Each year, on the last friday of Ramadan, groups affiliated to the Iranian government and opponents of the Israeli state are gathering for Quds Day. For them, it is a display of strength of a global movement against the existence of an Israeli state and Zionism - for us, it shall be an incentive to take a closer look at the Iranian opposition to Israel.
The first Quds Day was called for in 1979, when the Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini was cited by the Iranian newspaper Ettelaat with a call to all muslims and all islamic governments to unite against Israel and "hack off the hands" of the "usurpators" and their supporters. Iranian state doctrine is deeply rooted in antisemitic thought, repeated calls to violence against jews are the more harmless expression of this sentiment, though: Iran funds numerous groups throughout the world who engage in violence and terrorism against Israeli citizens and often, jews in general.
On 18 July 2012, a suicide bomber on a bus in Burgas, Romania, killed six people, five of them Israelis - the bus was carrying forty-two Israelis from the airport, where they arrived in a flight from Tel-Aviv, to their hotels. Early on during the investigations, the Lebanese Hezbollah was implied and the method of assault pointed to an Islamist background. By July 25th of 2013, two Hezbollah operatives had been identified as suspects: Malid Farah (also known as Hussein Hussein), and Hassan al-Haj. The Hezbollah was founded by followers of Ayatollah Khomeini and is, to this day, receiving funds by the Iranian government.
Such deadly attacks on unsuspecting tourists should be evidence enough that not a political opposition to jewish settlement policy or the military occupation of Palestinian territories are motivating Iran and its allies, but an antisemitic hatred on the jewish people themselves. It furthermore unmasks the cynical argumentation brought forward by many of their supporters in the west when asked about the missile attacks on Israel, which are indiscriminately raining down on civilian and military targets alike, that the opponents of Israel merely don't have the money and technology to target the military and government more precisely. The truth is that any jew is regarded as viable target.
If, however, more proof is needed that Iran, Hezbollah and similiar groups are not fighting for the Palestinian people, but for their own ideological goals, that Palestine is a mere front to stage a war against the existence of a jewish state (and the presence of jews on "muslim land" in general) we can take a short look to Syria: last month, Palestinian sources reported of a massacre conducted upon Palestinians by the Syrian army, who reportedly attacked the Al Yarmouk district of Damascus, an area of the city comprised predominantly of Palestinian refugees. Syria is a close ally of Iran and the government forces have been backed up by Hezbollah fighters, whose military wing is said to be stronger than the Lebanese army. Apparently, the lifes of Palestinian refugees count only as a bargaining chip against Israel.
The strength of Irans attacks upon Israel, not just verbally, but even by direct support for acts of terrorism against Israeli citizens worldwide, is not strictly rational. Iran has no border with Israel. Israel is not threatening Irans existence or its citizens, it is not occupying Iranian territories or competing with Iran for ressources or regional influence. In fact, Israel and jews in general tend to appear in only one form in official Iranian ideology: as the great evil. Jews are given the role of powerful manipulators and evil shadow government of the western states, much in the way western antisemites have done it before. This is, of course, a projection and attributing all the damage of capitalism to a jewish conspiracy is a popular ideological explanation precisely because it is so simple - in a world where not even those involved with the financial market understand it anymore.
"If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli." - Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah Leader
Iranian state doctrine was, from the beginning, deeply antisemitic because it allowed them to tie older, religiously motivated prejudices, with giving an answer to the question "who is to blame" for all the hardships of modernity, of capitalism and imperialism. Antisemitism was furthermore popular, because it tied so neatly into the national rebirthing mythology the Iranian clericals had developed: they sought to unite the muslim people in a reborn Caliphate, invoking a mystified past not unlike Fascists in Europe had done before. Israel and the jews gave them a common enemy, someone who, in the ideological worldview of the Mullahs, threatened all muslims alike.
Thusfar, it didn't work out so well. Common opposition to Israel failed to bridge the gap between Sunni and Shia Islam. In 2010, a suicide bomber from the Sunni Taliban attacked a Quds Day rally, killing at least 65 people. Meanwhile, domestic support for the Iranian governments anti-Israeli policies waned. A year earlier, in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 elections, protestors used the Quds Day to stage anti-government protests. Amongst the slogans used was "No to Gaza and Lebanon, I will give my life for Iran.” Especially the younger generations are turning out to the Quds Day rallies in ever decreasing numbers, with a growing sentiment that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not related to Iran.
