Islamic “jihadist” movements of today are a product of imperialist—particularly US imperialist—aggression, intervention, bullying, exploitation and suppression of the oil-rich Islamic and Arab countries of West Asia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, etc., and the persecution of the entire Muslim religious community. The imperialist governments, particularly the US imperialists, have cheered on every war of aggression waged by the rogue state of Israel against the Muslim peoples, including the recent Gaza Massacre.
The American Party of Labor opposes every attack on Arab and Muslims peoples in the name of the global “War on Terror.” The imperialists do not care about “fighting Islamic fundamentalism” even if they preach about it. In fact, Muslim religious fundamentalism is encouraged and fostered by imperialists as long as it serves their interests, such as in Saudi Arabia. Islamism is not the force that is currently waging war on the peaceful peoples of the world—imperialism is.
Islamic “jihadist” movements and Islamic national liberation movements have two sides to them. On one hand, they wage a just struggle against invasion and occupation by imperialist superpowers, and on the other, they have a reactionary aspect in social matters. Our Party supports the struggle of Islamic countries against imperialism, while criticizing the reactionary social outlook of Muslim fundamentalism. It is only Marxist-Leninist leadership that can provide correct scientific orientation and achieve liberation of the Muslim peoples as well as people of other religious persuasions. Nevertheless, national liberation movements lead by Islamic fundamentalist forces can play a progressive role in fighting colonialism and occupation of oppressed nations.
A newspaper called the Victoria Times Colonist ran a very backwards political cartoon on its opinion page. The cartoon first began with the title “guide to extremist factions in the Middle East,” and proceeded to feature Hamas, Fatah, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs brigade, all located above an identical cartoon of a mob of crazy armed Muslim stereotypes. The joke was obviously that all of these groups are therefore “identical.” What a vile insinuation.
The truth, of course, is the exact opposite. All of these organizations mentioned are guided by different struggles, goals, methods and ideological centers. While organizations such as Al-Qaeda have the self-stated goal of global Jihad, organizations like Hezbollah no longer preach the line of establishing an Islamic state in their own nation, let alone others. While the Taliban was essentially a theocratic government, Al-Aqsa martyrs brigade has been classified as secular and nationalist. The contradictory goals and methods of these organizations can even be seen as some of these organizations have fought against each other, such as Hamas and Fatah.
So, what exactly is similar, let alone identical, about these groups? Why, the fact that their membership is comprised of Arabs/Muslims. Does that also mean that the Irish Republican Army is identical to the Ku Klux Klan? Technically, both of these organizations are formed of European Christians. Was the FLQ the same as the Branch Davidians?
The most important question is, is this comic simply a racist, Euro-centric misconception, or something much more sinister? In addition to the continued wars of occupation in the Middle East, there is still the tireless struggle of various militant groups against foreign imperialism, and many of these groups have won major battles in the last few years. Hezbollah won staggering victories against the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the Iraqi resistance continues to chip away at the American occupiers and their puppet army in Iraq, Hamas won a landslide majority in the Palestinian elections and successfully fought off a genocidal massacre in Gaza, and a resistance force is rising in occupied Afghanistan as well.
The imperialist occupiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Somalia are once again seeing the true strength of peoples’ power; they are learning that fancy techno-weaponry accounts for nothing against mass popular dissent. People, not weapons, win wars.
And this is the motivation behind this cartoon. The “powers that be” spread these ignorant notions that compliment their militarism in the form of Islamophobic entertainment. They attack legitimate national liberation movements using the race and religion of the members to smear the reputations of armed groups attempting to overthrow the conditions of occupation that they live under.
Many of these militant organizations do not aim to establish an Islamic state, and the majority of all of these organizations harbor no intentions of “spreading Islamic rule” to other countries via invasion. We need to stop writing off the national liberation fighters of the Middle East as “religious fanatics” and “terrorists”; most of these fighters pick up a gun because some of their family members were killed in a bombing raid by an occupying power, not because of something they read in the holy Quran. A resistance fighter is noy a terrorist.