Understanding the Islam in Muslim Jew-Hatred, Part II

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Yesterday FrontPage Magazine ran the first part of this interview with scholar of Islam Andrew Bostom, on the roots of Islamic Jew-hatred. In this second and final part, Dr. Bostom details the facts about the often-misunderstood connection between Islam and Nazism, and describes his new upcoming book, Sharia versus Freedom – The Legacy of Islamic Totalitarianism (to be published by Sept 2012 with a foreword by the incomparable Andrew C. McCarthy).

Andrew Bostom, M.D., M.S., is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Rhode Island Hospital, the major teaching affiliate of Brown University Medical School. He is the author of two essential, extraordinary, and meticulously documented works of scholarship, The Legacy of Jihad and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism. He has published articles and commentary on Islam here on FrontPage and in the Washington Times, National Review Online, Revue Politique, American Thinker, and elsewhere in print and online.

This Tuesday in Los Angeles, Dr. Bostom will present “Understanding the Islam in Muslim Jew-Hatred.” See here for information about attending.

Mark Tapson: Dr. Bostom, some say that modern Islamic anti-Semitism was shaped by the influence of Nazism – but isn’t it the other way around? Can you elaborate on their symbiotic relationship?

AB: There are concordances between Nazism and jihadism over an historical continuum evident since the advent of the Nazi movement. This nexus was already apparent in Hitler’s own observations from 1926, elaborated upon over the following decades by both the Nazi leader, and other key Nazi officials, and ideologues. Not surprisingly, there are two predominant, recurring themes in this discourse: jihad as total war, and the annihilationist jihad against the Jews.

Perhaps the earliest recorded evidence of Hitler’s serious interest in the jihad was provided by Muhammad ‘Inayat Allah Khan (who adopted the pen name “al-Mashriqi”—“the Orientalist” or “the Sage of the East”). Born in the Punjab in 1888, al-Mashriqi was a Muslim polymath who attended Cambridge on a government scholarship, and excelled in the study of oriental languages, mathematics, engineering, and the sciences.

Not only did Mashriqi translate the standard abridged version of Mein Kampf (then commonly available) from English into Urdu, during one of his sojourns in Europe, which included time spent in Berlin, he met Hitler in the early years of the Fuehrer’s leadership of the National Socialist [Nazi] Party. Their meeting took place in 1926 at the National Library. 4k Here is the gist of Mashriqi’s report on his interaction with Hitler as described in a letter to the renowned scholar of Indian Islam, J.M.S. Baljon:

I was astounded when he [Hitler] told me that he knew about my Tazkirah. The news flabbergasted me. . . I found him very congenial and piercing. He discussed Islamic Jihad with me in details. In 1930 I sent him my Isharat concerning the Khaksar movement with a picture of a spade-bearer Khaksar at the end of that book. In 1933 he started his Spade Movement.

Mashriqi also wrote this independent summary of his 1926 encounter with Hitler on May 31, 1935:

If I had known that this was the very man who was to become Germany’s savior I would have fallen around Hitler’s neck, but on the occasion I was engaged in small talk and tried to find out what he understood about Germany’s weakness at the time. Professor [Weil, the host] said, introducing Hitler to me: “This is also a very important man, an activist from the Worker’s Party.” We shook hands and Hitler said, pointing to a book that was lying on the table: “I had a chance to read your al-Tazkirah.” Little did I understand at that time, what should have been clear to me when he said these words! The astonishing similarities—or shall we say the unintentional similarity between two great minds—between Hitler’s great book and the teachings of my Tazkirah and Isharat embolden me, because the fifteen years of “struggle” of the author {Hitler] of “My Struggle” [Mein Kampf] have now actually led his nation back to success. But only after leading his nation to the intended goal, has he disclosed his movement’s rules and obligations to the world; only after fifteen years has he made the means of success widely known. It is possible that he has arrived at those means and doctrines by trial and error, but it should be absolutely clear that Mashriqi [referring to himself in the third person] has identified those means and doctrines in al-Tazkirah a full nine years and in the Isharat a full three years before the success of the Nazi movement, simply by following the shining guidance of the Holy Koran.

Albert Speer, who was Hitler’s Minister of Armaments and War Production, wrote a contrite memoir of his World War II experiences while serving a 20-year prison sentence imposed by the Nuremberg tribunal. Speer’s narrative includes a discussion which captures Hitler’s effusive praise for Islam, “…a religion that believed in spreading the faith by the sword and subjugating all nations to that faith. Such a creed was perfectly suited to the Germanic temperament.” Hitler, according to Speer’s account, repeatedly expressed the conviction that, “The Mohammedan religion…would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?” These sentiments were also expressed by Hitler to Dr. Herman Neubacher, the first Nazi Mayor of Vienna, and subsequently, a special delegate of the Nazi regime in southeastern Europe. Neubacher wrote that Hitler had told him Islam was a “male religion,” and reiterated the belief that the Germans would have been far more successful conquerors had they adopted Islam in the Middle Ages. 4t Additional confirmation of Hitler’s very favorable inclination towards Islam is provided by General Alexander Loehr, a Lutwaffe commander (executed in 1947 for the mass-murders of Yugoslav civilians). Loehr maintained a smiling Hitler had told him that Islam was such a desirable creed the Fuehrer longed for it to become the official SS religion.

