Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Origins of the term
Although the exact origins of the term are murky, it appears to have been coined either by Khalid Duran, Stephen Schwartz or Christopher Hitchens. The coining or popularisation of the term is frequently attributed to Christopher Hitchens, a prominent critic of Islam, based on his article in The Nation immediately following the 9/11 attacks, where he used the phrase "Islamic fascism". . Hitchens also used the phrases "Islamic fascism" and "theocratic fascism" to describe the fatwa declared against Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses. He did not show any link between Islam and fascism. After the 9/11 attacks, the concept of "Islamic fascism", later shortened to "Islamofascism", took root in the blogosphere.
Application of the term
Among the allegations directed towards these Islamic sects and their followers are that they :
- Promote the establisment of a global unitary Islamic nation-state under the totalitarian control of Islamic religious authorities enforcing Sharia law.
- Propose the existence of an eternal violent conflict between Muslims and infidels, which will end with the eventual victory of muslims over the infidels.
- Accept and promote terrorism and violence to further their goals.
- Are strongly and violently anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist, anti-American, and anti-Western. These groups and nations are allegedly perceived by "Islamofascists" as implacable enemies of Islam, which must be subjugated or destroyed.
- Do not accept Western political concepts such as "intrinsic" human rights and capitalist democracy.
Some argue that "Islamofascism" is simply a derogatory epithet directed towards Islam as a whole, and not a real political concept or ideology. They claim that the term attempts to conflate the neutral concept of Islamism with the negatively perceived concept of fascism. They further suggest that those who use the term rely on a politically unsophisticated understanding of "fascism", which simply understands it to be synonymous with "unpleasant politics".
Some applications of the term "Islamofascism" specifically refer to the Muslim Brotherhood and similar movements in Sunni Islam inspired by the writings of Sayyid Qutb, while others use it to refer to all highly politicized strains of Islam, including Shi'a as practised in Iran. A more common and less loaded term for these politicized strains of Islam, which seek to replace secular governments in Muslim countries with Sharia law, is Islamist. Note, however, that Islamism is a broad political category, which covers also political movements such as Turkey's Justice and Development Party, which do not seek to overthrow secular constitutions. (See also Islamic Democracy.)
Some have argued that this use of the term is a misapplication, because the word "fascism" has been traditionally invoked to describe the merger of state and corporate power.
Most Muslims feel that the comparison of Islamic extremism to ideologies such as Nazism or other forms of fascism is offensive.
Islamist/Axis Alliance during WWII
During WWII, Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, leader of the Palestinians, aligned himself with Nazi Germany, hoping that the Axis would liberate Palestine from British colonial rule. al-Husayni was a good friend of SS leader Heinrich Himmler and met Hitler. Although there is no reason to believe that the Palestinians in general held fascist views (though doubtless some of them did, probably including al-Husayni), they were led to believe that their own political ends would be served by the Nazis' victory over the British.
Related terms and concepts
- Islamism — Islam as a political movement
- Islamophobia — irrational fear of Islam or Muslims
- Islam and anti-Semitism
- Arabs and anti-Semitism
- War on Terrorism
- Islamist terrorism
- racism— irrational fear of people and cultures that differ from one's own
Academics and commentators on Islamofascism
- Daniel Pipes — U.S. political scientist
- Ibn Warraq — Muslim free-thinker and social critic.
- Oriana Fallaci — Italian journalist and author of The Rage and The Pride (La Rabbia e l'Orgoglio) and The Strength of Reason (La Forza della Ragione).
- Andrew Sullivan — U.S. journalist and writer
- Victor Davis Hanson — U.S. historian and commentator on military affairs
- Christopher Hitchens — British journalist based in the US
- Natan Sharansky Israeli politician and human rights activist. Author of The Case For Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror
- Dore Gold — controversial Israeli political scientist. Author of Hatred's Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism.
- Richard Perle — U.S. neoconservative.
- 'Why We Fight America': Al-Qa'ida Spokesman Explains September 11 and Declares Intentions to Kill 4 Million Americans with Weapons of Mass Destruction
- What is Jihad? by Daniel Pipes
- MEMRI: Jihad and Terrorism Study Project (non-profit non-governmental organization headquartered in Washington, DC)
Critical of the concept of Islamofascism
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