What’s an Unrepentant Fenian Islamist?

In case anyone’s wondering what the subtitle on my blog means, here you go.

 First, Fenian Bastard was a term that was used by British security services as an insult against Irish republicans.  This was ironic, because Irish Republicans were in fact very proud to be associated with the Fenian heritage.  Fenian derives from the Na Fianna, the legendary band of Irish warriors led by Fionn mac Cumhaill.  It was adopted by groups of republican Irishmen in America, England, and Ireland in the 19th century.  There were even attempted Fenian invasions of Canada (aimed at liberating Ireland from Great Britain) in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. Civil War.   So Irish republicans in the later part of the 20th century adopted the term Unrepentant Fenian Bastard as a badge of honor and resistance for themselves.  Laurence McKeown, former Irish republican prisoner and hunger striker entitled his dissertation “Unrepentant Fenian Bastards: The Social Construction of an Irish Republican Prisoner Community.”  This is available in book form as “Out of Time: Irish Republican Prisoners, Long Kesh, 1972-2000.”  

I am also a Muslim.  I am not a secular Muslim, either, but a Muslim who believes that Islam calls for the reformation of  whole societies including governments to the Justice commanded by God.  This is a viewpoint widely shared by Muslims but not widely defended in Western intellectual circles.  So, at some point, I decided, at least in certain contexts to embrace the term Islamist.  Now, I recognize that the term Islamist is a contested one and I’m sure what some people think of as Islamism would include many things I do not agree with and of which I am not in favor.  Perhaps someday I will change the subtitle to a simpler Unrepentant Fenian Muslim.  But, at least for now, the spirit of unabashed resistance that I want to embrace is better served by boldly claiming the term Islamist.

In case it isn’t clear from the above the “unrepentant” part refers to not being ‘repentant’ or sorry or ashamed of either the Fenian heritage nor of being an Islamist.  In general, as a God-fearing Muslim, I feel tremendously repentant for my many faults and shortcomings.

 But wait, aren’t there some inherent contradictions between Fenianism or Irish republicanism and Islamism?  Now that’s something too complex to be answered here.

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9 Responses to “What’s an Unrepentant Fenian Islamist?”

  1. Joel_Cairo Says:

    I am not a secular Muslim, either, but a Muslim who believes that Islam calls for the reformation of whole societies including governments to the Justice commanded by God.

    I’m very interested in this Abu Noor, and wonder if you’d expand a bit. When you say “reformation” is that to be understood as a rejection of a theocratic Islamist revolution, a la 1978 Iran? Is your vision compatible with liberal democracy, or would you like to see a different model of governance? What would these reformations be: should civil law be replaced by Sharia or can the Justice commanded by God be achieved by more incremental means (more equitable distribution of wealth, etc)?

    Also, if I may ask, with which branch of Islam do you identify?

  2. John O'Brien Says:

    unrepentant fenian bastard and proud of it!

    when my parents arrived in england from ireland they suffered the same abuse and bigotry that muslims now face here. the british state create their enemies, and turn the people against them with the help of the right wing media.

    slan

    John

  3. abunooralirlandee Says:

    John,

    Go raibh ma agat for visiting my blog and leaving your comment.

    God willing keep coming back and sharing your thoughts. I hope to continue writing about Irish issues and most importantly about the lessons that can be drawn from Irish history, as from any people’s history, about what is truly important to us as human beings and what can bring us all together despite the plots of those who who try to oppress people for their own benefit.

    Tiocfaidh Ar La,

    Abu Noor.

  4. abuaisha Says:

    In ainm Dé atá lán trua agus trócaire

    As-Salaamu `Alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuhu

    Great to stumble upon your blog Akhi. I’m an Irish/Italian Muslim over in Australia, been Muslim for the past 6 years – moladh go hard le Dia, Tiarna na nUile Dhomhan.

    May Allaah keep you and us all steadfast in our da’wah and in our deen.

  5. Ardan Says:

    Your state that you are not a secular muslim but one who would advocate some kind of islamic governance. I honestly cannot believe that in the 21st Century people still advocate totalitarian regimes which would not include freedom of thought, speech or religion.

    Have your religion mate, you’re very welcome to it, but you shall not impose it on others. In Iran, they hang and stone homosexuals because of the way they were born? Would you advocate that? If so, you are a lacking in tolerance and mercy and have no right to claim that they follow a religion of peace.

    Most of the issues you talk about are far more complicated than a ‘right and wrong way’. It’s almost too easy to side with the fashionable Palestinians or the Irish Republicans. Those who claim to fight for Irish and Palestinian independence have blood on their hands. They, like the Isreali and Loyalists have committed atrocities for ultimately what is a question of faith. Blind faith is not something to be lauded for, indeed faith within politics is far from desirable , it allows questions to be dodged. Clear, logical and rational answers are not necessary when you can use the religious trump card.

    This applies more to the Islamic fundamentalists situation that it does in the Northern Ireland conflict. The Northern Ireland conflict is a question of identity. Again, the majority of people in NI should be able to decide what the status of their country is. The people have more in common than apart. It isn’t a question of differing communities, only differing political opinions. This way of thinking of it is more likely to bring peace than separating groups of people into them and us.

