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The Unholy Alliance Revealed By: Douglas Davis
The Spectator | Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Politics makes strange bedfellows. Stranger still when the odd couple are fundamentalist Islam and the secular Left. The evolving Black-Red alliance is growing in France, Germany and Belgium. But, based on the successful British model, it is now going global to declare war on the war on terror.

No fewer than three international conferences have been convened in Cairo, presided over by the former president of Algeria, Ahmed Ben Bella, under the auspices of the International Campaign Against US and Zionist Occupations. One outcome is 'The Cairo Declaration Against US Hegemony, War on Iraq and Solidarity with Palestine.' British signatories included Tony Benn, Jeremy Corbyn and, of course, the indefatigable George Galloway, whose 'fiery' participation won honourable mention in Egypt's semi-official newspaper, Al-Ahram.

If Iraq was the catalyst for the Black-Red alliance, the Stop the War coalition provided the cauldron in which the union was consummated. The result is a pure gestalt: the coalition allows its constituent parts to pack a far greater collective punch than they could have dreamt of on their own. Putting a million people on to the streets of London is not, after all, small potatoes.

The steering committee of the Marxist-Islamist alliance consists of 33 members - 18 from myriad hard-Left groups, three from the radical wing of the Labour party, eight from the ranks of the radical Islamists and four leftist ecologists (also known as 'Watermelons' -green outside, red inside). The chairman is Andrew Murray, a leading light in the British Communist party; co-chair is Muhammad Aslam Ijaz, of the London Council of Mosques. Among the major players from the Left are Lindsey German, who resigned as editor of the Socialist Workers' party newspaper to become convenor of the Stop the War coalition; John Rees, also of the SWP, and, of course, George Galloway. Indeed, the first proud progeny of the alliance is Galloway's Respect party, which fought and won the London seat of Bethnal Green and Bow, with its substantial Muslim electorate.

Points of potential disagreement between the hard Left and radical Islam - democracy, human rights, xenophobia, free-expression, feminism, homosexuality, abortion, among many others - would seem to pose insuperable barriers to the union. Not so. The hurdles have been neatly vaulted in the interest of mutual hatreds: America, Israel, globalisation, capitalism and imperialism. Anti-Semitism is never far from the surface.

True, there is some squeamishness within the 'house of horrors'. Dissent is evident in the Socialist Workers' party but not in the Muslim Association of Britain, which was inspired by the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood and now shelters under the umbrella of Sir Iqbal Sacranie's Muslim Council of Britain (it was, let it not be forgotten, the good Sir Iqbal who, before being scrubbed up and knighted, declared that 'death is perhaps too easy' for the allegedly blasphemous Salman Rushdie; it was Sir Iqbal, too, who refused to participate in this year's Holocaust memorial events because they did not refer to the supposed genocide of the Palestinians).

Those on the Left who support the alliance have found not only a revitalising cause but also an unexpected and deep hinterland from which to draw support. 'The practical benefits of working together are enough to compensate for the differences,' I was told. 'And success tends to win the argument.' Such opportunism exposes a strain of pernicious racism that allows the Left to indulge outrageous bigotry as long as it is espoused by brown people.

'The far Left will always support Third World peoples against what they view as an imperialist West,' notes one analyst who has closely followed the phenomenon. Another says, 'Islamists in the West have skilfully used the tools of intellectual intimidation to build an inviolate wall around Islam, giving it a sacred status that brooks no criticism.' The French Leftist leader Olivier Besançonneau added political piquancy when explaining his inclusivist approach to the Islamists: 'Are these not the new slaves? Is it not natural they should unite with the working class to destroy the capitalist system?'

But there are small voices of doubt. To some within Britain's Trotskyite Alliance for Workers' Liberty, the unholy marriage is outright heresy. One Trot describes SWP advocates of the Black-Red alliance as 'demoralised Guardian readers with headscarves', a withering allusion to the SWP organiser who ordered secular, socialist women to cover their heads while demonstrating with their Muslim sisters outside the Israeli embassy in London. And he is scathing of SWP monitors who enforced gender segregation to mollify Muslim sensibilities at a demonstration in Trafalgar Square. 'Marxists are secular or they are not Marxists,' said the Trot with principled purity.

Dogma runs deep. The Islamists accentuate the positive, noting Galloway's opposition to abortion and his professed religious faith, which, according to one, 'will surely be welcomed by British Muslims who see Respect as a real alternative'. And why complain when the Left is so obligingly on message? Take Spark, the organ of Arthur Scargill's Socialist Labour party, which hailed Asif Mohammed Hanif, the British suicide-bomber who attacked a beachfront bar in Tel Aviv, as a 'hero of the revolutionary youth'. Hanif, declared the paper, had carried out his mission 'in the spirit of internationalism'.

The fact is the coalition has been a godsend to both sides. The Left, a once-dwindling band of communists, Trotskyites, Maoists and Castroists, had been clinging to the dregs of a clapped-out cause; the Islamists could deliver numbers and passion, but they needed a vehicle to give them purchase on the political terrain. A tactical alliance became an operational imperative.

Indeed, the first to advocate the Black-Red alliance was none other than Ayman al-Zawahiri, deputy to Osama bin Laden and ideologue of al-Qa'eda. In a message delivered in August 2002, he called on sympathisers to seek allies among 'any movement that opposes America, even atheists'. This sentiment was refined in London by Abu Hamza al-Masri, the hook-handed Islamist from Central Casting who is currently fighting extradition to the United States on terrorism charges. 'We say to anyone who hates the Americans and wants to throw the Jews out of Palestine - Ahlan wa Sahlan (welcome). The Prophet teaches that we could ally ourselves even with the atheists if it helps us destroy [the] enemy.'

But the Tora Bora Award for Chutzpah goes to George Galloway, veteran champion of Arab and Islamist causes. Appearing on al-Jazeera television last month, he attacked the West while extolling Islamic virtue. 'It's not the Muslims who are the terrorists,' he declared. 'The biggest terrorists are Bush and Blair, Berlusconi and Aznar.... We believe in the Prophets, peace be upon them. [Bush] believes in the profits, and how to get a piece of them. That's his god.'

Marx meets Mohammed. High theatre meets low farce. The savvy Galloway, now more godly than gorgeous, has created a conduit through which Islamofascism pumps its poison into Britain's political bloodstream. It would be quite funny were it not so serious.

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