The world was treated to a wave of religious fanaticism this week as right-wing fundamentalist Islamic preachers ordered their slavish followers to take to the streets in an orgy of anger over – some right-wing Jewish guy’s stupid anti-Islam movie! From Indonesia to France Islamic extremists surged into the streets to express their outrage over an incident that, in fact, will do absolutely no harm at all to any believer in their religion. The mullahs, the woman-hating, money-grubbing preachers of Islam, who spread their creed as if it was the answer to all the world’s needs – which it is decidedly not – and who demand that their followers follow them so blindly as to be willing to do anything to anyone who opposes these clerical misfits – including murder – must be opposed by all class conscious workers everywhere – including in majority-Muslim countries. The power of these reactionary scum over the minds of the working class must be shattered.
Islam is a hugely popular religion, with hundreds of millions of followers worldwide. Any Islamic preacher who tells his followers that the existence of a lousy movie is a threat to the existence of their religion is nothing but a liar and a charlatan. These Islamic “leaders” must have very little faith in the power of their ideas if they think for a minute that someone could destroy Islam simply by making a video that insults it. These cretinous Islamic fundamentalists obviously have ulterior motives: to force their followers to commit outrages against anyone who dares to oppose these mullahs. These protests aren’t about religion per se: they are about the mullahs’ ability to control the minds of human beings and to get them to commit any criminal act – including murder – on demand of the religious leaders. This is a mind-control experiment that seeks to turn decent human beings into killers for Islam. These criminals who call themselves “religious leaders” and who then demand that those who they deem to be a threat to Islam be murdered should be thrown in jail like the dangerous criminal they are. A movie is not – and cannot be – a threat to Islam any more than a cartoon can make devout Muslims turn into apostates. Anyone who believes the opposite is a fool who shows how little they really believe in their own religion.
As if getting your turban in a twist every time some asshole makes a movie insulting your religion isn’t enough, these same ignorant religious bigots are going crazy because the French satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” is this week publishing some cartoons that allegedly make fun of Mohammad. Big deal! Let them make fun – it is their right to do so. A cartoon – no matter how funny or insulting, or even racist it is – does not possess some magical power to bring the Islamic world to its doom. However, this ignorant bigoted attack on the freedom of speech and freedom of the press does.
The European nations went through a long period of religious bigotry and ignorance just like this one back when the Catholic Church ruled over Europe with an iron fist, ordering “heretics” to be burnt at the stake for such hideous “crimes” as denying the existence of the Trinity. Millions of peasants and workers who were deemed to be too irreligious or not sufficiently intellectually subjugated to the whims and crazy imaginings of the Pope in Rome were summarily arrested, subjected to hideous tortures and murdered for their “impiety”. It took a struggle of hundreds of years against the all-powerful hierarchy of the Catholic Church to bring the priesthood to heel. Revolutionary struggles to topple monarchies allied with the Pope took place throughout Europe which finally brought the Church down to Earth. The Enlightenment philosophers, often using barely-hidden satires of leading Catholic Popes and Bishops and their followers, exposed the Church to intense criticism and led the advanced, enlightened workers and intellectuals to organize political movements dedicated to the creation of more liberal governments that broke the stranglehold of the Catholic Church over the people and forced a strict separation of church and state to be put into place. This finally put an end to the hideous excesses of the Catholic Church and its most fanatical advocates, who had gone so far as to create the monstrosity known as the “Holy Inquisition”, whose pious, criminal leaders tortured and executed millions of unfortunates who refused to kiss the Pope’s ass.
This hard-won victory of reason over religious superstition and intolerance – which we call the “Separation of Church and State” – which came at the cost of the lives of so many human beings must never be surrendered by the working class! Never again will we suffer at the hands of an ignorant priesthood that seeks to amass hundreds of millions of dollars of wealth through the indoctrination of workers into the belief that human beings here on Earth are having daily conversations with some sky god, who is telling these idiot priests that if the working people don’t get together and mass-murder unbelievers, then this sky-god will come down and kill us all. That trick will never again work against us! The mullahs who think that they can force those of us who live in countries where the power of the priesthood has been irreversibly shattered by revolutions in the 17th and 18th centuries will allow them to reverse that verdict of history against their once unlimited power are sadly mistaken! The defense of the right of freedom of speech and freedom to criticize and satirize religions of all kinds is something that must be taken up by all bona fide working-class organizations. Never again will an ignorant priesthood run roughshod over the minds and bodies of our working class brothers and sisters on this planet!
Islam has made tremendous contributions to human society and has given the world such wonderful gifts as: algebra; tremendous discoveries and observations in astronomy; the very Arabic numerals we use every day!; beautiful poetry; marvelous literature and historical writings; magnificent architectural achievements, to name a few. If it wasn’t for Islam, whose scholars hundreds of years ago carefully collected and preserved many ancient manuscripts that were at the time being collected – and burnt! – by the Roman Catholic Church – much of what little we know of the literature of the ancient, pre-Christian world. The debt the workers of the world owe to the Islamic world for all these marvelous contributions to world civilization is incalculable.
