Islamofascism: a label for Dhummies

Umar Lee points to Islamofascism Awareness Week that will take place across the United States during October; unsurprisingly it is being organsied and led by the Dhummies.

There is a problem with the label ‘Islamofascism’. Let me quote extensively from Lawrence of Arabia:

It seems to me there must be at least two components in place to have a genuinely fascist government, party, organization or movement. First, and probably most importantly, there must be a desire to rally the citizenry and organize the political realm around the idea of the nation-family: some common racial, or ethnic heritage, some common, natural, language, possibly, within which the cultural inheritance is passed down across the generations. There must be, then, a very rigorous form of nationalism, where the idea of the nation is taken quite literally: nation as a reference to our natus, or birth.

Secondly, fascism relates to the economic reorganization of the nation along the lines of a state capitalism in order to revitalize the productivity of the worker, but also to provide security for that same worker. Ernst Jünger, one of the economic theorists of fascism, argued in The Worker (1932), for instance, that the revitalization of German industry was linked to the revitalization of German men, warrior-men, and thus the strength of Germany itself.

In both cases, what one sees is the nostalgia for roots in the midst of an uncertain, and economically unstable world, where one found one’s identity through conformity to one’s nature, one’s nation, one’s natus. Oswald Spengler’s “conservative revolution” was premised on the politics of natus, against the internationalism of liberalism and Marxism, and for Jünger, freedom was only found in giving oneself over in obedience to serving and protecting one’s natus. In both cases there was a longing for a strong leader who would rally and lead the people in this new nationalism.

From this it ought to be immediately clear that Islam is stridently anti-fascist. The Ummah, the unity of those who submit to God, is a unity of all peoples without regards to race, nation, or ethnicity. Politically speaking mainstream Islam has taken a variety of political forms, but none of them have been fascist: one could point to imperial or monarchical (with roots in the tribal organization) as perhaps the most common.

But of course this is not the way fascism is being used; instead it has been used to focus attention on elements at the Right extreme of Islam: Al-Qaeda, etc. Islamo-fascism: the enemies of liberalism. Now it is true, as already mentioned, that fascism was anti-liberal. Rightists from Spengler to Heidegger saw liberalism as decadent, promoting mediocrity and weakness. But this in and of itself is hardly fascist, it is a position shared by many Rightists. There is an abiding emphasis on the Ummah within Al-Qaeda, bringing together Arabs and Pakistanis and Afghanis and Southeast Asians in a way that is not always seen due to racial tensions that do persist among the various groups. Moreover the criticism of Anglo and Continental governments, the criticism of their decadence, is entirely religious in its basis, not nationalistic, and the same could be said for the criticism that one sees from the militant parties within Islam against certain Middle Eastern governments themselves, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Finally one must say that there is nearly no economic component to the critique or the ideological thrust of the militants. [emphases my own]


Put simply there are just better terms to describe al-Qa’ida (a ‘label’ itself now taken to mean all Muslim violence), Hizbollah, Muslim Brotherhood etc. But, of course, people who used ‘Islamofascism’ are not interested in analysing these groups or critiquing their ideologies. They merely want to attack anyone they hate and anyone who is critical of the War on Terror or the Bush regime can then be labelled an ‘appeaser’. Here I will cite Niall Ferguson (whose status on the American right I have noted before):

[W]hat we see at the moment is an attempt to interpret our present predicament in a rather caricatured World War II idiom. I mean, “Islamofascism” illustrates the point well, because it’s a completely misleading concept. In fact, there’s virtually no overlap between the ideology of al Qaeda and fascism. It’s just a way of making us feel that we’re the “greatest generation” fighting another World War, like the war our fathers and grandfathers fought. You’re translating a crisis symbolized by 9/11 into a sort of pseudo World War II. So, 9/11 becomes Pearl Harbor and then you go after the bad guys who are the fascists, and if you don’t support us, then you must be an appeaser.

This is really, really misleading, because I don’t think, in fact, 9/11 bares the slightest relation to Pearl Harbor. How long have you got? We could go through it point by point. It’s clearly something very, very different. I think this language is being used mendaciously to play on the very strong pull that World War II still has on our emotions.


Ferguson correctly goes onto to note that such labels tell us more about the culture in which they originate; in other words labels such as ‘Islamofascism’ tell us nothing about al-Qa’ida or any other Muslim group. (Ferguson and LoA suggest that a better comparison could be had with Bolshevism).

There also needs to be a tightening of the term ‘Islamist’, which is fast losing all meaning when it applies to everyone from the AK Party in Turkey to Muslim pseudo-jihadis. I might tap something on this later tonight if I have time.

Update: Gabriele Marranci offers his thoughts.


3 Responses to “Islamofascism: a label for Dhummies”

  1. 1 editor @ Ijtema September 11, 2007 at 5:14 am

    Assalamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah
    I pray that you are in the best of health & imaan.
    This is a short message to notify you that this entry has been selected for publishing on IJTEMA, a venture to highlight the best of the Muslim blogosphere.
    To find out more about IJTEMA, and how you can further contribute, please click here.
    May Allah bless you for your noble efforts.

  1. 1 What exactly is “Islamofascism”? at Ijtema Trackback on September 11, 2007 at 5:13 am
  2. 2 ‘Fitna’ farce « pixelisation Trackback on March 28, 2008 at 2:14 pm

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