Islamofascism

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Islamofascism is a term often used in political statements, although not being internally consistent between the political philosophy of fascism and the principles of Islamist governance. Bernard Lewis, a respected if controversial Near Eastern historian, was asked why it appeared in his book, and he responded,
Well, I don’t use it; I discuss it. I think one has to confront that this is a term that is used. I don’t like it because it’s insulting to Muslims. They see it as insulting to link the name of their religion with the most detestable of all the European movements. It’s useful in the sense that it does distinguish real Islam from “Islamofascism,” but I still feel that the connection is insulting, and I prefer to use the term “radical Islam.”[1]

Theology

The inherent contradiction is that fascism assumes a human supreme leader whose decrees are inerrant, but classical Islam admits to no supreme authority other than God and his laws. Indeed, allegiance to a government that does not recognize the primacy of Islam commits, according to modern radical theologians such as Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, the heresy of shirk or polytheism. This is not a new idea; Ibn Tamiyya (1294-1303), in spite of protests that the Mongol monarch had converted to Islam. That king, however, allowed Mongol tribal law to coexist with Sharia, making him an apostate and a legitimate target of jihad. [2]

By requiring there to be no Muslim society without Islamic law, he set a context that Salafists used to justify rebellion against Muslim rulers that did not enforce that law.[3]

American usage

The term, however, is frequently used in American politics, by members of the Christian Right such as Gary Bauer, and others who regard Islam as a generic enemy

During the 2008 presidential campaign, [4], Gary Bauer addressed his supporters with "the war against Islamofascism is in many respects a 'values issue,'...That may seem like an odd statement at first glance, but, as I have often said, losing Western Civilization to this vicious enemy would be immoral."

Robert Spencer sponsored an "Islamofascism Awareness Week" in 2007, and criticized "Muslim organizations ... [and] U.S. radical groups...against an open, objective, and fair minded discussion of an Islamo-fascist ideology whose chief target is Muslims—Muslim women, gays, and free thinkers who become “infidels” the moment they question Islamic fundamentalism—shows exactly why Islamo-Fascist Awareness Week is necessary. "[5]

Brigitte Gabriel calls for the stopping of "Islamofascism...that says 'enough' to political correctness, that demands that government officials do what is necessary to protect us from this scourge." In a New York Times interview, she said "The moderate Muslims at this point are truly irrelevant. I grew up in the Paris of the Middle East, and because we refused to read the writing on the wall, we lost our country to Hezbollah and the radicals who are now controlling it. "[6]

References

  1. "Seven Questions: Bernard Lewis on the Two Biggest Myths About Islam", Foreign Policy (magazine), August 2008
  2. Christopher Henzel (Spring 2005), "The Origins of al Qaeda's Ideology: Implications for US Strategy", Parameters, U.S. Army War College
  3. Steven Simon (September 14, 2006), Is there a Clash of Civilizations? Islam, Democracy, and U.S.-Middle East Policy
  4. "U.S. evangelicals raise specter of 'Islamofascism' to rouse voters", Associated Press, 11 November 2007
  5. Robert Spencer (23 October 2007), "Islamo-Fascism Denial", Frontpage Magazine
  6. Deborah Solomon (August 17, 2008), "Questions for Brigitte Gabriel: The Crusader", New York Times