Yes, it’s fas­cism

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

On Aug. 10, Pres­i­dent Bush said that week’s foiled plot to blow up air­planes over the At­lantic is part of a “war with Is­lamic fas­cists.” Im­me­di­ately, Mus­lim ac­tivists con­demned the pres­i­dent’s use of the phrase, with one group declar­ing it “coun­ter­pro­duc­tive to as­so­ci­ate Is­lam or Mus­lims with fas­cism.” As the news­pa­per that first put a vari­ant of this term into pub­lic cir­cu­la­tion in the United States, we’d sim­ply say this: The Mus­lims who tried to blow up th­ese air­planes are in fact fas­cists. This might be wor­ri­some to the Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Is­lamic Re­la­tions, whose rai­son d’etre is rais­ing the specter of anti-Mus­lim back­lash. But that doesn’t make it un­true.

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. Fas­cism also es­pouses cen­tral­ized au­to­cratic rule by that group in sup­pres­sion of oth­ers. It usu­ally ad­vo­cates se­vere eco­nomic and so­cial reg­i­men­ta­tion and the to­tal or near-to­tal sub­or­di­na­tion of the in­di­vid­ual to the po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship. This ac­cu­rately de­scribes the philoso­phies of Hitler, Mus­solini, the lead­ers of Im­pe­rial Ja­pan and other fascis­tic regimes through his­tory. It also de­scribes the Aug. 10 ter­ror­ists.

It very ac­cu­rately de­scribes the phi­los­o­phy of al Qaeda, Hezbol­lah, Ha­mas and many other stripes of Is­lamism around the world. All the el­e­ments are present. The ide­ol­ogy is chau­vin­is­tic, re­gard­ing nonMus­lims as a lesser breed of ex­pend­able or con­temptible dhim­mis and in­fi­dels. It fa­vors au­toc­racy and se­vere so­cial and eco­nomic re­stric­tions, as did the Tal­iban. It de­mands the to­tal sub­or­di­na­tion of the in­di­vid­ual to the group — some­times man­i­fest­ing in mur­der­ously sui­ci­dal deaths like the fiery de­struc­tion Bri­tain’s would-be bombers sought. This is not main­stream Is­lam, of course. It is a cor­rup­tion of the faith.

The use of the term “Is­lamic fas­cism” and its vari­ants is grow­ing, for the sim­ple fact that it re­flects the un­der­ly­ing re­al­ity of the mil­i­tants in ques­tion. We’ve been us­ing a close vari­ant of the term since July 20, 2001, when re­porter Larry Witham in­ter­viewed the Ger­man-born Mus­lim scholar Khalid Du­ran — who is some­times cred­ited with coin­ing the word “Is­lam­ofas­cism” — in the wake of his mini-Rushdie af­fair over his book, “An In­tro­duc­tion to Is­lam for Jews.” Mr. Du­ran told Mr. Witham that Is­lamism is re­ally “Is­lam­ofas­cism” be­cause it seeks to im­pose re­li­gious or­tho­doxy on the state and the cit­i­zenry. Which is just as true to­day.

The Coun­cil on Amer­i­can-Is­lamic Re­la­tions, of course, has had prob­lems with this term and its ex­pos­i­tors for some time. Mr. Witham’s ar­ti­cle quotes CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper as say­ing that Mr. Du­ran “is not the right per­son to write a book about Mus­lim-Jewish un­der­stand­ing” and “doesn’t speak for Mus­lims.”

Is­lam­ofas­cism speaks for it­self. It is a real phe­nom­e­non. That makes some peo­ple un­com­fort­able, but the truth is no less real for it.

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