by Sheila Musaji
In just the past few months there has been a rash of articles and blog entries that bring up and expand upon the sad fact that Amin el-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem collaborated with Hitler during WWII. This comes at the same time as President Bush’s use of the term Islamic Fascists appearing to validate a term used over the last few years among those determined to provoke a clash of civilizations. Whether the sudden proliferation in the use of this term (or its’ variants - Islamo-Nazi, Islamo-Fascist, etc.) and the articles attempting to find some connection with Islam and the Nazis and Fascists is simply a case of extremists feeding off of each other in our world of almost instantaneous communication, or is due to a calculated campaign is debatable, but the end result is an increase in Islamophobia and mutual distrust. Such stereotyping all too often leads to a dehumanization of the “other” and has historically been the precursor to isolation, discrimination, and violence. Such descriptions also blur distinctions and create an atmosphere in which the “enemy” becomes most or all Muslims.
Robert Duncan’s article “Islamic terrorism linked to Nazi fascists” on Renew America uses the Mufti/Hitler photo as justification for President Bush’s use of the term Islamic Fascists. Others who have jumped on this bandwagon are Jonah Goldberg in “The Swastica and the Scimitar”, Gene Pinkam, Alan Dershowitz, Timothy Furnish (who is opposed to the use of the term, but whose ‘reasons’ for that opposition still play into the same mindset, Daniel Johnson, etc.
Little Green Footballs is showing archival footage of Hitler and the Mufti, a number of blogs are referring to a photo of Hitler together with the Grand Mufti, and Daveed Gartenstein-Ross even stretches the Mufti’s aberrational behavior to include a generalized “Muslim World’s sympathy with the axis alliance”. And, the propoganda film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” is being shown across the U.S. and Canada and attempts to make this same connection.
Robert Spencer said “The misbegotten term “Islamo-fascism” is wholly redundant: Islam itself is a kind of fascism that achieves its full and proper form only when it assumes the powers of the state.” Spencer also said “The term “Islamo-Fascists” no more blames the religion of Islam than the term “Italian Fascism” blames Italy for fascism. It merely refers to those Muslims—who obviously really exist—who invoke Islam to justify violence and supremacism, whether they are invoking Islamic doctrines correctly or not.”
In fact, Spencer, and his partner Pamela Geller use the term “fascists” and “brownshirts” and “nazis” so often in relation to Muslims that it is for them commonplace. Another associate of Spencer and Geller in the Islamophobia industry, David Horowitz, even holds an annual “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” on college campuses.
This is a pointless attempt at justifying stereotyping and Islamophobia. Certainly there were some Muslims who were Nazis or Fascists, but they were a small minority compared to all of those who fought against the Nazis and the Fascists.
The actual Nazi party originated in Germany, a predominantly Christian country. The actual Facists came out of Italy, another predominantly Christian country. The Nazis and Fascists were predominantly Christians. Christianity had a role in the rise and fall of the Nazi’s. The Vatican signed a concordat with Hitler’s Reich. The Catholic responses to Hitler were ambiguous at least. There are numerous photographs of Hitler with various Christian clergy including Archbishop Cesare Orsenigo, the papal nuncio in Berlin, and with a Catholic Cardinal, Spanish and German Bishops giving Nazi and Fascist salutes, Cardinal Michael Faulhaber marching in a Nazi parade, the Reich Bishop Ludwig Muller, and many more that are still available. There are also numerous photographs of Christian symbols in Nazi artifacts.
Hitler himself referred to Christianity as a foundation for his beliefs: “The National Government will regard it as its first and foremost duty to revive in the nation the spirit of unity and cooperation. It will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life.” Source: My New World Order, Proclamation to the German Nation at Berlin, February 1, 1933
The Christian connection with the Nazis and Fascists was widespread and well-documented. The Muslim connection was minimal. And, just as there were Christians who resisted and fought against the Nazi and Fascist regimes there were also many Muslims who fought against this evil worldview.
The other side of the story is not mentioned. TAM now has a collection of such stories at Muslims Who Fought Against the ‘Real’ Fascists & Nazis
- The Bulgarian Christians and Muslims who protected Jews from the Nazis.
- The Albanian Muslims and Christians who saved Jews from the Nazis. In fact, Albania (a predominantly Muslim country) was the only country in Europe that had a larger Jewish population at the end of the war than before the war. Not one Albanian Jew or any other Jew who came to Albania for protection was turned over to the Nazis.
