L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

04 November 2008 Blog Home : November 2008 : Permalink

Why Islamofascicm is a Valid Label

I accidentally sloped over to the Grauniad today and in amidst their gloating over tonight's US election results (if Obama loses its going to be hilarious to see the backpeddling) there is a comment piece by one Anne Karpf about how unfair it is to compare Muslims with Nazis. She makes some fair points, in that yes it should be obvious to anyone that not all Muslims are terrorists, bad folks etc. and she manages the requisite anti-Zionist dig by exhuming the words of Menachem Begin. Then she has a fair stab at reducing the charges against one of the few clear cases of Nazi era Islamofascists, Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Palestinian leader known as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Finally she makes the point that at confusing Nazi anti-semitism with Arab/Muslim anti-semitism is not helpful.

All of this is fine and dandy - I might argue a little about the emphasis but I don't think she's utterly wrong here. But then she stops. And that's the problem. You see she somehow omitted to mention the groups that immediately spring to my mind when the word "Islamofascist" is used. Those groups are Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranians, Al Qaeda and the Taliban. We know perfectly well that they are not representative of all Muslims and indeed anyone with clue knows that some of them are enemies of others of them. However what they have in common is that they all show the sort of totalitarian state ideaology that sounds remarkably similar to the rhetoric of Mussolini, Franco and Hitler.

Fascism is not defined by anti-semitism. True most Fascists are/were anti-semites but that wasn't the only thing that Fascists had in common. For the most part Fascism was about state control and conformity. It was about punishing the non-conformists and taking their goods to reward the faithful. When you look at fundamentalist Islam's ideas for Dhimmi and Jizya it doesn't sound too different. The prime difference between, say Hezbollah, and Hitler seems to be that Hezbollah ties its ideology to its interpretation of the Koran while Hitler was more atheist.

It is absolutely true that many Muslims are nothing like Fascists and hence do not deserve the tag Islamofascist. However many is not the same as all. There is a significant minority of so-called Muslims who do act in ways similar to Fascists and who therefore deserve the Islamofascist label.