The Fascists in our Midst
On August 10th President Bush, speaking about the foiled, London-based plot to blow up ten planes with liquid-based devices assembled during flight by Al-Quada linked would-be suicide bombers, said, "The recent arrests that our fellow citizens are now learning about are a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation."
Before addressing this subject, let us first define and clarify the meaning of the term fascism. Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary (1956), defines fascism as "any program for setting up a centralized autocratic national regime with severely nationalistic policies, exercising regimentation of industry, commerce, and finance, rigid censorship, and forcible suppression of opposition." The American Heritage Dictionary (2nd edition, 1982) is less exact in its definition, and, frankly, woozier: "A philosophy or system of government that is marked by stringent social and economic control, a strong, centralized government usually headed by a dictator, and often a policy of belligerent nationalism."
Surprisingly, while the Oxford English Dictionary discusses the Italian Fascismo, it defines neither that term nor fascism, limiting itself to the Mussolini phenomenon, a startlingly blinkered identification that excludes its occurrence in such countries as Spain and Argentina.
Ayn Rand, in her article, "The Fascist New Frontier," remarks: "The difference between [socialism and fascism] is superficial and purely formal, but it is significant psychologically: it brings the authoritarian nature of a planned economy crudely into the open....Under fascism, men retain the semblance or pretence of private property, but the government holds total power over its use and disposal." She cites the definition of fascism found in The American College Dictionary (1957): "a governmental system with strong centralized power, permitting no opposition or criticism, controlling all affairs of the nation (industrial, commercial, etc.), emphasizing an aggressive nationalism...."
She notes further that the "fascist-Nazi axis scorns material comfort and security, and keeps extolling some undefined sort of spiritual duty, service and conquest.....The fascist-Nazi axis offers nothing but loose talk about some unspecified form of racial or national greatness." (Emphasis Rand's).
This last notation perfectly implicates Islamofascism. Miss Rand may be forgiven for omitting religious greatness, for when she wrote "The Fascist New Frontier" (a damning indictment of President John F. Kennedy, which her publisher, Bennett Cerf at Random House, refused to include in a collection of her essays) religion as such did not play much of a prominent role in politics. I imagine that Islam at that time (the 1960's, the PLO, for example, being founded in 1964) was as far removed in her mind as a credible peril as, say, ouija boards. And it is the advocacy of religious greatness that characterizes Islam. All of it.
Bush's use of the term Islamic fascists apparently offended Muslims everywhere and moved their spokesmen to write letters of indignation and make public statements.
In Britain, the merest hint that Islam motivated the would-be plotters caused its Muslim spokesmen to take curiously defensive and offensive positions. The Los Angeles Times of August 13th reported that, "In an open letter to several newspapers, the leaders of much of Britain's establishment Muslim community, including six Muslim lawmakers, said British foreign policy is 'putting civilians at increased risk, both in the U.K. and abroad,' and said the government should focus less on domestic anti-terrorism laws and more on reorienting its policy in the Middle East.
"While emphasizing that 'attacking civilians is never justified,' the letter said that 'the debacle of Iraq and now the failure to do more to secure an immediate end to the attacks on civilians in the Middle East [read Lebanese civilians, not Israeli] not only increases the risk to ordinary people in that region, but is also ammunition to extremists who threaten us all.'"
Yes, Islamic terrorism does threaten "us all." How many Muslims died in the World Trade Center, and on the London underground last July 7th, and in Iraq? Between Shi'ite and Sunni terrorist acts in Iraq, about 1,000 Muslims die a month. Some brotherhood of Mohammed. No mention of Hezbollah's and Hamas's use of civilians as shields to deter Israeli strikes. Islamists are hypocritically selective in their public grieving for "innocent" civilians.
The Los Angeles Times article continues:
"Shahid Malik, a Labour Party member of Parliament from an area that was home to one of the July bombers, said Israel's bombing campaign in Lebanon and Britain's failure to condemn it are issues of substantial frustration.
"'Obviously, I think everybody would condemn Hezbollah and their actions,' he said, "but it's critically important that we say the actions of Israel, and the reactive inaction of us in the West, is [sic] contributing to increasing anger and frustration among Muslims in the U.K., in America, and across the world. And invariably, if you're angry and frustrated, then you're more likely to be susceptible to voices that are sinister.'"I contend that these statements are more sinister than an open call to behead and massacre infidels. These are veiled threats. What would alleviate the "frustration" of young Muslims are the wholesale conversion of Britain to Islam and Sharia law, Britain's immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, and the dissolution of Parliament. Then British Muslim youth will no longer be angry and frustrated and susceptible to sinister voices urging them on to violence. They'll become "good Britons."
On this side of the Atlantic, Muslims have been equally disingenuous. Daniel Pipes, an authority on Islam and the Middle East, in an article on FrontPage Magazine on August 14th, "At War with Islamic Fascists," quotes a number of them. Leading the pack are representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
"CAIR's board chairman, Parvez Ahmed, sent an open letter to President Bush: 'You have on many occasions said Islam is a 'religion of peace.' Today you equated the religion of peace with the ugliness of fascism.'"
Perhaps he is concerned that Bush is waking up to the true nature of Islam.
Pipes reports that Nihad Awad, also of CAIR, called the term (Islamic fascists) "ill-advised" and "counter-productive," and suggested that we "take advantage of these incidents (the arrest of the London plotters) to make sure that we do not start a religious war against Islam and Muslims."
