Naima Omar

Marxism and religion

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I would like to thank Peter Keighron for his letter (April SR) responding to my article on the Bolsheviks and Islam.

To answer your first question regarding the socialist political theory of religion and whether it has been maintained, I believe that in Britain it has — this can be seen in the fight against Islamophobia. However, in some places, such as France, it has not, and that is very much reflected in the rise of Islamophobia. The left in France has sided with the oppressor against the oppressed in the name of secularism.

The Bolsheviks, Islam and the women of the east

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Many believe that religion and socialism cannot coexist — that in order to be a socialist you have to be an atheist — yet, as Naima Omar shows, the magnificent example of the Bolsheviks’ relationship with Russia’s Muslim population following the 1917 revolutions is rooted in a different tradition.

Growing up I always held socialist views, but believed you could not be a socialist and a Muslim, nor could you advocate women’s liberation and wear the hijab. This belief is common among Muslims, based on the assumption that in order to be a socialist you must be an atheist, as all socialists hate religion.

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