Still, this year again, thousands will protest against the existence of an Israeli nation in neatly gender-seperated protest marches. Amongst them in the west, again, will be a self-proclaimed political left, who believes the Iran a viable partner for the sole reason that they, too, are blaming Israel for all the hardships of the middle east. From the Venezuelan government, who is claiming to build a "Socialism of the 21st century" and deems Iran a strategic ally against the US, to anarchist fringe groups in Europe and the US, who simply don't know better because, really, they don't care much about Arabian politics and just seek allies against their own governments.
Either of them would be well advised to stay away from association with the Quds Day, because all it stands for is a renewed attempt at exterminating jewish existence.
*The title is a direct quote from Hassan Nasrallah, current leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah.
Another war is fought on the globe and again, all those opinionated journalists who couldn't even have identified Mali on the globe earlier this year, much less lose one word about its politics, now seem to know it all after the first French soldiers touched the ground. The coalition of self-righteous world explainers is, as usual, spearheaded by the speakers of a subcritical left which seeks to press the world into a black and white scheme, no matter what. I will take an article by Stephen Lendman from Chicago to point out many fallacies of the current anti-war movement, because it neatly summarizes all this lack of coherent analysis, ignorance in regards to facts and the tendency to imply wherever it lacks evidence - and it wraps it all in moralizing language.
Lendman doesn't mess around, he gets straight to his accusation: it's all about the ressources, stupid! Not just any ressources, but rich Africa's ressources, with some of the globes largest deposits of oil and gas, ores and minerals. His intention probably is to put the war in Mali into a greater regional context of a new "scramble for Africa", but all Lendman achieves is to reveal his view on Mali as "yet another part of Africa". If war is fought somewhere in Africa, it must have the same reasons as on any other place on that vast continent. Without hesitation he therefore continues to write about Malis great natural wealth and Mali seems truly blessed:
"They include gold, diamonds, phosphates, bauxite, lignite, kaolin, salt, limestone, gypsum, granite, marble, diatomite, hydropower, iron ore, manganese, tin, lead, zinc, copper, oil, gas, and uranium. Mali is Africa’s third largest gold producer after South Africa and Ghana. It’s rich in uranium. It has an estimated 5,000 tons or more. It’s neighbor Niger is the world’s fourth largest producer."
As Malinese blogger Bruce Whitehouse put it, "the truth of Mali’s >mineral riches< is rather murky". Mali has potential reserves of oil and gas, its proven reserves are zero. In other words, it may be there, but we're not sure, there may also be nothing at all. The only companies present in Mali as of yet are minor players in the petrol business with a high risk-tolerance, speculating on the big success with a surprise find. Hardly the ones who could muster enough influence with western companies to urge them to fight a risky - and costly - war. There a no known uranium ressources in northern Mali, the only known mining operation is deep in the south-west, at the border to Guinea. Claiming that Nigers uranium riches extend into northern Mali would be pure speculation. Similiar holds true for Malis mining operations in regards to Gold. It's all far in the south, away from the territories currently held by Islamist and Tuareg rebels. All facts considered, this doesn't seem like an invasion to secure untapped ressources on land owned by an unwilling population. What little ressources Mali had its governments had always generously given away in the past, because the country lacks the technology level and infrastructure to develope them on their own and thus is dependent on foreign investors. Africa isn't exploited with cannons aimed, it's exploited with the willing consent of its governments, no matter if left or right, corrupt or honest, because the alternative to leave the ressources untapped does not benefit the increasingly urban population of Africas nationstates either.
But Lendman has found an explanation fitting its scheme and without checking whether his facts match reality, he proceeds to identify the responsible factions. No surprise here, it's the USA. France, former colonial power of Mali - and most of western Africa - is played down to a mere lapdog, used by Obama to "keep a low profile". The question whether France has its own africa policy can't be asked in Lendmans dogmatic worldview and he's probably unaware that the different policies of former colonial powers, including France, have brought them into conflict with the USA in the past. For example, right before the genocide against the Tutsi and Hutu began in Rwanda, France was supportive of the Rwandan government and there are allegations that French special forces proceeded to support the Rwandan military even while it was committing the largest genocide since Cambodia. The Tutsi-Militia RPF - current ruling party of Rwanda after it ended the genocide and won the civil war - was seen as an anglophone takeover.
