Folks seem to be in a quandary when asked if the terms "Islam" and "Fascists" can be used in the same sentence. Those who line-up on the naysayers' side claim any such linkage demonstrates a lack of sensitivity toward the vast majority of followers of Islam.
But despite some weak politically correct attempts, the fact is that the press for the most part is guilty of whitewashing one simple fact: There is a radical, heretical brand of Islam fostering terrorism that is indeed a by-product of Fascism and a hatred of Jews.
Shahid Nickels, a member between 1998 and 2000 of the group headed by Mohammed Atta who led the 9-11 attacks, said that "Atta's weltanschauung was based on a National Socialist way of thinking. He was convinced that 'the Jews' are determined to achieve world domination. He considered New York City to be the center of world Jewry which was, in his opinion, Enemy Number One," according to an article written by Dr. Matthias KÃ¼ntzel. (1)
Atta's peculiar "Nationalist Socialist way of thinking," however, was far from unique. In fact, it was a seed germinating for 80 years among radical Islamists that can be traced to Hassan al-Banna, a 22-year-old school teacher who gathered discontent Muslims to found the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928/1929.
While initial growth of the Muslim Brotherhood was moderate, the organization's membership rolls - coinciding with rising anti-Semitism in Europe -- by August 1938 had swelled to more than two hundred thousand members. By the end of World War II the Muslim Brotherhood had around half a million members.
"Islamism, or fascism with an Islamic face, was born with and of the Muslim Brotherhood. It proved (and improved) its fascist core convictions and practices through collaboration with the Nazis in the run-up to and during World War II. It proved it during the same period through its collaboration with the overtly fascist "Young Egypt" (Misr al-Fatah) movement, founded in October 1933 by lawyer Ahmed Hussein and modeled directly on the Hitler party, complete with paramilitary Green Shirts aping the Nazi Brown Shirts, Nazi salute and literal translations of Nazi slogans. Among its members, Young Egypt counted two promising youngsters and later presidents, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar El-Sadat," so begins an Asia Times article by Marc Erikson. (2)
"The "Supreme Guide" of the brethren knew that faith, good works and numbers alone do not a political victory make. Thus, modeled on Mussolini's blackshirts (al-Banna much admired "Il Duce" and soul brother "Fuehrer" Adolf Hitler), he set up a paramilitary wing (slogan: "action, obedience, silence", quite superior to the blackshirts' "believe, obey, fight") and a "secret apparatus" (al-jihaz al-sirri) and intelligence arm of al-Ikhwan to handle the dirtier side - terrorist attacks, assassinations, and so on - of the struggle for power," writes Erikson elsewhere. (3)
According to John Loftus, a former prosecutor with the US Justice Department, "Al-Banna formed this nationalist group called the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Banna was a devout admirer of Adolf Hitler and wrote to him frequently."
Loftus adds that Al-Banna was so persistent in his "admiration of the new Nazi Party that in the 1930s Al-Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood became a secret arm of Nazi Intelligence. With the goal of the Third Reich to develop the Muslim Brotherhood as an army inside Egypt." (4)
So what was Al-Banna teaching?
Well, for one thing Al-Banna idealized death.
"To a nation that perfects the industry of death and which knows how to die nobly, God gives proud life in this world and eternal grace in the life to come" and "We are not afraid of death, we desire it... Let us die in redemption for Muslims," Al-Banna once wrote.
The Muslim Brotherhood also "used and disseminated a quotation from the Koran that Jews are to be considered 'the worst enemy of the believers.' In addition, they evoked old stories of the early history of Islam by pointing to the example set by Mohammed who, as legend has it, succeeded not only in expelling two Jewish tribes from Medina during the 7th century, but killed the entire male population of the third tribe and sold all the women and children into slavery." (5)
Spreading their hate-filled message toward Jews, the Muslim Brotherhood found a soul-mate in Amin el-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem who held the highest political and religious posts in Palestine from 1921 until after World War II.
Loftus and other authors note that the Muslim Brotherhood and Mufti had common goals with the new Nazi doctrines: a hatred for Western culture, democracy and Jews.
The Mufti with the Muslim Brotherhood and Nazi ideology was a dangerous cocktail.
"As early as 1929, a Mufti-led pogrom killed 133 autochthonous Jews in Jerusalem and Hebron. Shortly thereafter, the Mufti declared the relentless fight against the Jews as the most important responsibility of all believers. Those who dared to resist his anti-Jewish orders were publicly denounced and publicly threatened in the mosques during Friday prayers." (6)
"In a letter to Adolf Hitler, the Mufti emphasized his unflagging and successful efforts to use the "the Palestine question" in order 'to coalesce all Arab countries in a common hatred against the British and the Jews.'" (7)
Starting in 1933, the Mufti repeatedly offered to serve the German Nazi government. In the beginning, however, the Mufti's fight against Jews was only supported in terms of ideology. That soon, however, changed.
