Book Review: Matthias Kuntzel, Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11
Today's New York Times (June 1, 2010) story on the IHH terrorist-organized flotilla to Gaza mentions in passing, quite far along in the article (p. 10) that "Israel officials have characterized (IHH) as a dangerous Islamic organization with terrorist links".
No one at the New York Times, at the time of writing, had done even minimal research into the IHH. Had this been done, as indeed any responsible journalist would have done, they would have easily discovered the connection of IHH to the Al Qaeda attempted plot to bomb the Los Angeles Airport. Equally easily, they would have discovered the statement of the French magistrate Jean-Louis Brugiere in confirming the IHH/Al Qaeda connection. They could have uncovered the whole story by consulting the Danish Institute for International Studies' research on IHH.
One shudders to think of how many other unpleasant surprises lie undiscovered by the American media, which accepts the myths and lies purveyed by radical Islamists, anti-Semites and terrorist groups about Israel but is unwilling to make any attempt to verify them. And this is after two serious terrorist bomb attempts in the past six months came close to killing and maiming dozens if not hundreds of Americans.
However, the biggest untold story of all remains hidden from the American public and the "useful idiots" in the liberal American community who have blindly followed the exhortations of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood to demonize, de-legitimize and eventually wipe out not just the state of Israel but world Jewry and its supposed benefactor, the United States.
The big story is not that Muslim fundamentalists want to re-establish the caliphate worldwide; that is old news. The big story is not that Hamas and its allies in Iran, Syria, Pakistan and Lebanon want to destroy Israel. That is old news too. None of this has been hidden from the Arab public. Anyone can find it by following middle eastern news sources, books, journals and Arab government pronouncements.
The big story is one that a few scholars have written about but which is most completely and explicitly laid out by German scholar and historian Matthias Kuntzel in his startling book, "Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11". Simply put, Kuntzel, through extensive examination of original documents, statements, radio broadcasts and letters, outlines a continuous, unbroken line from Nazism in the 1930s to Islamism today. The line is simple to analyze and speaks loudly and clearly: the Jews must be destroyed.
Not Israel. The JEWS. Here is what historian Jeffrey Herf wrote in his Foreword to Kuntzel's book:
"Radical Islamists hate Jews...They have proudly proclaimed their radical anti-Semitism in countless books, essays, fatwas, sermons, manifestos, and declarations reproduced in newspapers, on radio and television, and on the Internet. As this torrent of Jew-hatred has continued, it has become obvious to anyone familiar with the radical antisemitism of the Nazi regime that none of the declarations of al-Qa-ida or Hamas, or of their predecessors in the Muslim Brotherhood, or the variations offered by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian government are original contributions to the history of hatred. Unmistakeable echoes of Nazism's violent, paranoid conspiracy theories about the evil nature and vast destructive power of the Jews have been evident in the ideological tracts and political practices of radical Islam since its crystallization during and after World War II in Egypt. Yet despite the obviousness of these lineages and echoes, many of the fine works of scholarship and government commissions on the subject mention this connection briefly and in some cases ignore it completely".
The original Nazi sympathizers and collaborators are dead: Hassan Al Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood; Sayyid Qutb, who provided the philosophical underpinnings of anti-Semitism in his essay The Struggle With the Jews; Amin el-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem who visited with Hitler and broadcast vicious anti-Jewish, pro-Nazi broadcasts to the Arab world during World War II...for which the allies rewarded him by giving him his freedom after the war.
But their works and their hopes live on, in the organization that is the chief disseminator today of anti-Jewish hatred: the Muslim Brotherhood and its evil spawn, Hamas, and their cheering squad that includes Yusuf al-Qaradawi, idolized by Tariq Ramadan (whose brother, if not he himself, carries on the fevered anti-Semitism of their grandfather Hassan); and Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's sidekick and longtime member of the Muslim Brotherhood, who persuaded bin Laden to make America and Israel the prime targets rather than unbelieving Arab countries, and a host of others less well known.