For Lendman, however, France must remain a puppet of Washington, because he wants the war in Mali to fit into the greater image he constructs. "Washington wants unchallenged African dominance," Lendman writes, without bothering to explain how Islamist fighters in northern Mali are benefitting Russia or China. Worse, Lendmans argumentation comes crashing down on itself when he correctly identifies Russia and especially China as rivals of the USA (and Europe, though Lendman doesn't seem to think of European interests as a factor of their own) for Africas ressources, but doesn't stop a second to consider the implications. If Washington, Moscow and Beijing are rivals in a new scramble for Africa, does Lendman believe that only the first of the three is trying to exploit the continent? And if the insurgents in northern Mali are fighting against the USA, are they allies of China or Russia? Lendmans attempt to transfer the coalitions of Syria into Mali very obviously doesn't work and only serves to reveal that his own kneejerk anti-americanism drives Lendman to the support of murderous regimes such as Assads Syria.
Without intermission, Lendman narrates a tale of the great puppeteers in Washington who send their armies out into the world to build an "Empire" and permanently occupy the rest of the world by force. Consistently, he sacrifices facts for his fiction of a repetition of 19th century policies. He draws parallels between the North-Ireland conflict, the 1982 Lebanon invasion or the Israel-Palestine conflict, to lend weight to his prediction that France seeks permanent occupation of Mali. But North-Ireland is considered a part of its national territory by the UK and the Israeli security situation is a complex issue, its occupation of Lebanese territory in the 80s and 90s more rooted in the fact that it could not find factions within the Lebanese society that were both willing and powerful enough to prevent the Lebanon from becoming a staging ground for Hezbollah warfare against Israel once their troops retreat. Similiar fear haven proven correct repeatedly in the Palestine conflict: once Israeli troops left Gaza to self-administration, Hamas used the new liberty to turn the city into a missile-base from which hundreds of missiles are fired into Israel each year.
Meanwhile, the information that "Permanent Afghanistan and Iraq occupations are planned" is exclusive to Lendman and exists only in his brain. All NATO countries involved in the two countries are feverishly trying to reduce troop strength in Iraq and Afghanistan - and have developed timelines for a complete retreat of forces from the countries - without making it seem as if the protracted warfare against insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan were lost.
"Fighting terrorism, respecting Mali’s territorial integrity, and furthering democracy conceal dark intentions" Lendman claims ambiguously in regards to the French intervention, but reading texts such as this, it seems the part about "dark intentions" holds true more for their authors. The Islamist groups that control northern Mali only appear as "rebels" throughout his article - the Rebels and the Empire, makes you think of Star Wars, doesn't it? He manages to not once mention the acronym AQIM: Al Qaeda in the islamic Maghreb. During their attack on the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria, "hundreds of hostages were taken" and it almost seems as if Lendman cheers this on as a success report for the forces of good. What he doesn't mention is that these hundreds of hostages were seperated according to faith - many of the workers on In Amenas were foreign experts, technicians and engineers - and the Islamists then proceeded to kill those of their hostages who were not Algerian muslims.
"Contesting for the country’s north won’t be easy." Lendman predicts with apparent satisfaction. "It’s mountainous, rugged, and vast. It replicates France in size. It’s long enjoyed considerable autonomy. Protracted conflict looks likely. " This is wishful thinking on Lendmans part, because he desperately wants to see his rebel alliance win against the dark empire. Northern Mali is dominated by deserts, even the Hoggar mountains, which partly extend into north-eastern Mali, are relatively open spaces whereas Mali is concerned. Its vast size will work to the disadvantage of the islamic insurgents, because vast open areas, the deserts of the Sahara and the shrubberies of the Sahel, will favour the force that can bring more flexible and mobile units to bear. France fields a modern airforce, helicopters and mechanized ground forces.
Speaking of northern Malis autonomy is, by the way, a cynical joke. Enforced non-developement would be a more fitting description. The reasons for the sudden success of islamist rebels in northern Mali lie in decades long instability in the region due to the discrimination of the Tuareg minority in Mali and its neighbours. Hated for having been deeply involved in colonial forces and slave trade in the past, the independence of former French colonies marked the beginning of a prolonged campaign of impoverishment in the Tuareg areas, worsening in the recent past with the increasing hardships in the Sahel zone due to climate change. Tuareg rebels have long fought unsuccesfully for an independent Tuareg state, "Azawad", land of the Wadi's.