The Palestine's 1936 "Arab Revolt" was in a large part incited by the Mufti, with cries of "Down with the Jews!" and "Jews get out of Egypt and Palestine!"
It was not until 1937 that the Mufti's "Holy War" began to receive substantial financial support and weapons from Nazi Germany, which allowed Hitler's Islamist agents both in Palestine and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to spread their anti-Jewish hatred.
Klaus Gensicke writes in his dissertation on the Mufti's collaboration with the Nazis: "The Mufti himself admitted that it was entirely due to the money contributed by the Germans that allowed him at that time to carry out the uprising in Palestine."
"The Mufti's so-called "Arab Revolt" took place against the background of the swastika: Arab leaflets and signs on walls were prominently marked with this Nazi symbol; the youth organization of the Mufti's political party paraded as "Nazi-scouts", and Arab children greeted each other with the Nazi salute. Those who had to pass through the rebellious quarters of Palestine attached a flag bearing the swastika to their vehicles so as to insure protection against assaults by the Mufti's volunteers." (8)
By 1945 the Nazi Islamist agents were openly spreading terror. "The core of anti-Semitism had thus begun to shift from Germany to the Arab world. On the anniversary of the Balfour-declaration, demonstrators rampaged the Jewish quarters of Cairo. They plundered houses and shops, attacked non-Muslims, devastated the synagogues and then set them on fire. Six people were killed, several hundred more were injured." (9)
Al-Husseini, wrote in his post-WWII memoirs, "Our fundamental condition for cooperating with Germany was a free hand to eradicate every last Jew from Palestine and the Arab world. I asked Hitler for an explicit undertaking to allow us to solve the Jewish problem in a manner befitting our national and racial aspirations and according to the scientific methods innovated by Germany in the handling of its Jews. The answer I got was: 'The Jews are yours.'" (10)
According to an article by David Storobin in Front Page magazine, "Controlling a spectacular sum of money and the right to appoint Palestinian Islamic preachers, al-Husseini built a 'political machine' that brought the religious and political establishment under his domination. Through them, he was able to arouse religious fanaticism against Jews and the West. His preachers urged their flock to 'go out and murder the Jewish infidel in the name of the holy Koran,' constantly declaring that 'he who kills a Jew is assured of a place in the next world.'" (11)
Dr. Matthias KÃ¼ntzel quotes Klaus Gensicke who claims that "The Mufti himself admitted that it was entirely due to the money contributed by the Germans that allowed him at that time to carry out the uprising in Palestine." (12)
Storobin notes that al-Husseini was, "officially received by Adolf Hitler on November 28, 1941, who agreed to establish a bureau for al-Husseini which was used to spread propaganda on behalf of Nazi Germany, organize spy rings in Europe and the Middle East, and most importantly, establish Muslim Nazi SS divisions and Wehrmacht units in Bosnia, the Balkans, North Africa and Nazi-occupied parts of the Soviet Union. After the meeting, the Mufti was also named SS Gruppenfuehrer by Heinrich Himmler and referred to as the "Fuhrer of the Arab World" by Adolf Hitler himself."
"The largest Muslim Nazi SS unit was the 13th division known as "Hanjar." Husseini also organized smaller, less efficient units, including the 21st Waffen SS division known Skanderbeg (made up predominantly of Croatians) and the 23rd Waffen SS division known as Kama and made up mostly of Albanian Muslims. Thus, the Hitler's Mufti organized or helped to organize three out of 27 Waffen SS divisions formed before 1945." (13)
Loftus too claims that the Mufti "went to Germany during the war and helped recruit an international SS division of Arab Nazis. They based it in Croatia and called it the Handzar Muslim Division, but it was to become the core of Hitler's new army of Arab fascists that would conquer the Arabian Peninsula and, from there, on to Africa--grand dreams." (14)
According to KÃ¼ntzel, "The powerful collaboration of the Muslim Brothers with the Mufti and the pogroms against Jews a few months after the world learned about Auschwitz clearly showed that the Brotherhood either ignored or even justified Hitler's extermination of European Jews."