Hitler appears to have viewed the uniquely Islamic institution of jihad as an appropriate model for waging genocidal, total war. During the mid to late 19th century, jihad total war campaigns—adapted to the conditions of modern warfare—were waged by the Ottoman Empire against its Bulgarian and Armenian Christian minorities. The Ottoman tactics included innumerable atrocities, mass slaughter, and extensive, murderous deportations. Official Ottoman jihad declarations during World War I assured that the genocidal aspects of Islamic doctrine were “updated” by the application of modern total war offensive doctrines, and directed at the Armenians, in particular. This jihad-inspired policy begot razzias (raids), massacres of villagers, massacres of Armenian conscripts in work battalions, and mass deportations—all representative of an overall total-war strategy implemented by the Ottoman state, and military high command.

And the disintegrating Ottoman Empire’s World War I jihad genocide against its Armenian minority,  specifically, served as an “inspirational” precedent to Hitler. During August of 1939, Hitler gave speeches in preparation for the looming invasion of Poland which admonished his military commanders to wage a brutal, merciless campaign, and assure rapid victory. Hitler portrayed the impending invasion as the initial step of a vision to “secure the living space we need,” and ultimately, “redistribute the world.” In an explicit reference to the Armenians, “Who after all is today speaking of the destruction of the Armenians?,” Hitler justified their annihilation (and the world’s consignment of this genocide to oblivion) as an accepted new world order because, “The world believes only in success.”

Vahakn Dadrian—the foremost scholar of the Armenian genocide—observes that although Hitler’s motives in seeking to destroy the Jews were not identical with those of the Ottoman Turks’ in their attempts to eliminate the Armenians, “…the two victim nations share one common element in Hitler’s scheme of things: their extreme vulnerability.” Moreover, Hitler emphasized the urgent task, “…of protecting the German blood from contamination, not only of the Jewish but also of the Armenian blood.” Predictable impunity—the ease with which the Armenian genocide was committed and how the perpetrators escaped retributive justice—clearly impressed Hitler and his henchmen, considering a similar action against the Jews. Indeed, the German Jew, Richard Lictheim who as a young Zionist leader had negotiated with Ottoman leaders in Turkey during World War I, characterized the “…cold-bloodedly planned extermination of over one million Armenians…[as] akin to Hitler’s crusade of destruction against the Jews…” And as historian Abram Sachar noted, “…the genocide was cited approvingly twenty-five years later by the Fuehrer…who found the Armenian ‘solution’ an attractive precedent.”

Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS (Nazi Secret Service), and eventually all German police forces, was another champion of Islam’s singular bellicosity. Accordingly, Himmler foresaw that within the framework of the Waffen-SS, several Muslim divisions would be created to wage jihad “shoulder to shoulder” with Nazi and Axis power soldiers. Himmler was the guiding force behind the establishment of a Waffen-SS 13th (later dubbed Handzar) Division—comprised exclusively of Muslims from Bosnia and Herzegovina. He argued in support of the creation of this Muslim division that the global Islamic community (umma) was very sympathetic to Nazism, and that the targeted Balkan Muslims had a special consciousness of their Muslim Bosnian-Herzegovinian identity. Indeed, Himmler and his collaborators believed that these Balkan Muslims were ideally suited to forge a nexus between the Nazi Germanic “racial north,” and the Islamic east. SS General Gottlob Berger described how Himmler’s creation of the Handzar division was the apotheosis of this vision:

For the first time a connection is being established between Islam and National Socialism on an open, honest base, since it will be ruled from the North where blood and race are concerned, and from the East ideologically and spiritually.

As the ultimate fulfillment of his vision, Himmler also strove to re-create a contemporary version of the Ottoman Muslim devshirme levy [the Ottoman practice of expropriating some 500,000 to 1 million Balkan Christian children during a period of 300 years, forcibly converting them to Islam, and making them slave soldiers—“janissaries”—waging jihad against their indigenous Christian societies), and form a modern janissary corps, not only in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but the Sanjak (regions in Serbia and Montenegro), most of Croatia, and the major part of Srem (which includes provinces in Serbia and Croatia between the Danube and Sava rivers). Historian Jennie Lebel describes this effort:

In order to supply the Reich on time with a “loyal population” for this planned SS border area [i.e., as outlined above in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia], Himmler gave orders to collect children, male and female, who had been left without one or both parents and send them to Germany in order “to create a kind of Janissaries” and the “future soldiers and soldiers’ women of the old military border of the Reich.” The collection of the children was to be taken care of by the commanders of the Waffen-SS divisions. They had to report once monthly to Himmler personally on the number of children collected. This was stated in two letters by Himmler, one addressed to General Arthur Phleps on May 20, 1944, and the other to General Gottlob Berger on July 14 of the same year. Copies were sent to General Kammerhofer, SS representative for the NDH [Croatia], to General Erwin Rosener in Slovenia, General Hermann Behrends in Serbia and General Herman Foegellein, liason officer of the Waffen-SS with Hitler.

