Similarity between European fascism and Islamic fundamentalism


Masoud Kazemzadeh
by Masoud Kazemzadeh

The following is my scholarly article (in contradistinction to my political articles) on paradigms in the study of Islamic fundamentalism. There is a debate on the similarity between European fascism and Islamic fundamentalism. You may read the scholarly discussion on this issue in Paradigm Three. The article was published in 1998: PDF file

The Teacher
Teaching the Politics of Islamic Fundamentalism

Masoud Kazemzadeh,
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Ever since the Iranian revolution of 1979, in which a group of fundamentalist Shi'i clerics outmaneuvered liberals, socialists, and non-fundamentalist Islamists, Islamic fundamentalism has become the dominant force in much of the Islamic world. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism has generated several issues of analytical significance for political scientists. Many scholars believe that Islamic fundamentalism will precipitate violent international conflicts (Karabell 1996-97). Samuel Huntington (1993) has gone so far as to argue not only that the coming clash between the West and the Islamic world will be the defining characteristic of the post-Cold War period but also that the Islamic world has "bloody borders" with Orthodox Christian,Islamic fundamentalism may have retarded democratization in the Middle East. Islamic fundamentalist movements promise to replace incumbent authoritarian regimes with totalitarian ones which make political dissent blasphemy, assassinate their opponents, and carry out inquisitions of university professors, journalists, and intellectuals (Middle East Watch 1993). This has led the incumbent authoritarian regimes to halt or reverse earlier steps towards political liberalization and democratization. This situation has produced scholarly and popular debates on the relationship between democracy, Islam, and Islamic fundamentalism (see, for example, AbuKhalil 1995; Esposito and Piscatori 1991; Kazemzadeh 1996; Tessler and Brand 1995: Voll and Esposito 1995) >>> Full text PDF file


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Niloufar Parsi

Massoud khan

by Niloufar Parsi on

Indeed, why DON'T you also describe the similarities between European fascism and Zionism both of the Jewish and the Christian types? You may find them even more similar especially as they share a long history and have strong cultural ties, and right until today they are engaged in several unnecessary wars in our region. Worse still, they have their fascist fingers on the nuclear button. It is a very serious security problem for the whole world, don't you think?


Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez

I sure do miss Jstor

by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

I think it is time that I check with UH and see if I can access it again as an alumni. It is worth the time and trouble.

Excellent writing as always.........from one free spirit to another. Mejores deseos! I see that your Spanish is improving. Buen provecho!

Solh va Doosti


PS: FreeSpirit is a she. :o)

Disclaimer: The author of this comment does not at this time support any specific poltical group or ideology.

Masoud Kazemzadeh


by Masoud Kazemzadeh on

Dear Free Thinker,

I don’t think there is any similarity between Khomeini-fundamentalists and Mossadegh-JM.

Each individual, or group has several aspects to their ideologies or programs. JM-Mossadegh were based on nationalism and democracy.

Khomeini-fundamentalists are based on anti-nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism-fascism.

Nationalism at its minimum means having allegiance to one’s nation (mellat). In our case Iran and Iranian people. This means when we make decisions we ask is this decision good or bad for Iran’s national interest and the interest of the Iranian people.

Khomeini’s ideological allegiance was to Ommat Islam [Islamic Ummah]. That is why when on the airplane arriving in Iran after a 15 year exile, when asked how he felt? Khomeini said with a smile "Hichi." See his video here:


The surprised reporter asks a second time, does he feel excited, happy. Sadegh Ghotbzadeh also surprised by Khomeini’s lack of positive feeling towards Iran, on purpose mistranslate it as "no comment." Although Khomeini was a charlatan and lied a lot, in this instance he was honest. And Qotbzadeh, obviously, MIStranslates.

Khomeini’s allegiance is to a pre-modern notion of Islami ummah, so for Khomeini, nationalism is false and bad.

Marxists also are against nationalism, but from the position of being post-nationalist. In other words, Marxists argue that the only allegiance should be towards international proletariat. For Marxists, nationalism is a false consciousness.

Therefore, Khomeini and Osama bin Laden attack nationalism from the right, whereas Marxists attack nationalism from the left. For Marxists, nationalism is a bourgeois ideology that came with the post-feudal arrival of capitalist nation-states in Europe. For Islamists, it is more complicated. Islam arose in Arabian peninsula and Mohammad unified the various Arab tribes. After his death, much internal warfare began. Under Omar, he invaded various countries such as Iran and Byzantine and conquered, subjugated, killed, and took as war booty their women as slaves.

If we look at OUR own history, we observe that there was such a thing called Iran before the Arab-Islamic invasion, conquest and subjugation of our niakan. The 10th century Ferdowsi expresses the exact same feelings and sentiments of Iranian nationalism that we have today. Therefore, OUR history shows that Iranian nationalism predates European nationalism. I don’t think the Sasanian was capitalist bourgeois polity. This shows that Marxist notion of nationalism as a European invention is not true. We Iranian had our Iranian nationalism way before the Europeans.

