If America desires a successful foreign policy, it will rid itself of its self-defeating “Good-Fundie Fantasy.” This is basically the unfounded idea that moderate politicized fundamentalists exit who support freedom and democracy. American policy should be outspokenly opposed to political fundies who exploit democracy and liberty for the sole purpose of undermining it when they are able to amass enough power to do so.
This issue is a hell of a lot more important than anything else we discuss on this site. If you want to stop extremism, extinguish the “ex-gay” industry, and keep the separation of church and state, you will pay attention to this topic.
It is an incontrovertible fact that every place on earth that fundies hold sway, that society deteriorates and often slides into chaos, oppression, and war. Yesterday, I discussed the dire situation in Egypt, where political Islamists are holding that nation hostage. In today’s New York Times, Karima Bennoune, a professor of law at the University of California, Davis, talks about a similar situation in Tunisia:
Since it attained independence from France in 1956, Tunisia has had some of the region’s most progressive laws relating to women and families. Many fear that Ennahda is trying to undo those laws. Amel Grami, an intellectual historian at Manouba University, whose campus was besieged last year by Salafi activists opposed to women’s equality and secular education, says the Arab Spring has “triggered a male identity crisis” that has magnified the extreme positions taken by Islamist parties.
In Tunisia, she has noted, fundamentalists have called for girls as young as 12 to don the niqab, which covers everything but the eyes. An Ennahda lawmaker has called for “purification of the media and purification of intellectuals,” while female Ennahda deputies have urged segregation of public transportation by gender. Some Salafists have spoken of legalizing female genital mutilation, a practice largely foreign to Tunisia.
That mood of joy has been replaced by an atmosphere that the Tunisian newspaper La Presse has described as “insurrectional.” On Saturday, Mr. Brahmi was laid to rest before some 30,000 mourners. One of them, a female lawyer who scaled the cemetery’s walls after finding the entrance blocked, said: “We’ve been taken hostage by religious fundamentalists. Now we the people have decided to take back our country and our revolution.”
The United States of America should make damn clear which side we are on. Our country should stand with the liberals, women, and exert our power to help crush political Islamic rule in Tunisia, and throughout the world. This is a global life or death struggle for the LGBT community — because we tend not to thrive under fundie regimes.
Ask yourself this: When Russia’s Vladimir Putin found religion and embraced the Russian Orthodox Church, did that help our hurt our standing in Russia? I think the deadly results speak for themselves.
There are certain delusional diplomats and politicians who think you can bargain with the Taliban, the Muslim Brotherhood, or similarly radicalized groups (Tea Party). But you never can, because they only see negotiations as a time-out so they can regroup, retool, and gain tactical advantage. Dealing with fundies always backfires — because their basic, core policy is dominion.
Unfortunately, it is difficult for the US to impart moral clarity, because one of our two major political parties is controlled by irrational, hardcore, fundamentalist Christians with very similar beliefs to political Islamists. They believe they are superior and have a God-given right to impose their rigid values on society.
Still, this foreign policy conversation needs to occur at the highest levels of government. The United States should speak up for secular, open societies worldwide. If we don’t fight for such values, what exactly do we stand for?
I’ll leave you with a this important quote :
Mourad Sakli, director of the International Festival of Carthage, a cultural event, said the killing of the liberal politician Mohamed Brahmi would only strengthen “our determination to defend our rights to culture and to life, our right to be different and our right to free thought.”
Sakli hit the nail on the head. The freedom he articulates is precisely what America’s foreign policy should attempt to achieve.