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Socialists on Religion: On Islam

Marxist critics on religion and historical analysis of the main religions

General on Religion
The Classics
On Islam
On Christianity
On Judaism / Jews
- Appendix: On the Bolsheviks and Religion

Socialister om religion (Danish references)

The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity
By Tariq Ali (London, Verso, 2002, 342 pages).
Letter to a young Muslim (CounterPunch, April 25, 2002)
"Remember when you approached me after the big antiwar meeting in November 2001 (I think it was Glasgow) and asked whether I was a believer? I have not forgotten the shock you registered when I replied no’, or the comment of your friend (’our parents warned us against you’), or the angry questions which the pair of you then began to hurl at me like darts. All of that made me think, and this is my reply for you and all the others like you who asked similar questions elsewhere in Europe and North America."
Mullahs and Heretics (London Review of Books, Vol. 24, No. 3, 7 February 2002)
"There were many advantages in being an unbeliever. Threatened with divine sanctions by family retainers, cousins or elderly relatives - ’If you do that Allah will be angry’ or ’If you don’t do this Allah will punish you’ - I was unmoved. Let him do his worst, I used to tell myself, but he never did, and that reinforced my belief in his non-existence."
Also online at CounterPunch: Mullahs and heretics: A secular history of Islam (October 17-19, 2014)

- Chris Bambery: The moon and stars: Bolshevism and Islam (February 15, 2017)
"The young Soviet Union took measures which were radical in giving power to indigenous people, including the Muslim peoples of Central Asia."
Debunking the ’clash of civilisations’ (February 11, 2015)
"We need to refute the idea that we’re living through a ’Clash of Civilisations’ between the West and Islam - it’s dangerous bunkum argues Chris Bambery."

Critical Muslim
"A quarterly magazine of ideas and issues showcasting groundbreaking thinking on Islam ... We aim to challenge traditionalist, modernist, fundamentalist and apologetic versions of Islam, and attempt to set out new readings of religion and culture with the potential for social, cultural and political transformation of the Muslim world."

Cultural Logic
- Maryam El-Shall: Salafi Utopia: the making of the Islamic state (Vol. 9, 2006)
"I argue that Salafi’s envisioned society is utopian precisely for its impossibility, for its purely imaginative status. Indeed, the memory of Islam’s Golden Age is complete fantasy, a product of selective memory ... It was a utopic moment in the history of Islam precisely because it never really existed, except in the contemporary Salafi imagination."

International Socialism
- Dave Crouch: The Bolsheviks and Islam (Issue 110, Spring 2006, p.37-59)
"I shall try to show that Bolshevik policy from 1917 to the mid-1920s was radically different from the witchhunt that Stalin launched against Islam from 1927 ..."
- Neil Faulkner: Crusade and jihad in the medieval Middle East (Issue 109, Winter 2006, p. 127-142)
"Crusades was the word George Bush used as he launched his first attack on Afghanistan ... Neil Faulkner explains what lay behind the Crusades - and behind their defeat at the hands of jihad."
- Chris Harman: The prophet and the proletariat (Issue 64, Autumn 1994, p. 3-63)
"The left has not known how to react to what it sees as an obscurantist doctrine, backed by traditionally reactionary forces, enjoying success among some of the poorest groups in society. Two opposed approaches have resulted. The first has been to see Islamism as Reaction Incarnate, as a form of fascism ... The opposite approach has been to see the Islamist movements as ’progressive’, ’anti-imperialist’ movements of the oppressed ... I want to argue that both positions are wrong. They fail to locate the class character of modern Islamism or to see its relationship to capital, the state and imperialism."

International Socialist Review
- Deepa Kumar: Islam and Islamophobia (Issue 52, March–April 2007)
"Islamophobia in its current form derives from a body of knowledge known as ’Orientalist’ thought, which came into being in the late eighteenth century, and it is here we must turn in order to understand the roots of Islamophobia."
- Sharon Smith: Women and Islam (Issue 35, May–June 2004)
Hijab ban: Racist hypocrisy - Imperialism does not ’liberate’ women - Islam and resistance to imperialism - Religion, class society, and women’s oppression - Marxism and religion - The Russian Revolution - Conclusion: Past and present.

