I would say here in Sweden, like most countries in Western Europe, we have extremism that exists within three different ideologies. right wing extremism, left wing extremism and Islamic extremism.
Extremism is not necessarily violent, nor does it necessarily violate the law, but nevertheless, it can still be harmful to society.
In the case of Islamic extremism, people tend to confuse the various layers that exist within it and tend to only associate extremists with those using weapons and bombs, but it is important to understand that there are different types of Islamic extremists.
Islamic extremists can be classified into three categories, which are best seen as concentric circles. At the heart of the circle there are the jihadists, who believe in establishing a caliphate and imposing sharia law through violence and war.
Then a wider circle which is the Islamists, who do not necessarily believe in using violence, but they too want to build a caliphate and institute sharia law, but they use the political venue and ironically the democratic process to reach their goal.
Then we have the much wider circle of Islamic conservatives. They constitute a subtler problem in our society that does not get enough attention in my opinion. Because of the more subtle nature of problem, it is therefore more difficult to detect and tackle, which can make it even more challenging. These Islamic Conservatives do not necessarily identify themselves as Islamists, but they have extremely conservative reactionary views on women, LGBT people, freedom of thought and freedom of speech and they see secularism as the corrupt culture of the west .
Among these values are the following:
Anything but heterosexuality is sickness or perversion, angers god and should not be allowed, which naturally leads to the oppression and persecution of LGBT people.
The concept of the man being in charge of the woman which cements the patriarchal structure and obviously is the complete opposite of the principle of gender equality.
The permission for the man to beat his disobedient wife, gives divine license for violence against women.
Modesty culture and that the “good woman” is one who is modest in her clothing and does not display her attractiveness to men, otherwise she is a whore. She is then reduced to a sex object that should be concealed so not to lead to the temptation of men.
We can see this modesty culture taken as far as forcing hijab on little girls, sexualizing their bodies and depriving them of their childhood.
Sexual purity and shaming of sexuality, where romantic and sexual relationships are only allowed within marriage and the woman is denied her sexual liberty and there are dire consequences if she dares to go against the norm. And many do not even dare to go against that norm, even if they wanted to, out of fear of the consequences, which in itself constitutes a form of oppression, even if no law was broken.
Also for these reasons this doctrine calls for gender segregation to preserve this modesty and control the woman’s sexuality. Which has awful consequences with regard to the relationship between the genders and their views on one another. The woman is seen by the man mainly as a sex object and the man is seen by the woman as a monster who wants to violate her. And evidence shows there that the countries where there is gender segregation are the ones with the highest rates of sexual harassment and the least liberty for women.
All of these reactionary values contribute a great deal to the creation and maintenance of honor culture and oppression.
Since the values of Islamic extremists are in such a stark contrast to the values of equality, including gender equality and the values of the free and open society, it should be obvious that the values of Islamic extremists should be condemned and rejected, firmly, clearly and consistently. Confusingly, this is not always the case. In the next article, I will try to explain the strange alliance that has been formed between the Islamic extremists and another extremist group of another ideology.