“Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to greater danger.” – Herman Goering, Nazi minister, at his Nuremberg trial.
Last week across many colleges and universities in the United States Islam was compared with fascism, for it was declared “Islamofascism Awareness Week”. By implication the 1.3 billion muslims in the world have been called fascists. Clearly this is a serious indictment, for to be compared to fascism means to be compared to what is generally considered to represent the essence of evil. As such both muslims and non-muslims should stop and think about how to respond to it.
Generally speaking, the accusation “fascist” intends to equate someone or something with the historic fascist regimes of Nazi Germany and – to a lesser extent –
under Benito “Il Duce” Mussolini. Clearly this is a serious indictment, for to be compared to these regimes means to be compared to what is generally considered to represent the essence of evil. This as the historic fascism, the form of state applied by the Nazi regime in
and Mussolini in
, is attributed with responsibility for the Second World War from 1939 to 1945, which was a reckless war of colonial aggression which claimed the loss of a staggering 55 million lives.
The generally accepted history has it that the fascist states taught their peoples that some races were inherently superior to others, and, hence, that some races were predestined to rule while others were predestined to serve. At the same the fascist states taught their peoples that war was something desirable. One the one hand because through war the superior people (“übermenschen”) would be able to differentiate themselves from the lesser people (“unterrmenschen”). On the other hand because through war the nation of the superior people would be able to realize the dominant position in this world. Such that the most fit to take on this task would effectively come to lead the world, so the story went.
Even before the advent of the Second World War this kind of thinking lead Mussolini’s
to wage war on
was to become
’s “place in the sun”, as Mussolini said his countrymen deserved. For that most of the Ethiopians had to be disposed of, the thinking was, as serving the Italians required only a handful of Ethiopians to remain. Therefore, when the people of
showed signs of disagreement with Mussolini’s plan for their country, Mussolini instructed marshal
’s leader of the colonial war, in the following manner: “I have authorized once again to begin and systematically conduct a politics of terror and extermination of the rebels and the complicit population.” According to estimates some 750,000 Ethiopians were eventually killed in this first war of fascism, of whom 300,000 due to starvation while on the run for the Italian armies.
In Nazi Germany the idea of racial superiority and inferiority found an expression in the concept of “lebensraum”. This political idea stated that the German people, considering their inherent superiority, had a natural right to a greater piece of the world. And that hence, there would be nothing wrong with them expanding the territory of Germany
to the east by displacing or exterminating the peoples living there. Because those people were a lesser people to begin with. So not long after coming to power the Nazi’s started developing plans for invading
. Part of these plans covered the Nazi desire to “reshape”
by slicing it in two. Around half of
, the most western half, was considered “Germanic” in origin. Therefore it was to become part of the German Third Reich. “For ever”, Adolf Hitler said. Most of the Poles living in this western
were to be removed, either by the gun or by train, to the other half of
which was to become a client state of Nazi Germany. The Nazi plans stated it was to be “a reservation for Poles, a huge Polish work camp”. Adolf Hitler said: “This is good for the Poles because we look after their health and make sure they do not die of hunger, etc.”. In the end Nazi Germany indeed invaded
Poland, which lead to Great-Britain declaring war on Germany
. The rest is of course history: little over six years later most of Europe and large parts of North Africa lay in ruins.
Fascism than and now
This is some background required to be able to fully appreciate “Islamofascism Awareness Week”. Now indeed, if today one reflects on the reality of life during the historic era of fascism in the ‘30s and ‘40s of the previous century, the keen observer will undoubtedly realize that many obvious similarities exist between then and now. At the same, however, he or she will not but realize that Islam plays no part in any of these.
