Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

French Left: Parti de Gauche Refuses to Back Problematic Meeting against “Islamophobia”

with 23 comments


Rally against Islamophobia divides the left.

On Friday at the Bourse du Travail Saint-Denis a rally “against Islamophobia” was held with the backing of some left organisations, notably the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste and the French Communist Party.

Muslim and Islamist associations were prominent amongst its supporters. These included the Union des organisations islamiques de France (UOIF, close to the Muslim Brotherhood), le Parti des Indigènes de la République, (often described as the militant wing of post-colonial studies and associated with homophobia)  les Indivisibles, Présence musulmane (close to Islamist Tariq Ramadan) and  le Collectif enseignant pour l’abrogation de la loi de 2004 (CEAL) – that is the group which wants to abolish the secular rules on ostentatious religious signs in schools).

 Other groups, above all from the human rights and anti-racist movements, refused to take part.

 These were notably, the main French anti-racist body, the Mrap, la LDH (The League for the Rights of Man, France’s oldest anti-racist human rights group), SOS Racisme and  the Licra (The International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism).

The Left Party (Parti de Gauche) of Jean-Luc Mélenchon also  refused to join. Its general coordinator, Eric Coquerel said. “The term Islamophobia has posed a problem for us for several years. It makes it difficult to distinguish between  freedom to criticise religion and racism  The text also does not cite any other form of racism. In the present context – after the terrorist atrocities – it should have had a broader appeal”.  “At the same time”, he  continued “we have problems with those signing this document. They include communitarian groups and bodies that represent Political Islam. “

Inside the same bloc, the Front de Gauche, the grouping Ensemble backed the appeal and meeting, while the Parti Communist Français maintained its support for the declaration by sent nobody to the meeting.

At the rally itself Ismahane Chouder denounced the fact that people always ask Muslims to be irreproachable on ‘antisemitism’ ‘sexism’ and ‘homophobia”. She called this demand for anti-sexism, opposition to hatred of Jews and of gays,  “Islamophobic”.

Alexander Sulzer L’Express.

For a defence of this meeting see: Grand succès du meeting contre l’islamophobie et les dérives sécuritaires (Laurent Lévy.  Ensemble).

Laurent Lévy ignores the main point of the Parti de Gauche: the questionable term “Islamophobia”. Indeed he continues with the dangerous reactionary confusion between racism and dislike/criticism of a religion.

In Libération today the radical left atheist Michel Onfray comments favourably on the Parti de Gauche’s decision and clarifies this point,

What a joy it is, finally, on the left, and in particular on the anti-liberal (economics) left, my own political side, we have begun to fight this ‘amalgam”. That is, is to lump together criticism of religion with Islamophobia” when it’s a matter of Islam, Christianophobia,  when it’s Christianity, anti-Semitism when it concerns Judaism, to the point where atheism itself becomes blasphemous. “

The writer wishes that this approach will continue, and that it will clarify the debate about religion.

“It  would distinguish those who oppose religion in the name of reason, not racism (in my case, and that of many people who do not even adopt the ‘catechism’ of the left), and those who hide their racism and xenophobia behind the rejection of religion.  One could imagine that once this distinction in the realm of ideas is made, those who do not want religion to govern our law, will be able to clearly distinguish those who dislike the Muslim religion and those who dislike those who practice it. “


Oppose racism against Muslims.

Criticise Islam as a religion.


23 Responses

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  1. This is stupidness made large. thank god that the left here is not as racist as that of france.

    Oppose racism against Muslims.

    Criticise Islam as a religion

    what if we said;

    oppose homophobia
    criticise homosexuality

    the latter is the view, i think, of the Roman Catholic Church.


    March 10, 2015 at 11:07 pm

  2. and Tariq Ramadan is NOT an Islamicist for God’s sake. He is a professor, an academic, and is a mainstream voice, and here he is with John Rees of STWC coalition debating the French left’s Islamophobia and racism. get the opposite side to your pro imperialist apologetics.


    March 10, 2015 at 11:11 pm

  3. “and Tariq Ramadan is NOT an Islamicist for God’s sake. He is a professor, an academic, and is a mainstream voice, and here he is with John Rees of STWC coalition debating the French left’s Islamophobia and racism” do you know what “non sequitur” means, Jackson?

    Jim Denham

    March 11, 2015 at 2:17 am

  4. dumb as a box of rocks…

    redkorat☭ (@red_korat)

    March 11, 2015 at 9:16 am

  5. But homosexuality is not an ideology, it is an way of living. If militant homosexuals demanded that heterosexuality be stamped out and everyone practice homosexuality, then you might have a point, but no one seriously does. (I remember back in the 70s, when the Gay Liberation Movement was beginning, some of the more ‘extreme’ did argue that but they soon realised that was ridiculous.).

    Sue R

    March 11, 2015 at 11:54 am

  6. And, Tariq Ramadan is on an Islamicist tv channel (Presstv) which is clearly a properganda outlet for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Hardly makes him simon pure does it?

    Sue R

    March 11, 2015 at 11:56 am

  7. Ramandan’s best known contribution to the debate on Islamism was to call for a “moratorium” of the ‘Hudd’ punishments, like stoning to death.

    Note not ‘abolition’.

    He also called for banning a production (1993) of Voltaire’s play Le fanatisme, ou Mahomet le Prophete in (Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet) in Geneva.

    The play was banned.

    Tariq Ramadan et la censure de Voltaire https://carolinefourest.wordpress.com/2007/02/01/tariq-ramadan-et-la-censure-de-voltaire/

    He is a bigot.


