Why Islamists and the radical Left loathe the day of love.
[Editor's note: This article is reprinted from our Valentine's issue of Feb. 14, 2012. It has been slightly updated and edited to fit this year's day of love.]
Today, Thursday, February 14, is Valentine’s Day, the sacred day that intimate companions mark to celebrate their love and affection for one another. If you’re thinking about making a study of how couples celebrate this day, the Muslim world and the milieus of the radical Left are not the places you should be spending most, if any, of your time. Indeed, it’s pretty hard to outdo jihadists and “progressives” when it comes to the hatred of Valentine’s Day. And this hatred is precisely the territory on which the contemporary romance between the radical Left and Islamic fanaticism is formed.
The train is never late: every time Valentine’s comes around, the Muslim world reacts with ferocious rage, with its leaders doing everything in their power to suffocate the festivity that comes with the celebration of private romance. Imams around the world thunder against Valentine’s every year — and the celebration of the day itself is literally outlawed in Islamist states.
In Pakistan just a few days ago, for instance, supporters of Jamat-e-Islami, Pakistan's main religious party, took to the streets in Peshawar to vehemently denounce Valentine's Day. Demonizing it as “un-Islamic,” the Muslim protestors shouted that the day of love has "spread immodesty in the world." Shahzad Ahmed, the local leader of the student wing of Jamat-e-Islami, warned that the organization will not “allow” any Valentine’s Day functions, warning that if Pakistani law enforcement did not prevent Pakistanis from holding such functions, that the Jamat-e-Islami would stop them “in our own way."
This Islamist outcry in Peshawar against Valentine's Day reflects many other protests and outcries against the day of love throughout the Muslim War this year. It is a mirror image of what transpired in Aceh province in Indonesia last year, when Muslim clerics issued a stern warning to Muslims, the younger generation in particular, against observing Valentine’s Day. Tgk Feisal, general secretary of the Aceh Ulema Association (HUDA), stated that “It is haram for Muslims to observe Valentine’s Day because it does not accord with Islamic Sharia.” He added that the government must watch out for youths participating in Valentine’s Day activities in Aceh. One can just imagine what will happen to the guilty parties caught celebrating their love for one another.
The Saudis consistently punish the slightest hint of celebrating Valentine’s Day. The Kingdom and its religious “morality” police always officially issue a stern warning that anyone caught even thinking about Valentine’s Day will suffer some of the most painful penalties of Sharia Law. This is typical of the Saudis of course. As Daniel Pipes has reported, the Saudi regime takes a firm stand against Valentine’s every year, and the Saudi religious police monitor stores selling roses and other gifts. They arrest women for wearing red on that day. Every year the Saudis announce that, starting the week of Valentine’s and until a certain day in the future, it is illegal for a merchant to sell any item that is red, or that in any way hints of being connected to Valentine’s Day. As Claude Cartaginese reported at Newsreal Blog about Valentine's Day in Saudi Arabia two years ago, any merchant found selling such items as red roses, red clothing of any kind (especially dresses), toys, heart-shaped products, candy, greeting cards or any items wrapped in red, had to destroy them or face the wrath of Saudi justice.
Christian overseas workers living in the Kingdom from the Philippines and other countries always take extra precautions, heeding the Saudis’ warning to them specifically to avoid greeting anyone with the words “Happy Valentine’s Day” or exchanging any gift that reeks of romance. A spokesman for a Philippine workers group has commented: “We are urging fellow Filipinos in the Middle East, especially lovers, just to celebrate their Valentine’s Day secretly and with utmost care.”
The Iranian despots, meanwhile, consistently try to make sure that the Saudis don’t outdo them in annihilating Valentine’s Day. Iran’s “morality” police consistently order shops to remove heart-and-flower decorations and images of couples embracing on this day — and anytime around this day. In Pakistan, as mentioned earlier, the student wing of the fundamentalist Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami has traditionally called for a complete ban on Valentine’s Day celebrations. Khalid Waqas Chamkani, a leader in the party, calls it a “shameful day.”
