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Call a Duck a Duck and a Fascist a Fascist: Recognizing and Fighting Fascism in our Societies. By Alix

September 23, 2010

Readers remember this: anyone is capable of becoming or behaving as a fascist. A fascist isn’t a specific type of person; it’s someone whose beliefs and actions result in the limitation of others’ freedoms and equalities in society.

The fascist believes he or she knows what’s best for everyone. They believe that their values are so superior, so infallible, that they can impose them on millions of others under the guise of protecting a fictional “national identity.” Fascists can convince people to fight to protect this identity, and in some cases to die for it.

Fascists, of course are xenophobic. Anyone of a foreign culture or belief that might threaten to tear the delicate web of lies they’ve woven must be carefully watched and suppressed if not destroyed.

It should be noted that the extreme Aryan ethno-nationalism and totalitarian control of Hitler’s fascist regime isn’t the fascism found in France and other parts of the world today. However when xenophobic laws alienating part of a state’s population are proposed and then passed a slight stench of this older Fascism contaminates society.

As frightening as this is, you would think that people would carefully on the look out and guarded against such oppressive methods of leadership. Not so. Unfortunately this past July, 2010, being the clever fascist that he is, President Nicolas Sarkozy passed a law that would ban women from wearing the niqab in France. While some might share Sarkozy’s self-righteous sentiment that the niqab degrades women, the legislative platform of the new law has nothing to do with the degradation of women. The law was written and passed on the premise that the niqab interferes with social functions, such as police searches and identifications and that it threatens the national values and identity of France. But what are those national values? What is that identity? France’s people are not ethnically homogenous, especially in its larger cities. France’s constitution, as well as other Western European constitutions that emerged from the Enlightenment era, are supposed to protect freedom of religion.

There are 64 million people in France, out of which this law will affect a figure of about 2,000. You’re talking about a group of people that is a minority within a minority. Can these women pose so great a threat to French society that a law must be imposed against their right to religious freedom? Very doubtful.

This law is blatantly racist and follows a recent trend of Islamophobia that has been spreading throughout Western Europe and was seen earlier this year with Switzerland’s ban on the construction of minarets.

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad imposed a similar ban on the niqab in universities. While Assad’s administration of Syria is secular, the legitimacy of his presidency is highly suspect. You would think that most heads of state would not want to do anything that would allow such close comparisons to be drawn between them and a known dictator.

Some have argued in defense of the niqab ban on grounds that it isn’t actually required by Islam and that it is a distortion of the Qur’an. Whether that is the case or not, the decision to do away with the niqab must come from within the religion of Islam and from Muslim men and women themselves, not from fascists or western cultural imperialists.

The ban on minarets in Switzerland, this niqab ban in France, and now the “debate” over the construction of the Park 51 Islamic Cultural Center in New York, here in the United States are all affronts to the right to freedom of religion and cultural expression. These issues are all born out of fascism and xenophobia. Not enough people have been living with their eyes open. Had people been paying more attention, these things should have never come to pass. These all happen to relate to freedom of religion, but if they can deny one right, they can deny them all. It is important to recognize the injustices that are taking place in order to defeat them.

Call a fascist a fascist whenever you see one.

Sources:

Editorial. “French Niqab Ban: Beneath the veil.” 15 July 2010. The Guardian. Article history. http://www.guardian.co.uk <http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jul/15/france-niqab-veil-ban-law&gt;

Accessed: August 30th, 2010

Al-Yafal, Faisal. “Syria’s niqab ban is part of a clash within Islam itself.” 19 July 2010. The Guardian. Article history. http://www.guardian.co.uk

<http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/jul/19/syria-niqab-ban-islam&gt;

Accessed: September 1, 2010

Wallechinsky, David. “Who is the World’s Worst Dicator?” 22 January 2006. Parade.

http://www.parade.com, <http://www.parade.com/articles/editions/2006/edition_01-22-2006/Dictators_11_to_20&gt;

Accessed: September 16, 2010

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