What You Can't Say About Islamism
American intellectuals won't face up to Muslim radicalism's Nazi past.
By PAUL BERMAN
In our present Age of the Zipped Lip, you are supposed to avoid making any of the following inconvenient observations about the history and doctrines of the Islamist movement:
You are not supposed to observe that Islamism is a modern, instead of an ancient, political tendency, which arose in a spirit of fraternal harmony with the fascists of Europe in the 1930s and '40s.
You are not supposed to point out that Nazi inspirations have visibly taken root among present-day Islamists, notably in regard to the demonic nature of Jewish conspiracies and the virtues of genocide.
And you are not supposed to mention that, by inducing a variety of journalists and intellectuals to maintain a discreet and respectful silence on these awkward matters, the Islamist preachers and ideologues have succeeded in imposing on the rest of us their own categories of analysis.
Or so I have argued in my recent book, "The Flight of the Intellectuals." But am I right? I glance with pleasure at some harsh reviews, convinced that here, in the worst of them, is my best confirmation.
No one disputes that the Nazis collaborated with several Islamist leaders. Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem, orated over Radio Berlin to the Middle East. The mufti's strongest supporter in the region was Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Al-Banna, too, spoke well of Hitler...more...
Paul Berman opines eloquently in the WSJ about the Nazi influence on Isalmist antiSemitism. (Hat tip to David S.)