How the repeatedly unsuccesful Tuareg rebellions of the past turned into an islamist insurgency that routed the Malinese army and nearly conquered the country needs some explanation - read carefully, Lendman, you can learn something. The Tuareg were long known for living an especially moderate muslimic faith, with comparatively great rights for women. Their rebel groups are secular, but after the war in Lybia and the overthrowal of dictator Ghadaffi, many fighters from Lybia returned to Mali. Amongst them not just the Tuareg that had been hired by the Lybian government as reliable soldiers, but also islamist fighters that had participated in its overthrowal - and weapons from the stockpiles of north-Africas wealthiest oil exporter. Before that event, the suffocating poverty in the Sahel zone had already created a fertile breeding ground for the islamist ideology and especially young men are suspectible to the offers of a life as soldier of Islam, when the alternative is to cope with starvation.
Well armed, experienced and highly motivated the Tuareg-Islamist alliance could quickly overrun the north of Mali. But it remains an unsteady alliance. An agreement about the cooperation in the fight against the Malinese government, which also included a non-enforcement of Sharia law, lasted merely a few days. Their attempts to root themselves in northern Malinese society seem to yeild only mixed results, the majority of islamist fighters are foreigners. Wandering militias who have participated in other wars in the past. This points to another reason why Lendmans portrayal of the war as western invasion is flawed, because in fact, it's an invasion of northern Mali by organized Islamists. Lendmans refusal to even mention the wave of atrocities that followed in the wake of the Islamist advance, much less the broad support in Mali for the French forces.
Images of locals waving the flags of foreign forces to cheer them on are a staple of war propaganda to keep up the moral on the home front. But it would be ignorant to think those are therefore always false. There is a reason why Lendman hesitates to cite even a single voice from Mali itself, because those wouldn't support his view of the French operation in Mali as a forceful occupation. Quite to the contrary, the French forces were requested by the Malinese government and Hollande hesitate long to grant his support. French forces literally arrived on the last possible moment, as any day later, an important airfield that enables much of the current operation would have fallen to Islamists. There is one opposition party in Mali that rejects the French intervention, is the left-nationalist MP22. Only, they, too, support the fight against insurgents in northern Mali, they just believe that Malis army can do it on its own.
People like Lendman don't support peace, much less human rights. They have bloated the American state into the prime evil of the world and care little who fights them, as long as someone does it. Willingly, they lend their support to any group and cloud their intentions with smokescreens of peace-rhetorics and a demonization of one side of a conflict. What he fails to realize is that Islamism is a variant of the political phenomena best described as "fascism". It's the heavily religious version of fascism in the Arabic and broader muslim world, dreaming of the rebirth of a Kaliphate that never really existed in this way. In their attempt to lend importance to their own positions, people like Lendman jeopardize all standards of emancipatory and left-wing polititics for an alliance with islamist fascism. This has lasting consequences, because in much of the developing world, especially in the muslim countries, the left as we know it has ceased to exist. The strata of the local populations that could be reached with emancipatory positions are not just figuratively, but very practically, violently controlled by Islamic groups and their social issues are answered with anti-semitic, anti-feminine and anti-modern rhetorics.
One word of caution though: do not think that Islamism is a backwards, medieval movement. Their rhetorics may be anti-modern, their ideology is not. Like fascism elsewhere they employ anti-capitalist sentiment to direct it against specific groups, mostly jews and westerners, sometimes also christian or other minorities. But they do not challenge capitalism itself, not even in a reactionary fashion. Lendman lends his voice to people like Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, calling them political prisoners as if it's Mumia Abu Jamal we're talking about. Abdel-Rahman was one of the organizers of the first terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. Lendman keeps quiet about that. What he mentions instead is, that Abdel-Rahman was previously an ally of the CIA, trained and funded by the American government. Again, his narrative knows no private agenda for Washingtons allies. In Lendmans worldview, they are puppets, used and thrown away.
But Islamists are not puppets of western governments. They are dangerous, militant movements that are handy allies whenever it comes to keeping impoverished populations within the framework of capitalist economy. President Morsi in Egypt, Islamist rebels fighting in Lybia or Syria - western states ally with them, because they are the only groups with both the mass-base and the necessary will to violence to enforce the blind progress of the global market. But Islamism has plans of their own and may turn on the west, not just by allying with Iran (for many Sunni Islamist groups allying with the Shiites in Iran is out of question) but also out of their own volition. Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism (in many cases, it's not so easy to distinguish between these two and Islamists will claim the US is run by jews anyways) are integral parts of their ideology, not just as mock rhetorics, but as very real motivations for their actions.
