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Islam’s Nazi Connections By: Serge Trifkovic
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, December 05, 2002


An essay adapted by Robert Locke from Dr. Serge Trifkovic’s new book The Sword of the Prophet: A Politically-Incorrect Guide to Islam.

One of the good things one can truthfully say about Islam is that there has never been any love lost between Moslems and Marxists. Sadly, the opposite end of the totalitarian political spectrum is quite another matter. SS chief Heinrich Himmler was known to remark that he regretted that Germany had adopted Christianity, rather than "warlike" Islam, as its religion, and there is a disturbing amount of twisted but very real logic in his remark. Beyond the obvious dislike of a certain other religion, we have the plain fact that both Nazism and Islam both openly aim at world conquest. Both demand the total subordination of the free will of the individual – the very word "Islam" means submission in Arabic. Both are explicitly anti-nationalist and believe in the liquidation of the nation-state in favor of a "higher" community: in Islam the umma or community of all believers; in Nazism the herrenvolk or master race. Both believe in undemocratic leadership by a privileged knower of an absolute, eternal, and ultimately mystical truth: the caliph or führer respectively. To be fair, in strict Nazism Arabs are racial Semites and thus subhumans, but as Robert Locke has written, the Nazis did not really believe in their racial mythology when they found it inconvenient, and they exploited their commonalities with Islam for all they were worth. If the British army had not stopped Rommel in the sands of El Alamein in 1942, preventing him from conquering the Middle East, the consequences for world history might have been dramatic. What did happen was quite ugly enough.

The Nazis began by attempting to exploit Arab resentment of the British and French colonial rule that they were under during the 1930’s, colonial rule which, in light of the subsequent bloody and tyrannical history of the region, it is hard to condemn today as worse than the likely alternative. The promised the Arabs "liberation" from the French and British, a promise which the naïve Arabs, not grasping the character of a Nazi regime that would likely have reduced them to slaves in its own empire, took at face value. This gave rise to a curious Arab ditty rendered in English thus:

"No more monsieur,

No more mister.

In heaven Allah,

On earth Hitler."

Hitler himself was even given an Arabic name: Abu Ali. But Hitler’s Germany went further and sensed the demonic potentialities inherent in the mythology, reliably emotionally satisfying to persons crazed with resentment, of radical anti-Semitism. It made a concerted, and remarkably successful effort to plant modern anti-Semitism in the Arab world.

The founding of Israel helped further this project. As Bernard Lewis has written,

"The struggle for Palestine greatly facilitated the acceptance of the anti-Semitic interpretation of history, and led some to attribute all evil in the Middle East—and, indeed, in the world—to secret Jewish plots."

Thus even before Israel was created the struggle to create it was turned into an existential battle of identity, with the complete denial of the legitimacy of Jewish existence as a central component of Moslem aspiration.

The Nazis managed to recruit some Moslems directly. Several Moslem SS divisions were raised: the Skanderbeg Division from Albania, the Handschar Division from Bosnia, and smaller units from throughout the Moslem world from Chechnya to Uzbekistan were incorporated into the German armed forces in one capacity or another. This was only taking the first step in Heinrich Himmler’s planned grand alliance between Nazi Germany and the Islamic world. One of his closest aides, Obergruppenführer Gottlob Berger, boasted that

"a link is created between Islam and National-Socialism on an open, honest basis. It will be directed in terms of blood and race from the North, and in the ideological-spiritual sphere from the East."

What an image: a Nazi-Moslem alliance to conquer the world! Naturally, totalitarian ideology (as shown by the Sino-Soviet and Iran-Taliban splits, for example) is a notoriously weak glue, so it is questionable how far this could have prospered. But the thought is chilling enough.

Major Nazi sympathizers of this era include Ahmed Shukairi, the first chairman of the PLO; Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat, future presidents of Egypt; and the founders of the Pan-Arab socialist Ba' ath party, currently ruling Syria and Iraq. One Ba'ath leader has since recalled of this time:

"We were racists, admiring Nazism, reading their books and sources of their thought. We were the first who thought of translating Mein Kampf."

Many of the Nazi sympathizers of this era have never repudiated their beliefs; some still openly parade them.

In 1945, one name was missing from the Allies’ list of war criminals, that of Haj Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti or supreme religious leader of Jerusalem and the former President of the Supreme Moslem Council of Palestine. In May 1941, the Mufti declared jihad against Britain and made his way to Berlin after the British put down his attempt to establish a pro-Nazi government in Iraq by a coup d’etat. When he met Hitler, on November 21, 1941, he declared that the Arabs are Germany’s natural friends, ready to cooperate with the Reich with all their hearts by the formation of an Arab Legion. Hitler promised that as soon as the German armies pushed into the Southern Caucasus the Arabs would be liberated from the British yoke. The Mufti’s part of the deal was to raise support for Germany among the Moslems in the Soviet Union, the Balkans and the Middle East. He conducted radio propaganda through the network of six stations, set up anti-British espionage and fifth column networks in the Middle East.

