The need for political alliances in the quest for a new and just world has never been more urgent. João Silva Jordão argues that Muslims in the ‘west’ need to critically evaluate and discard their unquestioning alliances with an increasingly Islamophobic left. For Muslims in diasporic settings, reaching out to people and politics of faith is the natural way forward, one the author finds inspiration for in the cultural imaginings of Fritz Lang’s masterpiece ‘Metropolis’.
“…and you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, ‘We are Christians’. That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant” – The Holy Quran, 5:82
Despite its many detractors, who oddly enough are more often than not hard-left Communists that rely on ideological abstractions to fuel their stinging critiques, it can be argued somewhat easily that Social Democracy is one of the most successful political models in recent history, especially in so-called “industrialized” Western nations. At its foundation we find Christians who coined what is often referred to as Christian Social Democracy. Despite its many intricacies, the most potent manifesto for Christian Social Democracy is, I argue, not a book nor a manifesto as such, it is a film, namely, Fritz Lang’s 1927 classic Metropolis.
The film Metropolis (1927) is simultaneously the best manifesto for Christian Social Democracy, and historically, also served as its melancholic swan song before being temporarily Blitzkrieged by Nazism, only to be reborn from its ashes to become the most powerful political force in Europe in the second part of the 20th century, slowly but surely overcoming the more rigid, aggressive and collectivist ideologies of Fascism, Nazism and Communism. Metropolis has some incredible insight into all manner of political, cultural and religious dimensions, and can serve as both an inspiration and illustration for how Christian Social Democracy thinks, operates, and views society. Perhaps most importantly, it also beautifully embodies how Social Democracy as a whole manages to stoke fears regarding more radical ideologies to slowly but surely, through patience and resilience, overcome its more abrasive rivals. Muslims urgently need not only to find better ways to organize politically in the West, but to do so need also to build a clear political identity that has the ability to represent and galvanize Western Muslims. This piece argues that Christian Social Democracy should be its most eloquent source of inspiration and potentially, that its adepts are our most natural political allies in our particular historical context. And despite the fact that Christian Social Democrats would normally be averse to any such alliance due to a distrust of Islam and Muslims, the rise of extravagant forms of Liberalism are making this alliance all the more likely in the near future.
The need that Western Muslims have for new political alliances are all the more urgent and necessary because of two elements- firstly, the difficulties, discrimination and defamation that Muslims continue to endure entail the need for political organization and action, and secondly, its most natural allies, the Left, have evolved, or perhaps one should say, have regressed quickly and spectacularly over the last few years, namely by adopting a degenerate, unpragmatic and even somewhat fanatical form of Liberalism to the degree that it has come to defend, especially in the areas of family-planning, natality and marital issues, values (or lack thereof) that are diametrically opposed to the core tenets of Islam. This means that the divorce between the Left and Islam, as we shall discuss in great detail, looks inevitable at this point, and in hindsight it is possible that any past alliance was always doomed to be temporary, superficial and precarious.
The Divorce Between the Liberal Left and Islam Seems Extremely Likely
Liberalism- a Dominant Force in Crisis
There is some degree of consensus around the idea that Liberalism is the hegemonic philosophy of the West. There is also a growing consensus that Liberalism is becoming not only self-contradictory but also quickly steering away from its (supposed) foundational principles of freedom and equality, which in turn has thrown it into an existential crisis. “The disillusioned Liberal” is now a political force to be reckoned with- and these are increasingly turning either more radical ideologies such as the neo-reactionary right or towards more moderate, centre-left or centre-right affiliations, while some become so disillusioned that they instead replace their left-wing liberal sensitivities with outright political alienation. The rise of populism in Europe, Brexit, Donald Trump’s election, the increasing pervasiveness of the themes and tensions that characterize the “culture wars” and the Left’s inability to serve as a force of real political resistance, indeed, not even serving a platform for basic civic engagement during the pandemic – all of these events represent, in one level or other, different facets of Liberalism’s crisis.