For one thing, namely, the Nazi’s justified their wars by claiming they were fought in self-defense. For instance, shortly after the German invasion of
in 1939 Adolf Hitler stated: “This night for the first time Polish regular soldiers fired on our own territory. Since 5:45 a. m. we have been returning the fire, and from now on bombs will be met with bombs. (…) I will continue this struggle, no matter against whom, until the safety of the Reich and its rights are secured.”. Later on he recalled: “It was a fateful hour, on the first of September of this year (…). I had to inform you then of serious decisions which had been forced upon us as a result of the intransigent and provocative action of a certain state.” And on another occasion he said: “It became clear to me that
would attack us”. These statements, and there are many others like it, give a good impression of how the fascist sold their wars to the public. The German people were told the invasion of
was an act of self defense. Even later on during the war, as
was already set on fire following the Nazi “Blitzkrieg” into Western-Europe, this same message was repeated to the German audiences. Another Nazi leader, the Minister for Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, said: “They have forced us in struggle for life and death. We will defend ourselves accordingly.” Now if for a second one ignores the obvious question of whether or not the Nazi leaders were actually speaking the truth when they claimed “self defense”, then one can see that the claim itself makes it very easy to draw a parallel between the then and the now. For indeed, today it is
that is involved in violent military action abroad because the government states the nation is under threat. “
must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for final proof – the smoking gun – that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”, said the American president in 2002 before his invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. “We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans, and confront the worst threats before they emerge”, he said further.
The second parallel between the then and the now is the description provided of this “enemy at the gate”. “Americans are asking: ‘Why do they hate us?’”, said president Bush in 2001, when introducing the American people to their new enemy after the demise of communism. “They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.” The Nazi Joseph Goebbels said in essence the same when he introduced the Germans to their enemies abroad: “They (the enemy) hate our people because it is decent, brave, industrious, hardworking and intelligent. They hate our views, our social policies and our accomplishments. (…) They have forced us in struggle for life and death. We will defend ourselves accordingly.” Though the exact choice of words might be different, the message in both quotations is essentially the same. In both instances the enemy is defined as the opposite of what a common person would consider decent. It is said: “there is an enemy at the gate who hates us and is ready to destroy us, only because of what we – like every normal person – consider decent”.
Thirdly, even if one does take into consideration the fact that Hitler was telling blatant lies when he described his wars of conquest as “justified” because in reaction to a foreign threat, the parallels between the then and the now still do not end. For the current wars of America are just as much based on lies and a purely imaginary threats as the Nazi invasion of Poland was. This is an established fact after years of searching for Weapons of Mass Destruction in
remained fruitless. Just as the Poles never really constituted a threat against Nazi Germany, so didn’t the people of
Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia threaten
either. In truth, all the Nazi’s did was hide colonialist intentions behind the claim of self defense. And ever since retired US General John Abizaid confessed “Of course it (the
war) is about oil, we can’t really deny that” it can be claimed with certainly that the American government did exactly the same!
The parallels do not stop there, however, and even though it helps the argument this is not in any way a source of joy. The fourth parallel, namely, results from noticing that the American flattening of
Iraq does not do under for the Nazi destruction of Poland or the Italian destruction of
. All nations’ foreign colonial wars, those of
and those of historic fascists, have caused suffering among ordinary people on a gigantic scale. The wars that are said to be fought in self defense have killed hundreds of thousands of entirely innocent people and displaced millions more. Adolf Hitler saw in these crimes against humanity not in the least a cause for shame. He stated in his “Mein Kampf”: “What we have to fight for (…) is freedom and independence, so that our people may mature for the fulfillment of the mission allotted it by the creator of the universe.” Around the time of 650,000 dead Iraqi civilians President Bush said: “Today the civilized world stands together to defend our freedom; we stand together to defeat the terrorists; and we’re working to secure the peace for generations to come.” Indeed, leave it to the fascists to hide calling for destruction and mutilation behind lofty argument
Responding to the Mis-Awareness Week
These similarities between both eras are evident, and that is no laughing matter. For what resulted from the war of fascism then was no laughing matter, as already alluded to. Who can laugh over the death of 55 million people, of 20 million Russians alone. And indeed, who can laugh over the attempt to exterminate a race? But what perhaps is most worrisome in the present day is the fact that of all people it is those who called for war – exactly those who are so easily compared to the original fascists – that are comparing others to fascism.
