Thursday, November 18, 2004

Interesting parallels

VDH has an interesting essay on his site, by Joseph D'Hippolito, entitled In Their Own Words:
Comparing the Rhetoric of Jihadism and Nazism
. Definitely worth your time. An excerpt:

In the twentieth century, genocidal, imperialist totalitarians wore swastika armbands, herded members of supposedly inferior races into concentration camps and shouted, "Heil Hitler!" In the twenty-first century, they wear black coveralls and hoods, decapitate civilian contractors, shoot children in the back, plow hijacked airplanes into buildings and shout, "Allahu Akbar!"

Jihadism is this century's equivalent of Nazism in more than just barbarity. The Osama bin Ladens and Abu Musab al-Zarqawis are the violent face of a coherent, ruthless ideology that imitates the Nazi method of winning popular support. Jihadists—whether terrorists, imams or intellectuals—exploit collective frustration by converting it into a pervasive sense of victimization, then offer the solution: embrace an inherent superiority, seize entitled power and destroy all opponents.

Just as the Nazis described Germans as victimized by a decadent West — as represented by democracy, jazz, "degenerate art" and the Versailles treaty — so do jihadist intellectuals describe Muslims. Consider the words of Mohammed al-Asi, a fellow at the Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought, an advisor to the Islamic Human Rights Commission and the imam of the Islamic Center of Washington, D.C.:

Muslims are living in a kafir (unbelievers') domain; they are virtually adrift and homeless. The inherent condition of today's Muslims who have lost sight of a Prophet as commander is a religious community of people who are beholden to the forces and powers of kufr (apostasy): secular kufr and religious kufr, mental kufr and military kufr, as well as kufr by choice and kufr by force.

Or consider this editorial in Crescent International magazine published immediately after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon:

We know from past experience that people who feel themselves and their peoples to be under sustained and unrelenting attack can react in the most unbelievable ways.

The problem is that none of these [Americans] seem to realize that America has long been at war with numerous peoples all over the world. This is not the opening salvo of a new war; it is probably likely a stunningly successful attempt by one of America's many victims to hit back—very, very hard.

[The] argument is that democracy, freedom and civilization are under attack and must be forcefully defended; such words ring hollow from Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Vladimir Putin, George W. Bush, Colin Powell and Tony Blair, each of whom has been responsible for far, far more death and suffering than seen in the US yesterday.

These excerpts explain that Muslims, victimized by the West, have an inherent right to avenge themselves by obliterating non-combatants.

I have read this comparison before, and I find it compelling. Somehow Nazism and its permutations weren't eradicated in WWII... not that it really ever could have, because people are naturally bent toward corruption and villainy apart from Christ. But trying to step back and see this on a global, historical scale is an interesting exercise. It has "end times" written all over it, and I'm not one of those Hal Lindsey scare-mongering Revelation preachers. I'm more interested in Now, Today, and what God is doing in my tiny segment of the tapestry He's weaving. But occasionally one gets a wee clouded glimpse of what's to come. I, for one, won't spend much time pontificating on what I think it all means. I don't know. But I do find it interesting.

And I do know who wins in the end.

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