KÃ¼ntzel telling writes that "The consequences of this attitude, however, continue to be far-reaching and characterize the Arabic-Jewish conflict to this day." (15) KÃ¼ntzel notes that this group of Islamists in 1947 explained away the international support of the creation of Israel and the murder of six million European Jews by Nazi Germany, by reverting to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.
In this vein, the Muslim Brotherhood considered the UN-decision of 1947 to partition Palestine to be an "international plot carried out by the Americans, the Russians and the British, under the influence of Zionism," (16) KÃ¼ntzel noted. (17)
Not surprisingly, given their role in WWII, the Muslim Brotherhood was wanted for War Crimes. However, instead of being brought to justice the Arab Nazis were snapped up by foreign spy agencies.
Specifically, John Loftus claims that, almost the entire network was taken in by the British Secret Service. "Then a horrible thing happened. Instead of prosecuting the Nazis--the Muslim Brotherhood--the British Government hired them. They brought all the fugitive Nazi war criminals of Arab and Muslim descent into Egypt, and for three years trained them on a special mission. The British Secret Service wanted to use the fascists of the Muslim Brotherhood to strike down the infant state of Israel in 1948. Only a few people in the Mossad know this, but many of the members of the Arab armies and terrorist groups that tried to strangle the infant State of Israel were the Arab Nazis of the Muslim Brotherhood."
"Britain was not alone. The French Intelligence Service cooperated by releasing the Grand Mufti and smuggling him to Egypt, so all of the Arab Nazis came together. So, from 1945 to 1948, the British Secret Service protected every Arab Nazi it could, but failed to quash the State of Israel", according to Loftus. (18)
Despite being now on side of the Allies, the Brotherhood didn't sit still -- nor did their ideology get any tamer.
One of the main voices behind the Muslim Brotherhood was Sayed Qutb. With time, Qutb would eventually become the organization's ambassador in the 1950s in Syria and Jordon, as well as being the editor of the Brotherhood's official publication. While in prison following an assassination attempt on Egypt's Nasser, Qutb wrote his treatise, Milestones, that advocated overthrowing Arab governments that refused to be run by anything other than the law of Islamic Shariah.
According to a BBC article, "For Qutb, all non-Muslims were infidels - even the so-called 'people of the book', the Christians and Jews - and he predicted an eventual clash of civilisations between Islam and the west." (19)
"Having played a large role in Nasser's power grab, the Muslim Brotherhood, after the 1949 assassination of Hassan al-Banna by government agents under new leadership and (since 1951) under the radical ideological guidance of Sayyid Qutb, demanded its due - imposition of Sharia (Islamic religious) law. When Nasser demurred, he became a Brotherhood assassination target, but with CIA and the German mercenaries' help he prevailed. In February 1954, the Brotherhood was banned. An October 1954 assassination attempt failed. Four thousand brothers were arrested, six were executed, and thousands fled to Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon," notes Erikson. (20)
When Nasser cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood in 1955 they initially moved headquarters to London and Geneva. Incidentally, the head of the Geneva offices was Said Ramadan, the son-in-law of al-Banna. In Geneva, Ramadan launched the Institute for Islamic Studies -- to become the civilized face of the Muslim Brotherhood, even having the distinction of dining with US President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953 at the White House. (21)
That fleeing of Muslim Brotherhood members -- people who had been radicalized by Qutb, the Mufti and Nazi ideology -- and the consequent spreading of their message, is something that the world is still living with.
According to that same BBC article, "Qutb and (Pakistan's Syed Abul Ala Maududi) inspired a whole generation of Islamists, including Ayatollah Khomeini, who developed a Persian version of their works in the 1970s.
Author and journalist Robert Dreyfuss also claims that the groundwork for the Ayatollah Khomeini was done by an Iranian by the name of Ali Shariat who was influenced by the Brotherhood.
As a sidenote, with respect to Hezbollah, it is widely reported that the organization got its beginnings in Iran. That is an oversimplification.
"The origins of Shi'i Islamism in Lebanon go back not to Iran, as is commonly thought, but to Iraq in the 1960s where a Shi'i religio-political revival took place in the "circles of learning" (hawzat al-'ilmiya) in Najaf, led by the charismatic Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir as-Sadr," according to an article in the Middle East Review of International Affairs - Sept. 1997.
"Hezbollah represented a militant, nonsecular alternative to the Nasserite Fatah, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other groups that took their bearing from Pan-Arabism rather than Islam. Hezbollah split the Shiite community in Lebanon -- which was against Sunnis and Christians -- but most of all, engaged the Israelis. It made a powerful claim that the Palestinian movement had no future while it remained fundamentally secular and while its religious alternatives derived from the conservative Arab monarchies." (22)
Iran's importance only became more noted upon the death of Sadr, and the success of the Iranian Revolution led by Khomeini. By 1984, Iran was financing around 90 percent of Hezbollah's social works in Lebanon.
