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It is now a universally acknowledged fact that the Twentieth Century represented one of the darkest and bloodiest centuries in the history of humanity. The idea of 'Social Darwinism', the basics of which were put forth in the 19th Century, was the main reason that dragged the 20th Century into an array of turbulence, dissension, war and conflict. Hence, it is crucial to grasp the importance of the impact Social Darwinism had on the world of thought. Employing the concept of Social Darwinism (which lacks any scientific foundation), many people who did not live according to the morality of religion started to regard cruelty, violence and persecution as natural. The repercussions of that falsified ideology can still be seen in our world today. The persecutors, in their own minds, claimed that their cruelty had a scientific foundation; that wrongful mindset made the 20th Century rife with killings perpetrated by totalitarian regimes and organizations that oppressed and slaughtered innocent people for the sake of their own ideological obsessions.
Looking at the terrible sufferings and disasters that fascism has inflicted on mankind will enable one to understand the impact of Social Darwinism on the bloodshed and the genocide the world witnessed during World War II. Adolf Hitler, the ideologist and leader of the Nazi movement, was undisputedly the most dangerous of the racist Social Darwinists. Under his command, the Nazis carried out genocide on an industrial scale against people they considered “inferior races”, including the Jews, Gypsies and Eastern Europeans. To understand the meaning of the term “inferior races”, and the roots of that so-called scientific misconception, we should look at the underlying philosophy of Social Darwinism.
A revealing point is the way the Nazi worldview took Darwin's theory of evolution as its intellectual basis. Whilst proposing his theory, Charles Darwin claimed that there was a constant fight for survival in nature, and that some races were particularly favored in the fight, while others were doomed to lose and consequently, be “eliminated.” As one might expect, these views soon came to represent the scientific foundation of racism.
Under the influence of Darwinian views, the Nazis attempted to annihilate people from many different faiths and nations, such as Jews, religious Catholics and Slavic people; they slaughtered mental patients, handicapped people and the elderly in gas chambers. The Nazis carried out this persecution in front of the eyes of the whole world; they committed mass murder with the cruelest methods. The Nazis' racial policies, known as “eugenics,” represented a “proactive” approach to the theory of evolution as applied to society. Eugenics refers to the "weeding out" of the sick and handicapped, and the “improvement” of the human race by increasing the number of healthy individuals. This is not a new idea; the ancient Greek Spartans were well-known for applying a method of eugenics through the practice of infanticide. They would decide that if a baby was born with some manner of physical defect, it would be left to die of exposure; for the ancient Spartans, this represented an attempt to ensure that Spartan children would grow up to become Spartan warriors as adults.
The concepts of freedom of thought and faith, the right of every person to his or her life, the inadmissibility of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the fact that everyone has the right to liberty and security of person and the prohibition of slavery, servitude and forced labor are concepts the whole world now embraces and regards as fundamental rights and freedoms. Today these fundamental rights are under the protection of an international treaty, the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. However during World War II, every single one of those rights were violated under Nazi rule with the influence of Darwinist indoctrination. The Nazis began by killing their political opponents, then set about murdering all those innocent handicapped and the mentally ill, whom they saw as being “harmful” according to their twisted theories of eugenics. They began oppressing and torturing Jews and other minorities living in Germany and then, in 1939, launched World War II in Europe and within two years turned the areas under their control into killing fields in the name of “racial purity”. The Nazis killed 11 million people, many in their horrifying concentration and extermination camps - veritable genocide factories where technology was systematically employed to sadistically murder babies, the elderly and the sick. An estimated total of 55 million people died during that war, at least 30 million of them being innocent civilians killed by the Nazis.
With the rule of the Nazis and their openly exterminationist policies, the world became a place of hitherto unseen savagery. Even today, there are still some anti-Semitic actions against the inoffensive Jewish community. In order to prevent a similar tragedy from ever happening again, a worldwide collaboration is exceedingly important. A common cultural campaign must be carried out against anti-Semitic groups and the fact that racism and radicalism has inflicted nothing but the most terrible suffering and disasters for mankind must be explained to everyone.
Muslims must be pioneers in the fight against hatred because true believers see other people as beings God created, and make no distinctions between them on grounds of race, nation, skin color or language. In every human being, they see beauty created by God, and take pleasure in that beauty; their faith makes them loving, compassionate and protective. In the Koran, God has forbidden discrimination on the grounds of race and has revealed that people can attain superiority in His sight through faith:
“O humanity! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribe so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in God's sight is the one with the most fear of God. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (Koran, 49:13)
All of mankind has a responsibility to ensure that such atrocities never happen again, and that such monstrous ideas are never again allowed to spread. However, Muslims have a special duty to fight against anti-Semitism as they have long been exposed to such poisonous and false teachings in the past century. It is therefore absolutely essential to denounce anti-Semitism, to remember the Nazi's atrocities and to commemorate the victims of this horrific violence.
The writer, Adnan Oktar, is a Muslim opinion leader from Turkey, who has authored more than 300 books in 73 languages on political, faith-related and scientific topics. Twitter: @harun_yahya