Had George Orwell’s field of vision not been filled with the immediacy of European fascism, does anyone seriously imagine that he would not have recognised Islam for the fascism it is, and instigated opposition similar to putting his life on the line in Spain? Apparently, yes. Max Fawcett in 2008 not only denies that Islam is totalitarian, but positively attacks those who say that it is, and disingenuously seeks refuge in the authority of Christopher Hitchens to imply that “George Orwell would [not have] suffer[ed] the same kind of intellectual meltdown” that, for Fawcett, honest critique of Islam amounts to:
The most natural question on which one would seek Orwell's hypothetical advice is the relationship, if there is one, between Islam and totalitarianism. It was Orwell, after all, who wrote that ‘the Spanish war and other events in 1936-37 turned the scale, and thereafter I knew where I stood. Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism, as I understand it.’ There are more than a few writers, from Mark Steyn to Sam Harris to the late Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, who have made the case that Islam represents a totalitarian threat that is not so different from the ones Orwell himself fought so hard against.
Their argument rests principally on the supposedly illiberal and anti-democratic values of Islam, values that are aided and abetted by the West's self-destructive obsession with multiculturalist relativism and stifling political correctness. These writers reference sections of the Qur’an that compel its followers to seek out and kill infidels, and highlight inflammatory statements made by the Osama Bin Ladens and Mahmoud Ahmedinejads of the Islamic world in order to demonstrate that these values are not just implicitly but also overtly hostile to those of their western counterparts. They then buttress this dark vision with a demographic scare-campaign that portrays Islamic peoples not as vulnerable immigrants or even, at times, as human beings, but instead as a cultural Wehrmacht in waiting armed not with swords, guns, or even suicide bombs but with a Blitzkrieg of pregnant bellies… (Emph. AP).
Straight off the bat, Fawcett decouples Islam from totalitarianism, reframing the question away from whether or not Islam is totalitarian, to whether or not there is a relationship between Islam and totalitarianism, two things separate and distinct. Of course, Fawcett does not see any religion as totalitarian. Note that whichever way this new question is answered, Fawcett has already won: Islam is not totalitarian.
It is wrong, according to Max Fawcett, to consult the Qur’an and statements made by leading devout Muslims to get to the bottom of Islamic values. He does not say why it is wrong to consult primary sources, it is just wrong, and dismisses it by the simple act of stating it. Fawcett implies that Islamic views are not illiberal and anti-democratic, but offers nothing to settle the matter one way or the other. On the basis of this non-proof, he feels himself justified to dismiss the critics’ “dark vision” and “demographic scare-campaign,” of course again without any evidence one way or the other.