- The 300,000 Moroccan Jews in Israel who mourned the death of King Hassan of Jordan in 1999. His father, Mohammed V, is widely credited with having saved Morocco’s Jews from deportation during World War II, and Hassan continued the philo-Semitic policies of his father. Although there was an outbreak of anti-Jewish incidents following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the Jewish community was generally safe under the protection of both Mohammed and Hassan, who proudly considered the Jews “Moroccans of Jewish origin.
- Arabs and Jews once fought together under the British Flag against the Nazis in the Palestine Regiment.
- Noor Inayat Khan who fought against the Nazis and was killed at Dachau concentration camp.
The stories of Muslim rescuers of Jews are largely unknown and unpublished. Only in the past fifteen years have Holocaust researchers brought a few to the public’s attention. Yad Vashem and other Holocaust memorial groups have honored several Muslims (whose courageous stories we have been able to confirm) as Righteous Gentiles. The Muslim rescuers include:
- The Bosnians Dervis & Servet Korkut, who sheltered a young Jewish woman resistance fighter named Mira Bakovic and saved the Sarajevo Haggadah, one of the most valuable Hebrew manuscripts in the world
- Selahattin Ulkumen, the Turkish Consul at Rhodes, whose rescue of several dozen Jews from certain extermination at Auschwitz led to the death of his wife Mihrinissa when the Nazis retaliated against him
- The Albanian Refik Vesili who — as a 16-year-old — saved eight Jews by hiding them in his family’s mountain home.
- The central Mosque of Paris which served as a shelter for hundreds of French Jewish children being rescued from deportation to death camps.
- The majority of Allied troops that landed on the beaches of Provence in August, 1944 were “Free French” Muslims from North and West Africa. Thousands of Moroccan and Indian Muslim troops voluntarily served in the liberation of Italy. They risked and gave their lives along with Polish freedom fighters and American GIs at Monte Cassino. Tens of thousands more Soviet Muslim troops bravely served at hellish Stalingrad and Leningrad. All of us should honor and be thankful for their sacrifice in helping end the scourge of Nazism.
Tom Sager makes an important statement relevant to this discussion: Whether or not the word “Islamofascist” is racist depends on context: If you would normally preface the word fascist with a religious designation such as: “Christofascist,” “Judeofascist,” “Santeriafascist,” etc., then it would not be racist. If you speak only of “Islamofascists” and fascists of other religions are simply “fascists,” then it is racist. Similarly, to speak of “Jewish bigots” where racists of other religions are simply referred to as “bigots” would be racist.
The bottom line is that all of those who participate in, cooperate with, or do not speak out against evil (no matter what their religion) bring shame on the human race. As the Qur’an warns us all: “Oh you who believe, stand up firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even if it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor; for God can best protect both. Do not follow any passion, lest you not be just. And if you distort or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that you do” (Quran 4:135).
updated 2-3-2008 - this collection of useful articles on the use and misuse of the term fascist were added 2/3/08 and will be updated regularly. Originally posted 6/2007
A Day of Deep Sorrow: An Imam’s Reflections on Yom Hashoah, Imam Abdullah Antepli http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/a_day_of_deep_sorrow_an_imams_reflections_on_yom_hashoah
A fascist blast from the past http://www.sptimes.com/2006/08/22/Floridian/A_fascist_blast_from_.shtml
Albanian Muslims risk their own lives to save Jews from Nazis during World War II http://www.ksdk.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=222601&catid=3
The Arabs and Nazi Germany: Collaborators and Antagonists, Sonja Hegasy http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_arabs_and_nazi_germany_collaborators_and_antagonists
THE BIG LIE ABOUT `ISLAMIC FASCISM’, Eric S. Margolis http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_big_lie_about_islamic_fascism/
Blowback from the GOP’s holy war http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/02/01/islamophobia/
BOOK REVIEW: American Fascism: The Christian Right and the War on America (Chris Hedges), Carolyn Baker http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/book_review_american_fascism_the_christian_right_and_the_war_on_america_chr/
Book: Besa Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II: the Photographs of Norman H. Gershman http://www.hmh.org/la_Besa_Research.shtml
Book Review: Turkey and The Holocaust:Turkey’s Role in Rescuing Turkish and European Jewry from Nazi Persecution, 1933-1945, Irem Guney http://www.turkishweekly.net/book/17/turkey-and-the-holocaust-turkey%E2%80%99s-role-in-rescuing-turkish-and-european-jewry-from-nazi-persecution-1933-1945.html
Book: Turkey and the Holocaust: Turkey’s Role in Rescuing Turkish and European Jewry From Nazi Persecution, 1933-1945, Stanford Shaw http://www.amazon.com/Turkey-Holocaust-Rescuing-Persecution-1933-1945/dp/0814779603
