I do admire the writer Nick Cohen. Reading his book ‘What’s Left’ was for me very influential in rejecting many of the leftist nostrums that I’d previously unthinkingly held. He is a man who for me epitomises the decent left rather than the revolutionary and multiculturalist Left.
He has written a stonking piece for the Spectator magazine about the launch of the new group Centre for Secular Space. Here’s an excerpt from what he says:
“I went to the Toynbee Hall, the meeting place for the radical East End, this week to listen to a debate many radicals would rather not hear.
British Asian feminists and their supporters had gathered to launch the Centre for Secular Space an organisation whose work I would say is close to essential. It is not fashionable, however, because its focus is the collusion between the Anglo-American left and the Islamist right, which has betrayed so many Muslims and ex-Muslims, most notably Muslim and ex-Muslim women. Gita Sahgal, Nehru’s great niece, became the movement’s figurehead and eloquent spokeswoman when the once respectable and now contemptible Amnesty International fired her for protesting about its promotion of supporters of the Taliban. She and her allies are now trying to stir Britain’s sleeping conscience.
The failure of Britain’s liberal establishment and white left to combat reactionary religion, or even call it by its real name, stuns them. I can say from experience that if I talk about the ‘American Christian right’ or the ‘Israeli right’ no one will blink. Nor should they, I am using specific terms whose meanings are clear. When I use equally precise language talk about the ‘Muslim right’, one of the great forces of reaction in the world today, my comrades either go blank, because I am using language they cannot understand, or accuse me of ‘racism’, lack of ‘empathy’, inappropriate ‘language’ or some other gross offence against modern etiquette.
Meredith Tax, a battle hardened campaigner, has had the same experience
‘Nobody on the left ever objected when I criticized Christian or Jewish fundamentalism. But when I did defence work for censored Muslim feminists, people would look at me sideways, as if to say, who are you to talk about this? This tendency has become much more marked since 9/11 and the “war on terror.” Today on the left and in some academic circles, people responding to attacks on Muslim feminists in other countries are likely to be accused of reinforcing the “victim-savage-saviour” framework or preparing for the next US invasion. This puts anyone working with actual women’s human rights defenders in places like North Africa or Pakistan in an impossible situation.’ ……..”
Read the full piece at