“Islamofascism Awareness Week” is taking place in
, even though as explained above, in light current events it seems highly inappropriate for the American establishment to accuse the muslims of being fascists. Nevertheless, it would be wrong to just ignore the accusation. For what the honest search for truth requires of man is that all accusations are taken seriously, now matter how farfetched they may seem. One reason for this being the ever existing possibility that the accusation is in fact justified. And if the accusation is in fact truth it must be followed, but one will never realize this unless the accusation is studied and thought over. The other reason being of course that unless the accusation is taken seriously it will never be possible to prove it wrong.
In light of this, especially when considering the gravity of the accusation it becomes even more apparent that a reaction must follow the coming of “Islamofascism Awareness Week”. To do this it needs to be thoroughly understood what association exactly “Islamofascism Awareness Week” is trying to establish. Or in other words, what do those who cry “Islamofascism” really mean to say? After this, the reality of Islam needs to be cross checked with the contents of this accusation. Such that it can be established, above any doubt, whether the accusation has any truth in it or whether it is utterly false.
What did you call me?
Fascism is the political and economic theory propagated most notably by the Italian philosopher Emilio Gentile. In a quote which is very often attributed to Benito Mussolini, he described the fascist ideology in the following manner: “Fascism should more properly be called corporatism, since it is the merger of state and corporate power.” This means that according to fascism the state should organize society through assemblies known as “corporations”. Every aspect of society should be managed and organized by such a corporation, whose members should be selected from prominent and influential persons in the respective area. To explain this by means of an example, the fascist state would manage the economy by inviting the key industrialist of the country to become part of the state administration. In other words, according to fascism power should be centralized within the state by integrating the main players in society into the state.
For most people, however, this fascist philosophy will not be what comes to mind when the term “fascist” is used to describe someone or something. The reason this nevertheless does not cause problems in the public debate is the fact that the people who use the term “fascist” as an accusation neither have the fascist philosophy in mind. For almost without exception, when the accusation “fascist” is put forward the fascist philosophy isn’t what is effectively referred to. Much more important than the philosophy is the fact that because of the Second World War fascism is commonly associated with certain traits. Almost without exception it is these traits – which might or might not have resulted from the fascist philosophy of Emilio Gentile, this is unimportant – that are actually referred to when someone or something is called fascist. These “characteristics” of fascism, so to say, are therefore what is of interest to the person going through the process of thinking after being called fascist, because this is what he is effectively accused of. The reality of fascism, in other words, is not of interest.
It is fair to say that the characteristics of fascism are in itself of topic of much debate, but indeed there are a few that are generally accepted as part and parcel of fascism:
Extreme nationalism mixed with racism is considered a characteristic of fascism, specifically as both the fascist states from earlier times used nationalism and/or racism to bond its citizens. Their peoples were taught that loyalty should be to the nation, while the nation was racially defined, and that this loyalty should be superseded by nothing else. The loyalty to the state should be absolute.
A society in the grip of fear is commonly considered another characteristic of fascism. Typical for the historic fascism was the instigation of fear in society by the creation of an enemy, and the usage of this fear to demand unquestioned submission of the people to the state. As mentioned earlier, an enemy would be created by the leadership of the fascist state, either another state or a specific race, and people would be told time and time again that this enemy was a determined, mortal enemy. This way the fascist leadership turned itself into something the people united behind, as the fascist leadership would present themselves as the only obstacle standing between the enemy and him realizing his desire of annihilation. The fascist leadership would protect them, the people were told, but it could do this only if the people were obedient and did not question its actions.
Thus the fascist states all became dictatorial, with effectively all forms of power consolidated in the hands of the fascist leadership. What is specific about this fascist form of dictatorship is that it was not forced upon the people. Rather, out of fear the people would ask for the dictatorship to develop. Therefore the fascist dictatorship can be described as a “dictatorship by consensus”.
