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Terminology

Reader comment on item: "At War with Islamic Fascists"

Submitted by Douglas Boggs (United States), Aug 14, 2006 at 17:25

Much of what people argue about in terminology is merely semantics. But fascism is a form of totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is a form of government that claims the entire person--thoughts and all aspects of his way of life. (See Palmer & Colton, A History of the Modern World.) It is characterized by such things as life-sized pictures of the leader in the town sqares. Christianity, before the Reformation, was rightly called a totalitarian religion. It may not be correct to call Islam fascist, but it is perfectly correct to call Islam totallitarian. Another aspect of totalitarianism, according to Palmer and Colton, is that it is based on violence. This certainly fits for not only what we think of radical Islam but also a religion that refuses to release followers who wish to seek another path, advocate violence against women, enslavement of non-adherents, or violence against someone who calls his god by another name or prays differrently or who publicly disagrees with the precepts of the government or belief system. Islam is not always totalitarian, the most complete exception being the Sufis, followers of the mystical branch of Islam, who are persecuted by the fundamentalists. Nonetheless, most of Islam fits the Palmer and Colton definition of totalitarianism, especially when coupled with sharia law into an Islamic state. I would classify it as relitious totaliatrianism.

Douglas Boggs, Kansas City

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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