These are the people trying to take over northern Mali.
There is a broad consensus across the globe that the people of Gaza are victims suffering from a brutal occupation. There is little focus on Gaza, however, as long as Israel is not shooting back. And the ignorance regarding the nature of the Hamas borders on the maliciously intentional. For many, they are "freedom fighters", involved in a justified struggle against Israeli aggressors and, at the very least, the democratically elected government of Gaza.
Founded in 1987 as Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Hamas can trace its roots back to the 1940s, when the Muslim Brotherhood founded their first branch within Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood itself can be described as the pan-Arabic version of fascism, as far as this umbrella term goes to include movements of the far right who espouse a radical, chauvinist and authoritarian ideology rooted in national rebirth mythology. Because it summons the semi-mythological past of the first Caliphate, Arabic fascism is heavily loaded with political religion and a pan-arabic nationalism rather than a particular. It also draws heavily on antisemitism for its political ideology, expressed in pogroms such as those happening in Egypt during 1938.
Similiarily, the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood participated in the Arab revolts between 1936 to 1939. Violence against Jews, such as the murder of sixteen jewish dockworkers on the 19th of April 1936, was an integral part of these years, making it part anti-colonial uprising, part antisemitic pogrom. A fateful symbiosis that should carry on till this day. It also echoed similiar developements within Europe, which should culminate in the murder of at least six million jews during the holocaust. Antisemitism was and remains, a global phenomena which prospers during economic crisis.
Let's note at this point that all this was well before the foundation of Israel. Zionist settlers were targeted as much as jews whose families had lived in the region for centuries - and the jewish migrants who came to Palestine did so because they hoped to escape antisemitic violence in other parts of the world. They were not the collaborateurs of imperialism which Islamists and Stalinists alike painted them to be, because their dream of an idependent jewish homeland was in itself a threat to the British supremacy of the Palestinian lands. In fact, secular Palestinian Nationalists had voiced their support of jewish immigration, hoping to draw in the support of well-educated and well-connected, maybe even wealthy, European jews to support their anticolonial struggle.
Fast forward to the eighties. The Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, their fight against Jews defeated repeatedly by Israeli military forces, had withdrawn largely to caritative and social works, hoping to establish a lasting base amongst the population. Secular nationalists, supported by the Soviet Union, had dominated the political landscape for the longest time in the region. It was the rise of Islamism in Iran and the occurence of the First Intifada which prompted the Brotherhood in Palestine to abandon their political - and military - inactivity. Radical members had left the Brotherhood after the revolution in Iran to take up armed struggle, including a number of murders of Israeli civilians. Similiar groups propagating armed struggle were founded by Fatah. The inner-Palestinian political landscape shifted to the right, notably marked by the violent takeover of the Islamic University in Gaza by Islamist militants.
The Muslim Brotherhood did not wish to be left out on this developement and founded Hamas in 1987 - initially without announcing their political connection to the new group, to avoid a backlash should the project fail. Only in 1988, when Hamas had established itself as political actor in Palestine, they revealed themselves as part of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas political strategy has been dominated by its antisemitism, which is integral and undeniable part of its political manifesto and all its publications. It is important to note that Hamas is not fighting a war for a two-state solution or for political or social rights of the Palestinian people, nor and end of jewish settlement or to lift the Gaza blockade. Hamas political doctrine is aimed at the extermination of jewish existence. The denial of the holocaust, as with all holocaust-denial movements, is part of this programme only to enable it to be repeated. Supported by Iran, its ideological brothers and idols, Hamas has turned Gaza into a missile-base, from which in 2012 alone, by the time the recent Israeli airstrikes started, about 800 missiles had been fired into Israel. Terrorbombings and suicide attacks have been part of the Islamistic armed struggle for decades now. Hamas and its ideological brothers do not discriminate between military or civilian targets in Israel. In their antisemitic worldview, all jews are the same, paradise can only come after the last jew took its last breath.
