World War II: Religion--Islam and the Muslim World

Figure 1.--The Germans made an effort to attract Muslim support during World War II. While there was no significant Muslim population in Germany, there was in the areas occupied by the NAZIs duing the War: Soviet Union (Caucauses), Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Kosovo), Albabia, and North Africa (Libya and Tunisia). The NAZIs achieved some success based on exploiting various themes, especially anti-British and anti-Semetic propganda. One theme they did not pursue was race, in part because of the similar ethnic heritage of Arabs and Jews. This photograph comes from an album of a German soldier, we think in Libya. He seems to have taken an interest in the local people. Here a boy is veing taught to read. A Libyan reader thinks the man may be his grandfather who disappeared in Germany during the War. [Haddad]

The Caliph (Ottomon Emperor) attempted to make Islam a factor in World War I. He was unsuccessful, in part because the Arabs saw the Ottomons as an occupying power and the modern Islamic movement had not formed. The NAZIs had somewhat more success in World war II. A substantial number of Muslims made common cause with the NAZIs during World War II. There was considerable sympathy for the NAZIs in the Middle East and North Africa. The Grand Mufti in Palestine provked anti-Jewish and anti British riots even before the War. There was an anti-British coup in Iraq (1941). Anti-British forces gained considerable strength in Iran where the Soviets and British intervened (1941). There was considerable anti-British sentiment in Egypt which was prepared to welcome Rommel and the Afrika Korps with open arms (1942). The NAZIs never conquered Egypt, but they did occupy areas with Muslim populations, including Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Several Muslim SS units were formed to fight with the Wehremacht. All of these units after the War were accussed of commiting honredous attrocities.

World War I

The Germans welcomed the Ottomans as an ally in World War I. The Caliph (Ottomon Emperor) attempted to make Islam a factor in World War I. He was unsuccessful, in part because the Arabs saw the Ottomons as an occupying power and the modern Islamic movement had not formed. The Arabs saw the Allies as means of liberation from the Ottoman Empire. Famed Larence of Arabia was assigned by the British to assist the Arab Revolt. TheBritish wre astonished when the Arabs managed to seize Aqaba, Guerill operations drove the turks out of most of Arabia and when the British advanced into Palestine (1918), the Larence and Arab Army supported them. Another British offensive drove the Ottomons out of Mesopotamia.

Grand Mufti

Haj Amin el-Husseini had been an officer in the Ottoman Army. He turned to school teaching. The British sentenced him to 10 years of prison for fomenting anti-Jewish riots (1920). After his election to Grand Mufti of Jerulselum under suspicious circumstances he was bardoned by British High Commissioner Sir Herbert Sammuels. Until Husseini the Grand Mufti was a Koranic scholar, he turned the post into a political platform Husseini became a strident spokesmen against British rule and virulent anti-Semitism. He set up hit squads to attack both political opponents and isolated Jewish settlements. [Porch, p. 22.] The Palestinians Arabs have a notable record of choosing poor leaders and backing failed foreign groups (Hitler, the Soviets, and Saddam). This uneviable record began with Husseini. Reduced Jewish immigration in the 1920s, the rise of the National Party, and a new British administration caused a reversal of Husseini's fortunes. Renewed Jewish immigration because of the rise of Fascism in Europe resulted in renwed friction between the Arabs and Jews. Husseini helped to foment the communal rioting in Palestine (1935-36). When the British tried to arrest him he fled to Iraq. There he helped to organize an anti-British coup (1941). He then fled to Iran where he also tried to cause a coup. When the British and Soviets intervened he managed to escape to Germany. He spent much of the War in Berlin making anti-British propaganda for the NAZIs. He also supported NAZI efforts to promote Muslim resistance to the Soviets and British. He helped form Muslim military inits in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. He met with both Reichsführer SS Heinrich Himmler and Holocaust organizer Adolf Eichmann. After the War he eluded the Allies and was given refuge in Egypt (1945). He helped organize irregular groups in Palestinr to resist thecUN partition plan (1947).


Muslims fought for both the Allies and the Axis as both conscripts and volunteers. It is not altogether clear what their motivation was and in any case this presumably varied from country to country. We have no idea what the attitudes were of the Muslims conscripted in the Red Army. It is likely that many were hostile, but had no way of expressing that hostility. The Mufti was active in recruiting Muslims to serve in the German military. His goal was a kind of Muslim NAZI army. I am not sure at this time just how effective the Mufti was in his recruiting efforts. He played varying roles in the formations of Geman units. I am not sure to what extent the men were influenced by NAZI doctrine. Yhey seem to have been more committed to local issues. Wecnote varying reports. The SS Handzar Division was reportedly responsible for killing about 90 percent of the Jews in Bosnia. This presumably was done at the direction of the German leadership. I am unsure about the attitudes of the Muslims soldiers in the division. Some reports suggest that the Muslims in the SS divisions were not interested in killing Jews. We note some unrest in the Muslem units. The SS in Yugoslavia killed about 40 Muslims partisans, including some who were relatives of those serving in SS divisions. A small mutiny resulted.

