Worry Over Islam Like Hitler's Hatred of Jews?

Last Tuesday, “Berlin Islam Week” opened its gates with the topic “Islam as Boogey Man.” On the following days subjects like “Eco-Islam” and “Islamic Economy” (i.e., banking houses working without interest, using fees instead) were handled. Muslims and non-Muslims are supposed to meet there, listen to lectures, and discuss. The Berlin Senate appointee for integration, Günter Piening, acted as patron and said: “We have to show that Islam belongs here. Nevertheless I see a kind of self-victimization within a part of the Muslim community.” However, Piening and the Berlin Senate are supporting an event which is openly pleading for more Sharia in Germany by, for example, promoting Islamic banking.

As an introduction there was a so-called “incentive lecture” by Prof. Wolfgang Benz, the chief anti-Semitism researcher of Germany, on the topic “Islam as Boogey Man -- Myth or Reality?”

He started off likening fear of the Muslim Brotherhood to fear of a Jewish world conspiracy, as written in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Then he drew a comparison that left us speechless.

He compared the attention that critics of Islam give to the high number of Muslim inmates in Berlin prisons (about 70% according to Benz) to Adolf Hitler’s ranting over the high percentage of Jewish Berlin pediatricians in the 1930s (89% according to Benz). Both “attentions” he put on the same level of condemnation.

Benz also said that some critics who deal with the Quran and Islam remind him of Nazi anti-Semites attacking the Talmud or the Torah. Finally, he claimed that fear of the growing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood is similar to anti-Semitic fear and conspiracy thinking like that of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

As a thank you, Benz received a baggie full of Turkish baklava pastries.

Equating criticism of an anti-Semitic organization like the Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) with anti-Semitism itself? Portraying fans of Hitler and the Nazis, like the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi, as victims of those who are criticizing the Muslim Brotherhood’s anti-Semitism?

Is Benz finally losing his mind?

Remember: Since 1990, Wolfgang Benz has been head of the only continental European research center on anti-Semitism, the Center for Research on Antisemitism (ZfA), based at Technical University in Berlin. He is supposed to analyze anti-Semitism, both historical and contemporary. But he prefers to equate anti-Semitism with “Islamophobia.” In 2010, Benz wrote a nasty article for the leading German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung titled “Anti-Semites and enemies of Islam -- agitators with parallels.” The gist? Critics of Islamic anti-Semitism and Islamists share the same mental or political mindset. The same could be heard hours and days after 9/11, when Germans equated George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden.

Benz organized a conference at his center in December 2008 titled “Concept of the enemy Muslim – concept of the enemy Jew.” Since then he has attacked pro-Israel scholars and scholars on anti-Semitism in the same fashion.