Excuse me? It would be untoward to start a "religious" war against Islam and Muslims, when Islam and Muslims are waging a "religious" war against the West? One supposes there would be no strife if we would all just roll over and submit to Islam, acquire a taste for goat meat and self-flagellation, and replace the Constitution with Sharia law.
In his article, Pipes subsequently bursts the balloon of Muslim sensitivity and objection to the term, citing its use by Bush numerous times in the past, when no one, not Muslims, not the press or news media, raised an eyebrow.
Pipes then discusses, and questions, the use of the term Islamic fascist or Islamofascism. He asserts it is inappropriate.
"I applaud the increasing willingness to focus on some form of Islam as the enemy, but find the word fascist misleading in this context. Few historic or philosophic connections exist between fascism and radical Islam. Fascism glorifies the state, emphasizes racial 'purity,' promotes social Darwinism, denigrates reason, exalts the will, and rejects organized religion -- all outlooks anathema to Islamists."I have the highest regard for Daniel Pipes, but even he has lapses of insight. It surprised me when I encountered that statement. I agree with Ayn Rand that the differences between socialism and fascism are superficial and merely formal; likewise, the differences between German Nazism and Italian fascism are superficial, since they were both "crude" forms of planned economies and total power over a nation's citizens. Fascism has properly become synonymous with Nazism. And when one examines the supreme goal of "radical" Islam, which is the establishment of a global caliphate, what would it entail but much the same thing as global fascism of the secular German variety?
Islamofascism would glorify the caliphate (or the state), emphasize not racial "purity," but religious purity, promote religious (and therefore social) Darwinism by asserting that Muslims are superior to everyone else, denigrate reason (since when has any religious faith been regarded as a paragon of reason?), exalt the will (Immanuel Kant's anti-reason can be applied equally to Islam as to Christianity; Christians began martyring and sacrificing themselves long before Muslims got the idea), and uphold organized religion, which, in this instance, would be Islam and only Islam.
And what else would a grand caliphate be but a governmental system with a strong centralized system (controlled by theocrats) that permitted no opposition or criticism, that controlled all affairs of the globe, and that emphasized an aggressive global "nationalism" (next stop, South America, China?)? Models for Islamofascism already exist. Look at Iran, but also at Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Dubai, and even Iraq. Where are their Anglican, Methodist, Jewish or atheistic billionaires and sheiks? How many billions do their regimes spend on their welfare programs, open only to Muslims? Hezbollah also boasts of a welfare state for loyal Muslims, just as the Nazis had for loyal, allegiance-swearing Germans.
And, what is the visceral difference between watching old clips of Nazi rallies at Nuremberg, showing tens of thousands of Germans giving the Nazi salute, and recent footage of tens of thousands of Islamists (Pipes's preferred term) giving their mass salutes in Beirut, Gaza, and Tehran? Does the object make a difference? In Germany, it was to Hitler and National Socialism; in the Mideast, it is to Allah or Mohammad and the local dictator or mullah that commands the selfless, "spiritual" dedication to the cause.
Pipes quotes an editorial from the Washington Times, "It's Fascism":
"Fascism is a chauvinistic political philosophy that exalts a group over the individual -- usually a race or nation, but in this case the adherents of a religion....It also describes Thursday's terrorists. It very accurately describes the philosophy of Al-Quada, Hezbollah, Hamas and many other stripes of Islamism around the world."And, unfortunately, Pipes still doesn't get it. He still believes that peaceful, law-abiding American (or British) Muslims pose no threat to the country, and that they ought to be more proactive in denouncing "radicals" who give Islam a bad name by blowing up planes and pizza parlors and subways and firing rockets into Israel and committing atrocities such as they did in Beslan. But the reason we do not hear more from these "law-abiding" "moderate" Muslims is because their creed silences them.
A belief in Islam short-circuits their minds. The either/or factor stops their thinking cold, rendering them as thoughtless and inarticulate as the creed requires them to be. Islam does not tolerate divided loyalties: not between the Constitution and a mullah or imam, not between reason and faith, not between Allah and the deity of any other creed, not between freedom of expression and a prohibition of representations of Allah and Mohammad. I have said it before here and elsewhere: subject the Koran and Hadith to a vivisection to rid them of their belligerent, homicidal, and authoritarian dictates, and Islam would no longer be Islam, but a creed as innocuous and pacific as the Amish or Quaker. Force is an integral element of Islam, lending the creed a natural predilection for totalitarianism.
The short-circuiting of the minds of rank-and-file Muslims allows their leaders to speak with forked-tongues and advance the goal of Islamifying Western societies. We see it happening in Britain and Europe, and it is occurring in the U.S., as well. It is not "rights" that Muslims seek in Western societies, but privileges and a special, protected status. To use a football analogy, organizations like CAIR and the Muslim Public Affairs Council carry the ball to the goal post, while lesser Muslim advocates run interference.
Yes, Islam can inculcate nothing but Islamic fascists. And American Muslims must face their either/or: to repudiate Islam, or remain a quiet, sanctioning fifth column.
Edward Cline is the author the Sparrowhawk series of novels set in England and Virginia during the Revolutionary period, the detective novel First Prize, the suspense novel Whisper the Guns and of numerous other published articles, book reviews and essays.
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