Al Qaradawi is infamous for issuing, two years after 9/11, a fatwa authorizing suicide terrorism by the Palestinians (including women), for which Hamas' then-leader Khaled Mashal, publicly thanked him on Al Jazeera. Then Mashal followed up with this: "I want to make it clear to the West and to the German people which is still being blackmailed because of what Nazism did to the Zionists, or to the Jews. I say that what Israel did to the Palestinian people is many times worse than what Nazism did to the Jews...a for the Zionist holocaust against the Palestinian people, and against the peoples of the Arab and Islamic nation - this is a holocaust that is being perpetrated in broad daylight".
At a recent forum in NYC featuring Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Hassan al Banna and someone who has refused to condemn the stoning of women, George Packer of the New Yorker repeatedly pressed Ramadan as to why, in his biography of his grandfather, he failed to mention the connection to the Nazis. Ramadan evaded the question of course and has professed opposition to anti-Semitism. But, as Paul Berman points out in his recent book, Flight of the Intellectuals, Ramadan is an ardent admirer of Qaradawi.
Kuntzel himself says it is "astonishing that this undisguised antisemitism has to date received so little attention in discussions of the motives for 9/11". He points out that after World War II, global antisemitism shifted from Nazi Germany to the Arab world, specifically to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and directly inflamed the existing Israeli-Arab conflict, not the other way around.
In effect, while Nazism disappeared in Europe, its Jew hatred and views on the organizing of society around a uniform authoritarian center, as opposed to a state promoting individual rights and freedoms, persisted in the Arab world thanks to the Muslim Brotherhood, and later Hamas.
The term "Islamo-fascism" is completely appropriate to the Islamist movement and its objectives. The Muslim Brotherhood ideology echoes Nazi fascism with these themes, says Kuntzel: "subordination of the individual to the collective; celebration of the leadership principle; hostility to liberal democratic institutions; anti-communism (LS: leftists, take note); a reactionary attack on capitalism, and the goal of a state based on sharia law, male supremacy, sexual repression, the celebration of the jihad and the glorification of a martyr's death in war with the unbelievers..and the hatred of the Jews all created points of commonality with fascism and Nazism".
To get the full flavor and significance of the anti-Semitic pronouncements of today as well as of the 1930s, and to understand why it is Jew hatred, not Israel hatred, that motivates radical Islam today, Kuntzel's history and quotes are instructive and clarifying. The increase in virulence of anti-Semitic rants since 9/11 is striking. Nor do the Muslim psychotics making them hide the religious motivation behind their terrorist acts (such as the chanting of "Allah is great" by the Gaza flotilla radicals bringing "humanitarian" aid to Gaza along with their metal rods, clubs and other weapons).
First, however, it must be stressed that many Arab leaders originally supported the Balfour Declaration to establish a Jewish homeland, with the hope that Jewish immigration would stimulate economic development. These included future Egyptian prime minister Ziwar Pasha; Ahed Zaki, a former Egyptian cabinet member; and many others. But by 1945 Egyptian pogroms against Jews took place that plundered and burned homes, shops, synagogues and attacked Jews themselves., with Islamist newspapers screaming that Egypt's Jews were "Zionists, Communists, capitalists, bloodsuckers, traffickers in arms, white slave traders.."
Sharia law was not on the upswing in the 1920s; to the contrary. It was abolished in Turkey by Ataturk. Iran's shah moved towards secularization in 1925. In Egypt sharia applied only to the family and for society at large European law reigned.
At this same time, when women's emancipation was beginning, the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928, launched a campaign of patriarchal domination of women accompanied by stringent laws against divorce, contraception, mixing of the sexes, denial of female sexuality, and permission for male polygamy. Most important, they changed the traditional concept of jihad from one of individuals striving to implement Islam to jihad as a holy war that prized martyrdom in the war with unbelievers. Hassan al-Banna was the first to preach this new version of jihad.
The Muslim Brotherhood received funds from German sources and by 1938 their anti-Semitic campaign and sentiment were adopted by the Egyptian government. The Brotherhood organized a conference in Cairo at which they distributed Arabic translations of Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Admiration for National Socialism spread quickly; Sami al-Jundi, of the Syrian Baath Party, wrote: "We were racists, admiring Nazism, reading its books and the source of its thought...Whoever lived during this period in Damascus would appreciate the inclination of the Arab people to Nazism, for Nazism was the power which could serve as its champion".