But Hamas violent campaign does not only extend towards jews. In a similiar eliminatory fashion, Hamas roots out all signs of "moral decay" amongst its own population. It's a horribly ironic joke that Judith Butler, that posterwoman of the queer-movement, has decried the achievements of the LGBT-movement in Israel as mere state-controlled "pink-washing", while attributing some sort of progressive momentum to Hamas. Islamists offer only one thing to homosexuals: death. Similiarily, it is a mockery of even bourgeoise democracy when stating that Hamas is a legitimately elected government of Gaza. While it is true that Hamas won a majority in the 2006 elections, that was followed by the violent coup d'etat in 2008, ever since when the Hamas is ruling Gaza with unquestioned authority and by force. Six men had to suffer the consequences of this rule, though they are probably just the tip of the iceberg: they were executed by Hamas gunmen on the day the ceasefire with Israel was declared. One man was chained to a motorcycle and dredged through the streets of Gaza. Supposedly they had been supporting Israel with information from within Gaza. Naturally, there was not even a sham-trial.
The rule of Hamas in Gaza has all signs of a fascist dictatorship. Even kids are raised and trained to become fighters against Israel. It is truly worrying that groups and individuals throughout the world, who believe themself emancipatory, consider Hamas a valid ally. But not only a movement still heavily chained to the old Leninist dogma and Soviet state doctrine of anti-imperialist struggle, which can see Israel only as a tool of western colonialism and not as an independent jewish reaction towards the genocidal antisemitism in Europe, can befriend the Islamist movements of the world. Torn between the fact that the western states themselves are targeted as enemies by the Islamists, and their need for an auxilliary corps in a region that is fundamentally important for the global market, but to whose population said market has little to offer, the western world ends up increasingly supporting the radical right of the Arabic world. Close allies of the NATO states, like Saudi-Arabia or Qatar, funnel money and weapons to a plethora of militant groups in the region. Wherever Islamism is opposed by the west, such as the EU including Hamas on their list of terrorist organizations, this is not expression of a fundamental opposition to their ideology and political actions, but rather rooted in a geopolitical struggle with Iran.
Similiarily, capitalist nationstates have relied on Islamic Fascism in the past to secure continued existence of a capital accumulation from which most of the population had been excluded anyways. Despite mixed experiences in the past - the most popular example here would be Afghanistan, primarily because the United States later had to fight the very same political movement it had helped to seize power - it seems that the core of the capitalist world has little other options. In face of economic crisis and a now longstanding inability to expand the accumulation of value fast enough to allow for broader parts of the population to receive a share, there is but one way to ensure the undisturbed business for those strata still benefiting from it. And Islamism is the only mass-movement in the Arab world which is both powerful and ruthless enough to take on this role.
Someone in "the west" publishes something regarded as insulting to the islamic religion and "the muslims" burst into a flurry of violent riots - it seems like an eternal law of modern society.
And it is one big fraud.
Both sides in this game are political minority groups with a well defined chauvinist agenda that can be described at least as fascistoid in its components and they are more than willing to play this game of transcontinental ping pong. It is no mere coincidence that it was a fundamentalist christian group which caused the latest controversy with its production of a movie intentionally designed to insult the core-figure of the islamic faith as a child-molesting lunatic. Nor was it a coincidence that the reaction on the other end of the globe was marked by complete inaction for a suspiciously long time and violence struck only on the symbolic date of the eleventh of september.
But let's sort out this riddle one issue at a time. Seemingly on the start of this controversy we have a group on the fringe of the American political life, radical evangelists who desire a country whose laws don't just adhere to the bible, but rather whose laws >are< the bible. That these people assault the muslim faith as a whole seems blatantly obvious, given their fanatical insistence on the purity of their own faith. It is obvious that their politics are nothing more than leftovers of the medieval era. Or does it?
In fact, their brand of fundamentalism is a surprisingly modern ideology, although their agenda seems direct at all things modern in itself. They are rooted not in the medieval thought world, which is remote and emotionally incomprehensible to us after generations of capitalist "tender loving care". Their ideology is ironically the reaffirmation of the values of early modernity against the developements of later modernity, the defense of the ideals of christian protestantism against the complete dismantling of the social fabric as a result of the very same developement they had helped to birth into the world. They defend the values of "honest labor" against a world that is increasingly ridding itself of the need for such labor, even though it was the practice of rooting the economic developement and the source of value in this very labor that provided the need, not just the desire out of sheer coziness, but the very need to reduce the amount of labor needed to produce in order to survive. They defend the traditional family structure that has lost its usefulness to capitalism with the invention of the dishwasher, television and the instant-food.