But even though many have noticed the simultaneously fascinating and daunting spectacle that is Liberalism’s demise, some have not. Unlike disillusioned Liberals, who are increasingly distancing themselves from Liberalism, there are some that are doing the exact opposite, doing everything in their power to appear as Liberal as they possibly can. Amongst these are the Liberal Muslims. The main paradox of the Liberal Muslims is that even though they think they are the vanguard of the Islamic world, they are at least in one particular way somewhat backward looking, because what they see as Liberalism is an idealized vision of what Liberalism once was or thought itself to be- a force for equality and freedom, whereas the Liberalism of today is precisely the opposite- an inconsistent and arbitrary defence of the status quo that seeks to validate the dominant political forces rather than to question them, whilst offering up a bizarre and often visibly contradictory philosophical cocktail, a strange mix of the sacralization of base individual will together with misappropriated Marxian concepts of equality.
Islam and Liberalism
Liberalism is usually seen as a political ideology focused on liberty and equality. However, a deeper study of its inherent philosophy will demonstrate that Liberalism’s central idea is that of the importance of the individual, and in particular, the sovereignty of individual will. Liberals believe that human desire is a legitimate ethical compass. Islam on the other hand, like most religions, goes somewhat deeper, and asks us to question whether what we want at any given moment is always in our best interests. In this sense, Islam leads us to question and transcend our personal desires in the interest of the collective good as well as our own individual spiritual quest, or as the Quran simply, beautifully and eloquently states:
2:216: “…And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.”
Although this may seem obvious, for some, it isn’t. Just because we want something does not mean that pursuing it is legitimate or even in our own best interest. But that is only one of Liberalism’s many problems. Engulfed by its own emptiness and profound contradictions, modern Liberalism has taken an authoritarian turn, arbitrarily picking concepts which it considers to be absolute, and then seeking to repress views which it sees as a threat to those concepts. This inherent contradiction of Liberalism is often referred to as the “paradox of tolerance”, and Liberals increasingly tend to adopt the view that ideas and actions that are deemed to be contrary to freedom and equality should be marginalized and censored. It has also been noted that a lot of the discrimination against Muslims in the West has not come by the hands of the conservative Right, but from the Liberal left. As Daniel Haqiqatjou brilliantly puts it, alluding to the increasingly arbitrary and contradictory contours of Liberalism:
“Ought a democratic government ban political parties not committed to democracy? Ought a liberal legal system, otherwise committed to freedom of belief, proscribe illiberal beliefs? In a phrase, is a “discriminatory tolerance” truly tolerance?
“Many of the religious bans against Muslims in Europe are done using this type of rationale. The historical banning of Islamist political parties in countries like Egypt and Turkey are also done on this basis. The argument is often made that Islamic practices and beliefs are uniquely antithetical to a free, democratic society, and, therefore, for the sake of the public good, must be prohibited. Yet, by secularism’s own lights, what is inherently good, evil, beneficial, or harmful is not definitively knowable and certainly is not for the state to set in stone. The implication is that liberalism and secularism’s appeals to the public good are fundamentally unprincipled and often serve to manipulate the populace so as to serve the interests of power.”
Liberalism has been used thusly as a basis to ban Islamic practices. Not only that, it is becoming ever more aggressive towards believers of all kinds, especially towards Christians. Or as Sohrab Ahmari wrote in a Wall Street Journal article called “Liberalism: Believers need not apply”:
“Progressives have triumphed spectacularly over faith and tradition. Now they are targeting conscience itself.
“Does liberalism have any room left for Christians and other believers? The question has been posed countless times, and each time liberals answer more decisively than the previous: No.”
The article goes on to demonstrate how politicians are being increasingly pressured to adopt Liberal stances, namely on issues such as homosexuality, and thereafter pressured to resign when they don’t comply. Sound contradictory? Well, perhaps one can say that staunchly “Liberal Muslims” find themselves in an even greater quagmire. These adopt the same aggressive stance, but from within the Islamic community. Seeking to appease both Western Liberals and more generally those who criticise Islam, the Liberal Muslims not only distance themselves from practices that are frowned upon by Liberals, they now have taken it upon themselves to open their own spaces which go out of their way to please their Liberal overlords, often either shrugging away criticism or even worse, parroting accusations of “extremism” and “religious fanaticism” towards any Muslim that dares adhere to any semblance of orthodoxy and actual belief.
Appeasing the Liberal Masters
Perhaps the most blatant examples of the contradictions of Liberal Muslims are the Liberal Mosques and the case of Berlin’s “Liberal Mosque”. Though the project is bathed in progressive lexicon, and despite having one or two good elements, namely the concept of trying to bridge the divide between Sunni and Shia Muslims, it is a great example of how Liberal Muslims will actively seek to ban certain practices in the name of freedom and equality- generating an interesting case of arbitrary Liberal intolerance. It also becomes quite clear that they seem to market the Mosque according to whatever Liberals seem to like at the moment, no matter how whimsical, ridiculous or unimportant these concepts may be for the majority of the global Islamic contingent.
