Islam is not the threat to our planet, says Ken

Islam is not the threat to our planet

By Ken Livingstone

Morning Star, 24 September 2005

The terrorist attacks on London in July brought out the best in millions of people. As we came to terms with the horror of the attacks, Londoners made clear they were not going to be divided by terrorists, nor by anyone trying to exploit those tragic events.

This was shown a week later when millions came out onto the streets to stand side by side with people of every race and religion in memory of those who had lost their lives.

Some tabloid newspapers ran articles praising Britain’s Muslim leaders who urged their communities to help the police to find anyone connected with the planning or execution of the attacks.

The dozens of opinion polls since the attacks showed the same pattern. People want everything possible done to prevent further attacks.

At the same time, two thirds of people support multiculturalism and believe it makes Britain a better place to live and three out of four people think Britain’s role in Iraq made it more vulnerable.

Nonetheless, since 7 July, and far more openly since the attempted bombings two weeks later, there has also been a steadily mounting campaign by the right wing media and others to exploit the attacks to try to smash the progressive response to the bombings.

The ideological axis of this is the idea that the world is increasingly dominated by a “clash of civilisations” in which Islam is pitted against the West.

In an ironic mirror image of Al Qaeda’s denunciations of the West, Islam is portrayed as uniquely evil, or, in the left variants, uniquely reactionary.

In this latter camp can be found a whole raft of supposedly “left-wing” internet blogs.

The hysteria against Muslims is the same type of demonology as used against Jews in the first half of the last century.

It is no accident that this ideology arose in the United States at a time when Washington was developing plans for a new era of colonialism in the Middle East.

To understand why the US should adopt such a course you simply have to consider the following facts. With just five per cent of the world’s population, the US consumes 25 per cent of the world’s oil. Having been self-sufficient in oil supplies until the end of the Second World War, the US now imports more than half of the oil that it consumes.

As two-thirds of the world’s oil reserves are in the Persian Gulf, it is quite obvious why the Bush administration was determined to massively increase its military presence in the region – whatever the cost to the inhabitants – and to support a nuclear-armed Israel as its key ally there.

If you are going to march into countries, steal their land and natural resources and kill those who get in your way, it is logical to demonise your victims and denigrate their civilisation and culture. Imperialism and racism have always been closely associated with one another.

Those who claim that the West is threatened by Islam are inverting reality.