Secularism, as a concept, appears to be in danger from both the left and the right. Among feminists, it tends to be only some minority women scrambling for the soul of secularism. It is time for all feminists to muck in, says Rahila Gupta
Europe is generally regarded as the most secularised continent in the world. But in few EU member states is there a complete separation between church and state. The old interweaving of religious and worldly authority still makes itself felt in many countries today.
It was a Russian Jew who set communism on foot in Egypt but his efforts were assisted by the British General Staff Intelligence Department which succeeded in 1919 in obtaining from the grand mufti, Shaikh Muhammad Bakhit, a fatwa against Bolshevism. The effect was directly contrary to what it had anticipated. Some newspapers attacked the fatwa and defended the Bolsheviks.
Given the renewed discussion, we are producing this 1981 document, which stands the test of time. The “theses” were circulated widely and have been translated into many languages. Their success was due to the fact that they gave a Marxist analysis of a phenomenon that was then still relatively new. The current resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism dates from the 1970s, and reached its first crescendo, after years of underground activity, with the Iranian revolution of 1979.
An Iranian reader takes sharp issue with Salma Yaqoob’s October article on Islam and the Left.
Salma Yaqoob, a founder member of Respect and a leading Muslim anti-war activist in Britain spoke at the SWP’s Marxism event in London a few days after the London bombings on July 7 on Muslims and the left.
The Marxist view of religion has been greatly over-simplified, typically identified with the well-worn refrain that it’s the "opiate of the people." Michael Löwy challenges this misconception, and presents us with a much more nuanced view of Marxism and religion.
Two members of the leadership of the ISG in Britain take issue with criticisms which Gilbert Achcar made of Trotskyists in Britain.
Religion is not simply an expression of alienation, it is a protest against it. Religion is not just ‘the opium of the people’, according to Marx, it is ‘the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world.’
Achcar’s survey ranges from basic principles, the disputes over the hijab, to the policies of the French and British far left organisations - some of which he finds "unacceptable from a Marxist point of view."