So for example, the Berlin mosque bans burqas and niqabs. This comes after Germany itself banned the burqa and the niqab. The problem is that no one knows how many Muslim women in Germany actually wear them. Some even say that less than 300 women wear the niqab, with those who wear burqas at about the same number. So there about 600 women in a country of 80 million that wear the niqab or the burqa- hardly making it an endemic problem that needs any sort of regulation whatsoever. So, if practically no one wears them, why should the Liberal Mosque even care to ban it, and then go out of its way to announce it from the rooftop like it’s something to be proud of? Well, the answer is simple- the ban itself is hardly the point, because the probability of anyone who wears the niqab or burqa ever showing up to enter the mosque is extremely low. The main objective is to signal to other Liberals that they, as Liberal Muslims, will fight against signs of “extremism”, even if this means chasing ghosts, or in this case, fighting against the non-existent burqa threat. The founder of the Liberal Mosque even went as far as to cite “security concerns” to legitimize the niqab and burqa ban. This ban also seems all the more ridiculous after the pandemic, in which the same Liberals that abhor the burqa, claiming security concerns, were paradoxically those who most fanatically defended the wearing of the mask, regardless of what actual scientific studies say about their efficacy. There is also a bizarre emphasis on the fact that this Liberal Mosque allows LGBT Muslims. Why? Because the defence of LGBT rights has become an absolute priority for Liberals. Whether this is something that Muslims actually care about does not matter. It matters to Liberals. The same goes for gender segregation in mosques. Gender segregation is another obsession for Liberals, and some take it so seriously that they now see it as a political imperative to end gender segregation in rest rooms. Any Muslims who goes to the mosque frequently will know that it is generally women who insist on having women-only spaces. And yet Liberal Muslims claim that by opening non-segregated mosques they are defending women’s rights. Again. Truth does not matter, the opinion of Muslims does not matter, the real problems afflicting the Muslim community as defined by Muslims themselves simply do not matter. Appeasing and imitating Western Liberals is the main and only goal.
In the case of the Berlin Liberal Mosque, it is also clearly an attempt to follow direct instructions provided by the German government. In the Telegraph piece advertising the mosque we can read:
“Ms Ates said Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s finance minister, once told her that liberal Muslims should band together, which helped inspire the idea.”
So according to the founder of Berlin’s “Liberal Mosque”, Sheikh Schäuble will have been one of the main inspirations for this mosque’s purpose and rules.
As a result, these Liberal mosques will appear to many Muslims as nothing more than cheap public relations stunts that only reinforce negative stereotypes about the Islamic community. It is demeaning and somewhat embarrassing for everyone involved.
Furthermore, Liberal Muslims are ready to reinforce negative stereotypes about the Islamic community so as to make their Liberal reformist efforts seem more urgent than they actually are, even sometimes allying themselves with Islamophobes, fraudsters or even neo-Nazis in the process.
The same Telegraph piece also says:
“Muslim students who are from more liberal environments deny their religion, so as not to be harassed by conservative Muslims. We have to address this and counter it.
“You can only achieve change through setting an example, opening doors, in a space where every question can be asked.”
This on the other hand, is an excellent point. Muslims do need spaces where they can discuss issues freely. But who is the main culprit here? Should we only look at conservative Muslims as being to blame for a lack of openness in mosques, whilst failing to criticize government surveillance programs which illegitimately target Muslims, or Western governments’ support for Saudi Arabia, the main supporter of the retrograde form of Islam that is now found all over the world? Again, Liberal Muslims generally fail to address these issues, choosing to side with the powers that be instead.
Let’s not Jump onto the Sinking Boat of Liberalism
The main problem with these “Liberal Mosques” and their founders, the “Liberal Muslims”, is that they don’t seem to want to reinterpret Islam along any rational or coherent lines, they just want to dishonestly pretend that Islam is inherently Liberal just to please the dominant ideology of today. One of the mains problems with this is that Liberalism itself is increasingly unstable, contradictory, and at times, simply ridiculous. Liberalism is imploding, it is failing to address the concerns of the masses, and increasingly receding to pseudo-radical struggles that appeal to upper-middle class cosmopolitans, petit-bourgeois teens, academic elites and opportunistic political figures. More and more people are turning away from Liberalism because it simply does not represent them. So why should we as Muslims be seeking to compromise our beliefs to join a political ideology that is sinking, while Islam itself is in clear ascendency?