Typical of this whole pathology in the Islamic world was a development witnessed back on February 10, 2006, when activists of the radical Kashmiri Islamic group Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of the Community) went on a rampage in Srinagar, the main city of the Indian portion of Kashmir. Some two dozen black-veiled Muslim women stormed gift and stationery shops, burning Valentine’s Day cards and posters showing couples together.
In the West, meanwhile leftist feminists are not to be outdone by their jihadi allies in reviling — and trying to kill — Valentine’s Day. Throughout all Women’s Studies Programs on American campuses, for instance, you will find the demonization of Valentine’s Day, since, as the disciples of Andrea Dworkin angrily explain, the day is a manifestation of how capitalist and homophobic patriarchs brainwash and oppress women and push them into spheres of powerlessness.
As a person who spent more than a decade in academia, I was privileged to witness this grotesque attack against and “deconstruction” of Valentine’s Day at close range. Feminist icons like Jane Fonda, meanwhile, help lead the assault on Valentine’s Day in society at large. As David Horowitz has documented, Fonda has led the campaign to transform this special day into “V-Day” (“Violence against Women Day”) — which is, when it all comes down to it, a day of hate, featuring a mass indictment of men.
So what exactly is transpiring here? What explains this hatred of Valentine’s Day by leftist feminists and jihadis? And how and why does it serve as the sacred bond that brings the radical Left and Islam together into its feast of hate?
The core issue at the foundation of this phenomenon is that Islam and the radical Left both revile the notion of private love, a non-tangible and divine entity that draws individuals to each other and, therefore, distracts them from submitting themselves to a secular deity.
The highest objective of both Islam and the radical Left is clear: to shatter the sacred intimacy that a man and a woman can share with one another, for such a bond is inaccessible to the order. History, therefore, demonstrates how Islam, like Communism, wages a ferocious war on any kind of private and unregulated love. In the case of Islam, the reality is epitomized in its monstrous structures of gender apartheid and the terror that keeps it in place. Indeed, female sexuality and freedom are demonized and, therefore, forced veiling, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, honor killings and other misogynist monstrosities become mandatory parts of the sadistic paradigm.
The puritanical nature of totalist systems (whether Fascist, Communist, or Islamist) is another manifestation of this phenomenon. In Stalinist Russia, sexual pleasure was portrayed as unsocialist and counter-revolutionary. More recent Communist societies have also waged war on sexuality — a war that Islam, as we know, wages with similar ferocity. These totalist structures cannot survive in environments filled with self-interested, pleasure-seeking individuals who prioritize devotion to other individual human beings over the collective and the state. Because the leftist believer viscerally hates the notion and reality of personal love and “the couple,” he champions the enforcement of totalitarian puritanism by the despotic regimes he worships.
The famous twentieth-century novels of dystopia, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, George Orwell’s 1984, and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, all powerfully depict totalitarian society’s assault on the realm of personal love in its violent attempt to dehumanize human beings and completely subject them to its rule. In Zamyatin’s We, the earliest of the three novels, the despotic regime keeps human beings in line by giving them license for regulated sexual promiscuity, while private love is illegal. The hero breaks the rules with a woman who seduces him — not only into forbidden love but also into a counterrevolutionary struggle. In the end, the totality forces the hero, like the rest of the world’s population, to undergo the Great Operation, which annihilates the part of the brain that gives life to passion and imagination, and therefore spawns the potential for love. In Orwell’s 1984, the main character ends up being tortured and broken at the Ministry of Truth for having engaged in the outlawed behavior of unregulated love. In Huxley’s Brave New World, promiscuity is encouraged — everyone has sex with everyone else under regime rules, but no one is allowed to make a deep and independent private connection.
