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Not so fast, Ramadan

Those who criticise Islam are often tagged with the epithet "right wing". Hugh Fitzgerald has made mincemeat of this lazy, wilfully stupid thinking on more than one occasion:

How true. Such "right-wing populists" as Oriana Fallaci, for example. She managed remarkably well to keep her "right-wing" attitudes hidden for fifty years, from the time, as a young teenager, she helped her father and other Italians fighting the German soldiers in Florence, to her affair with a Greek left-wing political figure who was murdered for his views, and about whom she wrote in "Un Uomo" ("A Man"). Or such "right-wing" figures as Pim Fortuyn (murdered by a "animal-rights activist," mentally deficient, who had been persuaded that Muslims, being as "vulnerable" as the animals he was used to defending, had to be protected from the likes of Pim Fortuyn, that libertine leftist. As "right-wing" as Theo van Gogh, presumably. As "right-wing" as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, self-described "child of the Enlightenment" which she learned about in the Netherlands.

Here's another "right-winger" - Caroline Fourest:

Basically I'm an investigative journalist, with a University background. I work a lot on all types of Fundamentalism as a feminist and secularist journalist.  I work a lot on Christian fundamentalism too. I created a journal called Pro-Choice aimed at the pro-life movement, and the extreme right in France and the USA also.

Calling Fourest "right-wing" would be stretching an already elastic definition to snapping point.

Unlike her muddle-headed opponents, Caroline Fourest can see the wood for the trees. Especially when it comes to taqiyya-talking Tariq:

C.F. Most people here are convinced that he can be a moderate influence on Islam. It's true that he's more moderate than a Taleban or a Salaafist Judge; of course he's more moderate than that. But the problem is that he has no influence in Pakistan or the Middle East. Nobody knows him there. He is regarded as a clown, a Western Guy. So his influence is on the European Muslim. This is where his influence is bad, because instead of helping the European Muslim to be a citizen and a citizen first, he's helping them to become a citizen in order to make political Islam more important in Europe.

P.W. Could you give us an example of this double-speak?
CF If you listen to him in the media he will tell you that he's teaching the European Muslim to be a good citizen who respects the law of the country where he is a citizen. He says, "Respect the Laws of the country where you live." But when you listen to some of his tapes, he then continues the sentence "when those laws are not contrary to Islamic Principles."
Another example: when he says "I am for Islamic Feminism", you hear that he is feminist; you do not know his definition of Feminism. If you listen to some of his tapes about women's rights, you will learn it. For him real Islamic Feminism is a feminism which is against Western Feminism. It is a feminism where of course the woman is treated as equal in the eyes of God, but in the family the real power is in the hand of her husband, as with the religious principle. So, in a conference where people are attacking him on women's rights, he will only say "You're kidding. I am for Islamic feminism. Are you accusing me of not being an Islamic feminist? I am for it."
Read the full interview here. Fourest is French, but not at all irritating. To paraphrase 1066 And All That, though only a Frenchwoman, she is a Good Thing.