However, once this specific form of dictatorship was established it took on all the traits of the common dictatorship. It would become totalitarian in that it would suppress all voices opposing the leadership of the fascist. By obstructing entry into the media – not through brute force but through the much more subtle “corporatization” of the media – or through imprisonment or assassination. The state security apparatus and military would be build up and become the main direction for government funds. This was justified by using the fear in society, by pointing to the enemy. But in truth this was used to bring society under further control. Also, schools and popular culture were used to re-educate the people. To teach them the new values that were to be praised in man and woman. The desirable characteristics in man were to be all those traits that would make him a leader and a hero in the army of the state. Heroism was to be the ultimate aim in life, and the hero was the person who overcame his enemies by force and determination: “action” was preferred over “thinking”; willpower, intuition and willingness to use force were promoted as the building blocks of a great leader; violence was the preferred method to achieve targets and war was promoted therefore. The soldier was idealized as fighting builds up character and separates the strong from the weak. Or at least so was the reasoning. The woman, on the other hand, was to be a wife and mother, responsible for bringing the future soldiers into this world and raising them. She was to be as obedient to her husband as he was to the state.
This meant a disdain for intellectualism was developed in society. For intellectualism implies openness to differences of opinion and to debate, and critical thinking tends to question make distinctions other than just black and white. These virtues were presented as signs of weakness and as nothing but sources of undesirable distraction.
The last characteristic of fascism worth mentioning here is the way it managed the economy, basically by merging the state with the corporate world. Fascism was not against the essence of capitalism at all, as is sometimes thought. In fact, it is worthwhile to remember it was the mortal enemy of communism. Indeed, the communists considered fascism to be answer of the capitalists to the emergence of communism. Capitalism in fascism meant the corporatist organization of society, the integration of business leadership with the state leadership. As such, any distinction between the business world and the state disappeared. In the fascist nations business would serve the state and the state would serve business, meaning the interests of big business organized all of life’s affairs. So whether the people realized it or not, when their interests were subjugated to the interests of the state they were effectively subjugated to the interests of big business. The people were turned into slaves who thought they were free.
The essence of Islam
Thus, the meaning of the accusation “fascist” is to be attributed these characteristics. In order to respond to the accusation it needs to be studied, therefore, if Islam indeed shares any of these characteristics with fascism. So what is Islam, in essence?
The answer to this question begins with the realization that the human being knows needs and desires that drive him to act in this life. The human needs and desires are what initiates action, for they bring about in man an urge to search for ways and means to satisfy them. The mind then develops thought on how exactly to achieve satisfaction of these needs and desires, the ways and the means.
Islam calls upon man to allow the mind to first ponder upon the reality of existence, before using it to think about the ways and means to satisfy the needs and desires. For Islam holds that this way the mind will realize one of the most important facts about life, a fact with an important relation to the search for satisfaction of the needs and the desires, which is the existence of a Creator responsible for this life. The argument of Islam is that if one ponders over what can be sensed, that then one will realize the fact that the existence of everything is predestined to come to an end one day. That all is finite, in other words. And that for this temporary existence to last all things are dependent on other things that are equally finite and dependent. Meaning that nothing is truly independent. And lastly, that there exists a system that ensures the needs of all things are indeed met. A system which brings about order, part of which are the laws of nature from which nothing that exists can withdraw itself. For these laws of nature are of influence on that which exists, while at the same time that which exists is not of influence on the laws of nature. These facts make it impossible for the mind to accept the idea of infinity of existence. Or equally, the idea of independence of existence, in that existence is itself responsible for its existence. Indeed, in light of these facts regarding the existence of the three possible explanations for this existence – existence was always and will always be, it created itself or something else created it – the only one that the mind can accept is the explanation that says there must be a Creator behind the existence. The Creator is simply required, for nothing could exist without His existence.
