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Saturday, February 18, 2006

Muhammed, Marx and KFC

In his book, Unholy Alliance, David Horowitz examines why certain leftist intellectuals, politicians and activists have taken up the cause of radical Islam. Horowitz’ thesis is that certain western leftists still hold to a Marxist interpretation of history and current events. This Marxist interpretation causes them to interpret all events as a part of a larger class struggle between oppressors and oppressed. Generally, the oppressors are wealthy capitalists and those allied with them. America, as the wealthiest, most prosperous capitalist country is seen as the standard bearer and the arch-enemy. In turn, anyone fighting against America, is automatically categorized as “oppressed”. The oppressed become heroes, regardless of their faults or other sins. This is similar to what Arnold Kling has identified as “Folk Marxism". James Taranto has also picked up on this idea.

Under this interpretation, it is very easy to understand why some radicals have chosen to side with Islamic terrorists, and against America and it’s allies. After all, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”.

So what does this have to do with Muhammed and KFC?

Well, it would seem that the recent rioting, looting and pillaging in places such as Pakistan, has nothing to do with religion, cartoons or blesphemy. Instead of a zealous religious reaction to depictions of Muhammed, the riots in Pakistan are actually a part of a greater struggle between the oppressed and their oppressors. (This despite the recent $1,000,000 bounty placed on the head of “the cartoonist” by a Pakistani cleric.)

According to this view, Muslims aren’t actually that angry about Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed. What they are angry about is that they don’t have enough money to afford Original Recipe Kentucky Fried Chicken.
"In Western society, only the common man eats at KFC. But in Pakistan, these are eateries of the most privileged," says Rasul Bakhsh Rai, a professor at the Lahore University of Management Sciences.
See, they are just poor and hungry.
"There was no religious component to the violence," says Kamila Hyat, joint director of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, based in Lahore. "All the violence was influenced by small groups of boys who were not moved by the blasphemy issue."

I have to admit that I'm a little surprised and discouraged to see Pakistani intellectuals making these statements. This is nothing more than a Marxist interpretation of events, and it deliberatly ignores the religious motivations of the protestors. Unfortunately, this type of thinking is all too common these days.

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