The many faces of Islamo-Nazism

Contemporary Islamo-Nazism is of a different nature.

Islamic State militants parade in Mosul (photo credit: REUTERS)
Islamic State militants parade in Mosul
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In recent weeks several appearances of Islamo- Nazis in the European public domain have been observed. A number of demonstrations took place. In The Hague, for example, participants brandished flags of ISIS or Hamas and shouted genocidal slogans. Until recently, European Islamo-Nazis were, for the most part, not very interested in garnering public attention. They avoided any exposure that might prevent their departure to the Middle East where they could join one of the murderous Muslim groups.
The public entry of Islamo-Nazism in Europe has thus been markedly different from its entry in the United States, when, on September 11, 2001, al-Qaida, one of the older Islamo-Nazi movements, sacrificed less than 20 of its members to murder thousands of American civilians.
Nowadays, Islamo-Nazism has a different meaning than before and during the Second World War, when there were Muslims, who were at the same time Nazis. The major Palestinian leader at the time, the mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, was instrumental in the establishment of SS units in Bosnia and Kosovo. After the war, various German Nazis fled to Egypt. Some converted to Islam, such as the propagandist Johannes van Leers, and the physician and psychopathic murderer Aribert Ferdinand Heim.
Contemporary Islamo-Nazism is of a different nature. It consists of murderous Muslims whose ideology overlaps with core genocidal elements of Nazism, without belonging to any organizational Nazi framework. Current Islamo-Nazism can be described as the ideology of those Muslims who meet one of the two following characteristics: first, they are believers who want to achieve world rule of Islam by any means, including violence. In other words, for Islamo-Nazis, the goal justifies the means. The second characteristic that defines Islamo-Nazism is the promotion of genocidal programs. That includes, for instance, the mass murder of Jews and of others, including Muslims of different denominations.
Various authors have, over the years, described characteristics of Islamo-Nazism without necessarily giving it that name.
About 10 years ago, Yehuda Bauer, the director emeritus of the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem, explained, “In both the National Socialist and Marxist communist ideology, the liberal West’s parliamentary democracy is the enemy. The Jews are its typical expression.
Radical Islam identifies the same enemy. One has to realize that not only Islamism, but also these two other fundamentalisms, are religious in essence. All three surrender to a transcendental force while trying to escape from an inconvenient reality.”
He added, “It makes little difference whether one calls this the god of nature, dialectic Marxism or the Koran; their key features are similar. Islamic radicalism is the desire for a global utopia, to be achieved through violent means, which aims at global dominance. This is equally true for National Socialism and communism.”
Bauer concluded: “Every universal utopia is murderous and every radical universal utopia produces radical murderers. Despite big differences between these three ideologies which have emerged over the past hundred years, many parallels exist between them.”
In 2013, Luc Ferry, a former French education minister, said, “Terrorism today, represents somehow the equivalent of Nazism. I don’t exaggerate by saying that radical Islam today... is as atrocious as Nazism in the ‘30s.”
He also warned that radical Islam is not merely an isolated “local guerrilla” problem, but a global problem and a warning of a third world war.
Israeli anti-Semitism historian Wistrich writes that hard-core anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim world is comparable only to that of Nazi Germany. He explains that Muslim hatred for Israel and Jews is “an eliminatory anti-Semitism with a genocidal dimension.”
Regarding common elements between Muslim and Nazi anti-Semitism, Wistrich lists fanaticism, the cult of death, the nihilistic wish for destruction, and the mad lust for world hegemony.
In an article, Richard Prasquier then the head of the CRIF, the umbrella organization of French Jewry, compared radical Islam to Nazism. He noted two important common features. The first is that Jews are the prime enemy for both movements and anti-Semitism is an essential component of their ideologies.
The other is that both Nazism and radical Islam dehumanize Jews. American historian Richard Landes posited that, “Future historians will probably find that present anti-Semitism in Arab and Muslim societies reached an even higher fever pitch than that of the Nazis.”
Contemporary Islamo-Nazism manifests itself both in organized movements and through individuals. After the Islamic revolution of 1979, Iran has been the main, but far from the only force of Islamo-Nazism.
Islamo-Nazi organizations include al-Qaida, al-Nusra in Syria, ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Palestinian territories. In Africa, such movements consist of, for instance, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and al-Shabab in Somalia. There are also Islamo-Nazi movements in many other places within the Muslim world.
In addition to such organized movements, there are many individual Muslims who support Islamo-Nazi ideology. The American Pew research organization has carried out opinion polls which give indications that at least 150 million Muslims in the world agree with the al-Qaida ideology. A 2009 Pew study found that more than 20 percent of Muslims in Indonesia, Jordan and Egypt had confidence that Osama bin Laden was doing “the right thing in world affairs.” Among Nigerian Muslims, this percentage was over 50%.
Islamo-Nazis are not the only radical Muslims.
There are many other Muslim extremists who do not necessarily aim for mass murder.
A prominent such organization in a number of countries is the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey and Qatar are major supporters of Hamas, both politically and financially, and Recip Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, is a radical Muslim himself.
Defining Islamo-Nazism is also important because this ideology brings with it many related phenomena. There are fellow travelers of Islamo-Nazi movements in the West, Muslims as well as others. There are also whitewashers of Islamo-Nazism, mainly Muslims, and there are furthermore a variety of Western political parties which indirectly promote the interests of Islamo-Nazis. All these factors together represent a complex reality which is far more opaque than is usually realized.
The author’s upcoming book The War of a Million Cuts analyzes how Israel and Jews are delegitimized and how to fight this. He is a former chairman (2000-2012) of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.