The Left’s Aggressive Colonial Feminism and LGBTQ Penchant Puts a Wrench in the Left-Islamic Alliance
Historically, colonialism has always been perpetuated and justified by the belief that the colonizers are superior to the colonized. Until today, the myth that the economic exploitation of Africa, America, Asia and Oceania by European powers (and later by the United States), and the genocides that accompanied it, brought cultural and social gains is used to justify military invasions and the physical and mental aggression to which their indigenous peoples are subjected. The human mind works in such a way that a hypothetical invader will simply not find the necessary contingent to carry out the project of neocolonialism without convincing its “troops” that they are, in invading and attacking a foreign people, in fact being virtuous and undertaking a necessary set of actions. Rudyard Kipling’s poem “The White Man’s Burden” is perhaps the best example of this mix of paternalism, racism, condescendence and attempt to justify the unjustifiable- in this specific case, it is commonly accepted that the poem was written to incentivize the United States of America to invade the Philippines.
In recent times, one of the most commonly used pretexts to legitimize military invasions whose main objective is the subjugation of foreign peoples and subsequent theft of their natural resources (a process that has the same purpose as colonization, but which uses somewhat different methods and what is therefore called ‘neocolonialism’) is the argument that the invaded peoples are being “liberated” or “democratized”. This pretext depends on the view that the peoples who are invaded are culturally, socially and politically backward and inferior. Without this sentiment, the justification for the neocolonialist project is deprived of its foundation, because without the belief that the colonizing people are superior to the colonized, the process is therefore exposed for what it truly is – a campaign of subjugation and systematic theft. Therefore, the belief that the colonizing people is superior, be it social, cultural, political or economic superiority, is a central pillar of the entire neocolonialist project, just as the dehumanization of colonized peoples is vital for the colonization project itself to succeed.
However, the western population is increasingly immune to the argument that military invasions are meant to impose freedom and democracy, as they increasingly see that this is nothing more than a pretext for legitimizing invasions that neither democratize nor liberate, and which, on the contrary, bring even more destruction, misery and injustice to targeted countries. We see, therefore, even now, and increasingly, the emergence of a new pretext to continue with the neocolonialist project: the alleged defense of the rights of women and homosexuals. One of the best examples of this was the cover of Time magazine on August 9, 2010, one of the preferred vehicles for neocolonialist and imperialist ideology, which showing the image of an Afghan woman deeply disfigured as a result of physical abuse, claims to demonstrate “What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan”.
This photograph shows a woman who has suffered serious and reprehensible abuse, and of course that the abuse of women is an urgent issue that we need to address and solve, but the idea that the US military’s presence somehow improves the condition of women in Afghanistan is not only incorrect: it is offensive and contradictory. The section of the population that suffers the most from the war are precisely women. Defending a military invasion by saying that it aims to improve the condition of women in the invaded country is a grievous lie. Furthermore, invading troops have historically tended to rape local women, sometimes on a massive scale, many of whom are very young and rendered even more vulnerable by the inevitable horrors of war. There are many cases where troops supposedly coming to liberate a de facto nation have been found guilty of rape and sometimes even of violations that end in murder. In Afghanistan, a girl died of wounds resulting from a brutal rape in the province of Farah, while in Iraq a girl aged just 14 died, along with three of her family members, after being raped by three US soldiers before being shot down. These will be the rare cases where such atrocities are reported, and the actual number of women who have suffered such horrors as a result of invasions that claim to “democratize” Southern nations will be very difficult to determine.
These cases illustrate how feminism and the purported struggle to defend women’s rights is often perverted to legitimize actions that actually lead to even more violence and abuse of women. There is also an increasing insistence on ‘defending gay rights’. This is clearly one more instrument that is being added to the vast arsenal of pretexts to perpetuate neocolonialism and dehumanize the peoples of the South. In December 2011, Hillary Clinton promised that the United States of America will actively defend gay rights through diplomacy and economic ‘aid’. This statement was interpreted as being directed at certain African countries, which is somewhat confirmed by statements by Ban Ki-moon, who in January 2012 declared that African leaders should respect gay rights. What we have seen since is the steady rise of the alleged importance of the defense of LGBT rights within the global left, leading to the apex of the culture wars, starting from Donald Trump’s election as US President in 2016 to this very day.
