Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and Rashida Tlaib's (D-MI) inevitable "offensive tweets of the day," whether anti-American or anti-Semitic, are only symptoms of the pervasive threat to America and our Founding principles that is embodied by the "red-green axis." The red-green axis of dedicated far-leftists and illiberal Islamists remains a baffling and enigmatic phenomenon to many.
Why do 21st-century progressives, chiefly consumed with "human rights" and "social justice," find common cause with a religiously doctrinaire subset of Muslims who, far from practicing social justice and adhering to human rights, ultimately seek to live in a society governed by shariah—Islamic jurisprudence?
Understanding the connection between these two seemingly opposed political movements is a matter of identifying their priorities. On its surface, far-left atheism and Islamist religious fanaticism appear to be at odds. But beneath the veneers of "woke" rhetoric and political posturing, their compatibility stands out.
At their core, their ideological commitments to opposing Western values of free markets and individual liberty, and ultimately replacing it with collectivism, is what unites them. Make no mistake. Despite the fact that far-left progressives embrace an avowedly secular agenda, their hostility toward religion is subordinated to the larger aim of destroying capitalism. We can see their concerns for human rights and equity wither away when it comes to anybody who shares this larger, more important, goal.
Those who supposedly champion feminism and LGBT rights turn a blind eye to the horrific way in which women and the LGBT community are treated by Islamists worldwide. Most recently, the United Nations released a report exposing the Islamic Republic of Iran's shocking use of electric shock therapy, hormone injection and strong psychoactive medications on LGBT children in order to "cure" their sexuality. Since Iran's Islamic Revolution in 1979, the regime has executed between 4,000-6,000 members of the LGBT community.
Iran is far from the only country today that imposes the death penalty on those who engage in same-sex relations, yet American feminists and LGBT activists are mute on Iran, reserving their condemnation solely for Israel—which is the only democracy in the Middle East, where women and the LGBT community enjoy greater rights than in any neighboring country. In America, leftist outcries against transphobia usually amount to little more than advocating for the use of certain gender pronouns and bathroom-access policies. Yet they ignore actual murderous persecution of transgender individuals in non-Western countries, particularly by hardline shariah-observant regimes in North Africa and the Middle East. The bigotry of low expectations when it comes to Muslims globally and various minority groups domestically reveals their inner core.
Similarly, progressives rightly condemn Nazism and pursue justice against its modern-day adherents with a fervor that appears to be noble (although, of course, they too frequently tarnish their domestic political opponents by painting with far too broad a broad brush). Yet it is the far Left's geopolitical allies who are some of Hitler's biggest admirers. The Left's Palestinian darlings, whose violent actions they excuse, tending to infantilize them as victims of Western influence, are often taught in their mosques, on state-sponsored television and in their schools to praise many leading anti-Semites of the last century. Mein Kampf, of course, is also translated into Arabic.
Haj Amin al-Husseini, the spiritual leader of the Palestinians in the 20th century, was notorious for collaborating with the Nazis, helping to expel indigenous Jews, turn away World War II refugees fleeing to Palestine and form a Bosnian Muslim division of the SS. More recently, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, adored by leaders of Black Lives Matter and former leaders of the Women's March, once infamously called Hitler a "very great man" (among a litany of persistently horrifying anti-Semitic commentary).
In the same spirit of hypocrisy, the global community of Islamists have made fighting "Islamophobia" a cause célèbre. Yet they are all too often eerily silent when it comes to Communist China's genocide of Uyghur Muslims, the hundreds of thousands of Muslims massacred in Syria under Bashar al-Assad's regime or Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist destruction of Turkey's freedoms and democratic institutions.
But perhaps the most amusing display of cognitive dissonance by far-left progressives and Islamists is their joint obsession with "settler colonialism," which they see as the preeminent manifestation of pure evil in the world. Entire nonprofit organizations and university departments are committed to "de-colonializing" our institutions. Their agitprop speaks of Christian crusaders, European imperialists and American neocons, but never will they utter a word about the Ottoman Empire or historically brutal Arab conquests. On the contrary, these communities sometimes support some of the most repressive regimes, both past and contemporary, from Mao to Maduro.
When pressed on this point, the two groups write off any atrocities committed under such draconian regimes, claiming they are merely victims of white or Western influence. The 45 million killed in years of Mao Zedong's "Great Leap Forward" does not stop Black Lives Matter leader Patrisse Khan-Cullors, a self-declared Marxist, from citing Mao as providing "a new understanding around what our economies could look like." And while these movements are outspoken about their opposition to sanctions on the Islamist theocracy in Iran, they advocate vociferously for sanctions against the liberal State of Israel.
What these inconsistencies reveal is that reactionary Islamists and so-called "progressives" enjoy a purely utilitarian, transactional relationship. They use each other to foment social unrest under the virtuous guise of countering transphobia, Islamophobia or other social "injustices," perverting the very definition of "justice" along the way. In short, Islamists and far-leftists are perfectly happy to form tactical alliances against common enemies that they inflate in order to further their strategic goal of ending capitalism, free speech and individual rights.
My family escaped this well-known synergy in Syria and across the Middle East, where Arabist parties like the Ba'ath of the Assads or Saddam Hussein worked seamlessly with Islamists like al-Qaeda, Hamas, ISIS, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban. Their alliances were tumultuous, fraught with spasms of conflict when they got into power. But the synergy is repeated from nation to nation.
The synergy is exemplified nowhere better than at the United Nations. States like Venezuela, China, Syria, Qatar and Iran control the agenda of the U.N. They comprise a global red-green axis that moves in lockstep against Western liberal democracies and spends most of its collective efforts targeting Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. Omar, Tlaib and their progressive allies have effectively tried to import that U.N. agenda into Congress.
Whether through a socialist revolution or jihad, anywhere there exists a successful formula for democracy, there will be movements aiming to tear it down. It is up to those of us who value freedom to put a stop to it.
M. Zuhdi Jasser is senior fellow for the Center for Security Policy. He is the founder and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, based in Phoenix, Arizona, and the co-founder of the Muslim Reform Movement. He is a former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander and former Vice-Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He is author of the book, A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Patriot's Fight to Save His Faith. He is also a physician in private practice. Find him on Twitter: @DrZuhdiJasser.
The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.