The Meaning of Islamofascism

Islamofascism is a term more controversial than it should be. That’s a major part of the reason the University of Rhode Island College Republicans are attempting to make people aware of its meaning through their sponsorship of Islamofascism Awareness Week at URI.
URI Women’s Studies Professor Donna Hughes laid out some different options for describing the nexus of fundamentalist Islam and the willingness to use violence to achieve political goals in her Islamofascism Awareness Week lecture delivered last night (and posted immediately below).
Christopher Hitchens explained the commonalities between Islamofascism and the archetypal historical example of fascism, Nazism, in yesterday’s Slate Magazine

Both movements are based on a cult of murderous violence that exalts death and destruction and despises the life of the mind. (“Death to the intellect! Long live death!” as Gen. Francisco Franco’s sidekick Gonzalo Queipo de Llano so pithily phrased it.) Both are hostile to modernity (except when it comes to the pursuit of weapons), and both are bitterly nostalgic for past empires and lost glories. Both are obsessed with real and imagined “humiliations” and thirsty for revenge. Both are chronically infected with the toxin of anti-Jewish paranoia (interestingly, also, with its milder cousin, anti-Freemason paranoia). Both are inclined to leader worship and to the exclusive stress on the power of one great book. Both have a strong commitment to sexual repression—especially to the repression of any sexual “deviance”—and to its counterparts the subordination of the female and contempt for the feminine. Both despise art and literature as symptoms of degeneracy and decadence; both burn books and destroy museums and treasures.
Stephen Schwartz has also explained why the ideology of modern Islamic terrorists is, in a precise academic sense, appropriately labeled as fascism. Writing in the Daily Standard last year, Schwartz said…
Fascism is distinguished from the broader category of extreme right-wing politics by its willingness to defy public civility and openly violate the law. As such it represents a radical departure from the tradition of ultra-conservatism. The latter aims to preserve established social relations, through enforcement of law and reinforcement of authority. But the fascist organizations of Mussolini and Hitler, in their conquests of power, showed no reluctance to rupture peace and repudiate parliamentary and other institutions; the fascists employed terror against both the existing political structure and society at large. It is a common misconception of political science to believe, in the manner of amateur Marxists, that Italian fascists and Nazis sought maintenance of order, to protect the ruling classes. Both Mussolini and Hitler agitated against “the system” governing their countries. Their willingness to resort to street violence, assassinations, and coups set the Italian and German fascists apart from ordinary defenders of ruling elites, which they sought to replace. This is an important point that should never be forgotten. Fascism is not merely a harsh dictatorship or oppression by privilege.
Islamofascism similarly pursues its aims through the willful, arbitrary, and gratuitous disruption of global society, either by terrorist conspiracies or by violation of peace between states. Al Qaeda has recourse to the former weapon; Hezbollah, in assaulting northern Israel, used the latter. These are not acts of protest, but calculated strategies for political advantage through undiluted violence. Hezbollah showed fascist methods both in its kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and in initiating that action without any consideration for the Lebanese government of which it was a member. Indeed, Lebanese democracy is a greater enemy of Hezbollah than Israel.
Fascism rested, from the economic perspective, on resentful middle classes, frustrated in their aspirations and anxious about loss of their position. The Italian middle class was insecure in its social status; the German middle class was completely devastated by the defeat of the country in the First World War. Both became irrational with rage at their economic difficulties; this passionate and uncontrolled fury was channeled and exploited by the acolytes of Mussolini and Hitler. Al Qaeda is based in sections of the Saudi, Pakistani, and Egyptian middle classes fearful, in the Saudi case, of losing their unstable hold on prosperity–in Pakistan and Egypt, they are angry at the many obstacles, in state and society, to their ambitions. The constituency of Hezbollah is similar: the growing Lebanese Shia middle class, which believes itself to be the victim of discrimination.
Schwartz would disagree with Wednesday night’s URI speaker, Robert Spencer, on where the roots of Islamofascism lie. Spencer believes that Islamofascism is a direct and natural outgrowth of Islamic theology. Schwartz believes that Islamofascism is a modern totalitarian movement that takes on the trappings of Islam, when convenient, to gain a legitimacy and a respectability that openly fascist ideologies can never possess.
But they would both agree that Islamofascism is something real that people should not fear discussing.