The right to liberty and the right to defend against oppression must, of course, be defended through reasoning, debate and diplomacy. However, what is increasingly taking place both on the political and cultural dimension is the perpetuation of neocolonialist policies and its inherent mentality, which, despite having the same objectives as the processes of old colonialism is ultimately and undeniably the theft and subjugation of foreign peoples, only now under a veneer of increasingly complex, dishonest and cynical pretexts. Furthermore, from a cultural point of view, the Western population, especially those who see themselves as part of the “resistance” and alternative thought circuits, and staunch Liberals in particular, are demonstrating a decreasing capacity to think critically and rationally when it comes to their analysis of different cultures and religions. Above all, it is increasingly understood that in the name of tolerance, cultures that have opinions, customs and religious practices that diverge from Western Liberal thinking, particularly relating to their views and practices regarding homosexuality and the role of women in society, are targets of absolute and relentless intolerance themselves. In short, the processes of dehumanization of people who have different cultures and religions seems to have increased and is now fundamental not only to the West’s own ability to oppress the rest of the world, but is also a clearly key cog in the Western’s incessant military incursions.
These are just some examples that demonstrate the extent to which the Left’s, and in particular the Liberal Left’s new ideological axioms and priorities are diametrically opposite to both Islamic beliefs as well as the interests of the majority of Muslims.
Iran, Anti-Hijab Obsesssions and other Orientalist Shenanigans
The ultimate confirmation that the increasingly prominent place that the fight for LGBT rights as well as the adherence to a particularly aggressive form of colonial, Western-supremacist feminism among the Western Left is the West’s recent reaction to Mahsa Amini’s tragic death, and the subsequent protests in Iran. This event was met by a flurry of commentary pointing to Iran’s brutality and alleged cultural backwardness, straight out calls for revolution and even foreign invasion, complemented by political cartoons depicting the brave Iranian woman ridding herself of the hijab and the pressures of Iran’s religious State element. It really is quite shocking the extent to which these narratives go unquestioned, and perhaps one of the reasons for this is that it is the left, whose jurisdiction it usually falls under to question and criticize the West’s Imperialist tendencies, is actually leading this wave of clearly hypocritical, counter-productive and mainly performative, theatrical false moral outrage. The left of course completely fails to follow-up on the cases in which it has done exactly this in the past, that is, using unquestioned, visceral moral outrage to call for foreign intervention in Islamic-majority countries, such as in the case of Libya and Syria. Were they to do this, they would surely notice that they were, in hindsight, little more than the useful idiots of the Wester Imperialist machine, providing it with public support for campaigns of destruction and pillage of nations that were otherwise doing quite well.
The exact circumstances of Mahsa Amini’s tragic death is still contentious and the amount of actual, direct blame to be placed, or not, on Iran’s Morality Police, is unclear. However, this simply does not matter neither to the Western Left nor to the Western general public- the strength of the West’s feeling of unquestionable cultural supremacy over the rest of the world, and the Islamic world specifically, is so strong and visceral that no real thought or analysis is seen as necessary, in effect making it virtually impossible to have any real debate with anyone, on any platform, in any circumstance. The knee-jerk reaction that followed Mahsa Amini’s tragic death is a testament that this feeling of cultural supremacy is simply non-negotiable, and in turn, this forces the Islamic world into adopting an equally intransigent and forceful opposite reaction- to defend its cultural and political independence knowing that there are very few, if any, “on the other side” willing to listen or question their feeling of absolute cultural supremacy, and even less negotiate any degree of rational political resolution or compromise.
The Islamic and Christian Alliances of the Past Must be Revived
In 1494 Portugal and Spain arrogantly signed the Treaty of Tordesillas thinking they could split the world among themselves. This was of course ridiculous and impracticable.
Islam and Christianity however, whether consciously or not, seem to have done something similar, with great success, splitting large parts of the Western Hemisphere and Africa’s population amongst themselves. The rise of a particularly nihilistic and aggressive Liberalism which pathetically seems to have aspirations for global domination as well as the enduring appeal of the highly mediocre modern atheism has made it necessary for a temporary alliance between Christianity and Islam.