Britain’s Muslim soldiers http://britainsmuslimsoldiers.com/#/ww-ii/4554736071
British Muslims, Europe and the Holocaust, Yahya Birt http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/british_muslims_europe_and_the_holocaust
Christian Right and `Islamo-Facism`, by Dan Jennejohn http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20060814&articleId=2955
Counterproductive Counterterrorism: How Anti-Islamic Rhetoric is Impeding America’s Homeland Security http://www.mpac.org/article.php?id=354
Counterproductive Counterterrorism: How Anti-Islamic Rhetoric is Impeding America’s Homeland Security http://www.mpac.org/article.php?id=354
Danger lurks in use of term ‘Islamofascism’ http://www.mlive.com/columns/aanews/index.ssf?/base/news-1/1194536593267670.xml&coll=2
The Disgrace of Holocaust Denial, Hasan Zillur Rahim http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_disgrace_of_holocaust_denial
Documentary Review: Uncovering the Obsessions of “Obsession”, David Shasha http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/documentary_review_uncovering_the_obsessions_of_obsession/
“Fascist-Islamophobia”: A Case Study in Totalitarian Demonization - 5 parts, Dr. Robert Dickson Crane http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/fascist_islamophobia_a_case_study_in_totalitarian_demonization/
Fascists? Look who’s talking, By Jim Lobe http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HI02Ak04.html
Fighting Words: The Abuse of Islam in Political Rhetoric, L. Ali Khan http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/fighting_words_the_abuse_of_islam_in_political_rhetoric/
The forgotten heroes, Muslim soldiers in WWI and WWII http://www.emel.com/article?id=65&a_id=1699
“Free Men” Film Tribute to Paris Muslims who saved Jews http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2011/1005/1224305256285.html
Giuliani Campaign Hits New Lows in Polls With Rise In Anti-Muslim Rhetoric http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/giuliani_campaign_hits_new_lows_in_polls_with_rise_in_anti_muslim_rhetoric/
“God’s House,” a documentary that chronicles the mission of photographer Norman H. Gershman to bring to light the story of Muslims who saved Jews during World War II http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2009/11/07/my-grandma-fritzi-movie-star-or-how-a-muslim-king-saved-jews-in-world-war-ii-essay/tab/article/
Holocaust Denial Undermines Islam, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/holocaust_denial_undermines_islam
Holocaust truth is told on Muslim soil, Michael Berenbaum http://www.jewishjournal.com/world/article/holocaust_truth_is_told_on_muslim_soil_20110927/
Holocaust’s untold heroes: Their story is rarely told, but Albanian Muslims took in fleeing Jews during World War II, saving thousands of lives, SHAHZADA IRFAN http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6592238.html
Holocaust exhibit in Israel remembers Muslim “righteous gentiles” http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1059416.html
David Horowitz’ Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, An Idea Whose Time Has Passed, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/david_horowitz_islamo_fascism_awareness_week_an_idea_whose_time_has_pa
Hostilities Escalate In a War Of Words http://www.theledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060819/COLUMNISTS0402/608190318/1326
How the right played the fascism card against Islam, Albert Scardino http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1405605,00.html
Interview with Norman Gershman: The Muslims who saved Jews http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112384539
Is it a war with Islamic terrorists? http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/22/AR2007122201492.html
Is the Christian Right a Fascist Movement?, John W. Whitehead http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/is_the_christian_right_a_fascist_movement/
Islam and Fascism? What Next?, Dr. S. Khurshid http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islam_and_fascism_what_next/
Islamic Fascism The New Hysteria, Alan Maass http://www.counterpunch.org/maass09122006.html
Islamic Fascism the Enemy, Not Terror, Says Santorum http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPolitics.asp?Page=/Politics/archive/200607/POL20060721a.html
Islamic Fascism: The Propaganda of Our Times, by Paul R. Dunn http://www.twf.org/News/Y2006/0906-Fascism.html
Islamic Fascisms?, By ISMAEL HOSSEIN-ZADEH http://www.counterpunch.org/hossein10262006.html
Islamic fascist terminology causing racist reaction, Dave Johnson http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dave-johnson/terror-alerts-causing-gen_b_27630.html
Islamic Fascists? Deceptive Labels & Propaganda are Counterproductive, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islamic_fascists1
Islamic or Muslim Terrorism and Extremism: Are they all Contradictions in Terms?, Jeremy Henzell-Thomas http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islamic_or_muslim_terrorism_and_extremism_are_they_all_contradictions_in_te/