The Independent Workers Party welcomes immigrant workers from all nations and from all religions into our organization, on one condition – that they fully accept the principle that there must be a complete separation of Church/Mosque/Temple and State! This is not negotiable. We will not stand for religious bigots going around demanding that if artists and comedians -and even disgusting bigots like the guy who made this movie – don’t obey the commands of the mullahs, they will be attacked, beaten up and/or killed. Never again will we allow a gang of religious freaks to rampage through our cities threatening “unbelievers” with summary execution. The days of the Inquisition, the Witch Trials and religious persecution must end. We welcome those followers of the Prophet Muhammad to our shores who understand these concepts, and we will defend even to the death your right to worship in any way you choose. But do not imagine for a moment that the working class of the United States will ever allow Islamic fundamentalists to cause us to sit down and shut up and refuse to use our hard-earned freedoms to ridicule any and all religions in any way we choose.
There is much that is ridiculous in ALL religions. In the United States, parodies of Catholicism have long existed and are enormously popular – the great movie “Life of Brian” by Monty Python comes to mind, as well as Mel Brooks’ wonderful “History of the World” films. Islam is way overdue for such a treatment; and if these right-wing Muslim zealots continue to rampage across the face of the planet physically assaulting everyone who thinks that, say, the fact that Muhammad had sex with a 9-year old girl he had taken as a wife, for example, is absurd and monstrous – then we in the IWP have a major problem with that.
When the movie “Life of Brian” came out, it was immediately subjected to verbal attack and its creators were even subjected to death threats by Christian bigots who tried mightily to censor the film and keep it from being seen – all to no avail! Because their power to rule over the minds of the citizens of our nations was irreversibly shattered back in the 1700s! They marched, they wrote sermons attacking the movie and they went on TV to denounce it and all they got for their efforts was a massive outpouring of support for the film.
We remember with great fondness going to see “Life of Brian” back when it came out in Boston, Massachusetts in the 1980s. The lines waiting to see the film were going all the way down the street, while would-be Christian censors stood impotently outside the theatre, vainly imploring us not to go see the film. We gleefully made fun of them! We laughed at them, pathetic as they were! Probably at least half the people there might never have bothered to go and see the movie if it were not for the ridiculous hue-and-cry raised by the religious bigots of the Christian right wing who absurdly attempted to impose their religious beliefs on the citizens of the United States 300 years after their power to do so had been irretrievably shattered! This is exactly what should happen all over the world if ever some intelligent satirists finally get around to making a parody of the Koran that isn’t racist. We would quite happily attend such a movie, and should anyone try to stop us, they would face the wrath of the working class, who would treat them in precisely the same way that we treat Nazis when they try to march in our working-class cities and towns!
The analogy between the right-wing religious bigots of the Islamic world and Nazis is quite apt. Though there are major differences between the two, their methods are very similar: “what we say goes, and if you don’t get down on your knees and obey us, we will kill you!” This isn’t Iran or Saudi Arabia. What Islamic bigots say; or Christian or Jewish or any other religious zealot says DOES NOT “GO” here today; and we will do everything in our power to make certain that it never does in the future!
The capitalist governments of Europe and the US are all falling over themselves to placate these hideous woman-hating, ignorant fundamentalist Mullahs and their insolent demands that we workers in the West should obey them and their religion. These scum – who were only a marginal force in the Middle East, even in Iran, until the United States armed and trained them to attack the USSR during the Cold War – are now powerful forces in many countries, able to force whole nations to get on their knees at their command. The capitalists’ hypocritical mewlings in fake “defense” of the supposed “right” of Islamic bigots to “not be offended” is really only an expression of the capitalists’ fear that all the anti-Western protests will interfere with their ability to continue to rob the workers of the Islamic world blind. We do not support the disgusting attacks on Muslims and the right of women to wear the veil that have been promulgated by the political servants of the French capitalist class. Women have the right to wear whatever they want in public – including the chador – so long as they choose to do so of their own free will. We do not support the racist anti-immigrant policies of the French government that seeks to drive Muslim workers into ghettos and out of France. These workers are our sisters and brothers and they should be welcome in France as we welcome them here in the United States. We stand for full citizenship rights for all immigrants, of all nationalities and religions – even Islamic fundamentalists. But the working class will not stand for religious bigots of any religion going around physically attacking people who they disagree with.
We salute “Charlie Hebdo” and their courageous defense of the right to free speech and the separation of church and state in France – where the Great French Revolution destroyed the stranglehold of religious bigotry and superstition once and for all. We call on the revolutionary French working class to rise to the defense of freedom of speech, freedom of worship and freedom of the press by defending the offices and workers at “Charlie Hebdo” against any and all attacks by Islamic fundamentalist bigots the same as we would here in the US if the “National Lampoon” grew some balls and decided to take on such a worthy target of ridicule as the Islamic fundamentalist Mullahs and was then attacked for it – or if either was being attacked by a gang of Nazis. When these Islamic bigots attempt to silence those who merely criticize or hold them to ridicule, we say: “Acquaint these Islamic fundamentalist lunatics’ heads with the pavement!” We will do the same here.