Liberalism in its classic form was not so much a religion, but was certainly inspired by Christianity- the elevation of individual will to a higher plane of significance is based on the sacred nature of the individual soul as conceptualized by Christianity. However, Liberalism is itself increasingly acting more like a religious faction of its own, though its positions are usually inverse to that of most classic, older global religions- it is anti-marriage, as opposed to for it, while it is anti-natalist, in clear contradiction to the Abrahamic religions. Its power has grown, and specifically, its grasp on the mind of the Western global youth has proceeded relatively unchecked, with the exception of the American culture wars which at long last seem to mark a mass pushback against what is increasingly seen as the excesses of modern Liberalism.
The fact that Liberalism itself has come to adopt positions that are diametrically opposed to Islam in many cases results from its own disdain of Christianity, and in turn, the similarities between Christianity and Islam make it so that in attacking Christianity, modern Liberalism ends up attacking Islam as well. The fact that Muslims have been, in recent times, mostly tacitly allied with the Left means that any tension, divergence and eventual animosity entails the need for new political allies- progressive and tolerant Christianity and Christians, namely, rational and eloquent Christian Social Democrats would perhaps be the most fitting allies for Muslims in the near future.
A Strategy for Muslim Political Action in the West
Though I certainly do not mean to insult or provoke anyone who does not deserve it, I really must be quite blunt in my assessment of the general state of Western populations- they have been infected with equal amounts of cynicism and cowardice. The levels of indifference and individualism are also worryingly high. This also means that even though they still do enjoy as of yet relatively high levels of prosperity and political freedom, both are quickly being undermined and the Western population seems either to have no fight left in them whatsoever, or even to invite these changes, which are ultimately against their interests, in a sort of Freudian death drive (Todestrieb), a yearning for self-destruction and humiliation with high doses of sadomasochism. The stereotype of the rich, pampered aristocrat, debased by decades of decadence and easy-living, an image that could formerly be considered a go-to trope for both novels and movies, has now become a sad reality for large parts of its population who are stuck in a state of dazed stupor, cowering beneath their bedsheets, hoping that a hero comes to rescue the day and save them from the afflictions which they dare not even consciously recognize exists.
Muslims must become those heroes.
Metropolis (1927) as an ideal Representation of Key Political Ideas
The German expressionist classic masterpiece “Metropolis” (1927) is perhaps one of the most under-studied and underappreciated films of all time- it is also usually overlooked for what it also is, aside from a brilliant cinematic work- a brilliant and visionary political manifesto. One can safely say that Metropolis is the most beautiful and eloquent representation of the ideas that underpin Christian Social Democracy, making it indeed a Christian Social Democrat manifesto that can and should be studied and dissected to this day and for decades to come.
Though its story is complex and somewhat labyrinthine, one can precis its plot thus: a highly stratified society, living in a huge, rising metropolis, is on the brink of disaster and revolution as its oppressed working classes gain consciousness of their condition, spurred on by the leadership of Maria, a charismatic and compelling leader who calls to both patience, resilience and courage. The working class live underground and are forced to do back-breaking work, while the upper classes live above ground, enjoying all manner of luxuries and engaging in sports and frolicking. The mayor’s son, Freder, ends up finding out about the working classes’ plight, and joins their cause, while the mayor himself finds out about the possibility that the working class might revolt under the influence and leadership of Maria. With the help of Rotwang and a mad evil scientist, Maria is kidnapped, and a doppelganger robot infused with her spirit is built. This robot then takes Maria’s place- however, instead of calling for the working class to capitulate, it actually convinces them to revolt violently, destroying some of the city’s infrastructure.
Muslims have come to be depicted in the Western mainstream media as if they were Maria’s doppelganger- an evil saboteur and agent provocateur which advocates for violence and the destruction of key infrastructure. Muslims however must fashion themselves as the real Maria, steadfast and yet simultaneously calling for patience, but also emancipation and liberation from the shackles of oppression. But Muslims must be simultaneously Freder, the mediator, insofar as we have the ability to analyse and act upon problems that arise in society. In short, the movie Metropolis offers key insights not only into our society’s ills, but also the hidden dynamics that underpin political movements and their complex relationships with both the powerful entities they seek to challenge and the oppressed groups they claim to represent.
