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While viewing the morning news and quietly preparing to go to the office one warm August morning, I was taken aback
By Abu Junaid
Courtesy: The Islamic Post
by a term used by our current President Mr. George Bush. President Bush had used the term “Islamo-Fascist”
My immediate reaction was one of confusion followed by feelings of great disappointment. Here was the leader of the “Free World” equating Islam with Fascism. This was the same President who as Governor of Texas a few years back had passed a declaration honoring the day my niece Ms. Hayyat bint Ustadh Yahya Abdul Haqq was married to Mr. Tajuddin Olajuwan the brother of Mr. Akim Olajuwan. This was the same President who on several occasions had warned against castigating the whole Muslim community for the acts of a few associated with Islam. Were his statements mere empty rhetoric?
I immediately reminded myself that for a nation at war without Islamic moral principles that the ends justified the means. I was looking at a lame duck president leading an increasingly unpopular war which could not be logically or morally justified. With the upcoming November elections his party, the Republican Party, was facing the possibility of losing its grip on the political power it has become so accustomed to. I remember years a go as a young (very young) student reading books about Dialectical Materialism and Scientific Socialism. As a discontented young man of African descent I was attracted to the writings of Franz Fanon, the South African Journalist Colin Legum and Kwame Nkrumah.
Franz Fanon and Kwame Nkrumah spoke about the colonization of Africa by Imperial European forces. Fanon spoke of the effects of French colonial rule of Muslim Algeria, and Nkrumah of British colonial rule. Both spoke of the propaganda machine employed to denigrate the lighter skinned Algerians and their darker skinned Ghanaian counterparts. The Africans were portrayed as backward savages unworthy of self rule, liberty, justice and equality. These were rights reserved only for whites who were alone in their right to self rule and freedom.
An admitted Marxist, Frantz Fanon was a descendant of African slaves who had been brought to the Caribbean to work on the sugar plantations in Martinique. In 1952 Fanon, who had traveled to Algeria to practice Clinical Psychology found himself allied with the Algerian Muslims and their liberation movement that sought to throw off French Colonial rule. He worked closely with the Algerian Freedom Fighters until 1961 when he died in Washington, D.C. of leukemia.
In his book “Black Skin White Masks”, Fanon argued that white colonialism imposed an existentially false and degrading existence upon its black victims to the extent that it demanded their conformity to its distorted values. The colonized is not seen by the colonizer as a human being; this is also the picture the colonized is forced to accept. Fanon demonstrates how the problem of race, of color, connects with a whole range of words and images, starting from the symbol of the dark side of the soul. "Is not whiteness in symbols always ascribed in French to Justice, Truth, and Virginity?" Fanon examines race prejudices as a philosopher and psychologist although he acknowledges social and economic realities. Fanon had touched upon the main theme used by all propagandist, that of dehumanizing the enemy, real or perceived. He also thereby defines the inner most meaning of Fascism.
In it’s definition of “Propaganda” The United Stated Department of Defense defines it thusly:
“Propaganda/Informational Warfare: Joint Doctrine Division, J-7, Joint Staff (DOD) "propaganda: Any form of communication in support of national objectives designed to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, or behavior of any group in order to benefit the sponsor, either directly or indirectly. “
The rule then is that the ends justify the means. Truth is the victim and liberty the sacrificial lamb.
Mr. Paul R. Dunn, a columnist for The Pilot newspaper of Southern Pines, NC and author of "Touching Raw Nerves: A Liberal Yankee Columnist Takes on Conservative Dixie” in an article entitled “Islamic Fascism: The Propaganda of Our Times” states:
“The pejorative term has been used by many propagandists on the far right to equate modern Islam with the sordid pasts of Italy and Germany under Hitler and Mussolini. It is a simplistic propaganda term used by writers Christopher Hitchens, Stephen Schwartz and others who conveniently portray a unity of belief and purpose within the ranks of our diverse enemies where none exists. It is the current mantra of the neo-conservatives who pushed for the Iraq war. Its promoters seek to establish a moral equivalency between World War II democracies on the one side and Fascist evil on the other. They want the US position in Iraq to be seen as opposing the modern day evil of Islamic Fascism. The use of the phrase fosters Islamophobia, and is designed to denigrate much of the Islamic world.”
Paul Dunn again writes:
“Sir Ian Hamilton wrote that "Propaganda as inverted patriotism draws nourishment from the sins of the enemy. If there are no sins, invent them!" Joseph Goebbels claimed "Propaganda has only one object: to conquer the masses. Every means that furthers this aim is good; every means that hinders it is bad."
General George C. Marshall believed American boys going overseas needed an honest definition of the "ism" they were fighting against. He issued Army Orientation Fact Sheet No. 64, which read, "Fascism: is government by the few, and for the few." Webster's definition of Fascism is far more precise: "A governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce and emphasizing aggressive nationalism and often racism."
…… J.B. Priestly in the Root Is Fear wrote "Almost all propaganda is designed to create fear. Heads of governments and their officials know that a frightened people are easier to govern, will forfeit rights it would otherwise defend, are less likely to demand a better life, and will agree to millions and millions being spent on 'defense.'" Between now and Election Day we'll see Karl Rove's minions flaunt the Islamic Fascist line repeatedly and unabashedly to garner votes. It may be good politics but it is lousy history.
Benino Mussolini was the first one to coin the term Fascism. Mussolini who had been journalist and political activist believed that Italy hand been dealt with unjustly by its allies after World War 1. During a period of political strife, Mussolini formed the now infamous “Black Shirts”. Mussolini and his Black Shirts were granted political rule by the King. The symbol he chose for his party was the ancient Roman fasce, a bundle of rods containing an axe with the blade projecting. It had been borne before Roman magistrates as an emblem of official power in the time of Caesar. He reigned from 1922 until 1943.