As it stands now, Hezbollah "subscribes to Khomeini's theory that a religious jurist (wilayat al-faqih) should hold ultimate political power. The authority of this jurist, both spiritual and political, may not be challenged; he must be obeyed. Hezbullah sees itself fulfilling the messianic role of turning Lebanon into a province of Islam. In its "open letter" of February 1985, Hizbullah declared that Muslims must "abide by the orders of the sole wise and just command represented by the supreme jurisconsult, who is presently incarnate in the imam_Ayatollah Khomeini. It also called for a battle with vice, meaning foremost the United States, and for the destruction of Israel to make way for Palestine," according to that same Middle East Review of International Affairs article.
Eventually, says Loftus the control of the Muslim Brotherhood passed to the United States and the CIA - or its earlier form -- as a counterweight for Arab Communists.
But this still doesn't explain how we get the current form of Islam Fascists. For that one needs to remember that after Nasser expelled the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt many of them went to Saudi Arabia.
According to Loftus, "during the 1950s, the CIA evacuated the Nazis of the Muslim Brotherhood to Saudi Arabia. Now, when they arrived in Saudi Arabia, some of the leading lights of the Muslim Brotherhood, like (Dr Abdullah) Azzam, became the teachers in the madrassas, the religious schools. And there they combined the doctrines of Nazism with this weird Islamic cult, Wahhabism."
"Everyone thinks that Islam is this fanatical religion, but it is not. They think that Islam--the Saudi version of Islam--is typical, but it's not. The Wahhabi cult has been condemned as a heresy more than 60 times by the Muslim nations. But when the Saudis got wealthy, they bought a lot of silence. This is a very harsh cult. Wahhabism was only practised by the Taliban and in Saudi Arabia--that's how extreme it is. It really has nothing to do with Islam. Islam is a very peaceful and tolerant religion. It always had good relationships with the Jews for the first thousand years of its existence." (23)
Interestingly, according to a Wikipedia entry on Wahhabism, Al-Banna, is said to have been influenced by the Wahhabis. "The Muslim Brotherhood also claimed to be purifying and restoring original Islam. When the Muslim Brotherhood was banned in various Middle Eastern countries, Saudi Arabia gave refuge to Brotherhood exiles. This seems to have set the stage for a mingling of Brotherhood and Wahhabi thought under the aegis of the term Salafism. Rebels against the Saudi state found justification in the thought of Sayyed Qutb, a member of the Brotherhood who spent years in Egyptian jails. Some Wahhabis, or Salafis, rejected what they call Qutbism, as a deviation from true Salafism. Thus there is now a considerable spectrum of religious opinion within Saudi Wahhabism/Salafism, to a great extent divided on the question of whether the Saudi state is to be supported, endured patiently, or violently opposed. The modern day Salafis, deny that Hassan al-Banna or Sayid Qutb were followers of the Salaf, since they upheld the view that it is allowed to overthrow the Muslim leader, and to make "Takfeer" (the act of placing a Muslim out of the fold of Islam, making him a disbeliever) on him based on Major Sins. (24)
To this last point, Trevor Stanley also writes that today there are "a profusion of self-proclaimed Salafi groups," where each accuses "the others of deviating from 'true' Salafism."
Stanley notes that "Since the 1970s, the Saudis have wisely stopped funding those Salafis that excommunicate nominally Muslim governments (or at least the Saudi government), condemning al-Qaeda as 'the deviant sect'. The pro-Saudis correctly trace al-Qaeda's ideological roots to Qutb and al-Banna. Less accurately, they accuse these groups of insidiously 'entering' Salafism. In fact, Salafism was imported into Saudi Arabia in its Ikhwani and Qutbist forms. This does not mean that the pro-Saudi Salafis are necessarily benign - for example, Abu Mu'aadh as-Salafee's main criticism of Qutb and Muslim Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna is that they claim Islam teaches tolerance of Jews." (25)
Meanwhile, non-Muslims and mainstream Muslims alike use the 'Wahhabi-Salafi' label to denigrate Salafis and even completely unrelated groups such as the Taliban, adds Stanley.
It was in the Saudi Arabian madrassas, or schools, of Abdullah Azzam that Nazi Fascism with religious extremism were married.
And in one of those madrassas, the student Osama bin Laden studied.