The Arabs

The Arabs reacted to the War in large measure according to who the colonial power was which in most cases was Britain and France. Islam was another factor, although more important in some countries than others. NAZI Germany's anti-semitism was another factor, especially in Palestine and the surrounding countries. Iraq attempted to join the Axis and therewas also support for the Axis in Syria. The Grand Mufti had tried to drive the British out of Palestine even before the War began. The Young Officers in Egypt were prepared to welcome the Afrika Korps with open arms. The Libyans having experienced Axis (Italian) colonial rule were less enthusiastic. Arab leaders for the most part seemed oblivious to the New Order that an Axis victory would have brought. While British and French colonialism may have been unpleasant to the Arabs, it was nothing like Italin and German colonial rule would have been and that is not even including the NAZI racial attituides toward Arabs. And even after the War, Arab leaders (the Bath and Moslem Brotherhood) continued to be influnced by NAZI totalitarianism.

World War II Country Trends

We note a range of Muslim countries and colonies affected by World War II. Here Islam played a varying role. Often nationalism was more important, but in the Muslim world nationalism and Islam are in fact intertwined in a complex relationship. Also some of the beligerant nations were involved in these countries. <


Albania was the only majority Muslim country in Europe. Mussolini occupied Albania an experienced little opposition (1939). As this time I know little about the role of Islam in Albania.


China: Xinhijng

China is a huge country. World War II histories tend to focus on the south and fighting between the Natinlists and Japanese. Much more was goung on and not only Communist controlled Yenan in the north. Yan'an/Yenan in north-central China was near the endpoint of Mao Tse Tung's Long March. Yenan thus became the center of the Chinese Communist Revolution (1936-48). Chinese communists celebrate Yan'an as the birthplace of the Revolution. Yenan was a remote, desolate location in which the Japanese had little interest. It was, however, hardly the remote northwest of the country. The most remote province was Xinhijang. It was beyond the Great Wall, southwest of Mongolia and north of Tibet. The fabeled medieval Silk Road wound its way through the province. The Japanese never got near Xinjiang, but the province was contested by The Nationalists, Communists, and Soviets in a diplomatic and politican dance that would not play out until after the War. With the Republican Revolution, the Qing (Manchu) Dynasty was overthrow and Yuan Dahua, the last Qing governor, fled (1912). A subordinate, Yang Zengxin (杨增新), took control of the province and nominlly acceded in name to the Republic of China. Actually he became one of a number of war lords. Through Byzantine machinations and the careful balancing of the various ethnic populations, Yang ruled Xinjiang until his he was assassinated (1928). Jin Shuren (金树仁) replaced him as the provincial war lord. He soon faced rebellions fomented by some of the ethnic minorties. The most significant was the Kumul Rebellion, a largely Muslim uprising (early-1930s). This involved Uyghurs, other Turkic groups, and Hui (Muslim) Chinese. Jin drafted White Russians who had fled the Soviets, to crush the revolt. An uprising in the Kashgar or southwestern region proclaimed the East Turkistan Republic (ETR)/Uyghuristan (1933). The Chinese Muslim Kuomintang 36th Division (National Revolutionary Army) was committed to destroy the ETR which it did at at the Battle of Kashgar (1934). The Nationalists executed the two ETR Emirs (Abdullah Bughra and Nur Ahmad Jan Bughra). Shortly after the Soviet Union invaded launching the Xinjiang War (1937). This brought warlord Sheng Shicai (盛世才) to power. He ruled Xinjiang for the folowing decade with support from the Soviet Union. This is one example of Stalin's cooperation with the Nationalists and reluctance to fully embrace Mao and the Chinese Communists. Sheng followed the advice of Soviet advisers in the ethnic and security policies he instituted. The Soviet Union maintained a military base in Xinjiang during this period. Sheng facilating between Chiang and Mao invited a Chinese Communists delegation to Xinjiang. Mao sent a high level delegation, including his brother Mao Zemin. Although the whole episode is murky, the Communists apparently were fomenting a coup. Sheng alerted by his Soviet-trained security service ordered the Chinese mission arrested and executed, including Mao's brother.

