Right-wing anti-Muslim bigots support the West’s enemies
I have noted before the parallels between the Islamic fascists of al-Qaeda and the Christian Chetnik fascists in Bosnia, including the fact that both groups share the same left-wing apologists. I have also noted before that Islamophobes and Islamofascists are two sides of the same coin. I am therefore unsurprised to see that another piece of the Red-Brown jigsaw puzzle has slotted into place, and that right-wing anti-Muslim bigots are beginning to view the West’s dangerous and aggressive enemy, the Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin, as a desired ally in their crusade against the Muslim peoples of the world.
An exceptionally bigoted article by Irina Filatova, representing the Putinist Russian-nationalist perspective, appeared on the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ website in response to Western recognition of Kosova’s independence. Filatova writes: ‘This opposition [to Kosova’s independence] among the Russians is practically unanimous. From the nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky to the communist Gennady Ziuganov to even Nikita Belykh, leader of the Union of Right Forces, a crumbling but consistent defender of liberal values in Russia – all support the official line of Putin’s government.’ She goes on: ‘Many Russians warn that the creation of a Muslim state in the middle of Europe will strengthen the position of Muslim minorities and of Islam in Europe generally. They also point to the role of Kosovars – even under Nato control – in drug and people trafficking in Europe… how would the British feel if in 20 or 30 years Windsor, for example, proclaimed its independence on the grounds that the majority of its population was now Muslim and if the US decided to support this claim?’ What we have here is a bogey raised of ‘Muslim minorities and of Islam in Europe generally’; of a particular ethnic group identified with organised crime; and of a Muslim demographic threat leading to a Muslim state on British soil. However offensive such BNP-style sentiments are, and however inappropriate to find them expressed in an article on the website of Britain’s leading liberal newspaper, they are undoubtedly representative of the chauvinistic mainstream in Putin’s Russia.
Russian nationalists like Filatova are selective in their presentation of Russia as the aggrieved party, righteously upholding international law – an area in which Russia’s record is less than immaculate. The Soviet Union annexed the Baltic states and Japan’s Kurile Islands during and after World War, and subsequently invaded Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan – all without the sanction of the UN Security Council. Previous Russian leaders Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin have repudiated or apologised for the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, but this tradition of apologising for has not been continued by Putin. The current Russian president describes the collapse of the Soviet Union as ‘the greatest geopolitical catastrophe’ of the twentieth century, and has refused to apologise for the Soviet Union’s illegal annexation of the Baltic states – an annexation that the US never recognised – claiming that the act had been consensual. He has refused also to return Japan’s Kurile Islands. Other Putinist actions that have been less than fanatical in their respect for international law include Russia’s launching of a cyber-war to destabilise Estonia, because the Estonians decided to move a statue from one place to another; the murder of Alexander Litvinenko; and the maintenance of a military presence in Moldova’s and Georgia’s break-away territories of Transnistria, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in violation of the sovereignty of two UN member-states, Moldova and Georgia. Indeed, Putin’s support for these break-away territories, which are much closer to Russia than is Kosova, suggest that Russia, as well as being less than consistent in its support for international law, is less than consistent in its opposition to unilateral ‘separatism’.
Russia’s conflict with the Western alliance over Kosova is, in other words, a crisis that Putin unnecessarily manufactured for his own purpose, which is to split the EU, disrupt its expansion and cause problems for the US and Britain. This is not a conflict that can be attributed to aggressiveness on the West’s part; Western leaders have bent over backwards to accommodate Putin since he took power in 1999. Tony Blair very publicly (and shamefully) supported Putin’s murderous war to crush Chechnya. Putin responded to Western benevolence by supplying Saddam Hussein’s regime with military information in the run-up to the Iraq War. This is not a conflict that we started.