"Should it further surprise us that Osama bin Laden accuses 'the Jews" of "holding America and the West hostage' given the fact, that the founder of Hamas, the Palestinian Abdullah Azzam, was at the same time the most important teacher and patron of al Qaida's leader?" asks Dr. Matthias KÃ¼ntzel (26)
"The origins of Bin Laden's concept of jihad can be traced back to two early 20th century figures, who started powerful Islamic revivalist movements in response to colonialism and its aftermath," writes Fiona Symon, a Middle East analyst. "Pakistan and Egypt - both Muslim countries with a strong intellectual tradition - produced the movements and ideology that would transform the concept of jihad in the modern world."
"They blamed the western idea of the separation of religion and politics for the decline of Muslim societies ... This, they believed, could only be corrected through a return to Islam in its traditional form, in which society was governed by a strict code of Islamic law," Symon writes, adding: "Al-Banna and Maudoudi breathed new life into the concept of jihad as a holy war to end the foreign occupation of Muslim lands." (27)
Loftus -- and many other authors - says that with the Russian invastion of Afghanistan in 1979, "the CIA decided to take the Arab Nazis out of cold storage."
"So we told the Saudis that we would fund them if they would bring all of the Arab Nazis together and ship them off to Afghanistan to fight the Russians," according to Loftus. "We had to rename them. We couldn't call them the Muslim Brotherhood because that was too sensitive a name. Its Nazi past was too known. So we called them Maktab al-Khadamat al-Mujahidin, the MAK." (28)
One of those people shipped off to Afghanistan, after being indoctrinated in Azzam's madrassas, was Osama bin Laden - and who in turn melded the ideas of Hassan al-Al-Banna's Muslim Brotherhood with those of Pakistan's Syed Abul Ala Maududi's Jamaat Islami after being exposed to it while fighting in Afghanistan.
Their terror has now extended to the entire world.
While the vast majority of believers in Islam certainly cannot be labeled as Islam Fascists, it remains that there is a group within the Muslim ranks that does have its roots based in National Socialism and Fascist ideologies. In an effort to brand Bush as politically incorrect, anti-Bush politicians and bloggers who are ignorant of history have become unwitting apologists for Islamo-Fascism, a movement within Islam that many Muslims claim is heretical.
By Robert Duncan
1) Islamic Antisemitism And Its Nazi Roots
2) Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 3)
3) Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 1)
4) The Muslim Brotherhood, The Nazis and Al-Qa'ida
5) Islamic Antisemitism And Its Nazi Roots
8) Der Mufti von Jerusalem Amin el-Husseini, und die Nationalsozialisten, Frankfurt/M. 1988, S. 234
9) Islamic Antisemitism And Its Nazi Roots
10) Mohammad Amin al-Husayni Wikipedia
11) Nazi Influence on the Middle East During WWII
12) Islamic Antisemitism And Its Nazi Roots
13) Nazi Influence on the Middle East During WWII
14) The Muslim Brotherhood, The Nazis and Al-Qa'ida
15) Islamic Antisemitism And Its Nazi Roots
16) Quoted from: Abd Al-Fattah Muhammad El-Awaisi, "The Muslim Brothers and the Palestine Question 1928-1947", London 1998, p. 195.
17) Islamic Antisemitism And Its Nazi Roots
18) The Muslim Brotherhood, The Nazis and Al-Qa'ida
19) Analysis: The roots of jihad
21) America's Devil's Game with Extremist Islam
22) A closer look at Hezbollah's motives
23) The Muslim Brotherhood, The Nazis and Al-Qa'ida
25) Understanding the Origins of Wahhabism and Salafism
26) Islamic Antisemitism And Its Nazi Roots
27) Analysis: The roots of jihad
28) The Muslim Brotherhood, The Nazis and Al-Qa'ida Click here to return to homepage
Robert Duncan is a journalist and ombudsman for foreign press in Spain. He is an Executive Board Member and Vice-President for the OrganizaciÃ³n de Periodismo y ComunicaciÃ³n Ibero-Americana, and Vice-President of the energy and telecommunications association, APSCE. He is News Editor for Spero News, and Editor-In-Chief of EnerPub and Santificarnos.
He has also been published in World Catholic News, National Catholic Register, Renew America, Lifesite.net, as well as Capital Hill Coffee House, Common Conservative, The Conservative Voice, Enter Stage Right, News By Us, Conservative Crusader, World Net Daily, Mens News Daily and others. Robert was the bureau chief for an international news agency in Madrid for many years, and was published regularly in Dow Jones Newswires, with articles appearing in The Wall Street Journal.