Almost 40 years ago (1973/74) Bat Ye’or published a remarkably prescient analysis of the Islamic antisemitism and resurgent jihadism in her native Egypt, being packaged for dissemination throughout the Muslim world. The primary, core Antisemitic and jihadist motifs were Islamic, derived from Islam’s foundational texts, on to which European, especially Nazi elements were grafted.

Nazi academic and propagandist of extermination Johannes von Leers’ writings and personal career trajectory — as a favored contributor in Goebbels’ propaganda ministry, to his eventual adoption of Islam (as Omar Amin von Leers) while working as an anti-Western, and antisemitic/anti-Zionist propagandist under Nasser’s regime from the mid-1950s, until his death in 1965— represents the apotheosis of this convergence of jihad, Islamic antisemitism, and racist, Nazi antisemitism, described by Bat Ye’or.

Upon his arrival in Egypt in 1956, it was the jihadist and Nazi ally, Hajj Amin el-Husseini, former Mufti of Jerusalem, who welcomed von Leers, stating, “We are grateful to you for having come here to resume the struggle against the powers of darkness incarnated by international Judaism.” The ex-Mufti oversaw von Leers’ formal conversion to Islam, and remained one of his confidants. And von Leers described the origins of the Muslim “forename,” Omar Amin, that he adopted as part of his conversion to Islam in a November, 1957 letter to American Nazi H. Keith Thompson,

I myself have embraced Islam and accepted the new forename Omar Amin, Omar according to the great Caliph Omar who was a grim enemy of the Jews, Amin in honor of my friend Hajj Amin el Husseini, the Grand Mufti.

Already in essays published during 1938 and 1942, the first dating back almost two decades before his conversion to Islam while in Egypt, von Leers produced analyses focused primarily on Muhammad’s interactions with the Jews of Medina. These essays reveal his pious reverence for Islam and its prophet, and a thorough understanding of the sacralized Islamic sources for this narrative, i.e., the Koran, hadith, and sira. which is entirely consistent with standard Muslim apologetics.

Von Leers’ 1942 essay simultaneously extols the “model” of oppression the Jews experienced under Islamic suzerainty, and the nobility of Muhammad, Islam, and the contemporary Muslims of the World War II era, foreshadowing his own conversion to Islam just over a decade later. 21 And even earlier, in a 1938 essay, von Leers sympathized with, “the leading role of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem in the Arabians’ battles against the Jewish invasion in Palestine.” Von Leers observes that to the pious Muslim,

…the Jew is an enemy, not simply an ‘unbeliever’ who might perhaps be converted or, despite the fact that he does not belong to Islam, might still be a person of some estimation. Rather, the Jew is the predestined opponent of the Muslim, one who desired to bring down the work of the Prophet.

Von Leers, for example, offers this reverent summary characterization of Muhammad’s activities in Mecca, and later Medina, which is entirely consistent with standard Muslim apologetics:

[Mecca] For years Muhammad sought in Mecca to succeed with his preaching that there was only one God, the sole, all-merciful king of Judgment Day. He opposed to the Christian Trinity the unity of God, rejected the Christian doctrine of original sin and salvation, and instead gave every believer as a guiding principle the complete fulfillment of the commands of the righteous, given by a compassionate and just God, before whom every individual person had to account for his acts.

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  • Marty

    I'm currently reading Bostom's book. It's excellent (if somewhat depressing) and provides thorough documentation of the history of Jew hatred in islam, a phenomenon that is as old as islam itself. The picture on the cover reflects an actual incident in which a wonderful seventeen year old Jewish woman refused conversion to islam even to save her life. One cannot but admire her courage in front of a bloodthirsty mob of muslims for stating that she was born Jewish and wished to die Jewish.

  • voted against carter

    If you are Jewish,… Obama and the DemocRATS want you DEAD.

    Just like his ARAB buddies do.

    They want you DEAD. The SOONER the BETTER.

    Barry just said so.

    What part of that do you NOT understand.

    Oh, and FYI,, to all you LEFTY NON RELIGIOUS JEWS,.. the KEY part of your name is JEWS.

    Barry and his ARAB buddies WANT YOU DEAD TOO.

    You are a USEFUL IDIOTS to them,…

    WAKE UP. Before it IS to LATE. again.

    fyi I stand with Israel

  • Ghostwriter

    Somehow,this doesn't surprise me. Not in the least.