Islamic extremism and white nationalism share important commonalities: they preach to their followers that outsiders who don’t share their vision are enemies, they believe their enemies are the problem, and they believe the problem must be solved. They both embrace a common source for the solution to their enemy problem, the source that developed the “Final Solution.”
The roots of white nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism lie in the teachings of Adolf Hitler.
Nazism developed the Final Solution. Murdering the Jews, they argued, would right the problems that plague the world. Today’s extremists use the very same model.
Hassan al Banna was the earliest of these Egyptian philosophers to write and preach about the dangers of the Western world. His solution was to remove the problem. A significant component of his thesis to unite Muslims was, by his own admission, built on Hitler’s Nazism.
Al Banna was followed by Sayyid Qutb, a significantly more prolific writer who is the most quoted of all Islamic extremist leaders. He too borrows from Hitler in his argument that, in order to unite Arab society, Arabs must eliminate outsiders that try to liberalize, reform and change Islamic society. Qutb’s seminal work, entitled Our Struggle Against the Jews, even borrows from the title of Hitler’s work, Mein Kampf, which means “my struggle.”
The Muslim Brotherhood supported the Nazis during the 1930s and 1940s. They organized mass demonstrations against Jews with slogans promoting ethnic cleansing. “Down with the Jews!” and “Jews get out of Egypt and Palestine!” were first coined by the Brotherhood in 1936. A few years later, in November 1945, they carried out a violent pogrom against Egypt’s Jews. Hilter hosted the Hajj Amin al Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in Germany, and in 1946 the Grand Mufti al-Husseini was granted asylum in Egypt.
Yusuf Qaradawi, one of the most influential thinkers in the Muslim Brotherhood, had this to say about Jews: “Today the Jews are not the Israelites praised by Allah, but the descendants of the Israelites who defied His word. Allah was angry with them and turned them into monkeys and pigs… There is no doubt that the battle in which the Muslims overcome the Jews [will come]….In that battle the Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them.”
Similar to Nazism, getting rid of Jews was an essential part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan.
White nationalism has not changed much over the years. Even the slogans shouted in Charlottesville are Nazi slogans from the 1930s and 1940s. The expression “blood and soil” is a direct translation of the German Blut (blood) und Boden (soil). In Nazi Germany, people chanted “Blut und Boden.” It meant that Aryans were united by blood and their deep historical connection to their land.
The similarities between white nationalism and Nazism are more obvious than Islamic fundamentalism’s links to Nazism, but that is simply because we are more attuned to white nationalism—not because Nazism’s links with Islamic fundamentalism aren’t obvious and strong. It is our cultural bias, not theirs. Most of us are familiar with Nazi’s influence through the dress and expressions of Western neo-Nazis and the KKK.
Many of the groups promoting racial superiority through nationalism, extremism and fundamentalism focus on the importance of purity of land, culture and blood—as did their Nazi predecessors. The Nazis called the idea der volk, meaning the folk. Symbolic of much more than people, the idea encompasses culture, land and blood. It has no equivalent in English.
We need to be clear about the originations of these movements’ philosophies. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, but it does not protect the promotion of violence. The right to free speech does not include preaching violence.
Simply put, public safety trumps individual rights.
Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator, author the “The Micah Report,” and host of the weekly TV show “Thinking Out Loud w Micah Halpern.” Follow him on twitter: @MicahHalpern