From the right-wing reactionary point of view of Khomeini and Ayatollah Sadegh Khakhali, melli-garaee is non-Islamic and against Islam. That is why Khalkhali wanted to destroy Persepois and Ferdowsi’s tomb in Tus. And precisely why Ayatollah Khalkhali publically called for the change of "the Persian Gulf" to "ISLAMIC Gulf."

Khomeini and Khalkhali do have a point that there is a contradiction between Islam and Iranian nationalism. For nationalism it was bad that Arab-Muslim invaders succeeded in defeating and colonizing Iran. For Islamists, the independent Iran which existed before Arab conquest was not Muslim and thus bad. Arab invasion, defeat, and colonization of Iran was good because it made Iranians to become Muslims.


The other aspect is the difference between democracy and fascism.

From its inception, JM was for democracy: majority rule, minority rights, with periodic free and democratic elections. During JM rule, there was not one single political execution by the govt, not one single person was tortured by us, not one single person was assassinated by us, not a single newspaper was closed down by us. JM rule was pure liberal democracy. From the get go, JM’s number one demand has been for "free and democratic elections."



Compare that with Khomeini-fundamentalist rule, which is genocidal, mass murdering, mass rape of female political prisoners, large scale assassinations of our dissidents and literary figures.... This fundamentalist fascist regime has executed tens of thousands of political prisoners. Since 1980, there has NOT BEEN ONE SINGLE FREE AND DEMOCRATIC ELECTION IN IRAN.

JM’s ideology and practice have been based on respect for the dignity of the individual and thus extensive human rights and freedom of expression and the like.

Khomeini’s ideology is the polar opposite. There is not respect for human rights no respect of individual’s rights including what he or she does in his/her own home. Khomeini’s ideology is a fanatic, totalitarian, reactionary, misogynist ideology that is based on the subjugation of the people. This subjugation is not only in the public, but also in their private home.

In conclusion, JM-Mossadegh are polar opposites of fundamentalist-Khomeini. Our vision is based on human rights freedom, democracy, pluralism, separation of religion and the state, doing what is good for Iran’s national interest and the interests of the Iranian people.

Khomeini’s vision is identical to that of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and Taliban. The oppose the notion of nation-state as the primary allegiance, they are anti-democratic, anti-equal rights for women, anti-freedom, anti-human rights, pro-dictatorship.

As my article showed there is a body of scholars whose paradigm regards the Islamic fundamentalists (both Shia and Sunni versions) to be like European fascism.

I hope this is helpful.







Jamshid jaan,

My own paradigmatic research is the hybrid of the 2nd and 3rd paradigms.

Part of my dissertation was published and may be purchased from at:










Dear Free Spirit,

de nada mi amigo/a.








and the computer that we all use was invented by these Americans, and airplanes, and telephone, and television and .....










Anon 7,

You are right about the irony that these Sunni fundamentalist such as al Qaeda and Taliban who were given huge help by the CIA in the 1980s, are now killing those dude for allegedly being a spy for Americans. This is called IRONY.

This irony also exists for Shia fundamentalists. Hassan Ayat who was the brain behind the creation of Hezb Jumhuri Islami (Islamic Republican Party), which was Khomeini’s main vehicle for attacking others and consolidating power and staffed and led by Ayatollah Beheshti, Ali Khamanehi, and Rafsanjani. This same Mr. Ayat was the main connection between Kermit Roosevelt and Fadaian Islam and Ayatollah Kashani. On 28 Mordad, the CIA organized Fadaian Islam on the streets. Kermit Rossevelt brought Ayatollah Kashani’s son to Radio Tehran station as soon as the coup plotters captured it. Ayatollah Kashani’s son was the second person who talked on Radio Tehran and gave the "great news" that Dr. Mossadegh’s government was overthrown. Grand Ayatollah Brujerdi sent a public congratulatory telegram and publically welcomed the Shah when he returned from Rome a few days after the coup. When JM cabinet sent the bill to give women the right to vote, then Hojatolislam Ruhollah Khomeini gave a sermon in Qom and condemned Dr. Mossadegh. After the coup, Khomeini was the secret contact between Brujerdi and the Shah. He brought Brujerdi’s secret message to the Shah (see the little book by Ayatollah Pasandideh who is the elder brother of Khomeini on this).

Yes, it is ironic that the Shia fundamentalists who collaborated with CIA in 1953 coup against Mossadegh-JM, then turned against Americans after President Kennedy forced the Shah to have land reform, and female vote.

Politics has many ironies. Perhaps, one of the weirdest ones is Khomeini (and Khamanehi, Rafsanjani) publically saying "Marg Bar Amrica" and "Marg Bar Israel" and "Rah-e Qods az Karbala Migozarad" and "Saddam is puppet of Zionists", and AT THE VERY SAME TIME, having secret meetings with Israeli agents and American officials and exchanging money and weapons.

