Europe's Islamist Alliance
By Amir Taheri
Jerusalem Post | July 12, 2004
When the US-led coalition invaded Iraq in March 2003, few would have
imagined that the move might lead to the formation of an alliance between
the radical Left and hard-line Islamists in Western Europe. But this is
precisely what happened.
In this month's election for a new European Parliament, voters in several
European Union countries, notably France and Britain, are offered common
lists of Islamist and leftist candidates, often hidden under bland labels.
Europe's moribund extreme Left has found a new lease on life thanks to
hundreds of young Muslim militants recruited from the poor suburbs of Paris
and the Islamic ghettos of northern England.
The Islamist groups, for their part, are learning many tricks from the Left
about how to exploit the inevitable weaknesses of an open society.
In Britain, the new Marxist-Islamist alliance is the offspring of the
so-called anti-war coalition set up two years ago to prevent the liberation
of Iraq. The coalition has a steering committee of 33 members. Of these, 18
come from various hard Left groups: communists, Trotskyites, Maoists, and
Castroists. Three others belong to the radical wing of the Labor party.
There are also eight radical Islamists. The remaining four are leftist
ecologists known as Watermelons (Green outside, red inside). The chairman of
the coalition is one Andrew Murray, a former employee of the Soviet Novosty
Agency and leader of the British Communist Party. Co-chair is Muhammad Asalm
Ijaz of the London Council of Mosques.
A prominent member is George Galloway, recently excluded from the Labor
party, who is under investigation for the illegal receipt of funds from
Saddam Hussein. Galloway heads a list of candidates backed by several
radical leftist groups, notably The British Socialist Workers Party (SWP),
as well as the Muslim Association of Britain, the British branch of the
Muslim Brotherhood, and a dozen Palestinian groups financed by Yasser
The Palestinian checkered headgear, worn by the leftists as a cache-col, has
become the symbol of this left-Islamist alliance.
The New Statesman, the organ of the British moderate Left, calls the new
Islamist-Marxist alliance "Saddam's Own Party." The label is not fanciful.
Many of the groups involved in the alliance had been financed for years by
Saddam through his so-called Cultural Relations Office in London.
IN FRANCE the radical Left alliance of Revolutionary Communist League (LCR)
and Workers' Struggle (LO) groups counts on Islamist militants to help it
win seats in the European Parliament.Arlette Laguillere, the pasionaria of
the Workers' Struggle, claims that "the struggle for Palestine" is now an
integral part of the "global proletarian revolution."
Similar Marxist-Islamist alliances have been formed in Belgium and Germany,
where the Muslim Brotherhood itself has been taken over by radicals
sympathetic to al-Qaida.
Talks are underway for holding a pan-European conference next year to give
the Marxist-Islamist alliance permanent organizational structures.
The European Marxist-Islamist coalition does not offer a coherent political
platform. Its ideology is built around three themes: hatred of the United
States, the dream of wiping Israel off the map, and the hoped-for collapse
of the global economic system.
Europe's hard Left sees Muslims as the new under-class in the continent.
"Are these not the new slaves?" asks Olivier Besanconneau, leader of the
French Trotskyites. "Is it not natural that they should unite with the
working class to destroy the capitalist system?"
The idea of an alliance with Islamists has even seduced the more traditional
French Communist Party (PCF), which commissioned a study of the
possibilities of electoral alliances with Muslim organizations.
The Islamists, for their part, are attracted to the European hard Left
because of its professed hatred of the United States and Israel.
"We say to anyone who hates the Americans and wants to throw the Jews out of
Palestine: ahlan wa sahlan (welcome)," quipped Abu-Hamza al-Masri, the
British Islamist firebrand who is awaiting extradition to the US on various
criminal charges. "The Prophet teaches that we could ally ourselves even
with the atheists if it helps us destroy [the] enemy."
The first to advocate a leftist-Islamist alliance against Western
democracies was Ayman Al Zawahiri, al-Qaida's #2. In a message to al-Qaida
sympathizers in Britain in August 2002, he urged them to seek allies among
"any movement that opposes America, even atheists."
The idea has received support from Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, the Venezuelan
terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal. In his book Revolutionary Islam,
published in Paris last year, Carlos, who says he has converted to Islam,
claims he has advised Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaida leader, to forge an
alliance with "all guerrilla, terrorist, and other revolutionary groups
throughout the world, regardless of their religious or ideological beliefs."
Carlos says Islam is the only force capable of persuading large numbers of
people to become "volunteers" for suicide attacks against the US. "Only a
coalition of Marxists and Islamists can destroy the US," he says.
Europe must wake up to the dangers that this new version of the
red-and-black alliance poses to its democracy, indeed to its political and