In the wake of a gruesome murder of a French high school teacher perpetrated by a bigoted Muslim of Chechen descent, the fume of Islamophobia has again started to rise globally. It is not outlandish that the white supremacists, alongside Hindutva fascists, have begun their full-fledged propaganda against Islam and the Muslims but some may get petrified after having seen how the neo or militant atheists are taking a stance against the diverse Islamic communities.
The militant atheists, devoid of political as well as historical knowledge, easily jump on the bandwagon of criticising/vilifying Islam like the white supremacists or Hindutva racists but the common people who have the chance of getting influenced by these atheists need to know the crux of a momentous historical discourse before pointing their rifles at religion and a community that have hitherto been a subject of political victimisation.
The politicisation of Islam dates back to the early 18th century, when a Muslim cleric from Najd (central Arabia), named Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, declared that “All accretions to and declensions from Islam” be denounced to attain pure Islamic faith. Now we must remember that when such sort of decree is issued, it bears the evil intent to control a large population and suppress even a modicum of dissent. Slowly, this fascist ideology (known as Wahhabism) began to engulf the freedom of faith of the Muslims and gave “House of Saud” to the world. The royal house of Saud forged a pact with Wahhabis and, in the name of opposing the Western influence, it established a de facto fascist regime, with the ulterior motive to drown the common Sunni Muslims into obscurantism and eventually bridle them.
Ironically, This very Saudi state, during the first world war, came into an agreement with the British imperialism and since then British-American-Saudi axis has stood as a stable line of allies. During the Cold War, Wahhabism was again reignited by the American imperialism to circumvent and attenuate the Soviet juggernaut as well as to demonise Islam. The prescient capitalist block knew very well that the demonising of Islam would be needed as a subterfuge to hoodwink the down-trodden for the latter might get distracted from demanding their basic rights should there be any ideology that has the trait of rendering inhuman.
It is important to mention here that many Islamic scholars, alongside the Islamic feminists (predominantly from North and East Africa), have been categorically decrying Wahhabism stating that this very theology is nothing else but depravity from Islam, a device of the American bourgeoisie, Zionists and the Saudi state to maintain and sustain reciprocity. This collusion knows that the American supremacy and its accomplices such as Zionism need to put up Wahhabism as “casus belli” of invading and vandalising Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Yemen (all are in the opposite block of Saudi/Turkey Sunni bloc), and succour the Saudi monopoly over religious as well as the oil business. Hence, their needs will be served as long as the Wahhabi theology is perpetuated.
Along with this, it is also worth mentioning how France has displayed its statehood in a Machiavellian way, especially when the politically vacuous people around the world are uttering the leitmotif contrived by the Islamophobes that the much-vaunted secular, as well as philosophical values of France, are yielding before the purported “Islamic aggression”. They cannot efface the blood-smirched French arms etched deeply in history. This so-called “secular state” had carried out ineffable torture in Africa––Muslim majority Algeria is yet to raise its head from such mayhem––for decades.
The French neo-colonialists turned a large populace in those territories into cheap labourers. We will err if we don’t look at such atrocity from the aspect of racism for most of the French are yet to manumit themselves from the wickedness of white supremacy. It is also proven by the leftist movements just before the COVID-19 pandemic, which was able to instil fear into the French authorities while fulminating against the French neo-liberal policies and the repression of the black people.
The minority African Communities in France have long been kept as leper communities devoid of basic human rights. It isn’t possible to foist “brutal Atheism”/“Christian (cultural) hegemony” upon them without providing them with security and basic rights. Not only that but these “second-class citizens” can also be used easily as a device by such “Covertly Fascists” authority to forge some invidious things which can serve fodder to right-wing demagogues and eventually distract the common people from the materialist issues concerning their lives and livelihoods.
Under the pretext of building a “secular” state with liberal values, French dictator Emmanuel Macron established the Christian societal values as the baseline. These values, unless Islamic values, have survived the capitalist revolutions and the transformation of France from a feudal to a modern, advanced imperialist state. Now if this Christian baseline determines the positions of the Muslims, decides what can be done and not done, then, of course, it will stir controversies. Moreover, the state’s interference in the day-to-day life of the Muslim community, from its worship practices to the attire, from monitoring children and their parents, etc, isolated the Muslim community and “othered” it within France’s stratified and ghettoised social order. Furthermore, if we speak about the Chechen refugee crisis, we will peradventure be able to join the dotted lines here. The Chechen and the Caucasian people––predominantly Muslims by faith––were used by the American corporates to implode the Soviet regime in the 1950s (though there is little. intent to deny how these people were once persecuted by the Christian Tsar of Erstwhile Imperial Russia), especially to dismantle the cultural syncretism in the Central Asian region.
The beguiled Chechens fell victims to the Western Bloc and were embroiled in devastating skirmishes with Russia, even after the disintegration of the USSR, which led to the exodus of Chechen diaspora from the east to the west. These ill-fated ethnic people were hoodwinked to consume the poison of Salafism, after its re-emergence as a hybrid form of Wahhabism in the 1960s and spurred to take suicidal stances one by one. The “closet fascist” states like France know very well that an intoxicated, by the extreme religious views, the community is profitable for them to proliferate hatemongering and racism, the weapons to counter the discourse on dialectical materialism.
The militant/neo-atheists often skip this geopolitical and historical discourse that gives a broader and comprehensive insight into the Muslim problem. They never speak about the human rights infringement betided in the America-invaded or occupied territories. They only continue cherry-picking the so-called “virulent verses” from the Islamic scriptures and utter them verbatim––without mentioning contexts or backgrounds––to point out how bad Islam is; just like what the Wahhabi clerics do deliberately to corrupt Islamic jurisprudence. Are these atheists so dumb or they are acting at the behest of a bloc? It is high time for the common, working people to choose what they need to do– Resist them or get carried away with their feculent banter and commit a political blunder. The latter isn’t an option anyway.
A Statistics graduate and Chelsea partisan from Calcutta University, Sourav is an ardent reader and takes keen interest in politics and subaltern historiography. Apart from being a serious critical analyst, Sourav is also a feline lover and internationalist.