International Viewpoint
- Tariq Ali: The anti-imperialist left confronted with Islam (Issue 376, March 2006)
"The following interview with Tariq Ali was conducted by Alex De Jong and Paul Mepschen of the SAP (Dutch section of the Fourth International) at the Ernest Mandel symposium held in Brussels in November 2005."
- Gilbert Achcar: Eleven theses on the resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism (2006)
"Given the renewed discussion, we are producing this 1981 document, which stands the test of time. The ’theses’ were circulated widely and have been translated into many languages. Their success was due to the fact that they gave a Marxist analysis of a phenomenon that was then still relatively new. The current resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism dates from the 1970s, and reached its first crescendo, after years of underground activity, with the Iranian revolution of 1979."
- Salma Yaqoob: Islam and the left (Issue 371, October 2005)
"Salma Yaqoob is a founder member of Respect and a leading Muslim anti-war activist in Britain. Here she was speaking at the SWP’s Marxism event in London a few days after the London bombings on July 7,­ an event which was naturally dominating politics at that point - in the session on Muslims and the left."
Islam and the Left: a reply to Salma Yaqoob(2005)
"An Iranian reader takes sharp issue with Salma Yaqoob’s October article on Islam and the left."

- Abdelwahab Meddeb: Islam and the Enlightenment: between ebb and flow (Vol. 5, Issue 3, Fall 2006)
"Islam can be doubly associated with the spirit of the Enlightenment. Long before, as early as the middle of the eighth century, it produced the premises of the Enlightenment; afterwards, starting in the nineteenth century, it experienced its effects."
Texter om islam och islamism ur marxistisk synvinkel

Marxists Internet Archive
Minutes of the Congress of the Peoples of the East (Baku, September 1920). With Foreword by Tom Kemp (February 1977).
Seventh Session: On Rights of Women (September 7, 1920)
- V.I. Lenin: Draft Theses on National and Colonial Questions. For the Second Congress of the Communist International (5 June, 1920)
"With regard to the more backward states and nations, in which feudal or patriarchal and patriarchal-peasant relations predominate, it is particularly important to bear in mind: the need to combat Pan-Islamism and similar trends, which strive to combine the liberation movement against European and American imperialism with an attempt to strengthen the positions of the khans, landowners, mullahs, etc." (In Danish).
See also:
- Minutes of the Fourth Session (July 25, 1920) with Lenin’s Report on National and Colonial Question and M.N. Roy’s Supplementary Theses.
- Minutes of the Fifth Session (July 28, 1920) with Discussion on National and Colonial Question + the final Theses on the National and Colonial Question.
- M.N. Roy: Historical role of Islam: an essay on Islamic culture (1939)
Contents: The mission of Islam - Social and historical background of Islam - The causes of triumph - Mohammad and his teachings - Islamic philosophy - Islam and India.

The Meek and the Militant : Religion and power across the world
By Paul N. Siegel (London, Zed Books, 1986, 229 pages).
Chapter 9: Islam.
The social origins of Islam - The effect of its social origins on Islam - Islam and the tribal ethics and religion of the Arabs - Islam, Judaism, and Christianity - The expansion of Islam - The zenith of Islamic civilization - The development and decline of Islamic civilization - Islamic sects - Islam and the anti-imperalist struggle - Islam and modernization - Islam and reaction.

MR Zine
- Juan Goytisolo: Voltaire and Islam (24/01/07)
"The call [of Voltaire] is in general terms just and merits our support, but it demands a series of qualifications, not only for the variety of existing situations in the Muslim world, but also for the multiplicity of positions, often contradictory, that Voltaire takes on the subject."

Muhammad (pdf)
By Maxime Rodinson (translated from the French [1961] by Anne Carter, Penguin, 1971/1985; online at The Charnel-House).
Chapter 3: Birth of a Prophet (p. 38-68).
Bogen i svensk oversættelse: Muhammed: Om profetens liv och Islams uppkomst (pdf) (Gidlund, 1981; online på

New Left Review
Riddles of the book (Issue 86, March-April 2014). Perry Anderson interviews Suleiman Mourad.
"A scholar of Islamic history discusses the formation and trajectory of the last great Abrahamic religion. Tensions between ecumenicism and jihad, pan-Islamism and division of the umma, and a bleak present of recrudescent sectarianism."
See also: Islamism and the Contemporary Arab World (Verso Blog, 17 January 2017). Extract (p.86-93) from Suleiman Mourad: The Mosaic of Islam: A Conversation with Perry Anderson (Verso, 2016, 164 p.). The book is a revised edition of the New Left Review article above.

Islamic Reformation? By Sami Zubaida (5 January 2016)
"We keep hearing calls for an ‘Islamic Reformation’, but the Protestant Reformation was not a liberal enterprise: it was the original ‘fundamentalism’, whence the label now applied to Islam."

Socialist Review
Interview: Tariq Ali (November 2006)
"Tariq Ali challenges the myth that Islam is incompatible with the West in his four novels about the Muslim world and Europe. He discussed them with Talat Ahmed."
- Neil Davidson: Islam and the Enlightenment (March 2006)
"The intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th century that became known as the Enlightenment helped a new class to come to power in Europe. Neil Davidson asks why the more advanced civilisations of the Islamic world did not develop a similar movement of their own."
+ Letter by John Game: What colonialism did for them (April 2006).

