Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nazi Muslims

Jihad is nothing new to the Islamic world. Since its beginning, there have been Muslims fighting wars in the name of Allah. In fact, the English word "assassin" is derived from a Muslim sect in the middle ages known for infiltrating their enemies and remaining undercover until it was necessary to kill a targeted individual. But that isn't to say they were all warlike. There were periods of peace in various locales and many Muslims were also known to be respectable, pious, and generous individuals. Muslims weren't the only ones carrying out wars either. The Catholic crusader period during the middle ages is probably more well known that any ancient or medieval Muslim wars. In fact, under Muslim control the Holy land was arguably more peaceful than it was under Catholic control. Christians and Jews still lived in Palestine during Muslim rule. The Muslim rulers of Palestine were generally very lenient in allowing Christians and Jews to worship at sacred sites around the Holy Land too. Even today, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem is locked and unlocked everyday by two Muslim families who have apparently been entrusted with that duty for around 800 years. After the crusader period when Catholic forces withdrew from the Holy Land, the Knights Hospitaller (who were a Catholic military force that had protected pilgrims visiting the Holy Land during Catholic occupation) occupied the island of Rhodes. They battled Muslim piracy in the Mediterranean and, I guess depending on your point of view, could be considered pirates themselves (at least to the Muslims). The armies of Sultan Sulieman the Magnificent eventually laid siege to Rhodes and ultimately defeated the Knights Hospitaller. But he actually spared their lives and even let the Knights borrow ships to return to Europe on! I doubt the Muslim extremists of today would have done anything like that!

Modern Islamic terrorism can be traced to Islamic doctrines, but it isn't entirely rooted in Islamic doctrines. It may not even be rooted in the Middle East. The extremist movements of today can be traced (at least in part) to Nazi Germany. During the 1930's, Hitler struck up an alliance with the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini. Despite the mufti not being a Germanic Aryan, Hitler held the mufti in high esteem. . .mainly because they had the same goals - extermination of the Jews and the destruction of Western democracies.

Husseini was a vehement anti-Semite and made several trips to Bosnia where he recruited Muslims for a special Waffen SS company known as the "Hanjar troopers". They slaughtered Bosnian Jews and burned Christian churches and villages. The only condition Husseini set for his help was that after the war, the Jewish population in Palestine be liquidated. A condition Hitler and the SS would have probably been delighted to assist with had they won the war.

The mufti inspecting Bosnian SS troops.
Chief of the SS Heinrich Himmler inspecting Bosnian SS troops. 

Husseini and his recruits weren't the only Muslims that embraced Nazism though. There were Nazi emulators in Syria and Egypt too. Hitler's Mein Kampf was a popular book in the Arab world and is still a popular book among many Palestinian Arabs today. After the war, Gamal Abdul Nasser, a member of a Nazi emulator group called Young Egypt, led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 and, just as Hitler did after he took power, banned all other political parties.

Nazi Germany may have lost the war, but its contribution to Muslim extremism didn't dissipate. Yasser Arafat regarded Husseini as a hero. Terrorists groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas still have Nazi ideals. The modern extremists have the same goals as the Nazi's. . . exterminating Jews and destroying Western democracy. The creation of modern Israel in 1948 only served to increase their hatred of the West. Its creation established a Western democracy of Jews in the Holy Land. Not only was this what the Muslims were fighting against, it forced many of the Muslims living in the Holy Land to have to move from their homes and villages. This only increased their hatred of Jews and the West, and to this day they still adhere to Nazi ideology to achieve their goals. You can learn more about the connection between Nazism and Islamic extremism in this short video on YouTube.

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Pictures of Hamas and Hezbollah troops performing the Nazi salute.

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Palestinians performing the Nazi salute.

And although not directly related to the topic of this article, I thought I would point out that the Nazi salute may have originated in America. The arm extended straight out was an early way of saluting the American flag during the Pledge of Allegiance. There was no standardized way of doing it, but prior to World War II, people would raise their right hand to their forehead and perform the standard military salute at beginning of reciting the Pledge, and then at the words "to my flag", extend their arm straight out. This was actually known as the Roman salute, but there's no evidence the Romans ever saluted in this manner (the idea of it being a Roman salute is most likely another example of Victorian era historians romanticizing details of ancient history).

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American school children saluting the American flag.

The Nazi's may have adapted that type of salute on the belief that it was a Roman salute (they also used the eagle as a national symbol, which is known to have been a Roman symbol). It's usually said Hitler adapted it from the Italians, but it's not impossible that he may have adapted it from the Americans. The Eugenics movement in Britain and America was one of Hitler's inspirations for genocide, so its not impossible that his salute was inspired by the American Pledge of Allegiance salute.

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