If the human being realizes he is created, just as all other things in existence are created, then this will have an effect on the thought that is developed with regard to the satisfaction of the needs and desires. For with the realization of the reality of a Creator come questions such as “why have I been created by Him?”. Islam claims it is the message of this Creator, sent to answer exactly these types of questions. The answer Islam provides to these existential questions is that man has been created to worship the Almighty Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. Islam also explains how exactly this worship is to be performed by the created. This is by submitting to the Will of the Creator, by following His commands and prohibitions in the search for satisfaction of the needs and desires.
Lastly, Islam brings forward two arguments to motivate the human being to do so. The first argument is the one that all religions put forward when they urge man to be follow to it. This argument is the announcement of a coming Day of Judgment, when all human beings will be questioned and rewarded of punished for the extent to which they followed these commands and prohibitions. The second argument Islam provides is specific for it, and it is the claim that only through following the commands and prohibitions of the Creator the human being will be able to realize satisfaction of the needs and desires in the proper way. Or in other words, that the true satisfaction is only through living as a muslim.
This is the essence of Islam. Unlike to other religions in the world it is a complete way of life. Much more than a religion it is an ideology, for it structures the ways through which man attempts to satisfy his needs and the means he uses for this. The follower of Islam, he who believes in this message, will therefore tread very carefully through life. Fearing the coming Day of Judgment, knowing there is no other path to true happiness in this life and in the next, he will be very much aware of the need to refrain from acting unless in accordance with the commands and prohibitions set by Islam. As such, the role of the mind in Islam is to firstly ponder on the basis on which all subsequent thought is to be build, meaning the question whether or not there is a Creator. Then, after establishing the truth of the claims of Islam that the Creator indeed exists and that the Quran is His Word, the role of the mind becomes to find in this revelation the answer to the problem of man’s needs and desires. This is how the Islamic “shari’a” comes about.
Already here, in the viewpoint towards life, there exists a significant difference between Islam and fascism, therefore. For in fascism the viewpoint is that the human mind is to solve the problems. Fascism is secular and for it the mind is to develop thought regarding the ways and means to satisfy the needs and desires. Yet Islam prohibits the mind from doing so. In Islam the mind is to search and retrieve these solutions from Islam.
Of course, when the essence of two things are opposite it becomes highly unlikely, basically unimaginable, that the characteristics of the two will be the same. For with different viewpoints in life each and every question, each and every issue, each and every problem will be approached differently. Nevertheless, there remains a theoretical chance that even with this fundamental difference the answers of Islam and fascism to questions, issues and problems are the same. So even though it is most likely Islam has nothing in common with fascism, to be able to answer the accusation “fascist” comprehensively it remains a requirement to study the Islamic civilization in more detail.
The Islamic civilization (“no fascists here…”)
For a long period of time a large part of the world utilized Islam to solve their problems. The for the purpose of this article most relevant period was of course the era where the Prophet of Islam, Muhammed, peace be upon him, governed the city-state of Madina through the commands and prohibitions of Islam as an Islamic State.
The most prominent feature that identified the pre-Islamic Arab society in the
was “tribalism”. This is a possible form of human social organization which in pre-Islamic
tribalism was an apartheid system based on superior and inferior tribes. This was the cause for continual warfare on the peninsula, with all tribes competing with each other for status and power. When Islam came it challenged the racist concepts and behaviors in the Arab society that resulted from this tribalism. For instead of being racist Islam is a universal message that transcends races, colors and languages. A fact best described by the Prophet of Islam in his famous last sermon, where he stated:
An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor has a non-Arab any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black, nor has a black any superiority over a white. Except in piety and good deeds.
That is why one would find Bilal bin Rabah, the Ethiopian slave; Salman the Persian; Suhayb bin Sinan, the Roman, and a variety of Arabs from different tribes all living together in Medina calling themselves brothers, without any prejudice or discrimination. Islam effectively broke the borders between these people, and a visit to a mosque in any of the metropolitan cities of the
during a Friday noon prayer will show it has continued to do so. For one will be able see there African, Caucasian, Arab, Hispanic, East-Asian and South-Asian muslims standing side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder, praying together. Clearly, therefore, with respect to racism the practical reality of Islam stands in stark contrast to the reality of fascism.
Regarding the fascist characteristic of developing fear in society in order to establish authority for the fascist leadership, which it attempts to do through the creation of an enemy, most people forget that during the time of the Prophet of Islam society in Madina was neither racially nor religiously uniform. In addition to many individuals from various Arab tribes that were polytheist there were many jewish tribes in and around Madina for instance. And besides them there were christians and atheists as well. Very interesting is the way Islam dealt with this fact, as again it shows a marked difference with fascism.
One of the first things the Prophet of Islam did when arriving in Madina was to develop a foundation for the religiously divers society of Madina to be build on. This he did through the establishment of the Madina Charter, a document intended to function in a manner similar to the modern day constitution in that it intended to lay down the basic rules and regulations of the Islamic State. The Madina Charter stated amongst other things:
This is a document from Muhammad the Prophet, governing relations between the Believers, being the Muslims of Quraysh and Yathrib, and those who followed them and worked hard with them. They form one nation – Ummah. (…) Those jews who follow the Believers will be helped and will be treated with equality. No jew will be wronged for being a jew. The enemies of the jews who follow us will not be helped. The jews of Bani (tribe) Awf will be treated as one community with the Believers. The jews have their religion (just as the muslims have theirs). The same applies to the jews of Bani Al Najjar, Bani Al Harith, Bani Saeeda, Bani Jusham, Bani Al Aws, Thaalba and the
, and the Bani Al Shutayba. (…) If anyone attacks anyone who is a party to this Pact the other must come to his help. (…)They (the parties to this Pact) must seek mutual advice and consultation. (…) Anyone who is wronged must be helped. (…) In case of any dispute or controversy which may result in trouble, the matter must be referred to Allah and Muhammed. The Prophet of Allah will accept anything in this document, which is for (bringing about) piety and goodness.
It is true that Islam views other beliefs as wrong and that it holds that its doctrine and the systems emanating from it are the only correct way to organize lives’ affairs. But that said, as the Madina Charter clearly shows at the same time Islam does not view differences between people as something that should be exploited for the benefit of the leadership of the state, as the fascists do. Nor does Islam view differences in viewpoint on life as an obstacle to living together in harmony, as is very often thought in the western world today. Islam believes that the harmonious living together of people of different races, religions and ideologies is possible. And to achieve this is judged as a goal in itself for the Islamic State. Islam holds that the way to realize this is to treat all people with the utmost respect. This means in the Islamic State all people are equal citizens, irrespective of their race or religion. All people are to be respected with their beliefs, and no pressure may be put on those who hold a different viewpoint in life, as is clearly stated in the Quran:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from error.” (See the translation of the meanings of Quran, surah Al Baqara 2, verse 256)
Therefore in the Islamic State the adherents of religions and beliefs other than Islam will be allowed to give meaning to their lives in accordance with their own believes and value systems, meaning they will be allowed to practice their own rituals of worship and resolve any issue pertaining to marital affairs, family affairs and food, drink and clothing as they themselves see fit. Most certainly the State will implement the Islamic laws pertaining to these issues, as it will implement all the laws of Islam, but in these issues it will enforce the Islamic law only upon the muslims. For showing the non-muslim citizens of the Islamic State the respect of allowing them to organize these affairs in accordance with their own personal beliefs, that in itself is a law in Islam. Practically this means that the Islamic State will, for example, ensure the muslim men abide by the Islamic law that states the wearing of gold and silk is prohibited for them. Yet at the same time it will not prohibit the non-muslim men from adorning themselves with gold and silk. And the same regarding the eating of pork, the drinking of wine, et cetera. This is how all people are made to feel part of society, because they will all be respected as they are, with beliefs and ideologies.
At the same time all citizens are to be protected from harm by the State, be it physical harm such as through violence and theft or psychological harm such as through slander and insults. This clearly shows that instead of exploiting the unavoidable differences between people, by making an enemy of those who differ from the state defined ideal as the fascists would do, Islam aims at uniting the different people by being respectful to the differences the utmost degree in dealing with its citizens. So here too no comparison is possible between fascism and Islam.
