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Useful Idiots

By Richard Stokes - posted Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The phrase "useful idiots", supposedly Lenin's, refers to Westerners duped into saying good things about bad regimes. Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin used the term "polyezniy idiot" or "useful idiot" to describe sympathizers in the West who blindly supported Communist leaders.

It is in our nature as a civilised society to prefer peace to war. This can lead to the kind of appeasement we all remember from the time of Neville Chamberlain, who thought he could do a deal with Hitler. Today, appeasers are once again protecting Islam, presumably on the assumption that because it is a monotheistic religion it is somehow equivalent to Christianity, and telling us that we can dialogue with "moderate" Muslims. The "useful idiots" which include many of our high ranking church leaders, appear not to have read the Koran and do not realise, as explained frequently by Rev. Mark Durie, Vicar of St. Mary's Anglican Church, Caulfield Victoria, who is a scholar of Islam and reads Arabic, that Islam is not only a religion but also a totalitarian political ideology.

And yes, there are moderate Muslims. Those who don't kill infidels, who don't steal from unbelievers, who don't treat women as slaves. However, they are not very vocal in condemning those who do, and even if only l0% of the l.6 billion Muslims in the world are extremists or potential terrorists, that is a huge security and financial burden for civilized countries.


What may be excusable in church leaders who are so embattled against the forces of secularism that in the interests of ecumenism they seek to find allies among other faiths, is not excusable in political leaders or organisations such as the National Civic Council, the organisation founded by the late Bob Santamaria. The NCC has a very honourable record in fighting communism in the unions and, through the Democratic Labor Party, in keeping out of office the Labor Party while it was under marxist influence. This makes all the more inexplicable its current stance that Islam is a benign religion and that the Islamic terrorism in France is primarily due to the failures of the French government over decades to deal with the requirements of their North African immigrants.

Patrick J. Byrne, Vice President of the National Civic Council, has written an article implying the problems arise from the mistreatment of Muslims by the French authorities and by the 'extreme right': "FRENCH POLITICS AND ISLAM: Kepel scathing of French elites, Salafists and far-right Islamophobes", News Weekly, January 30, 2016. Byrne quotes extensively from Gilles Kepel, described as an "acclaimed
authority on political Islam". Kepel's academic authority is based on his studies of Arab, Middle East and African Islamic societies, and he has focused in particular on the fundamentalist phenomenon, showing that "since the 1970s fundamentalism has been a crucial force throughout the world and across religions-among Protestants, Catholics, and Jews as well as Muslims. Fundamentalism is to a large extent a negative reaction to modernity, which it views as an external corruption that must be eradicated in order to return to an earlier age of religious purity".

The big difference is that the 1970s and subsequent fundamentalism of Protestants, Catholics and Jews are all non-violent, unlike
the fundamentalism of Islam. Furthermore, Kepel does not seem familiar with Islam in Asia, i.e. in Pakistan, Aceh, and Brunei where non-Muslims and Muslims of the "wrong" sect are persecuted by mainstream Muslims and not just by terrorists.

However, what is most troubling about Kepel's analysis - and Byrne's acceptance of it - is that he ascribes "victim" status to the Muslims in France
who have failed to integrate and live in disadvantaged ghettos. While the National Civic Council has been perceptive in rejecting the "victim
status" claimed by feminists and homosexuals, Byrne seems to accept Kepel's conclusion that the plight of Muslims in the banlieue, the outer suburbs of major cities in France, is somehow the fault of successive French governments because they did not accede to the "legitimate" demands of Muslim immigrants from North Africa.

What is not mentioned is that other categories of immigrants, such as refugees from Vietnam, or Jews after WW2, many of whom arrived in France with little more than a suitcase of old clothes, did not make demands of French governments but got on with the basics of living, i.e. working in whatever jobs were available, educating their children and gradually moving up the economic ladder. Kepel and Byrne need to analyse what stops Muslims from following this pattern, e.g. the stultifying doctrines of Islam and the denial of basic rights to half their communities, Muslim females.

Islam is different. We have many Buddhists in Australia. So far they have not indulged in an act of terrorism. Nor have the Jews, Presbyterians, or
Mormons. In fact, worldwide there are almost no acts of terrorism performed by non-Muslims. Lebanese have been migrating to Australia for decades. About half are Christian, half Muslim. Not a single outstanding act of terrorism or gang rape by Christian Lebanese. We can't say that for the Muslims. Yes, they are different.


France, as a colonising power, has problems of integration. After Algeria gained its independence, another 350,000 to 700,000 Algerians migrated to France. France was good enough to allow these migrants to enter. Some of its former colonies have become part of France - if you want to see
discrimination, France will disappoint. Try Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, or Aceh. Or any Muslim country. But not if you are a Jew. That could be fatal.

Kepel claims that an opportunity was lost in 2005 after riots and the burning of thousands of cars following the accidental deaths of two teenagers who hid from police in a power station. What? Two fugitives died accidentally, and thousands of cars burned? Civilised people do not burn thousands of cars.

So it is no coincidence that far-right figures – like Marine Le Pen of the French National Front and U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump – are
soaring in popularity. They have not caused Islamic radicalism, their vote has risen because of it. Kepel explains that both the far right and ISIS want to create a society divided into two distinct groups. On one side are Muslims who are victims of a relentless "Islamophobia", and the other the extreme right typified by Donald Trump who has called for a halt in Muslim immigration until proper security checks can be established.

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About the Author

Richard Stokes lives in Brisbane.

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