“Normies, out… Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” (Big Man Tyrone, 2017). With that quite bizarre war cry, my first experience of the nation known as Kekistan ended. I couldn’t believe what I had seen. A group of trolls and self-described shitposters had come together under the flag, religion and history of a completely fictional nation known as Kekistan. A little more investigation led me to the Youtuber who started the Kekistani meme: Sargon of Akkad.
Sargon states that he invented Kekistan as a “parody of identity politics… for people who don’t like identity politics”. Sargon explicitly positions Kekistan as against both the far right and the far left, both of whom he sees as subservient to identity politics (The Thinkery, 2017). Perhaps the most ironic thing then, is the fact that currently there is a battle raging for the soul and identity of Kekistan. There are those within the Alt-Right who have co-opted it, much to the annoyance and chagrin of those who wish to keep it as a parody of identity politics. What unites both factions of Kekistanis, however, is their view of Islam as transgression.
Image source: knowyourmeme.com
Kekistan is a transgressive concept. It exists to blur boundaries and break them where possible. This can be shown through Sargon’s own view of the guidelines given by the census bureau in the UK (The Thinkery, 2017). Furthermore, the subversive nature of Kekistan and the religion of Kek is shown in the fact that those not part of these are known as ‘normies’ thus suggesting that those who are not Kekistani are normal and that the Kekistani is marked by his/her transgressing against the norm. What is interesting is the fact that in order to transgress, Kekistan and the religion of Kek has adopted much of that deemed to be Islamic(ate). Why is this the case?
Orientalists have long considered Islam to be scandalous and transgressive. The famous example of this is the oriental’s sexual freedom that, to a “restrained” Victorian observer, was a sign of a primitive society (Said,  1995, 190). Indeed, there is also the notion that Islam, if not characterised as a defective form of “Pauline Christianity” is a “parasitic and arid religion” (Turner,  2003, 67). Within both the Kekistan and the religion of Kek, there are two main allusions to the Islamicate. The first is the name of the nation, Kekistan, which reminds one of the Islamicate central Asian countries as well as Pakistan. The second relates to the central declaration of the cult of Kek to be found on the Kekistan Reddit, “There is only one god, Kek, and Pepe is his prophet”. This is clearly an allusion to the Islamic declaration of faith, “There is only one God, Allah, and Muhammad is his Prophet”. Thus Islam is seen as something subversive and different and the Kekistani clothe themselves in Islamicate symbols and references to prove how transgressive they are. The implication that Islam is subversive and scandalous is Islamophobic, as defined by the Runnymeade report (The Runnymeade Trust, 1997), and provides the basis for the Kekistan’s own subversiveness.
A second example of Islam as transgressiveness taking centre stage comes from the Alt Right itself. During a white nationalist rally at Charlottesville, a chant was heard. “White Shariah Now, White Shariah Now” (Taze Haber En, 2017). So what exactly is white shariah?
According to Vandal (2017), the white shariah meme is in reference to the need for the white race to implement a patriarchy more extreme than that the West has had the past. Without this patriarchy, the white race will cease to exist. In modern times, the only value system that implements an “extreme, rigidly codified patriarchy” is Islam. Vandal states:
“I don’t like Muslims, but if they had invented the wheel, I would have no qualms about stealing it from them. If our enemies are in possession of a superior weapon, it is our duty – in the name of the survival of our race – to steal that weapon from them and use it against them. One must fight fire with fire” (Vandal, 2017)
The placing of Islam and the Muslim as transgressive is confirmed in Vandal’s theorisation. The overly sexual oriental is seen as “out-breeding” the white man. Thus the white man requires patriarchy in order to “fight fire with fire”. Furthermore, Vandal juxtaposes the “overly civilized weaklings” of the West with what Thorenson (2017) calls “… the brutality of the Islamic world” (Vandal, 2017). Vandal (2017) argues that Western man has lost the barbarity that made him great; white men did not conquer the world by being civilized, he says, but by going to foreign lands and forcibly taking them.
What we see In Vandal’s (and others) theorisations is a radical inversion of the West/Non-West distinction. The core distinction, that the West is civilized and the Rest are barbaric, is left intact, but that which is to be aspired to is the barbarity of the Rest. Not the civilization of the West. What is to be aspired to is the “trad life” (traditional life) not the trappings of modernity which have led to the aforementioned “overly civilized weaklings” of the West (Vandal, 2017; Anon, 2016). This inversion of the hegemonic binary of westernese has the potential to change our understanding of the newest manifestation of the right and its relationship with Islam.
Anon, 2016. White Shariah (White Sharia). (Online). [Accessed 30th August 2017]. Available on: http://all.people.are.sheeple.fyi/White_Sharia
Big Man Tyrone. 2017. Tyrone Declares War on Normies (Online). [Accessed 2nd August 2017]. Available on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UE6YouZrVIY
The Runnymeade Trust, n.d. Islamophobia: A Challenge for us All (Online) [Accessed 30th July 2017]. Available on: http://www.runnymedetrust.org/uploads/publications/pdfs/islamophobia.pdf
The Thinkery. 2017. Sargon of Akkad explains Kekistan to The Amazing Atheist #FreeKekistan (Online). [Accessed 19th August 2017]. Available on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCDsXHUwUjY&t=220s
Thorenson. D. 2017. Whigger Sharia (Online) .[Accessed 30th August 2017]. Available on: https://www.counter-currents.com/2017/06/whigger-sharia/
Vandal, S. 2017. In Defence of White Sharia (Online). [Accessed 25th August 2017]. Available on: https://www.counter-currents.com/2017/06/in-defense-of-white-sharia/