I have been awe struck to read the long list of articles about the Islamization of the West. From the NYT magazine ("After Londinstan") to the Economist ("Eurabia"), this trend of articles goes on and on about the schism between "Islam" and the "West."

I do not underestimate the threat posed by terrorists, religious fundamentalism or the Wahhabism movement. However, the focus of these stories on integration strategies (and their less than subtle zenophobia) is astounding when the real resistance and real struggle is not taking place in the West. Why? Because the same facism, with different faces, is trying to take hold.

We cannot rebuke facist anti-democratic forces with different anti-democratic facist forces. In Europe and the United States far-right movements that rival Wahhabism in their rhetoric (if not their actions) have gained enormous power over the last few years. We have indefinite detentions, torture, apocalyptic religious rhetoric, illegal government kidnapping, spying on citizens, in the US we have major news outlets (note I said major, not legitimate) calling for an "office of censorship."

What is the point of talking about assimiliation to the West when the very basic structures of a liberal society are being eroded around us. There is a culture of religious fundamentalism and political purity that does not offer a new model, but a different version of the authoritarian dictatorships that dominate other parts of the world. We do not have a vibrant political discourse in this country about issues of importance -- cut throat US capitalism rules the today with little or no international checks, to suggest other models makes you a commie and a has-been.

What I am arguing is that there can be no real change in the world climate and no answer to violent Wahhabi rhetoric that encourages murder and lawlessness unless we reaffirm those values at home. There should be no condemning of a free press and no action being taken by brances of government outside of the law. What do you offer someone who is angered by the poverty and explotation of the world's poor? Assurances that the US is big, bad and will get you no matter what? That there is no rule, no convention, no inherent value to human life that "presidential perogative" can't trump?

Until we reaffirm the value of basic human rights principles -- fairness, equality, justice and humane treatment for ALL people (good, bad, foreigner, combatant, citizen) there is no war to be won. Only a fight between two rival versions of evil.


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