‘Islamic terrorism’ an insult that distorts reality, Jimmy E. Jones http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islamic_terrorism_an_insult_that_distorts_reality/
‘Islamo-fascism’ is an Oxymoron, Enver Masud http://www.twf.org/News/Y2005/1025-Oxymorons.html
Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week III - “Annual” 6 month event bombs again, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islamo_fascism_awareness_week_iii_annual_6_month_event_bombs_again
Islamofascism’s ill political wind, James Carroll http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/01/21/islamofascisms_ill_political_wind/
The Islamo-Fascist Rationale for Abandoning Liberty, by Jacob G. Hornberger http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=20973
Islamophobia in the Presidential Elections, Malik Mujahid http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islamophobia_in_the_presidential_elections
Judeo-Christo-Fascism Awareness Week Comes to American Campuses!, Rabbi Arthur Waskow http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/judeo_christo_fascism_awareness_week_comes_to_american_campuses/
Moral Superiority, 9/11, Islamic-Fascism - The Smokescreens of War, Imraan Siddiqi http://www.counterpunch.org/siddiqi08052006.html
Muslim Violence, Christian Non-Violence: People in Glass Houses Should Not Throw Words, Sheila Musaji http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/muslim_violence_christian_non_violence_people_in_glass_houses_should_not_th/
Muslims Who Fought Against the ‘Real’ Fascists & Nazis, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/muslims_who_fought_against_the_real_fascists
Muslim savior of holocaust Jews http://www.islamophobiatoday.com/2011/10/14/muslim-savior-of-holocaust-jews/
Muslims and Arabs in the U.S. military http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/muslims_in_the_military
Muslims Who Saved Jews During the Holocaust, Rebecca Schischa http://blogs.forward.com/the-arty-semite/134920/#ixzz1fqugeWhe
Neo-Kharijite’s Not Islamic Fascists, Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/neo_kharijites_not_islamic_fascists/
Obama/Kerry Incident Proves “Muslim” Is the New “N” Word, Sheila Musaji http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/obama_kerry_incident_proves_muslim_is_the_new_n_word/
On Holocaust exploiters, deniers, and heroes, Mas’ood Cajee http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/on_holocaust_exploiters_deniers_and_heroes
Oxymorons in the News Media, Enver Masud http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/oxymorons_in_the_news_media/
Religio-Fascists in Our Midst (4 parts), Farish A. Noor http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/religious_extremism_religio_fascists_in_our_midst_part_i/
Remembrance Day: Muslim soldiers in Western Cemeteries with photographs http://www.chezchiara.com/2010/11/remembrance-day-muslim-soldiers-in.html
Resources for Responding to Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/islamo_fascism_awareness_week/
Righteous Among the Nations: Muslims Who Saved Jews from Holocaust, Tim Townsend http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/01/project-explores-muslims-_n_777257.html
Saying ‘Islamic Fascists’ May Defeat Bush’s Purpose, Parvez Ahmed http://www.arabnews.com/?page=7§ion=0&article=77812&d=13&m=8&y=2006
“Terrorism” & “Islamo-Fascism” Propaganda Campaigns http://www.ccun.org/Editorials/2007/October%20articles/Terrorism%20&%20Islamo-Fascism%20Propaganda%20Campaigns%20A%20Lecture%20By%20Dr.%20Hassan%20Ali%20El-Najjar.htm
This is how Fascism comes: Reflections on the cost of silence, Tim Wise http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/this_is_how_fascism_comes_reflections_on_the_cost_of_silence
Turkey Served As Safe Haven For Jews During The Holocaust, Margie Burns http://www.raoulwallenberg.net/saviors/diplomats/turkey-served-safe-haven-jews/
US primaries anti-Islam terminology due to Muslims’ inaction, absence http://www.khabrein.info/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11675&Itemid=88
War and Words, by Hendrik Hertzberg http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/02/13/060213ta_talk_hertzberg
The War of Jesus and Allah, By Neal AbuNab http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/the_war_of_jesus_and_allah/
‘War on Terror’ Rhetoric Sounds Like War on Islam, Parvez Ahmed http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/war_on_terror_rhetoric_sounds_like_war_on_islam/
War on Terror Produces War of Words, By Mohamed Elshinnawi http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2006-08/2006-08-17-voa70.cfm
What exactly is fascism? http://people.howstuffworks.com/fascism.htm
What is Islamofascism?, Jack Hunter http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A38540
When Language Grows Darker and Darker, Joan Chittister http://www.theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/when_language_grows_darker_and_darker/
Whitehall draws up new rules on language of terror http://politics.guardian.co.uk/homeaffairs/story/0,,2251965,00.html
Who is the Fascist Here?, Charles Evans http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_charles__060824_who_is_the_fascist_h.htm
Wrong War, Wrong Word http://www.thenation.com/doc/20060911/pollitt