Today, the London Times allowed a known racist to rewrite history in an attempt to justify some of it's readers' closet bigotry.
ELEMENTS WITHIN the British establishment were notoriously sympathetic to Hitler. Today the Islamists enjoy similar support. In the 1930s it was Edward VIII, aristocrats and the Daily Mail; this time it is left-wing activists, The Guardian and sections of the BBC. They may not want a global theocracy, but they are like the West’s apologists for the Soviet Union — useful idiots.
Islamic radicals, like Hitler, cultivate support by nurturing grievances against others. Islamists, like Hitler, scapegoat Jews for their problems and want to destroy them. Islamists, like Hitler, decree that the punishment for homosexuality is death. Hitler divided the world into Aryans and subhuman non-Aryans, while Islamists divide the world into Muslims and sub-human infidels. Nazis aimed for their Thousand-Year Reich, while Islamists aim for their eternal Caliphate. The Nazi party used terror to achieve power, and from London to Amsterdam, Bali to New York, Egypt to Turkey, Islamists are trying to do the same.
The mere fact that Anthony Browne writing in today's London Times conveniently "forgets" that by far the biggest British cheerleader for the Nazis was the London Times itself says volumes about the rest of the particulars of this piece of idiocy. I don't want to be making strawman attacks here but when a writer will compromise his integrity so totally on a matter of historical record one must needs wonder what lengths he will go to when recording hysteria.
The trouble is, the white-supremacist zealotry which was one of the primary characteristics of Nazism is still alive and well amongst the rightwing and so they are manufacturing a "clash of civilisations" out of whole cloth behind which they can hide their bigotry. All they have done is shift the focus of their hate from skin to religion. The all-encompassing generalisations where every perceived enemy is painted as "black" as the worst case will allow continues - passed on down the generations by those who wish to protect what they see as a priveliged position of wealth and power in Western societies.
Browne's article goes on to describe how other European nations have taken a far more hardline course against Moslems in general as well as the extremists:
The London bombings revealed only to those in denial the extent to which Islamic fascism has taken root. But we have a long way to go until we reach the level of understanding in mainland Europe. With one of the smallest Muslim populations in Western Europe, just 3 per cent of the total, Britain has been able to afford a joyful multicultural optimism. Other countries, with far bigger Islamic populations, from France to Germany to the Netherlands, have had to become far more hard-headed.
But this is again tarring with the broadest of brushes - ignoring national differences to concentrate on religious sameness. Germany's Muslems are primarily from Turkey - a NATO member and one of the more moderate of moslem nations. France's Muslem population stems mostly from former French colonies in North Africa and those immigrants have spread out into the Benelux nations. In both cases, the Muslim immigrants occupy the bottom of the "food chain", having been brought in as low-cost labour for low-wage jobs in much the same way as Hispanics are treated in the US and with much the same attendant problems - gangs, ghettoes and xenophobic reactions from those who always look for an "other" to blame. Britain's Muslim population comes mainly from Pakistan - an area where extremist views are far more prevalent yet, because the Pakistani emmigres have become the shopkeepers and small-businessmen of the nation, an entirely different and mostly lower-key pattern of greivances and pressures has arisen.
I'm not even going to bother counterattacking Browne's assertion that "support of Islamic fascism spans Britain’s Left" as he then disproves himself nicely by not mentioning the mainstream Left such as the Labor Party, trade unions or even the Scottish Nationalists but instead only Ken Livingston, George Galloway and the Socialist Workers Party. The latter are a source of endless amusement to most UK lefties, being stuck in a 70's timewarp. They have been called the "Unsociable Layabouts Party" and "crumblies" (so dirty they crumble when they move). It's a bit like characterising the American Right as being entirely composed of Tancredo, the Militias and Pat Robertson. You begin to get the idea - this man is more interested in promoting his own prejudices than in actual facts. You wil no doubt find it as interesting as I did that Browne enters into friendly correspondence with V-Dare, an online journal of the Center For American Unity where you will find such gems as "black men have on average 3 to 19 percent more testosterone than white men" and:
it is true. Africans do tend to have low IQs.
The average IQ of sub-Saharan Africans in Africa has been studied many times over many decades. It keeps coming out almost two standard deviations below that of Europeans and nearly two and half standard deviations below that of Northeast Asians.
And this guy has the nerve to attack the guardian for employing an intern who was a member of an Islamic extremist group?
All this is not to say that extremists aren't a problem. Far from it, although Scottish blogger "Curious Hamster" has hit the nail on the head when he writes about the media's wish to create division and fear over this issue because it sells better to their readers than car crashes:
The distortions which can occur in the media under these circumstances can be quite severe. There is a systematic incentive to exaggerate the amount of "fear" portrayed in media reports. This not only helps keep sales high, but has the side effect of boosting the terrorists attempts to spread fear. It's a tangled web and it's one the media ought to consider before writing headlines like this . The relationship means that the media ought to show restraint in their reporting of terrorist activities and understand their wider responsibilities to our society. I'm afraid that most organisations seem to have failed in this. We are presented with wild claims of a "clash of civilizations". A clash of civilizations? I think you'll find you need two civilizations for that, not one and a few nutters with bombs.
And thats really The Point, isn't it? Nazism was a political movement that had control of an entire Great Power (on a par with hte modern G8 nations) while a large percentage of it's population sat back and let it happen for (mainly) economic reasons. Islamic extremism is as much the enemy of the vast bulk of Muslims as it is of anyone else - and moderate Muslims by-and-large already understood this. There was a complacency factor among UK Muslims which has now been very definitely overcome. There is no likelihood of the extremists ever getting control of a major industrial and economic (think G8) power with the capacity for advanced armaments. They simply will not ever have the power base.
So no, not like Hitler at all, then.
But saying Islamic extremists are like the Nazis is a great smokescreen when you are already a bigot making senseless generalisations and want to hide your bigotry under a smokescreen of faux concern.
Update The debate over Browne's views continues apace over at Harry's Place. Let us not forget that then Home Secretary David Blunkett once described Browne in the House of Commons as "bordering on fascism".
Update 3rd August Just in case people are wondering what some of the folks in comments are talking about, they are referring to this diary entry in the Guardian newspaper which ends "Lovely friends you have there, Anthony" and this post in the Daily Ablution blog where some nice people say Browne should sue me for using a word that by his own admission the BBC have used to describe him in the past. The Daily Ablution managed a great strawman attack as it traces one quote back to the New York Times - as if that excuses the nature of V-Dare and it's friend's opinions.