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More American Taliban August 8, 2010

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, politics.
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Last week I highlighted the tendency of right wing politicians to spout attitudes about the role of religion in public life and attitudes toward foreignness not unlike those of our enemies, the Taliban, in Afghanistan.

William Saletan highlights more similarities in pointing the absurdity of conservative objections to the proposed mosque in New York City.

In the years since 9/11, Osama Bin Laden has issued more than 20 audio and video statements to spread his view of the conflict between the United States and al-Qaida. According to his worldview, the U.S. represents Christianity, al-Qaida represents Muslims, Christians won’t protect Muslims, the West hates mosques, peaceful coexistence is a fraud, and the “war on terrorism” is really a war on Islam. By spreading this message, Bin Laden works to turn Muslims against the U.S. and rally them to al-Qaida.

Now Bin Laden has an ally in this propaganda campaign: Newt Gingrich.

Over the past two weeks, in a series of articles and speeches, Gingrich has declared a religious war that suits al-Qaida’s agenda almost perfectly. While denouncing “Islamists” rather than Islam, Gingrich has blurred the distinction by selecting as his initial target the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero. Everything Bin Laden says about the U.S., Gingrich validates. All you have to do is read their statements, side by side.

[…] By opposing the mosque, Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani, and other Republicans think they’re standing up to Bin Laden. But Bin Laden isn’t fighting for Islam. He’s fighting to transform a war of terrorists against civilization into a war of infidels against Islam. He’s fighting to persuade Muslims that they belong on his side, not on ours.

And you’re helping him, Newt. You’re giving him exactly the fight he wants. Nice going.

The common thread weaving American conservatism with radical Islam is not behavior. As far as I know, conservatives are not butchering women or flying planes into buildings.

What links them is authoritarianism and the use of religion to exercise social control over anyone they don’t like.

The details of the respective religions don’t matter much. What matters is the ability to seize and hold power—both radical Islam and radical conservatism cynically use religion as a means to pursue their narrow undemocratic agendas.

Of course for Gingrich, the purpose is to maintain the power of the plutocrats in Washington and Wall St.

It is sad that so many people who can never hope to have any power in their lives are so willing to follow them.

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com

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