Last August, President George W. Bush used the term “Islamic Fascism” in a speech. In no time at all, the Bush-bashers, Islamic propaganda organizations and the rabid left unleashed a campaign of assault on the President for insulting the Muslims and sullying the sanctified religion of Islam by linking its name with fascism.
Opportunistic Democrats were just too happy to lead the attack on the President. An aspirant for presidency, to the left of the left Democratic Senator from Wisconsin Russ Feingold was so indignant by this “horrific” slander of the President smearing the stainless name of Islam that he found it his solemn duty to write a letter to the President lecturing him on his unacceptable use of the terms.
Did the President indeed slander Islam, or people like Feingold are Bush-bashers who for their own reasons would never miss an opportunity to berate President Bush as well as those who support him? Let the facts decides.
“Fascism is a radical political ideology that combines elements of corporatism, authoritarianism, nationalism, militarism, anti-anarchism, anti-communism and anti-liberalism.” — Wikipedia
Let us examine each characteristic of fascism, one at a time, and see if the President was justified or did he indeed misspeak.
Radical: Islam is so radical that even the term “radical” does not adequately depict its true character. The founder of Islam, Muhammad, behaved in extreme ways whenever he could. Early on, in Mecca, among his tribe of Quraysh, he was ridiculed as a Crazed Poet. Ordinary residents of Mecca scorned him in their habitual way of treating the mentally deranged. What did Muhammad do? He personified meekness itself. He put up with extreme indignities, did not fight back and suffered abuses.
Time was on Muhammad's side. Before long, he attracted followers, some of whom such as Omar, Osman and Abu Bakr, were men of power and influence. Then the pendulum swung. The long-suffering meek became the tyrannical avenger. He ordered all the idols in the idolatry of Mecca destroyed, including the one called Allah. Yet, he selected the same name for a non-corporeal deity who commissioned him as his messenger. Then Allah's messenger Muhammad set out to systematically exterminate people he perceived as his tormentors and enemies: Jews of Medina, among others.
As for teachings of Islam, “radical” is the most fitting term. The Quran is full of black and white, right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable. Men who didn't convert to Islam were labeled infidels and slaughtered; their women and children were taken along with all their belongings as booty. It was either Islam's-way or the high way. This radicalism is very much in action today.
Political Ideology: Islam is and has always been political, in the form of Imamate, Caliphate or by proxy where Islam through religious divines controlled the state. Saudi Arabia, for instance, does not even have a constitution. The Quran is the constitution. The country has a king. Yet, the king is the supreme enforcer of the laws dictated by Islam.
In another Islamic country, Iran, where the mullahs rule, the constitution is squarely based on the Quran. Many laws are strictly drawn from the Shariah. The mosque is the state and no other competing political ideology is permitted.
Corporatism: The individual's very limited rights are subservient to that of the collective. Religious dictates over-rule the exercise and expression of individualism.
Authoritarianism: Islam is theocracy, the rule of the clerics. The authoritarianism runs from the top to the bottom in a strict hierarchy with Allah at the top, to his Prophet, to the Caliphs or the Imams, to the lesser men of cloth along the chain of command. No one is allowed to contest or dispute the word and actions of the authorities. Islam and democracy, therefore, are inherently irreconcilable. In some Islamic circles Muslims speak of Islamic Democracy: an oxymoron.
Nationalism: To Islam there is only one world-wide nation, the Islamic Ummeh. To Islam the earth is Allah's, political boundaries are arbitrary and there is only one legitimate nation: the nation of Islam. The idea of one world, one nation, is not new with Islam. A number of secular rules, rulers and movements had aimed for the same objective. Alexander the Great, for instance, strived toward this goal, so did Communism, and the World Federalists still hold the vision of world unification.
Militarism: Jihadists are the army of Allah. The use of violence as instrument of policy has been and continues to be central to Islam. Muslims war under the firmly-believed and widely-cherished set of ideas that are rabidly militaristic. “No matter which side is killed, Islam is the victor,” “You kill them, you go to paradise, you get killed, you go to paradise,” are two examples of exhortation to jihadism and war.
Anti-anarchism: Islam does not even tolerate the basic rudiments of liberty. Anarchism can be considered as liberty gone amuck. So, Islam is anti-anarchist as a matter of course. Furthermore, the very name of Islam means “submission.” And anarchism is 180 degrees from submission: Islam is the rule of the absolute: anarchism is the rule of no rules.
Anti-communism: Islam is based on the belief in a supreme being, Allah. This fundamental precept makes it incompatible with any materialistic philosophy, including communism. Islam, furthermore, places great importance on the rewards and punishment of the next life and denigrates the value of material existence: ideals disharmonious with the main tenets of materialistic Communism.
Anti-liberalism: Islam contends that it has the perfect divine prescription of life, brought to mankind as its eternal charter. Hence, human interventions and inventions are not only unacceptable; they are detrimental to the implementation of the perfect edicts. Liberal ideas trigger change. To Islam, any change from the perfect design of Allah, necessarily is in error and must not be allowed.
Islam fully meets each of the nine distinctive features of fascism. “If the shoe fits, wear it,” as the saying goes. Islam is fascist. Muslims and their apologists are guilty of denial and dishonesty. They have no ground at all for objecting to the contention that Islam is fascism. President George W. Bush did not misspeak.
If Muslims find fascism repugnant, then they should reconsider being Muslims.
Amil Imani is an Iranian-born American citizen and pro-democracy activist residing in the United States of America. Imani is a columnist, literary translator, novelist and an essayist who has been writing and speaking out for the struggling people of his native land, Iran. He maintains a website at AmilImani.com.