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Columns and Articles by Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman

September 04, 2010

Germany Has Had a Curious Century of Islamic Relations.

Germans have been living in northern Europe for several thousand years. The Romans knew them as enemies at first, and later as applicants to be part of the Roman Empire. But Germany as a nation-state is new—1871—and as such, has scrambled to catch up with much older nation states of England and France.

Germany was late in empire building too—unlike Spain, England, France, and the Netherlands. Part of the injured pride that spurred Hitler’s World War II was the lust for empire—which Germany enjoyed in its brief explosion as Nazis.

Even before 1871, German scholars were fascinated by the Muslim world, particularly the Turkic Muslim world of Central Asia and Persia. In Sino-Iranica (1919), Berthold Lauffer devoted an entire book to the agricultural gifts exchanged by the Persian and Chinese emperors across the Silk Road (300-600 AD). To do this, Lauffer had to read and understand both Persian and Court Chinese—and many of the dialects between. Dazzling German scholarship.

During World War I, the Germans were allies with the Turkish Ottoman Empire—both losers of that war. But the fascination with Turkic Central Asians continued, and one scholar, a devoted Nazi during World War II, recruited Tatar, Uzbek, and Kyrgiz Muslim subjects of the Soviet empire and used them to fight the USSR. They were a fierce and effective fighting force, especially when using German armaments.

Nazi propaganda emphasized Communist irreligion, bolstered the age-old anti-Semitism of Muslims, and attacking Russian, British, and French colonialism. In North Africa, Nazi propaganda promised Muslims freedom from colonialism after the war and the death of all Jews living among them. This was a powerful argument for Muslims supporting Germany.

During that same period, Palestinian Arabs, formerly Turkish subjects and then under British mandate, were chafing at the resurgence of Jewish life there. The Grand Mufti, the chief cleric of the Palestinians, was not only rabidly anti-Jewish, but was also a devout Nazi—even honored with a personal meeting with Hitler (and a flood of German money).

After World War II, Arabs hid Nazi war criminals and absorbed so much fascist doctrine that it is no surprise that the movement of resurgent fundamentalist Islam should be married to fascism—this giving truth to calling Militant Islam “Islamo-Fascism.” This murderous movement threatens not only the West, but also Muslim states in various stages of modernization.

The book to read is Ian Johnson’s A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West (2010). The United States, like the Germany before them, recognized that they could prevent inroads of Communism among Muslims by supporting Islam—thus one of the reasons for our support of Muslim countries whose culture is antithetical to everything we believe in. Because of Cold War ideology, the “enemy of our enemy” became our friend. We are now paying the price for this folly.

If Militant Islam were only a Muslim problem, we could commiserate but not worry. However, Islamo-Fascism has moved to the west, entrenched in ever-increasing mosque building, Muslim Student Associations, and legal muscle that manages to use our own legal institutions against us.

In Chapter 8 of A Mosque in Munich, an Egyptian law professor, Said Ramadan, was accepted by Cologne University to do his Doctoral dissertation. He was not just a law student interested in Islamic Law, but an active revolutionary agent. He was the son-in-law of Hasan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, and tireless in pursuit of a political agenda for Islam, including justification for violence.

Ramadan’s son, now a Swiss citizen, has continued his father’s work. However, he has bamboozled a generation of European university students and has sought entry to the United States as a visiting scholar for Notre Dame University. The question for our State Department is whether this man is merely a benign academic or does he fit the description of a militant Islamist pied piper. Had 9/11 not happened, he might have been seen as the former.

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Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and writer. You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink