Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Nazism and Islam

Bernie Planck has a post "Were all Nazis Evil?".  This reminds me that I've been meaning for a while to post something about what I call "analysis by coffee shop".  Which means: analysing what a country is like by who you meet at the coffee shop. Or in the taxi.  Or whereever.  That's all very well and useful, and right.  But it's not really relevant to the ideology of the state.
Even in the US you will meet about half the population that's at odds with the current government.  So if you hated "W" because of the war in Iraq, or you hate Obama cause he's soft on Islam, you would find people of that -- or the opposite -- persuasion, in the coffee shops of America.  Similarly, the fact that you have a nice couscous at the coffee shop in Casablanca, or an incomparable idly in Islamabad, or an agreeable adana in Ankara, and you meet nice local people when you've done so -- all of which I've done myself in over the last 30 years and more -- all of this says nothing about the dominant ideology.  More starkly: think of the wonderful, brave Russians you might have met in the worst days of the Soviet Union.
Similarly, that would have been the case if you had visited Germany in the late 1930s.  You would have found gentle and friendly Germans throughout the country, I'm sure.  Indeed, there's a book which explores that very issue, which I mention below.
So, we're asked to be "nice" to Islam, to cease to criticise it, to cease to point out its supremacist, sectarian, anti-Semitic and violent nature, its racism, its female-phobia, its homo-phobia, we're asked to cease pointing out these uncomfortable facts, because, because, because....  "I've met Muslims in Australia, in Casablanca, in Syria, and they're really nice people!!".
Bernie's article on this aburdity is called "Were all Nazis evil", though I think it may have better been called "Were all Germans evil?" for the answer to the second is simple: no.  But Nazism certainly was.   Evil, that is.  Muslims are far from all evil.  But Islam is.
And Thomas Mann says, of this:  "Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil."
My post to Bernie's article:

Indeed, Bernie!
I can't count the number of times friends, family or colleagues have said something along the lines of "Oh, I was in Tunisia/Turkey/Morocco recently and all the people I met were sooo friendly, the food great.  You're wrong about Islam...".  
Well, I've been to those places too, and had lovely experiences there.  But that's irrelevant to the ideology.  I bet that you could have gone to Germany in the later 1930s, I might say to them, and find that the people there too were very friendly and nice; not at all the nazi ogres we later made them all out to be.  
This led me to search the issue of 1930s Germany and led me to a book I've just got, but not yet read: "The Third Reich in the Ivory Tower", Complicity and Conflict on American Campuses, by Stephen H. Norwood.  The cover blurb says: "[American Universities in the 1930s] were highly influential in shaping public opinion, and many of the nation's most prominent university administrators refused to take a principled stand against the Hitler regime."  Sound familiar?  One has only to look at to find many cases in recent months of Universities refusing to denounce the violence in Islam, or the silencing, by thuggish Muslims, of guest speakers critical of Islam.
It's easy to criticize x or y or z as being "Nazi" or "fascist".  But the more I study Islam, the more I find uncanny and exact replications of fascist ideology in Islam.  Another interesting book on the topic is "Icon of Evil", by Dalin and Rothmann, about the connection between the Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin Al-Husseini and Hitler and the broader agreement between the Nazi regime and Islamic leaders about who would be responsible for which part of the "Final Solution".  One regime has gone (pretty well).  The other ideology is resurgent in its anti-semitic hatred and homicidal aims.