And whilst it is Muslims that have been consistently depicted in the Western mainstream media as Maria’s doppelganger, a nihilistic, evil force calling for destruction and mayhem, it is actually Liberals who in a fascinating way have come to themselves behave much like this, and proudly so- taking legitimate concerns regarding inequality for example, and yet acting upon them in confusing and counter-productive ways which often border on the insane, and in particular, calling for the destruction, or more accurately in Liberalism’s case, calling for the deconstruction of each and every pillar of modern society- regardless of whether they work well or not, regardless of how fundamental they may be for the very survival of our civilization, much like Maria’s calls for the destruction of the Metropolis itself leads the working class to its own ruin.
In this regard, strangely enough, Muslims are actually very well placed to come to, or at least to try to, serve as a reference point for sanity, pragmatism and a belief in higher principles that are increasingly lacking in the West. The nature and history of the Islamic religion also makes it and its contingent particularly able to be simultaneously a force that endures and thrives when met with opposition and oppression whilst also being able to attract large amounts of followers with its simple, rational approach to both life, philosophy and existentialism.
Muslims are increasingly confronting the modern Western Left, and should increase in their efforts to do so. We should, and indeed I argue that it has become an absolute moral imperative, as well as probably politically expedient, start to visibly and vocally challenge the Left on key issues. Muslims must also understand that we currently occupy, in the West as well as globally, the so-called “Arena of Resistance” (see Silva Jordão, 2021 and Silva Jordão, 2021ii) in which political opponents to the hegemonic powers and alternative visions for what society should be battle each other for attention, adherents, and ultimately, a shot at the title, as it were- an opportunity to be the main challenger, the main voice of the oppressed, the main alternative to the current system, a position that if occupied for long enough, should eventually secure a position of power in the medium to long term. We should take into account that today’s (successful and patient) revolutionaries often become tomorrow leaders.
I would like to end with a more controversial idea that could very well be erroneous, or even morally detestable and strategically ruinous, though I am willing to incur in that risk. Without the war between Byzantium and the Sassanid empire, and the destruction and fatigue that it provoked in both, Islam and Muslims specifically as a geopolitical power would not have been able to expand as fast as it did, as soon as it did, into the Levant, Turkey and Persia (modern-day Iran). Perhaps we should do the same when it comes to the culture wars and the increasing polarization between the Western Left and Right- patiently stand by as they tire each other out, before ultimately seeking to become ideologically dominant ourselves.
Proposing a temporary, strategic alliance with Christian Social-Democrats and other like-minded theists seems to me to not be a contradiction with this idea, since Social Democrats don’t occupy neither the left-wing nor the right-wing so much as they occupy the centre, much like the image of Freder the mediator, who sits in the middle of State/Bourgeoisie and the general population, or as the Metropolis film poetically puts it- “There can be no understanding between the hand and the brain unless the heart acts as mediator”. Islam can perhaps become that heart.
João Silva Jordão is a Muslim convert, political activist and PhD candidate in urbanism. He has a particular interest in trying to analyse modern problems using the timeless paradigm that is Islam. In his activism he takes a particular interest in studying mechanisms that allow for the generation of more just cities and develops mechanisms for the incremental verticalisation of city centres.
SILVA JORDÃO, João. (2012). “O Neocolonialismo Homossexual e Feminista” (Homosexual and Feminist Neocolonialism). 29th of January 2012, Casa das Aranhas
SILVA JORDÃO, João. (2021). The Islamic Sleeping Giant and the Arena of Resistance. The Long View, Islamic Human Rights Commission, Volume 3, Issue 4, October 2021, ISSN 2632-3168
SILVA JORDÃO, João. (2021ii). The Skyscraper Analogy and the Arena of Resistance; An Architectural, Dialectical Analogy on Power and Counter-Power, Tradition, and Innovation. In ‘Tradition and Innovation’. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, London. Maria do Rosário Monteiro, Mário S. Ming Kong (Eds.). ISBN: 978-0-367-27766-6
THE HOLY QURAN, Saheeh International
Muslim’s Alliance with Christians and Jews https://islamic-study.org/muslims-alliance-with-christians-and-jews/
Hadith on Alliance: Muslims and Christians fight common enemy https://www.abuaminaelias.com/dailyhadithonline/2012/04/12/muslim-alliance-christians/