    The present-day defenders of Islamism prove the following analysis right:

    “another basis for Islamophilia. The French Nouvelle Droite (New Right) may seem an unlikely home for this.
    Anglophone readers are not generally familiar with the works of Alain de Benoist but at his core are some familiar themes. That is “neo-paganism”, the right to “difference” or “identity”, and the transposition of genetic racialism to cultural distinctiveness. Hostile to an Islamic presence in Europe, the Nouvelle Droite has enjoyed warm relations with Political Islam in what are considered “Arab” countries.Following an
    identical relativism anglophones claim that everyone has the right to his/her cultural practices, and that there are no universal rights. Furthermore it is held that for “Europeans” to criticise Islam is inherently racist. The British defenders of the Qu’ran are not very open about the affinity between their ideas and the heirs of Maurras. But there is an American point at which the extreme right culturalists such as Alain de Benoist and the remnants of the post-modern New Left overtly meet, and that place is called Telos.”

    Andrew Coates. In Defence of Militant Secularlism. 2004.


    Andrew Coates

    March 11, 2015 at 12:20 pm

  8. Invoking Lenin in support of obscurantist bollox … religion may not be criticised … homosexuality is a religion … LGBTI rights are only of concern to wealthy white westerners (and not the queer ppl being terrorised and murdered in various backward nations) … LGBTI ppl should not be allowed to marry or have kids … lasses getting their kit off, it’s an OUTRAGE … yarmulke is a provocation and you get everything you deserve (also presumably niqab, habit etc) … some ethnicities should stay away from certain areas if they know what’s good for them … John Rees blah blah blah …

    Sounds like that repulsive saddo Milosevic-loving nationalist idiot with the really bad jumpers who used to have a shitty blog back in the day.

  9. LGBT people are always the first thrown under the bus (off the building) by certain fuckers in ‘the left’. Canaries and coalmines cliches also come to mind …

  10. Press TV is Iranian TV, but so what? BBC is the british state tv, and the british state hardly has clean hands does it? I dont care that Ramadan is on Press TV, good for him. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Tariq Ramadan speak, and he is a real intellectual. Galloway is also on Press TV.

    I honestly cant see why you guys keep on pretending you are Marxists. whats the point? you’re nothing but full time islamophobes


    March 11, 2015 at 11:07 pm

  11. ie inside the term ‘Islamicism’ there are different varieties. some we can work with, others we cant. it is likewise with black nationalism in the US. there are some that work with the left, and others that the left cannot work with. you should have a better term than just ‘islamicism’.

    CAGE we can work with, but Anjem Choudary we cant.


    March 11, 2015 at 11:15 pm

  12. also, Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ is usually cut, changed, or not performed precisely because of its anti semitic content. likewise Voltaire’s play on the life of the prophet, which evidently Voltaire knew very little about. I wouldn’t get so worked up about it.

    look at your own islamophobia.


    March 11, 2015 at 11:18 pm

  13. […] criticism of religion is the prerequisite of all criticism […] Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again […] The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

    That above passages were written by a well-known Anglo-German political economist in C19. They are from the Introduction to ‘A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right’.

    People here are not tweeny trust-fund wadicals, they’ve actually read Marx. Meanwhile you can’t recognise right wing populist bollox even when you’re standing in it. Fuck off with your trolling.

  14. you have a very shallow view of marxism. as if marxism is crude materialist Dawkins style atheism. I would rather stand with a Catholic Liberation theology priest than an imperialist supporter like Dawkins.

    as if any muslims are going to see you and your silly little group as nothing but a pro zionist pseudo marxist front. I’m not a troll, but there is no more reason for me to post here.

    All the best.


    March 12, 2015 at 12:03 am

  15. “you have a very shallow view of marxism. as if marxism is crude materialist Dawkins style atheism. I would rather stand with a Catholic Liberation theology priest than an imperialist supporter like Dawkins.” I think, Jacko, that what you’re in fact saying, is that you have no little or understanding whatsoever of Marxism, and prefer religion. Feel free: just don’t presume to lecture people who actually *are* Marxists, and have read and understand the texts.

    Either that, or you’re channelling the ghost of the late and unlamented Chris Harman …

    Jim Denham

    March 12, 2015 at 12:19 am

  16. i doubt that you’ve really understood Marx; when you speak of Marx you are really referring to your guru Sean Matgamna, who alone out of all the left has the one and only true interpretation of Marx. As Trotsky said of your Menshevik forbears, ” you are in the dustbin of history”.



    March 12, 2015 at 12:43 am

  17. The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism.- Karl Marx


    March 12, 2015 at 12:46 am

  18. “i doubt that you’ve really understood Marx” … “The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism”

    You’re funny.

    Der Antisemitismus ist der Sozialismus der dummen Kerle but it’s the absolute mutt’s if you’re peddling poisonous far-right populism.

    redkorat☭ (@red_korat)

    March 12, 2015 at 1:21 am

  19. ‘Jackson’ – I think we have guessed your identity now: Ian Donovan.

    Expelled from the Weekly Worke for saying this:

    ” there is a Jewish “pan-national bourgeoisie”, which has constituted itself as ruling class “vanguard” in key imperialist countries, and it is this that accounts for US support for Israel. ”


    August 21, 2014 / Gilad Atzmon”


    Andrew Coates

    March 12, 2015 at 1:31 pm

  20. Ian Donovan, he’s a laugh, never been wrong about anything, despite his many and varied travels through the far left. if Lenin were to call him a pointless wanker he would use cherry picked quotes from Lenin to ‘prove’ that he, Ian Donovan, was right.

    Ian Donovan will not shut up. This is psychology, not politics.


    March 12, 2015 at 9:01 pm

  21. Very possibly ‘Jackson’ is not Ian Donovan. That makes for two anti-Semites instead of one.


    March 14, 2015 at 8:54 pm

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