscure and infrequently harshest views in a useless try to safe the imaan of younger folks. At the identical time, many younger Muslims, even people who profess to stay steadfast of their deen, incorporate the logic of the left of their engagements; trans rights are private, ladies and men have equal roles and tasks, Islam and socialism are at one, motherhood is secondary to pursuing careers – positions which might be at odds with any honest studying of Islam.

This is just not how fiqh is developed; classical students had been at pains to grasp the fact (tahqeeq al manat) because it was after which look to Islamic textual content to discover a resolution; not change Islam to reply to or verify overseas ideologies. Islamic scholarship is just not about adopting sturdy or comfortable opinions to placate the occasions; as an alternative, it goals to seek out the answer from Allah no matter the way it could also be perceived.

Beyond the Left and Right

Both the left, whether or not that is represented by liberals or socialists, and the conservative proper, have a special ideational framework by which to view life. As the Muslim tutorial Professor Joseph Kaminski argues in his scholarly ebook on Islam and Liberalism, there could also be congruencies with Islam in some areas, however this shouldn’t be misunderstood to be an endorsement of Islam. These philosophies are peculiar to the European expertise. Yahya Birt, a convert himself, laments with incredulity how some white Muslims have indifferent themselves from an ummatic paradigm that locations Islamic justice at its coronary heart and appears to eradicate racial boundaries, and as an alternative have jumped head-first into the White nativist reservoir, calling for ‘Islam for Europeans’ and endorsing positions on migration that will not be misplaced in any right-wing occasion. At the identical time, many younger Muslims on campus ally with the left on social and worldwide causes, solely to include their mores and finally their concepts. I not too long ago got here throughout a younger Muslim who instructed me with little sense of contradiction that he was a training Muslim, a social liberal, and a socialist in economics.

How, then, ought to the Muslim neighborhood transfer ahead? There is a dire want, particularly for younger Muslims, to totally recognize and discover a compelling critique of the Western traditions. When Imam Ghazali was troubled by the absorption of Greek philosophy and the way it undermined Islamic thought in eleventh-century Baghdad, he sought to systematically deconstruct and critique its fundamentals and expose it as antithetical to Islam.

Many at the moment are sleepwalking into the morass of Western civilization and are being consumed by its tradition wars. There should be a programme integrated into conventional lessons on tarbiyyah, particularly when kids attain an older age, to deal with these ideas in a reasoned means.

Building a critique of Western thought, of all its iterations and permutations, must be constructed on an goal and severe examine of its concepts. Too many web personalities search to caricature liberal or conservative views, hoping that younger Muslims will avoid their excesses. Building straw males, nevertheless, solely takes the argument to this point. In an period of muscular liberalism, colleges and college educators see it as their obligation to unlearn a Muslim’s attachment to Islam.

It can also be important to not over-pathologize how these ideologies impression particular person behaviors. Today, feminism and liberalism are seemingly present in each exercise by keyboard warriors. When a lady asks for her rights, she is “responding to feminism,” or when a Muslim man exhibits emotion, he has been “emasculated by liberalism”. The drawback with this strategy is that it hinders a much-needed dialogue about these concepts’ impression on our worldview. But it additionally then makes these phrases meaningless. These unproductive approaches harden opinion and serve little goal in furthering thought in our neighborhood.


But past this, it’s the duty of all Muslims to stroll again from falling prey to the tradition wars. As the West turns in on itself, the Muslim neighborhood ought to act for example of individuals which might be assured in what they consider and apply, undisturbed by the noise round them.


Related studying:

– Response To Jordan Peterson’s Message To Muslims

Response To Jordan Peterson’s Message To Muslims

– The False Promise Of Identitarianism

The False Promise Of Identitarianism


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