Other developments in this period:
--the Syrian Peoples' Party followed Nazi models, using a swastika-like flag and the open-handed Nazi salute;
--the rightist Lebanese Phalange was founded;
--Iraq founded a youth organization, Futuwwa, to educate "Iraqi youth in the military spirit, in the German fashion" and sent delegation to march with the Hitler Youth at a Nazi rally in Nuremberg in 1938;
--a "Young Egypt" movement was founded by Ahnmad Husayn in which 2000 members were drilled with fascist salutes and a leadership cult;
some of these ("Green Shirts") attended a 1936 Nazi Party rally;
--the Muslim Brotherhood, in addition to distributing Mein Kampf, collaborated, via Al Banna, with Nazi agents in Egypt and discussed a plan to launch an anti-British uprising to support the German war effort against Britain;
--the Brotherhoods' paramilitary wing offered the Nazis their support and many of them joined the German Secret Service;
Over the course of World War II, Amin el-Husseini became the most ardent supporter of National Socialism and went to Berlin where in 1941 he served the Nazis. Here is where he saw the connection of Islam and National Socialism:
--the leadership principle; unity of leadership;
--obedience and discipline;
--the war and the honor of dying in battle; (victory or martyrdom);
--elevation of the collective over the individual;
--respect for motherhood and prohibition of abortion;
--glorification of work;
--"in the struggle against Jewry, Islam and National Socialism are very close";
Though Husseini was on a list of war criminals (he was responsible for the murder of thousands of Serbs and Croats with his Muslim SS division), the allies, notably France, refused to extradite him, despite the US and Britain's hope to prosecute him. Then Al Banna stepped in to petition for him, supported by the Arab League. Britain, France and the US capitulated, putting future interests in the Arab world first.
Husseini left France and was granted asylum by King Farouk of Egypt in 1945, where he re-established his paramilitary group and worked with the Arab League to undercut any partitioning of Palestine that would create a Jewish state. The Muslim Brotherhood thus cleared the way for him to continue his fascist work, along with numerous other Nazis who fled to Egypt, where Egypt, including Nasser and Sadat, cheered Rommel on and offered support to the Germans, with shouts of "Forward Rommel" and "we are Rommel's soldiers".
In 1947 the Muslim Brotherhood made Husseini president of their branch in Palestine and al Banna's deputy. Facing opposition from some fellow Palestinians, including a cousin and an Arab trade unionist who wanted to sign an agreement for a bi-national state, Husseini ordered his opponents' assassination.
This is the ugly ancestry of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, one that still exudes the anti-Semitism that infected the original Nazism and which makes clear the fanatic focus of Islamism: the destruction of Jews wherever they may be. This same religious fervor and hate have been absorbed by leftists - the traditional enemies of Muslims - as well as by liberals and Jews themselves. Thus, we have the spectre of Jews aligning themselves with precisely those groups and forces who have explicitly stated their intention to kill all Jews. A satisfactory explanation of this Jewish masochism and self-hate has yet to be presented.
This is a look at only one short period in the millennia-long Muslim crusade to exterminate the Jews. The earlier history can be found in Andrew Bostom's huge but impeccably sourced collection of essays, "The Legacy of Islamic Anti-Semitism", a book that puts the lie to the claim that attacks on Israel are not attacks on the Jews.
The Qu-ran itself, the hadith (sayings) of Mohammed, and subsequent writings by Muslim mullahs and scholars, from the 7th century down to today, all contain some of the most vile and violent language and exhortations to kill Jews imaginable. In the end, Mohammed himself is revealed as the ultimate source of Jew hatred, a murderous duplicitous and unstable man considered by medieval Jewish scholars as mad (ha-messhugah).
Matthias Kuntzel's book is, in my opinion, the most important book on the recent history and psychology of Islamism extant. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Do not delay in reading it. It is full of information and unpleasant surprises that you will not find anywhere else. No activist should be without it.