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klaus
klaus
13 years ago

This is absolutely pathetic.
“Islamofascism” is simply a bete noir used by the monied interests to distract attention from the fact that the middle class way of life is being systematically destroyed by the wealthiest among us. They use their vast resources to buy gov’t to pass, repeal, or ignore specific laws.
We are turning into a two-tiered, class-stratified culture. A person born into the lowest quintile in Europe has a better chance of moving up than a person in the US.
The latest ProJo jobs supplement is touting that tourism jobs are available the year ’round. Woo-Hoo! $8.50 an hour! Woo-Hoo! Gotta buy me a wheelbarrow to haul away all that money.
Perhaps “Islamofascism isn’t being discussed because because most people are smart enough to realize it poses no threat to the American way of life.
They can kill us, but they cannot take away our lifestyle. The monied interests, on the other hand, are a clear and present danger. More, they’re organized and incredibly well-financed.
Why, I repeat, do you want to turn the clock back to the 1880s? Why do you waste time on “Islamofascism” when there are real threats to our lifestyle?
One of the fastest growing job categories is domestic help: cooks, nannies, landscapers, housekeepers… You know, what they used to call “servants.” Does that sound like a healthy economy? No. It’s a two-tiered economy, where the haves can buy and sell the ever-growing numbers of have-nots.
Don’t believe me? Look at the US Census website, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis…the stats are there.
Wake up, people. Smell the millenium. Median wages are stagnant. The income of the top 1% is soaring. And it’s not really about money; it’s power.

Brendan
Brendan
13 years ago

Class warfare from the Left to distract from their utter impotence on national security.
Shocking, I tell you. Shocking.

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
13 years ago

Hey Klaus, I hear that Kate Brewster is looking for a date.
Why don’t you give her a call?
I’m sure that it would be love at collectivist first sight.
And if you’re last name begins with a B, then you both already have monograms that work.
And before long, well, nature will take its course and before long you’ll hear the pitter patter of little red diaper babies holding people’s marches around the house (that is, assuming she doesn’t “choice” them out of existence first).

Matt Jerzyk
13 years ago

Any comment on the “fraudulent” press releases sent out by the URI Republicans about “protests” accompanying their event?
Surely you don’t condone such misinformation in an event about fascism, do you?

J
J
13 years ago

You of course have proof of that, right Matt?

Matt Jerzyk
13 years ago

Hello (anonymous) J,
Of course I have proof!
So answer the question!!!

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

It’s nice to see the spirit of Abbie Hoffman live on in the College Republicans. Why should sixties radicals have all the fun?

J
J
13 years ago

How can I comment on something I don’t know to be true?
Getting back to the topic, Brown is hosting a seminar tonight on Islamo-facism.
Check out the overtly biased Brown Daily Herald article:
http://media.www.browndailyherald.com/media/storage/paper472/news/2007/10/25/CampusNews/Islamofascism.discussion.Hits.Brown.Today-3056404.shtml
Even the title itself gives makes no attempt to hide the prejudice found within.

Matt Jerzyk
13 years ago

I believe I was asking Andrew’s opinion, not you – anonymous J.

Monique
Editor
13 years ago

Matt Jerzyk, please post a link to these press releases or e-mail them to one of us so they can be researched and discussed.

klaus
klaus
13 years ago

Wow. “Kate Brewster is looking for a date?”
“Pathetic” has just plummeted even lower.

klaus
klaus
13 years ago

PS. In the 20s and 30s, the monied interests were backing the Nazis.
Prescott Bush was doing big business with them until 1942.
FYI, Prescott Bush is GHW Bush’s father, and GW Bush’s grandfather.

Muslims Against Sharia
13 years ago

Muslims Against Sharia congratulate David Horowitz FREEDOM CENTER and Mike Adams, Tammy Bruce, Phyllis Chesler, Ann Coulter, Nonie Darwish, Greg Davis, Stephen Gale, David Horowitz, Joe Kaufman, Michael Ledeen, Michael Medved, Alan Nathan, Cyrus Nowrasteh, Daphne Patai, Daniel Pipes, Dennis Prager, Luana Saghieh, Rick Santorum, Jonathan Schanzer, Christina Sommers, Robert Spencer, Brian Sussman, Ed Turzanski, Ibn Warraq and other speakers on the success of the Islamofascism Awareness Week.
Islamofascism (or Islamism) is the main threat facing modern civilization and ignorance about this threat is astounding. We hope that this event becomes regular and reaches every campus.
A great many Westerners do not see the clear distinction between Islam and Islamism (Islamofascism). They need to understand that the difference between Islam and Islamism (Islamofascism) is the same as the difference between Christianity and Christian Identity Movement (White Supremacy Movement).
Original post

rhody
rhody
13 years ago

To think that David Horowitz was a syndicated consumer reporter back in the 70s, and used to use his powers to help ordinary Americans.
If I were a corporate power, I’d work pretty hard on seducing someone like him, too.

Rhody
Rhody
13 years ago

Andrew, I don;t know whether to feel chastened or relieved that there are two David Horowitzes out there.
The psychic is John Edward, without the S. Trust me on this one – my wife was totally hooked on that charlatan’s show for awhile.

The Reality Show
13 years ago

Early Views of Islamofascism

Early Views of Islamofascism
February 7, 2008
Early Views of Islamofascism
Carroll Andrew Morse
Anyone who thinks the idea of Islamofascism is a recent invention will be surprised by the series of quotes from early 20th century…

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