Samuel Helfont reviews Bassam Tibi’s discussion of Islam and Islamism.
‘IN FEBRUARY, The New York Review of Books’ website hosted a debate in which several prominent feminists criticized Human Rights Watch for issuing a report that whitewashed the record of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists poised to take power in the Middle East. Human Rights Watch responded by stating that this critique amounted to, among other things, “intolerance for Islam.” A year and a half earlier, numerous right-wing American activists launched a fierce campaign to stop the construction of an Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero. In doing so, many of them argued that Islam was to blame for the attacks of September 11 and rejected the idea that Muslims could also have been victims on that fateful day. At first glance, the views of these right-wing activists and those of Human Rights Watch appear diametrically opposed. In fact, they have a good deal in common. Most importantly, both consider Islam and Islamism to be indistinguishable. Only on that basis can they consider the construction of an Islamic cultural center to be a threat, or regard opposition to an Islamist political party to be the same as opposition to Islam as a religion.’
— Samuel Helfont, “Team Warfare”