For as far as the fascist characteristic of disdain for intellectualism is concerned, the Islamic State will have nothing of it. In order to explain this it needs to be made clear that Islam does not accept the idea of “relative truth”. For clearly there are instances where something as final and definitive truth can be achieved. The human mind enables man to develop perceptions about the sensible world. And depending on the amount of effort put in to observing the sensible reality, and the amount of effort put into thinking these sensations over, the inconsistencies between reality and the perception can be reduced and in some instances entirely removed. Once the perception is thus made completely identical to sensible reality a definite truth has been found. For this reason, as has previously been explained, Islam calls the people to it by challenging them to study and think over the reality of existence and the reality of the Quran. The reality of existence will proof the existence of the Creator, Islam holds, and the reality of the Quran will proof it truly is the word of this Creator. Clearly, therefore, unlike fascism Islam doesn’t clamp down on the human mind or disallows the holding of a viewpoint in life other than Islam, for it considers it doesn’t need to. Rather, it invites the people who differ to put their viewpoint of life on the table, to discuss them together with Islam, such that truth may come to shine brightly. In fact, the great status of this intellectualism is one of the reasons behind the success of Islam. Millions in the Middle-East, North Africa, Central and South-Asia and
joined Islam after it had been introduced and explained to them, and within just a few years these people had come to be identified by Islam adopting it wholeheartedly, fully convinced of its truth.
Finally, then, regarding the economic system that characterized the fascist states. Perhaps even without the people noticing it the fascists transformed society into a tool for the large industrialists to use. The effect of developing a dictatorial, totalitarian state through the instigation of fear in society on the one hand, and the merger of the state leadership with the business leadership on the other, was that the people were effectively governed as though they were modern time serfs. The people became part of a system in which their role was to work hard and complain little, so as to ensure profits for the big corporations and thereby business support for the state leadership. Wages were kept low, striking was forbidden, and so was worker organization as a way of countering the power of employers. Those who would speak out against the hard work during long hours for little money would find the security apparatus (in Nazi Germany the infamous Gestapo) opposing them, threatening them with concentration camp detentions or worse. “Business was good” under fascism, in other words, and for this reason both Mussolini’s
and Nazi Germany were for a long time the favorite destination of foreign investment by American companies.
Islam as an ideology to resolve the problems of humankind, approaches the economic side of life in a completely different manner. When the role of the people in society is limited to ensuring profits for the industry, the economic policy of the fascist regimes of history, there is nothing left but serfdom. In the Islamic State, however, the wealth that is created through industry is to be made of benefit to all of society. Therefore the Islamic State will, for instance, disallow the hoarding of wealth. The wealthy will either invest their wealth in society, through the setting up of business in cooperation with others, or perhaps through the loaning of money without interest to those who are looking for funds to set up a business, or the State will take the hoarded wealth and invest it in society on behalf of the wealthy owner. The circulation of wealth between the hands of the wealthy will equally be forbidden, as all of society must be enabled to benefit from it.
Also, unlike in fascism – or the western world for that matter! – in the Islamic State the wealthy will not take in a preferential position when it comes to taxation. In the Islamic State companies will not be taxed on their profits only, and at a lower percentage than the average citizen is taxed on his income. In Islam income will not be taxed at all. Through zakat the savings of the people being that part of income which remains after the needs have been satisfied through it, will be taxed at 2.5%. This will be irrespective of whether these savings result from owning a business or from doing contracted labor. The money freed up this way is to be used by the State to ensure it meets its main obligation vis-à-vis its citizens, and that is to ensure that for every individual in society the necessary basic needs – defined as food, clothing and housing – are provided for. Either by making jobs available or by making grants to the public available. If the income from zakat is not sufficient for the State to meet this obligation, the State is obliged to impose a limited tax on the wealthy of society, not on the poor, until the necessary expenses can be made.
