Things More Worrisome than AGW: Fascist Islamism
Source: Newsvine (Excerpt)
It is claimed the Muslim Brotherhood is Islamist, which alarms Israel and some western pundits. This charge is especially relevant in the wake of the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaeda Islamists against the United States. An Egyptian, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is is a prominent leader of al-Qaeda and closely associated with Osama bin Laden.
In 1998 al-Zawahiri merged Egyptian Islamic Jihad into al-Qaeda. Egyptian Islamic Jihad is not affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Zawahiri reportedly said, “[W]e are different from the Muslim Brotherhood because sometimes they do not oppose the government”.**
Given this history, it is understandable the West pauses when considering the prospect of an Islamist role in the current popular unrest in Egypt. Is there reason for pause?
An Islamist is a supporter or advocate of Islamic fundamentalism. While Islamic fundamentalists are motivated by similar objectives, particularly a resurgence of the Caliphate, their methods are markedly different. Islamist groups such as al-Qaeda and Egyptian Islamic Jihad believe in armed resistance as a method for transforming the social order. Islamic Iran by its Constitution advocates Islamic revolution — even violent revolution — as state policy. The former groups are Sunni while Iran is predominantly Shia, so violent resistance as a tool of advancing the spread of religion is symptomatic rather than sectarian.
Should the Muslim Brotherhood be classed among these groups? Does the Muslim Brotherhood wield violence as a legitimate method to achieve the social change it desires?
What sort of Caliphate is acceptable to the Muslim Brotherhood?
A FASCIST CALIPHATE
In al-Qaeda and the Iranian Revolution of 1979, we are witnessing the the rise of modern Islamofascism in the Muslim world.
For purposes of this discussion, I define fascism as a governmental system led by a dictator having the power to forcibly suppress opposition and regiment all aspects of society, including its economy, to support an aggressive nationalism.
In September 1963, Manfred Halpern of the RAND Corporation published “The Politics of Social Change in the Middle East and North Africa”. He prepared the report for the United States Air Force.
In chapter eight*** Halpern discusses the sources of totalitarian appeal, tactics, varieties, and the potential and fate of totalitarianism in the Islamic community. While Halpern gives special emphasis to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, he briefly notes Wahhabism, the Saudi Arabian faction of Islam that influenced Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.
Who is an Islamic fascist? According to Halpern, “To call them ‘fanatics’ — for in their concern for Islam they do not hesitate to kill fellow Moslems — is to indicate primarily that we cannot fathom their ambiguous, destructive intensity. To call them ‘extreme nationalists’ is to mistake them for secular politicians. No nationalist in the Middle East, however extreme, is likely to join the leaders of Islamic Islamic totalitarian movements in saying that ‘my religion is dearer to me than my family and clan. My religion is the first country that I take shelter in,’ or to assert that nations have become ‘idols,’ and that national unity should never be purchased at the expense of religion. To say that they advocate ‘the application of religious precepts in the government of Moslem countries’ is to confuse them with moral reformers. . . .
“The neo-Islamic totalitarian movements are essentially fascist movements. They concentrate on mobilizing passion and violence to enlarge the power of their charismatic leader and the solidarity of the movement. They view material progress primarily as a means for accumulating strength for political expansion, and entirely deny individual and social freedom. They champion the values and emotions of a heroic past, but repress all free critical analysis of either past roots or present problems” (pages 135, 136).
As similar apocalyptic movements, Halpern likens modern neo-Islamic totalitarianism to Christian millennialism (page 136). Neo-Islamic totalitarian movements regard themselves as intermediary to the eschatological Caliphate.
ISLAMIC FASCISTS ARE NOT RELIGIOUS CONSERVATIVES
In their devotion to religion, totalitarians differ from mere conservative or ultra-conservative adherents, who are content to observe every jot or tittle of religious law, either under the paternalistic protection of the host society, or quietly, communally self-segregated but still “present in the world”. Totalitarians identify with a leader and a movement who pledge the violent overthrow of the established order. By the self-admission of their own ideology, totalitarians cannot be reformed.
As soon as the totalitarian movement evolves into a mature totalitarian government, it typically includes a secret police, censorship, terror, and propaganda. An absolute leader incarnates the movement. His thoughts embody the state. Faith is reduced to the raw elements of love and hate.
ISLAMIC FASCISM IS NOT REFORMIST
“A neo-Islamic totalitarian movement has no real interest in a program. Its chiliastic expectation makes the very effort towards producing a program irrelevant; the reformist Islamic component makes its actual program irrelevant since its closed system of deductive procedure insures an inner coherence at the price of isolation from the world; its modern involvement, however, makes an effort to form a program inescapable” (Halpern, page 143).
ISLAMIC FASCISM IS EXPANSIONIST
Neo-Islamic totalitarianism “opposes the abstraction of the nation bound by geographic limits which separate the believers from each other. It is not an extremist nationalist movement; it is anti-nationalist at home and abroad. Far beyond the recapture of Palestine, it advocates conquest and aggrandizement for the sake of the community of believers — an entity without territorial limits” (Halpern, page 147).
Halpern cites “The Call of the Moslem Brotherhood” (Cairo, October 1938):
“‘The Mediterranean and the Red Sea must be two Moslem lakes, as they were before. . . . Following that, we would want to issue our call to the world, and subdue every powerful man to it completely, that there may be no confusion, and that all religions may be Allah’s.’”
THE LEADER IS THE KEY TO FASCISM’S STRENGTH AND WEAKNESS
Halpern believes that the survival of a totalitarian movement depends upon the charisma of its leader. The hierarchical structure of the movement, while at first contributing to its rapid successes, eventually becomes its principal weakness.
Thus, the life-cycle of a totalitarian movement can be cut short by the assassination or natural death of its leader. If the leader fails to appoint a successor, the movement will succumb to internecine conflict as lieutenants vie for the position of leader. Further, the movement may split because, by relying on strong leadership, its members tend to know no way of resolving conflicts peacefully. Splitting results in further weakening.