Mussolini's philosophy was one of the innate superiority of one group of people over another. His idea was a state that had total rule over its people led by an elite group. "All for the state, nothing outside the state; nothing against the state." He believed that "Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority can direct human society; it denies that numbers alone can govern by means of a periodical consultation, and it affirms the immutable, beneficial and fruitful inequality of mankind." The common street slogan for Italian Fascists was "Order, hierarchy discipline."
Fascism was the ideology that fueled Hitlers rise to power in Germany. Adolf Hitler greatly admired Mussolini. Hitler's National Socialist German Worker's Party gained power in 1933 by exploiting the general dissatisfaction of the masses, the Great Depression, fear of communism and latent anti-Semitism. His aim, the suppression of all opposition through a dictatorship over all cultural, economic and political activities of the German people. The Nazi creed was supremacy of Hitler as Fuehrer, anti-Semitism, the “natural Aryan supremacy” of the German people and world domination. The Nazi slogan: "Hitler over Germany, Germany over the world."
Fascism by its nature is an ideology of racial and national supremacy. The ideology by its very nature is foreign to Islam. President Bush’s use of the term reveals how little he knows or perhaps cares about the historical facts. The history of Islam has always been one of religious tolerance. From the acceptance of Islamic rule in Palestine at the hands of the Second Caliph Umar ibn al Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him), we see a history of religious and racial co-existence.
Any serious student of history will not deny this fact. Any scholar worthy of the title will bear witness to the truth of this multi-cultural reality. From Egypt to Morocco and south of the Sahel, there was no rush to place Arab Muslims as leaders of the Muslim people in Africa. One of the unifying factors which make Islam so appealing to non-Muslims in Africa was the fact that African Muslims ruled themselves. Islam did not teach that Arabs were inherently superior. Non-Muslim people in the Islamic State retained their own national and religious identity. They worked hand in hand with their Muslim counter-parts. No one was forced to convert contrary to popular belief
Muslim Spain is a monument to true Islamic rule. For more than 500 years The Muslims ruled Spain and was largely responsible for bringing about the European renaissance. Muslims, Christians and Jews lived and worked together for the greater good of the society. When the seeds of religious fascism reared its ugly head in the form of the Spanish inquisitions thousands of Muslims, Non-Catholic Christians and Jews were slaughtered wholesale without consideration for age or gender. Those who wished to stay in their homeland were forced to convert to Catholicism or feign conversion. We see this same kind of fanaticism taking place in Iraq as we speak at the hands of our president who let slip the truth when he said “this is a crusade”.
The Muslims of Spain and their Protestant Christian and Jewish counterparts who could afford to, immigrated south into North Africa countries such as Morocco,Tunisia and Algeria where they continue to co-exist until this day.
Once gain we quote Mr. Dunn:
“History will fail to find valid parallels between Fascism, Fascist governments and the disparate forces opposing us in Iraq and around the world. Enver Masud has written, "As for 'Islamo-Fascism,' Islam does not meet the definition of Fascism when the community of Muslims (the Ummah) had a central authority (the Caliphate) it was neither totalitarian nor Fascist." He argues that only a tiny minority of zealots within Islam are calling for a "return to a Caliphate." Eric S. Margolis, in "The Big Lie About 'Islamic Fascism," debunks the term. He argues "Fascism demands a succession of wars, foreign conquests, and national threats to keep the nation in a state of fear, anxiety and patriotic hypertension." None are elements of the modern disorganized Muslim world.
The trouble with catchy propaganda phrases like "Axis of Evil" and "Islamic Fascism" is that they have to be able to stand the test of time. "One Nation Under God" and "A government of the people, by the people and for the people" have stood up well and served to unite Americans of all parties and faiths. Does anyone know of a slogan the so-called Islamic Fascists are promoting? The White House has lumped under the Islamic Fascist umbrella such totally diverse elements as Al-Qaeda, the Iranian government, The Taliban, The Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hezbollah, yet none label or consider themselves Fascist. And more to the point, their followers do not profess a Fascist agenda. Critics of the use of the term point out that to a Muslim, the term is both offensive and historically without merit or accuracy. Muslims universally perceive Allah as their true leader, not some self-professed worldly Fascist. There are no members of the Aryan Nation or Skin Heads, who idolize Hitler to be found within their ranks. Even during World War II few prominent Arab leaders announced sympathy for Hitler and his racist ideology even thought many were strongly anti-colonial Britain.
The fiercest fighting in Iraq now involves Muslim-on-Muslim terror as Sunnis and Shiites wage what more and more see as a sectarian civil war for power (and oil revenues) to fill the vacuum caused by the removal from power of Saddam Hussein by the United States. The concept of suicide bombing, looting, assassination and armed insurrection by citizens against the ruling state authority is the very antithesis of the historic meaning of Fascism.
The fact that the highly fractured Arab and Muslim worlds are significantly anti-American was not caused by a call for Islamic Fascism. It flows from the US invasion of an Arab state, Iraq, stationing non-Muslim troops within the Islamic Holy Land of Saudi Arabia and blind support for Israel against indigenous Palestinians. Anti-US sentiment was further heightened when we supplied and then re-supplied arms, bombs and aircraft to Israel for its massive retaliatory war against the mostly Muslim citizens of Lebanon, none of whom were professed Fascists.”
As the American people continue to fall prey to the Anti-Islamic propaganda of the Bush Administration and its allies, the nations political agenda continues to become more and more like the agenda of historical Italian and German Fascists, total world domination and the forced implementation of the American ideal on sovereign non-European nations by force. Let’s pray the majority of the American people are intelligent enough not to follow the same path the Black Shirts of Mussolini’s Italy and the Brown Shirts of Hitlers Germany followed. If we do we will suffer the same fate.