A tortured debate about the relationship between Islamic fundamentalists and anarchists in England. One side argues for what amounts to compulsory integrationism (anarcho-neoconnism?):
“Outside of the fantasies of the EDL and Muslims Against Crusades, shariah law is not about to be introduced in the UK. But there are politicians daft enough to cede power to shariah courts and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals at a local level (certainly for civil matters), and there are certainly Muslim organisations in our cities happy to soak up whatever power they can. If history has taught us anything, it should be that when power is ceded to religious currents, they rarely if ever give it back. Anarchist rejection of the law may not sit easily with campaigners such as Maryam Namazie and the One Law For All campaign, but we need to reflect on whether it is better to support such campaigns than see the consolidation of structures based on superstition, hierarchy and patriarchy.
Islamic organisations, backed by significant funding both from within the UK and abroad, are becoming a permanent presence in parts of the education and welfare systems. Having learned nothing from religiously divided education in Northern Ireland (where most children go to separate Protestant or Catholic schools from the age of five) the development of Muslim only schools is likely to not only do little for integration in our communities, but will even reverse it.”
The other side insists anarchists and Muslims should unite to defend the welfare state.
“Especially given the sidelining of political Islam and the escalation of class struggle in the North African/Middle Eastern revolts, we should be organising alongside Muslims and people of all religions in our communities and our workplaces against the savage public sector cuts. We can demonstrate the bankruptcy of the Islamists in opposing austerity here and in the Middle East and show that it is by uniting in our common class interest that we improve our lives and our conditions.”
It’s interesting how these “anarchist” do-gooders never bother to consider that perhaps the state should simply go away and people should freely associate (or not associate) in whatever way they choose. Let the Islamists do whatever they wish to themselves within the context of their own schools, institutions, and communities. And let others refuse to associate with them or exclude them from their own associations if they wish.
It seems to me that many so-called “anarchists” miss the whole point. One of the great things about anarchism is that it provides a means of handling irreconcilable cultural, religious, or political differences without bloodshed and extreme repression. Unfortunately, much of the modern “anarchist” movement is too intellectually bankrupt to have any understanding of this principle.