In the annual protest against the Balfour Declaration held in 1943 at the Luftwaffe hall in Berlin, the Mufti praised the Germans because they "know how to get rid of the Jews, and that brings us close to the Germans and sets us in their camp is that up to day." Echoing Muhammad after the battle of Badr, on March 1, 1944 the Mufti called in a broadcast from Berlin:

"Arabs! Rise as one and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor."

In 1941, he had pledged "to solve the question of the Jewish elements in Palestine and in other Arab countries as required by national interests, and in the same way as the Jewish question in the Axis lands is being solved." Bernard Lewis writes that in addition to the old goal of a Jew-free Arabia "he aimed at much vaster purposes, conceived not so much in pan-Arab as in pan-Islamic terms, for a Holy War of Islam in alliance with Germany against World Jewry, to accomplish the Final Solution of the Jewish problem everywhere."

According to German officials who knew him, The Mufti had repeatedly suggested to the various authorities with whom he was maintaining contact, above all to Hitler, Ribbentrop and Himmler, the extermination of European Jewry. He considered this as a comfortable solution of the Palestinian problem. Perhaps "the Nazis needed no persuasion or instigation," as he was later to claim, but the foremost Arab spiritual leader of his time did all he could to ensure that the Germans did not waver in their resolve. He went out of his way to prevent any Jews being allowed to leave Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, which were initially willing to let them go: "The Mufti was making protests everywhere — in the Office of the (Foreign) Minister, in the antechamber of the Secretary of State, and in other departments, such as Home Office, Press, Radio, and in the SS headquarters." In the end, Eichmann said, "We have promised him that no European Jew would enter Palestine any more."

The contemporary heirs to the Nazi view of Judentum are not the handful of powerless skinheads and Aryan Nation survivalists. They are schools, religious leaders, and mainstream intellectuals in the Moslem, meaning primarily Arab, world. Quite apart from the ups and downs of the misnamed "peace process" in the Middle East, quite apart from the more or less bellicose posture towards the government of Israel, the crude way they actively demonize all Jews as such is startling.

The most prominent and influential daily newspaper in the Arab world is Al-Ahram, a semi-official organ of the Egyptian government. In June 2001 it carried an op-ed article, "What exactly do the Jews want?"--and the answer was worthy of the Nazi newspaper the Völkische Beobachter six decades earlier:

"The Jews share boundless hatred of the gentiles, they kill women and children and sow destruction… Israel is today populated by people who are not descendants of the Children of Israel, but rather a mixture of slaves, Aryans and the remnants of the Khazars, and they are not Semites. In other words, people without an identity, whose only purpose is blackmails, theft and control over property and land, with the assistance of the Western countries."

The second most influential Egyptian daily is Al-Akhbar, which went a step further on April 18, 2001: "Our thanks go the late Hitler who wrought, in advance, the vengeance of the Palestinians upon the most despicable villains on the face of the earth. However, we rebuke Hitler for the fact that the vengeance was insufficient."

It is hard to imagine hatred more vitriolic than that which reproaches the Nazis for not completing the Final Solution more thoroughly. What is remarkable is not that such sentiments exist, but that they are freely circulated in the mainstream media and internalized by the opinion-making elite throughout the Moslem world. In the same league, we find the claim that the Holocaust in fact never happened and that the Jews and Israelis are the real Nazis is regularly made. The Jewish-Nazi theme is a favorite of Arab caricaturists, some of whom use the swastika interchangeably with the Star of David, or juxtapose them. Graphic depiction of the Jews appear to have been lifted directly from the pages of the notorious old Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer (The Stormtroooper.)

A final tidbit: it is no accident that a number of Nazi war criminals found refuge in Moslem nations. Take the notorious Otto Skorzeny, an SS officer who led the rescue of Mussolini from captivity, was described by the OSS, predecessor to the CIA, as "the most dangerous man in Europe," and later found service under General Nasser in Egypt. There were others.

Thankfully, the Nazis of course lost WWII and the abortive alliance between Islam and Nazism never panned out. Sadly, there exist Moslems today, not on the fringes but in the mainstream of their nations, who still view this as a great lost opportunity based on profound natural affinities.


Serge Trifkovic received his PhD from the University of Southampton in England and pursued postdoctoral research at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. His past journalistic outlets have included the BBC World Service, the Voice of America, CNN International, MSNBC, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Times of London, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He is foreign affairs editor of Chronicles.


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