Yet as these novels demonstrate, no tyranny’s attempt to turn human beings into obedient robots can fully succeed. There is always someone who has doubts, who is uncomfortable, and who questions the secular deity — even though it would be safer for him to conform like everyone else. The desire that thus overcomes the instinct for self-preservation is erotic passion. And that is why love presents such a threat to the totalitarian order: it dares to serve itself. It is a force more powerful than the all-pervading fear that a totalitarian order needs to impose in order to survive. Leftist and Muslim social engineers, therefore, in their twisted and human-hating imaginations, believe that the road toward earthly redemption (under a classless society or Sharia) stands a chance only if private love and affection is purged from the human condition.
This is exactly why, forty years ago, as Peter Collier and David Horowitz document in Destructive Generation, the Weather Underground not only waged war against American society through violence and mayhem, but also waged war on private love within its own ranks. Bill Ayers, one of the leading terrorists in the group, argued in a speech defending the campaign: “Any notion that people can have responsibility for one person, that they can have that ‘out’ — we have to destroy that notion in order to build a collective; we have to destroy all ‘outs,’ to destroy the notion that people can lean on one person and not be responsible to the entire collective.”
Thus, the Weather Underground destroyed any signs of monogamy within its ranks and forced couples, some of whom had been together for years, to admit their “political error” and split apart. Like their icon Margaret Mead, they fought the notions of romantic love, jealousy, and other “oppressive” manifestations of one-on-one intimacy and commitment. This was followed by forced group sex and “national orgies,” whose main objective was to crush the spirit of individualism. This constituted an eerie replay of the sexual promiscuity that was encouraged (while private love was forbidden) in We, 1984, and Brave New World.
Thus, it becomes completely understandable why leftist believers were so inspired by the tyrannies in the Soviet Union, Communist China, Communist North Vietnam and many other countries. As sociologist Paul Hollander has documented in his classic Political Pilgrims, fellow travelers were especially enthralled with the desexualized dress that the Maoist regime imposed on its citizens. This at once satisfied the leftist’s desire for enforced sameness and the imperative of erasing attractions between private citizens. The Maoists’ unisex clothing finds its parallel in fundamentalist Islam’s mandate for shapeless coverings to be worn by both males and females. The collective “uniform” symbolizes submission to a higher entity and frustrates individual expression, mutual physical attraction, and private connection and affection. And so, once again, the Western leftist remains not only uncritical, but completely supportive of — and enthralled in — this form of totalitarian puritanism.
This is precisely why leftist feminists today do not condemn the forced veiling of women in the Islamic world; because they support all that forced veiling engenders. It should be no surprise, therefore, that Naomi Wolf finds the burqa “sexy.” And it should be no surprise that Oslo Professor of Anthropology, Dr. Unni Wikan, found a solution for the high incidence of Muslims raping Norwegian women: the rapists must not be punished, but Norwegian women must be veiling themselves.
Valentine’s Day is a “shameful day” for the Muslim world and for the radical Left. It is shameful because private love is considered obscene, since it threatens the highest of values: the need for a totalitarian order to attract the complete and undivided attention, allegiance and veneration of every citizen. Love serves as the most lethal threat to the tyrants seeking to build Sharia and a classless utopia on earth, and so these tyrants yearn for the annihilation of every ingredient in man that smacks of anything that it means to be human.
And so perhaps it is precisely on this Valentine’s Day that we are reminded of the hope that we can realistically have in our battle with the ugly and pernicious unholy alliance that seeks to destroy our civilization. On this day, we are reminded that we have a weapon, the most powerful arsenal on the face of the earth, in front of which despots and terrorists quiver and shake, and sprint from in horror into the shadows of darkness, desperately avoiding its piercing light. That arsenal is love. And no Maoist Red Guard or Saudi fascist cop ever stamped it out — no matter how much they beat and tortured their victims. And no al-Qaeda jihadist in Pakistan or Feminazi on any American campus will ever succeed in suffocating it, no matter how ferociously they lust to disinfect man of who and what he is.
Love will prevail.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of our Frontpage readers.
Editor’s note: To get the whole story on Islam’s and the radical Left’s war on private love, read Jamie Glazov’s United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.
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