Ron Rosenbaum

More on Islamo-fascism

I sought to establish in my previous post that I don’t equate Islam and fascism. I know there are differences, thank you. What I’ve been suggesting is that what a certain variety of radical fundamentalist, police-state and/or terror- promoting Islamic entites, whether they be nation-states or al Qaeda-like groups share with fascism is more important than the ways they differ. Yes, radical, fundamentalist police state Islam is not the only kind of Islam, just as fascism isn’t the only kind of totalitarianism, but there is a great deal of overlap in the ideology and reality of both.

A commenter has written, about the previous post, that “not all totalitarianism is fascist and not all Islamic totalitarianism is Islamo-fascist.” I would counter that by referencing Hannah Arendt’s still invaluable Totalitarianism in which she made the point that what Leninist and fascist dictatorships share–the attempt to enforce total control of the soul of its subjects–is more important that their ostensible differences. A point Orwell made in 1984 of course.

As for “not all Islamic totalitarianism is fascist”, I would argue that this comes close to being what is referred to as “a distinction without a difference”. Common to almost every fascist regime are these factors: police state use of torture, terror, and political executions, reperession of all human rights, organized hatred of Jews and other minorities. Let’s see, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Hamas-ruled Palestine, Taliban ruled Afghanistan all seem to qualify as fascist by that definition. Remind me, are they Islamic as well?

You could say fascism lacks the religous component but that would only be true if you ignored Hitler’s hysterical theology of “blood”, the cult of mystical Aryan divinity and the religious cult worship Mussolini and Franco demanded for themselves.

Fascism can have many forms and varieties, theocratic fascism being one of them, Islamo-fascism an instance of theocratic fascism. If you prefer “Islamic totalitarianism”, or as I suggest in the post below, for Iran, “Islamo-annihilationism”, fine. But I just don’t understand the fear of the word “Islamo-fascism”. It seems to me an excuse to engage in an exercise in semantics rather than face the threat to human rights and enlightment values–to women, gays, Jews, liberal democrats, “infidels” and disssenters of all varieties the theocratic police state wants to eradicate.

I suggest those who have such terrible problems with “Islamo-fascism” use some of the polemical energy they expend on semantics to exhort such states–whatever you want to call them–to stop jailing, torturing and murdering dissidents. It would seem to be a more important task.