Socialist Worker
- Neil Faulkner: Crusade and jihad (Issue 1953, 28 May 2005)
"Neil Faulkner examines the medieval precursor of imperialism in the Middle East."

State of Nature
Theme: Religion in the modern world (Issue 1, Autumn 2005):
On Islam:
An interview with M. Shahid Alam
"M. Shahid Alam was born in Bangladesh and moved to Pakistan in 1971, and received his PhD in economics from Canada in 1979. His political essays have been featured in Dawn (Pakistan), The Nation (Pakistan), Al-Ahram (Egypt), The Star (Bangladesh), CounterPunch (USA), Commondreams (USA), and others."
An interview with Mehdi Kia
"Mehdi Kia is a political activist and co-editor of Iran Bulletin-Middle East Forum. The journal is a political quarterly in defence of democracy and socialism in the Middle East."

Weekly Worker
- Jack Conrad: Origins of islam: religion and class (Issue 467, February 13, 2003)
"This article has nothing much to say that is directly contemporary. It is unashamedly historical. However, the intention is to call into question some widely held notions about islam. Certainly the aim is to undermine the ’clash of civilisations’ thesis, by which islam is painted as inherently backward and violent. By equal measure I want to show that the origins and fundamental texts of islam are not divine, but are thoroughly human and can only be properly explained in historical and materialist terms."

What Next?
- Tan Malaka : Communism and Pan-Islamism (Issue 21, 2001)
"This is an extract from a speech made by the Indonesian Marxist Tan Malaka at the Fourth Congress of the Communist International in 1922. Taking issue with the theses drafted by Lenin and adopted at the Second Congress, which had emphasised the need for a ’struggle against Pan-Islamism’, Tan Malaka argued for a more positive approach."

Workers Liberty
- Featured Topics: Religion & Politics : Islamism.

- Pervez Hoodbhoy: Science and the Islamic world: the quest for rapprochement (August 03, 2007)
"Internal causes led to the decline of Islam’s scientific greatness long before the era of mercantile imperialism. To contribute once again, Muslims must be introspective and ask what went wrong."

Islam (
Criticism of Islam (
Koranen on-line (Forlaget Vandkunsten)
Skeptic’s Annotated Quran


Gaia: tidsskrift for international solidaritet (nr.81, forår 2017, 31 s.). Kvartalstidsskrift online med artikler om Trump og nyliberalismen, Etiopien, Cuba, Filippinerne, Israel og Columbia.

Against the Current (Issue 188, May-June 2017). Amerikansk socialistisk tidsskrift online med artikler bl.a. om Trumps politik, Latinamerikas højredrejning, Den Russiske Revolution og arbejderdemokrati + mange boganmeldelser.

Kritisk Debat (17. april 2017). Online med 16 artikler, bl.a. om Socialdemokraterne og højrepopulismen, Latinamerika, Frankrig, Indien, samt en længere artikel af Göran Therborn om ulighedens dynamik (fra New Left Review).

International Socialism (Issue 154, Spring 2017, 223 p.). Britisk kvartalstidsskrift online med artikler bl.a om Donald Trump og den neoliberalistiske verdensorden, antisemitisme og højrefløjen, den russiske revolution og Lenins April-teser, klasseanalyse, Frantz Fanon, Engels og menneskets forhistorie + boganmeldelser.

Se også:
Nyeste links på Modkraft Biblioteket
Nogle af de nyeste links tilføjet på Tidslinjen og linksamlinger på Modkraft Bibliotekets sider.

Aktuelle links


Links med en marxistisk økonomisk blogger, nyere marxistiske bøger og socialistiske konferenceoplæg.

Michael Robert - blogging from a Marxist economist
"First-rate Marxist political economy, deployed for both analysis and polemic, lucidly explained and supported by illuminating graphs and tables."

Marxist books on the global financial crisis and capitalism
Linkbox med et udvalg af nyere marxistiske bøger på engelsk. Med anmeldelser, debat og interviews - og nye bøger (2016) af Michael Roberts og Anwar Shaikh.

Radical economic theories of the current economic crisis (pdf, 23 sider)
Union of Radical Political Economics, sommerkonference 2012.
Med bidrag fra Steve Keen, Andrew Kliman, David M. Kotz, Arthur MacEwan, Fred Moseley, Thomas I. Palley, Jack Rasmus, Michael Roberts, Anwar Shaikh og Richard Wolff.


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Lavet af Filip S -


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Dem, der ønsker at opgive frihed for sikkerhed, vil ikke få, og fortjener ejheller, nogen af delene.

Thomas Jefferson . USAs tredje præsident (1743-1826)

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