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What matters is what they do, not what they say

Reader comment on item: More on the Term "Islamic Fascists"
in response to reader comment: Islamic Fascism Is An Oxymoron: It's Like A Yellow Blackboard!

Submitted by Edward Christie (Austria), Sep 1, 2006 at 22:27

Re to Mr. Mallenbaum. I am surprised to see you stop at the pre-war definition of fascism given by the (then fascist) Italian government itself. If a state lays down exclusive authority over all else it is merely totalitarian. The additional question one must ask is what such a government does once it has set itself up.

In practice the government of Benito Mussolini pursued a policy of international aggression and conquest, exalted Italy's national and ethnic identity at the expense of minorities, passed racist and anti-semitic laws and fought alongside Nazi Germany. The important issue here is that the identity of the majority of the population was exalted and promoted at the expense of the welfare of minorities within the country as well as at the expense of people of different identities in other countries. It is this combination of tyranny and identity-dependent aggression which defines fascism in practice.

Coming now to "totalitarian Islam", I will try to show why it is, in my view, indistinguishable from fascism. Firstly it is in practice impossible to set up a system of government that aims for a total and complete subservience to the will of God without the use of a ruling elite made up of specific individuals who will be in charge of running all state institutions. Such a system of government is also set up in such a way as to prevent any other ideologies, groups or parties from sharing in or coming to power. Since it is the state which is doing this, and because the state takes over the responsibility of ensuring religious compliance, one ends up with a system which is de facto fascist following Mussolini's definition: everything in the state, nothing outside of the state, and nothing against it. However as I argued above this merely defines the system as totalitarian, not necessarily as fascist.

The other crucial aspect is that identity, in this case religious identity, is exalted and promoted at the expense of domestic minorities as well as at the expense of people of different identities in other countries. Just like in fascist states discriminatory laws are passed that instate a lower status and less rights for members of minorities. Furthermore executive orders and plain actions that constitute persecution of minorities are also in evidence both in "totalitarian Islam" and in classical fascist states.

In other words there is nothing substantial that differentiates "totalitarian Islam" from fascism in practice. The only exception that comes to mind is that in "totalitarian Islam" it is possible to convert to Islam, become fully obedient to the authorities and thus become an ordinary citizen. Obviously this option wasn't available in European fascism since the criterion was ethnicity, not religion. But I would argue that this difference is irrelevant if one holds religious freedom to be an inalienable right, in which case Islamic fascism ("totalitarian Islam") is clearly a movement which must be destroyed as surely as it was necessary to destroy European fascism.

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