Exposing the true fascists
It has been demonstrated, therefore, that Islam does not in any way compare to fascism. The two do not compare in the viewpoints towards life on which they are build, nor is there any comparison in the thoughts and ideas that result from these viewpoints. With this being so clear and easily explained, the question then becomes why would someone then nevertheless organize a nation-wide campaign to attempt to associate Islam with the characteristics of fascism?
The answer to this question is hidden in the explanation of Islam provided in the above. Islam is different from the other religions in the world in that it is comprehensive way of life. At the same time, Islam is different from all other ideologies in the world, both capitalism and communism, in that it is based on utilizing the commands and prohibitions of the Creator of existence to solve the problems of humanity. As such Islam proposes an alternative way of organizing society. It proposes to solve the problems of humanity through laws and systems that all emanate from the Islamic creed, to ensure life is lived in the way it was intended by its Creator, instead of using the mind to attempt to determine potential solutions.
Recent years have witnessed a re-birth of the call to Islam on this basis, with the muslims all over turning back to Islam in search for solutions to their problems. This after decades during which they searched for solutions to their problems in capitalism, communism and socialist (Arab) nationalism, and not in their Islam. In other words, Islam is back as the ideology it really is, challenging the current hegemony of capitalism. This has pushed Islam back in the spotlights and on to the radar-screens of those in power. This was the reason for the coming of what is ignominiously called the War on Terror. This war was the beginning of the equating of Islam and the muslims with everything a normal person would consider decent. For instance president Bush said regarding the enemy in this war: “They are driven by a radical and perverted vision of Islam that rejects tolerance, crushes all dissent, and justifies the murder of innocent men, women and children in the pursuit of political power. They hope to establish a violent political utopia across the
, which they call caliphate, where all would be ruled according to their hateful ideology. (…)This caliphate would be a totalitarian Islamic empire encompassing all current and former Muslim lands, stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle East and
Southeast Asia. ”.
“Islamofascism Awareness Week” equally claims its “j’accuse” is directed only to what they call are “jihadist-muslims”, and that therefore its accusation is fair balanced and justified. But this is nothing but a continuation of the rhetoric that came along with the coming of the War on Terror, which is the rhetoric of the “moderate muslim” versus the “extremist muslim”. But only to avoid alienating the 1.5 billion muslims in the world as a whole and exposing the true intent behind the actions is this differentiation made, under which the “moderates” are those who ignore or forget the solutions Islam brings to the table for society’s problems while the “extremist” are those who call for implementation of these solutions. In truth this is a meaningless differentiation as all muslims believe in the solutions of Islam for society’s problems. For this is what it means to believe in Islam.
It is clear, therefore, that the rethoric of the War on Terror and the “Islamofascism Awareness Week” is squarely directed towards Islam and all the muslims. It aims to strengthen the concepts of fear in connection with Islam and the muslims, the product of a shared effort between state and media over a number of years now, for which purpose little or no issue is seen with lying and spinning the truth. The instigation of fear in society for Islam and muslims aims at justifying the repression and prosecution of anyone who does not accept the current state of affairs, under which the world is in the grip of poverty and injustice. Especially those muslims who “dare” to present Islam as an alternative for this state of affairs. Also, it aims at justifying the continuation of (neo-)colonialism and foreign wars of conquest, which are to ensure those in power stay in power and profit from the spoils of the earth.
Therefore, “Islamofascism Awareness Week” is nothing more, nor anything less, than a continuation of what is the true fascist policy of today: the Global War on Terror.
Mohammed ‘Imadoeddien and Abdullah as Siddiq
Mohammed ‘Imadoeddien is a muslim activist writing from the US
Abdullah as Siddiq is a muslim activist from The Netherlands.
 Ibidem note 2.
 Ibidem note 2.
 See the Musnad by Ahmed ibn Handbal and the Sahieh by Al Bukhari
 See: “Profit über alles! American corporations and Hitler” by Dr. Jacques Pauwels, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=4607