Presumably, most of my readers have heard about the recent death of Lynne Stewart, the leftist lawyer who was assigned to defend a Muslim terrorist mastermind, the blind sheik Abdel Rahman, but who ended up in jail herself after having helped him. I have to admit that for a long time I thought of her as a clueless leftist who actually believed that the most sexist and patriarchal men in the world were going to be her allies in defeating patriarchy here in the West. After reading the NY Times obituary for her (here), I realize that that isn’t quite the case, but she is still a clueless leftist. Here is part of what the obit said about her:
In that interview, Ms. Stewart acknowledged that some of her leftist colleagues had questioned whether she should have taken Mr. Abdel Rahman’s case. They told her, she said, that as an Islamic fundamentalist he had long sought the overthrow of the Egyptian government in favor of a religious, authoritarian state that would quickly crush left-wing dissenters like her.
But she agreed to represent him, she said, because she believed that he was “being framed because of his political and religious teachings.” Moreover, she said, she sympathized with Egyptians seeking to end an oppressive government and saw the fundamentalist government as “the only hope for change there.”
Ok, so there actually were people who had pointed out to her that the person she was supporting was an enemy of the left, but she still supported him anyway. Notice that she didn’t simply represent him, but she also supported him. It’s one thing to represent someone if you think they’ve been framed, but it’s quite another to support their cause, which Stewart definitely did. At least, that’s what she said at this time. Later, she said something a little different:
At her own trial a decade later, though, Ms. Stewart testified that she did not endorse the Islamic holy war that Mr. Abdel Rahman had preached, and that she had not intended to help his followers in Egypt.
Right. She both saw a fundamentalist government in Egypt as their only hope, but she insisted that she had not intended to help the blind sheik’s followers in Egypt to set up such a government. Maybe there is a way to reconcile these statements, but even if that is possible, she seems quite confused.
She first of all seemed quite complacent about the plight of women (and gays and secularists) in Egypt as a result of the establishment of a fundamentalist government. Yes, it is sad that there was (and still is) an oppressive government in Egypt, but helping religious fundamentalists who will set up another oppressive government that will kill leftists isn’t exactly the most sensible course of action. Why not help Egypt’s leftists? Sure, they aren’t a lot of them, and they don’t have a ghost of a chance of gaining power (or retaining rule even they did manage to gain power), but one should still support them rather than reactionary theocrats.
She also apparently never considered the possibility that the blind sheik wasn’t just trying to rid the Middle East of American influence, but that he wanted to impose Islamic law here in America. This was the lesson of the destruction of the left in Iran in 1979, together with the fatwa against Salman Rushdie. It was the lesson of the murder of Theo van Gogh, of the cartoonists who were threatened or murdered outright, and of the attack on the gay nightclub in Orlando. It has been a lesson that almost no leftists have learned. The plan of the Islamists is to impose shari’a on us, and sadly the left has responded with appeasement rather than resistance.
Regarding why Stewart decided to support religious conservatives, I have no clue. But more important is that I’ve been calling people like Lynne Stewart the pre-Islamists. Pre-Islamists are those liberals and leftists who are paving the way for a fundamentalist Islamic takeover of the West. The harder versions of the pre-Islamists deliberately and publicly support conservative Muslims instead of liberal Muslims, while the softer versions merely weaken the West with their constant criticisms of it (together with their silence about the flaws of other cultures). Stewart may have been the first hard pre-Islamist to have gained public notice; that is, she seems to have been the first leftist in the West to have supported a conservative Muslim. A perfect flood of hard pre-Islamists emerged on the left after 9/11, with nary a dissenting voice. If she had been the only one, I would greet her death with a sigh of relief, but there are now tens of millions of such people in the West, and my mood is one of gloom rather than relief.