    Abu Noor, you seem like a nice, albeit confused man. Look to countries which are run under Sharia Law? You tell me whether these countries have a good human rights record? They don’t, because having moral police almost invariably results in discrimination against some aspects of the community, and better treatment for others. I have friends who have lived in Saudi Arabia who are rich- they are thus allowed to drink and smoke and live what may be described my some as an immoral life. They are above the law, because in regimes where laws intrude into private and personal moral decisions such as sexuality and home life, there will always be enough people to disagree with them so that they lose their validity.

    Finally, how would Islamic governance work when there are so many differing strands of Islam? Who would interpret the laws? Would they be accountable? There are big differences within your religion, there is a civil war in Iraq between differing ideologies (which was directly caused by the unwise and illegal invasion of Iraq by American and British troops)

    Best wishes,
    Ardal

  6. abunooralirlandee Says:

    Is it Ardal or Ardan,

    Thank you for visiting and thank you for your comments.

    You raise many excellent questions and issues with which I struggle on a daily basis.

    I don’t claim to have all the answers but I hope you will continue to come by and give me your input as we continue to learn and grow together.

    Why should you say that the “majority in NI should decide on their status”? Why not the majority in the island of Ireland as a whole?
    That is the issue, what is the legitimacy of carving out a particular portion of the Ireland and deliberately gerrymandering it to contain a majority with a certain view?

    And I certainly don’t endorse the practices of any government in any Muslim country. I want to bring Islam to challenge those governments…which is exactly what I said I don’t want to just leave what governments do alone and claim that is politics not part of religion, I want to encourage justice and righteousness in all facets of society. This does not mean that I wish to force religious belief upon anybody.

    I undoubtedly will address these questions more in the future.

    Again, thanks for your comments and questions.

  7. Ardal Says:

    Thanks for the hasty response!

    With regards to the Irish question. Of course, the province was carved out in 1921 at the same time as the Free State was created. The distinction between letting the whole of Ireland decide or alternatively only the North of Ireland, is a question which managed to provoke ideological splits within the Republican movement itself, leading to the IRA refusing to recognise the new Irish government as legitimate. It is indeed a difficult concept, but I believe if you look into the motives for creating the separate state of NI it was certainly clear that a civil war would have broken out if the U.K government had allowed the whole of Ireland to be unified at that time.

    Your certainly right with regards to the Gerrymandering. The 6 counties of Northern Ireland were often crudely marked out, and the failure of allowing Catholic Republicans to be proportionately represented or to have a fair say in the local governance of their communities is one of the major factors in the troubles igniting. As I say, there are no easy answers to the situation. What Sinn Fein realised, to their credit, is that their goal of a unified Ireland would never happen by bombing and blowing the Province into economic ruin and civil war. You have to win over the hearts and minds. One of my best friends is from NI and was born into a traditional unionist family. She was lucky enough to be too young to have experienced the full tragedy of the troubles and thus considers herself to be Irish. She would welcome NI joining the Republic. Even so, the bigger problem for Republicans is the problem that at the last vote, the population of the Republic of Ireland hinting that they themselves would not welcome NI into their Sovereign State. It seems that they are wary of having the conflict as ‘their own problem’. Like the majority of the people of NI, they too realise that with the U.K and Irelands entry into the EC, the significance of sovereignty has declined to an extent. Multi culturalism and dual nationalities is now much more prominent than it was in the 70’s.

    Just my thoughts on the complicated matter! Let us hope for tolerance, peace and understanding. (I would say pray, but alas I am not myself a religious man)

    It’s Ardal by the way. My heritage is Irish/Egyptian and I am myself a liberal northern Englishman!

    Best Wishes

  8. Umm Salwan Says:

    Salam, brother Abu Noor. I stumbled upon your blog and it’s very interesting. At a younger age I was very much ‘in love’ with Irish heroes in historical novels. I couldn’t read enough it seems. Now looking back I laugh at my childish fantasies, but I’m glad to have found a fiercely proud Irish Muslim Blogger! I agree with you about the secular part, but what most people don’t understand about sharia law is that even in the times of the Sahaba (radya Allahu anhum) there were times when certain circumstances led to penal laws NOT being followed to the letter.

  9. youssef Says:

    salaam brothers and sisters

    Firstly I’d like to say that if my english seems bad (and I know it is) it is because I’m from Belgium.
    Nice discussion going on here, with a lot of interesting subject.
    I think that public speakers like hamza tzortzis, abdullah al andalusi, etc offer interesting views about this subject. They are bringing back the classical islamic political thought on an academic level.

    For myself, I don’t see why the islamic penal code is seen as a problem, except I you view it with another viewpoint of live, i.e. secular liberalism.
    the question in essence is -also in this subject- what is morally good and bad? And each ideology has other answers about this. With different measures it is very difficult to have a judgement, waybe we should look which measure is right.

    greetings, beslama

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