And when three of Ayatollah Montazeri’s entourage who were HONEST and thus oppose and reveal this secret dealings, the three get executed.

In conclusion, you are right. These fundamentalists collaborate with the CIA, while accusing others about the VERY SAME thing they themselves have done and then kill them!!!!! Weird but true.

I do disagree with you in one point. We have to HELP Iranians inside to get rid of the fascist fundamentalist terrorist regime, and to establish freedom, democracy, human rights, and social justice. We are all Iranians, inside and outside, and it is our duty to help create a free and democratic, and progressive Iran.







On your second post, there are hundreds of scholars who publish very critical studies of Israel or the US. Just to name a few: Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, Rashid Khalidi....

The main scholarly association, called MESA is far more pro-Palestinian than pro-Israeli. You obviously, do not know about academia in the U.S.






gone with the wind! (to Amirkabear)

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

Amir says: "Believe it or not ALSO there are even more similarities between European nazis and jewish extremists. Clearly you have not done much research there have you."

Amir_jAn, it seems that he still has his job in University of Alabama at Birmingham. If he does research in the area you are mentioning he'll be finished in no time, he'll be gone ...... puffffffffffffffff!
With Writing anti-Iranian stuff he'll become a "better" staff ... and will be rewarded....


same fate too

by Arash Kamangir (not verified) on

Without doubt the IRI has many similarities to Nazi regime of Hitler. I have no doubt that the fate of IRI will also be very similar to Hitler's fate.At the end the germans had also become very indifferent as now we can see it in Iran.

Payandeh Iran


speaking of fascism

by Anonym7 (not verified) on

Kazemzadeh check this link: //,2933,372883,00.html

It is from one of your favorite U.S outlets (foxnews). ... and let me remind you that these fascists (Talibans) are direct product of obsessed foreign interference in another country. Let me remind you that these decapitators were once called by U.S media "mojahedeen freedom fighters".
Mr. Kazemzadeh leave the Iranians inside Iran to deal with IRI instead of exaggerating IRI's nature and adding more fuel to the fire. Even with best of intention you will end up making things worse not just for Iranians but very likely for everyone else.


To Masoud Kazemzadeh

by amirkabear4u on

Believe it or not ALSO there are even more similarities between European nazis and jewish extremists. Clearly you have not done much research there have you.



by Anonymous-haha (not verified) on

nice one Mehdi.

Bear in mind that Nazism,Stalinism and facsism were created by Europeans.


Very interesting and informative.

by Zion on



It is all the same

by EDS on

Islamic Funamentalism, Wester Fascism, Iranian Fascism, Communism, Liberal Atheist Socialism, Jewish Fundamentalism, Christian Fundamentalism, and I can go on.

There is one and only one vector.

A person either believes that no adult soul has ownership and responsibility for another or he believes there are ideals such as Islam itself, as is the case for Islamic Fundamentalism, the glorious German race as was the case for the Germans, the Jewish people as is the case for the Jewish Fudnamentalism, or social justice as is the case for the Liberal Atheist Socialism, that are so glorious that a person should sacrifice himself for and has the right to sacrifice others for.

It is only a matter of degress on how far you are on this one axis.

Such is the fundamental law governing human relations.

The fact that one may find Islamic Fundamentalism as good or bad vs. Nazim or for that matter Liberal Atheist Socialism as good or bad is only a matter of taste. If your taste happens to match the Islamic Fundamentalist tastes then you cannot fathom how others may have a problem with it. You will have a billion Hadith or fabricated stories on how for "Islam's" sake it is right to force people away from alcohol. If you happen to be benefiting from a particular social give away then you will weave the sky and the moon together on a, incoherent illogical story on why the government must have the right to by force take away money from others and spend on your social program of choice.

Fundamentally they are the same.



by Free Spirit (not verified) on



Re: Kazemzadeh

by jamshid on

Excellent article and research. I would lean towards the first and third paradigms, or better yet a combination of the two. I can't relate to the second paradigm.

I enjoyed reading the last part too, on your method of teaching. Very interesting approach!

If "Class and Gender..." is not yet published, I think it would be interesting to see some excerpts from the book in this site.


I can think of one striking similarity

by Free Thinker (not verified) on

European Fascism and Islamic Fundamentalism were both constructed on and supposted by nationalist movements. Hitler's Nazism and Mussoulini's Fascism or Peron's National Socialism were all supported by the nationalists. Khomeini's Fundamentalism too was supported by the National Front and the remnanats of Mossadegh's party. You don't need to write a scholarly article to tell this. Could you find a closer similarity?


There is also similarties

by abc (not verified) on

There is also similarties between Nazim and Islamic Fundamentalism. Recent documents show the alliance between the Nazi and Islamic brothehood in WWII.


In fact, Khomeini was a great admirer of A. Hitler.

Nazi roots of Modern Radical Islam:



Similarity between Nazism and Zionism

by Mehdi on

That should be your next article. LOTs of material to work with;)