In the wake of the recent jihad attack in Vienna, Austrian authorities are cracking down on Muslim organizations that have been discovered to be exhorting or approving of jihad terror activity – and Georgetown University’s Hamas-linked Bridge Initiative is not happy. On Thursday, it published a weepy self-pitying piece entitled “Xinjiang and Kristallnacht in Austria: Freedom of Religion Under Threat” by Farid Hafez, a political scientist in Austria who sees in Austria’s counterterror measures nothing less than a new Holocaust on the horizon. Of course! Why else would anyone oppose jihad violence, other than out of a desire to perpetrate genocide? This is what passes for academic discourse at Georgetown these days.
“On November 9 of this year,” Hafez intones solemnly, “the Austrian government commemorated Kristallnacht of 1938—known as the ‘Night of the Broken Glass’—a series of coordinated attacks against Jews throughout Nazi Germany and Austria that took place on the ninth and tenth of November. Jewish homes, educational institutions, hospitals, and businesses were destroyed and over one thousand synagogues were burned.”
Despite this commemoration, however, Hafez claims that “historians and political analysts argue Austria has never fully reckoned with its Nazi past.” One principal sign of this persistent dalliance with Nazism, as far as this intrepid political analyst is concerned, is that Austria is actually fighting back against jihad violence: “On November 9,” Hafez writes, “the anniversary of Kristallnacht, Austrian security forces and the secret service raided the homes of thirty Muslims and even more Muslim institutions, allegedly” – allegedly! – “to combat political Islam. The organization Palestine Solidarity Austria was first to reveal their ordeal on November 9, 2020, along with a list of those whose homes were raided and the questions posed in interrogation. The questions reveal the direction of the government’s future policies on Muslims and Islam. These policies are not about helping Muslims—quite the opposite.”
Well, that all depends on what your definition of “helping Muslims” is. If it’s turning a blind eye to jihad rhetoric and activity, then these raids were definitely not helping Muslims. But if they were in service of protecting a peaceful and free society, then they help Muslims as they do everyone else.
But for the Bridge Initiative, and for highly politicized “academics” such as Farid Hafez, no resistance to the global jihad whatsoever is allowed, no matter how tepid, half-hearted, or fantasy-based. It’s all “Islamophobia.”
Meanwhile, this likening of counterterror measures in Europe to the Holocaust is a new example of the increasingly common leftist claim that criticism of Islam and Muslims over the jihad terror threat will lead to a new Holocaust of Muslims – or, as it has been expressed epigrammatically, “Muslims are the new Jews.”
Many, many others have made this claim before Farid Hafez, including the notorious non-Muslim Islamic apologist Karen Armstrong; “journalist” Jeffrey Goldberg; Leftist cannibal Reza Aslan; Nicholas Kristof, one of the New York Times’ Mideast pontificators; Canadian Muslim leader Syed Sohawardy; and the Philadelphia chapter leader of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Jacob Bender. Others have repeated it as well.
The idea that Muslims are the new Jews is put forward by the Left, but it also has opponents on the Left. In 2014, as part of his ongoing awakening to the nature and reality of the jihad threat, Bill Maher noted: “Jews weren’t oppressing anybody. There weren’t 5,000 militant Jewish groups. They didn’t do a study of treatment of women around the world and find that Jews were at the bottom of it. There weren’t 10 Jewish countries in the world that were putting gay people to death just for being gay.”
Indeed. Further, no one is calling for or justifying the genocide of Muslims. No individual or group opposed to Islam is remotely comparable to the National Socialists. Not that facts have ever gotten in the way of a good meme.
Maher isn’t alone on the Left in having pointed out the absurdity of likening opposition to jihad to the lead-up to the Holocaust. The late Christopher Hitchens also refuted this idea when writing a few years ago about the notorious Ground Zero Mosque proposal: “‘Some of what people are saying in this mosque controversy is very similar to what German media was saying about Jews in the 1920s and 1930s,’ Imam Abdullah Antepli, Muslim chaplain at Duke University, told the New York Times. Yes, we all recall the Jewish suicide bombers of that period, as we recall the Jewish yells for holy war, the Jewish demands for the veiling of women and the stoning of homosexuals, and the Jewish burning of newspapers that published cartoons they did not like.”
The purpose of statements like the ones Hafez makes here is to intimidate people into thinking that criticism of Islam in connection with jihad terror leads to death camps. Therefore, there must be no criticism of Islam in connection with jihad terror. What could possibly go wrong?
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Rating America’s Presidents: An America-First Look at Who Is Best, Who Is Overrated, and Who Was An Absolute Disaster. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.