And they also defend the system of national economics against a globalized production process. Their social romanticism, however, reaffirms the very categories that have led investors to consider expanding their business beyond the boundaries of their statehood. They believe in the "american ideals", they believe in the market economy and in the cunning and laborous individual who succeeds as a reward of his merit. Many evangelists have their Ayn Rand standing right next to the bible. Firmly rooted in the ideological base of capitalism themselves, they are unable to perceive the transnational upheavals, the decay of the national economies and the desastrous powers that they believe to have wrecked their lifes as those apersonal forces of market competition and all its unholy children - instead, the search for an outside source, a danger from beyond.
The muslim community was never the only target for such fears, but it has grown rapidly in popularity. Fears of an "islamic takeover", of muslim immigrants "outbreeding" other faiths, of a transnational campaign to make the western world part of a new caliphate are very symptomatic for such an irrational paranoia that borders mass hysteria. It is so succesful because it can tap into very real feelings of "life getting worse" in the wake of a rapidly advancing globalization of capitalism and because it does not call into question the internalized values of a capitalist society, which even the downtrodden and impoverished have blindly accepted as transhistorical "essentials" of human life in itself: labor, property, the state and nations. Instead, it attributes recent changes to an outside attack and in the process creates an almost mythical past it seeks to revive. A lost paradise that for the broad majority may "only" date back to the era of Fordism, which was never as joyous as modern nationalists make it sounds - while for the christian fundamentalists its the very distant past of messianic enlightement. Both popular and fringe version of this ideological developement are rebirthist, promising their followers that one day in the future their long lost days of glory and prosperity and salvation will return. Not unlike Mussolini promised the Italians the rebirth of the Roman Empire or Hitler promised the Germans a new Germanic civilization which, by all standards of historical science, never really existed.
Only on the first glance it is ironic that the closest analogy to this developement is, amongst the muslims, found in the shape of the radical islamists - the muslim brotherhood, the salafists and the theocracy in Iran. On a closer look, these developements are, if not mutually dependant upon each other, so at the very least symbiotic in their existence. The ideologies of these islamist groups and the evangelist christians in the euro-american sphere are almost completely exchangable, whereas the only difference is found where direct references to objects of their faith are concerned. Whereas most evangelists await the second coming of christ, the Islamists desire the return of the muslim caliphate and, in the case of the Shia fundamentalists which for example have shaped Iranian state doctrine, the return of the 12th Imam as Mahdi.
Much like their christian counterparts, the Islamists believe their countries under permanent attack by a foreign threat they need to resist with all available means. The "riots" in the islamic world are not responses to insults to their faith, nor do they represent a majority opinion. They are, for the most parts, well organized publicity stunts and designed to intimidate internal opposition as much as convey a message to the outside world from which the perceived threat to their existence and traditional society stems from. When the US ambassador to Libya was killed, it wasn't a spontaneous outburst of anger, it was a well-planned and properly executed attack by an organized militia force utilizing heavy weaponry such as rocket-propelled grenades and mortars and conducted with precise knowledge of the compound, to make sure their target was actually killed.
Days later, the people of Libya showed the world what was actually a spontaneous outburst of anger, but not in a protest against any "Mohammed-video" or caricature: they stormed several outposts of militia units, dismantling the bases and dispersing the militias, followed by a government ban on the armed militia forces. They did so at the risk of their own lifes, not just to readjust the message that had been sent from Libya to the west, but also because these islamist militias were a very real power factor within the political landscape and far from acting in the best interest of large stratas of the Libyan society.
But the global echo towards these events was embarassing. Few people took notice of this event and the focus was still very clearly on the violent "protests" in the muslim world - which were never perceived as what they really are, the mass gatherings of an organized political movement with a clear-cut agenda. Perhaps too easily this image of the "angry muslim" fits into the epidemic fear of an islamic invasion of Euro-America. A portrayal of the image that is easily exploited by anti-muslim racists in the western sphere, fueling their sentiments with further productions such as the infamous "Mohammed-video". Which in turn the Islamists in the arabic sphere gladly take to further their own agenda. Both movements mirror each other and their activities always strengthen not only their own positions, but especially those of their supposed enemies - rather their ideological brethren - at the opposite of the globe.