Strange new respect

At the Standard, Stephen Schwartz has an interesting column on the debate in London last Saturday between Daniel Pipes and London Mayor “Red” Ken Livingstone: “Arguing the world.” Schwartz remarks on the alliance between the radical left and radical Islam embodied by Livingstone’s debate partner:

Pipes then homed in on the strangest aspect of the present British situation: the alliance between the U.K.’s radical Left and fundamentalist Islamist ideology. Pipes identified the former as a phenomenon distinct from, and contrary to, the traditions of the Islamic faith. The absurdity of the relationship between Islamism and Marxism–given that leftists are strident in their defense of modernism and feminism–was nicely illustrated by Livingston’s choice of debating partner. The mayor chose Salma Yacoob, who represents the Respect party–best known as the shelter for George Galloway–in a local council in Birmingham. Yacoob appeared wearing a hijab, even though the Respect party is, in theory, an arm of the secularist Socialist Workers Party (SWP).
Late in the discussion, Livingston declaimed his atheism and proposed that British parents should have no chance to opt their children out of the state school system in order to receive faith-based education. It would seem that these sorts of attitudes should make the Marxist-Muslim alliance trickier than it appears.

If only.
UPDATE: At the New York Sun, Daniel Johnson also has a terrific report on the debate: “Daniels in the lions’ den.”
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