There is a global struggle taking place against Islamic fascism, and it is one that all democrats should support. But in doing so, we find ourselves in some sense aligned with some unsavoury bigots whose motivation has less to do with support for democratic Western values and more to do with simple hatred of Muslims and Islam. Since democratic Western values include respect for freedom of conscience and religious toleration, such bigots clearly have no place in our ranks. Their hatred of Muslims is essentially no different from the Islamofascist hatred of Jews and Christians, and their bigotry only alienates ordinary Muslims and pushes them into the arms of the extremists. It is therefore gratifying that the Kosova crisis has prompted these bigots to reveal their true colours: as supporters of the West’s enemies. Writing in the pages of Frontpagemag.com, the screaming American chauvinist Julia Gorin suggests: ‘If Russia intervenes [over Kosova], then 2008 might become the year that war broke out between Russia and NATO. America, the EU, Europe’s immigrant ‘youths,’ and Osama bin Laden would find themselves on one side, fighting Russia, China, and those Europeans who resist Islamization on the other.’ No question about which side Gorin would be on in such a conflict; it wouldn’t be ours. Her antipathy toward the Kosova Albanians apparently originates with the support given by Democrat President Clinton’s support for them. Never mind that the Kosova Albanians are about the most pro-American nation on the planet; if you sufficiently hate Muslims and Democrats, it is apparently acceptable to align yourself against them and on the side of the West’s enemies.
Melanie Phillips, writing in the Spectator, has this to say: ‘It was at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389 that some 70,000 died to keep the Islamic Ottoman Empire from advancing further into Europe. What is the point of fighting the jihad in Iraq when we are cheerfully opening the door to it in that very same place? Russia’s President Putin has warned that recognising Kosovo will rebound very badly upon the countries who have blundered into endorsing it. The fact that this outcome is merely the inevitable consequence of the war so unwisely prosecuted by those countries against Serbia does not soften its deeply alarming implications. Putin is warning only too correctly of the dangers to the west of this development and the supreme folly of endorsing it.’ Mad Mel’s article is about one of the craziest I’ve ever read, and contains too many gems to be listed here, but one of my favourites is this one: ‘The Albanians [in Kosova] have turned Christian graveyards into car parks, playgrounds and rubbish dumps. Anything relating to Serbia or Christianity libraries [sic], public records, books, names of places and even towns have been wiped out.’ Anything, apparently, except for the statues of Mother Teresa and Skanderbeg – the Albanians’ two most revered national heroes, both of them Christians – that stand right in the centre of the Kosovar capital of Pristina. Perhaps the Albanians didn’t notice them ? Thus, an anti-Muslim bigot with no knowledge of Kosova, its history or its people is allowing her prejudices to align her with the anti-Western regime in Moscow.
Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihadwatch argues: ‘Among major world powers, both Russia and China are opposed to an independent Kosovo. Even within Europe there are nations that oppose this independence — Spain — and others where many are uneasy. It would have been politically possible for the American government to have thought a bit more about the implications, the consequences, of having another Muslim state — the product of centuries of Ottoman rule — within Europe, and to have thought a bit more about the historical treatment of the Serbs under that same Ottoman rule, and their understandable bitterness.’ He goes on: ‘There is no reason not to take Serbia’s side now. There is every reason — of principle and of Infidel self-interest — to take it.’ In other words, you can burn down US embassies, you can give military information to Saddam to help him kill American soldiers, you can drive a wedge into the Western alliance, but you will still be our ally against people who wave the American flag in gratitude – provided that you are Christian and they are Muslim.
Albania has sent troops to Iraq and has shown much greater loyalty and staying power as our ally there than many predominantly Christian states. Albanian Defence Minister Fatmir Mediu has said that Albanian troops will remain in Iraq as long as US forces remain there. Western anti-Muslim bigots would like to deprive us of yet another ally, simply in order to satisfy their own hatred for all things Muslim.
What a disgrace.
In the global struggle against the Islamist menace, the anti-Muslim bigots are a liability. They should have no place in our ranks.
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