Dutch East Indies (Indonesia)

The Dutch East Indies (DEI) was predominately Muslim with Christian and Hindu minorities. The DEI figured prominently in Japan's decession to launch the Pacific War. The Netherlands itself was invaded and occupied by the NAZIs (May 1940). The Dutch royal family and the Dutch government fled to London and established a government-in-exile. The Dutch DEI colonial administration in Batavia recognized the government-in-exile. The DEI figured prominently in Japan's decession to launch the Pacific War. The DEI was one of the principal colonies the Japanese wanted for their empire because of the petroleum resources, primarily located on Sumatra. Japan had virtually no petroleum and had been importing American oil which the United States embargoed after the Japanese moved into French Indo-China. The Japanese demanded that DEI officials export oil to them and DEI officials complied. Even so the Japanese after the dall of the British bastion at Singapore (February 1942) invaded the DEI (March 1942). Parchute landing seized the oil fields intact. The Japanese in fact benefitted little. The American submarine campaign by 1943 was making it difficult to ship raw material from the DEI and other occupied territories to the Japan Home Islands. The American destruction of the Imperial Fleet and reconquest of the Philippines (October 1944) made it virtually imposible. The Japanese in the DEI committed terrible attrocities. An estimated 4 million civilians perished during the Japanese occupation. The result of Japanese occupation was a famine which caused massive starvation. I am unsure about the role of Islam during the occupation.



Hitler and the NAZIs after the fall of France thought that the War was won. For Hitler this meant that he could now proceeed with one of his most cherished objectives--thecseizure of Lebenraum in the East. This meant the invasion of the Soviet Union. Operation Barbarossa was planed as a massive stroke which would destroy the Red Army with one massive stroke, just as Poland, France, and the other occupied countries had been crushed. The Soviet Union proved a much more difficult undertaking. For the first time, massive German casualties were experienced. The Germans after the huge losses before Moscow (December 1941) found themsleves needing to look for additional manpower. One of the places they looked was amomg Muslims. Here they found willing recruits both in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, Both the Wehrmacht and SS formed military units with Muslim recruits.


India is a predominatly Hindu country, but it also has the largest Muslim population in the world. At the time of World war II, India was a British colony moving toward self rule. The Congress Party was pressing for independence. Muslim members of Congress led by Jenna wanted a separate Muslim state. At this time I am unsure about Muslim attitudes toward the War. Subhas Chandras Bose who worked with both the NAZIs and Japanese was a Hindu nationalist.


Iraq was a backwater of the war, but a very important backwater. Iraq was an imprtant in maintaining comminication lines between India and the British position in Egypt protecting the Suez Canal. Even more importantly, Iraq was the principle source of oil for the Desert Army and the Royal Navy Eastern Mediterranean Squadron. Iraq had been a Turkish Province until seized by the British during World war I. The Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1930 provided for a major British stake in Iraq. The British obtained a stake in the developing Mosul and Kirkuk oil fields and air bases near Baghdad in central Iraq and Basra in the south. To help protect the bases the British had a mixed force which included Iraqis recruited for this purpose. The British were also given transit rights. Britain with these guarantees granted independence to Iraq (1932). Nationalists criticized the treaty, but the Nuri es-Sa'id Governent was pro-British. The royal governent created a small army consisting of of five divisions, a navy consisting of river patrol craft, and a small airforce with obsolete aircraft. When war broke out in Europe (September 1939) Sa'id wanted to support Britain and declare war on Germany, but Iraqi nationalists oppsosed this. The Grand Mufti who fled Palestine appears to have been successful in stiring up anti-British sentiment in both army and government circles. The Sa'id Government did break off relations. A new Government led by Rashid Ali took power (March 1940). Ali was backed by the pro-Axis Golden Square. The fall of France (June 1940) dramatically changed the military ballance in the Mediterranean and thus the Middle East. Ali initiated various intrigues against Britain. British military successes in the Western Desert caused Ali to resign. The next primeminister acted to breakup the e Golden Square. A military coup placed Ali back in power (April 3, 1941). At the same time, spectacular German successes in Yugoslavia, Greece, and Crete convinced the Iraqi nationalists that the Germans would quickly defeat the British. Ali tore up the 1930 Treaty and struck at the British air base at Habbaniya. The French Vichy authorities controlling Syria assisted Ali by allowing the German and Italians to deliver some assistance. General Wavell, the British Middle East commander was hard pressed at the time. He had to contend with Rommel in the Wester Dessert and the disaterous intervention in Greece. He was reluctant to commit forces to Iraq, but Churchill insisted. An Indian division struck from the south landing at Basara. The Habforce (a British brigade and the Arab Legion) struck west from Jordan.


Reza Shah's Government declared Iran neutral with the outbreak of World War II in Europe. The British suspected that the Shah was sympathetic with the NAZIs who were active diplomatically in Iran. The Iranians rejected British demands to expel Axis agents. After the NAZI invasion of the Soviet Union it became vital to open supply lines to the Soviets. The British and Soviets thus launched a coordinated invasion (August 26, 1941). The Soviets invaded from the north. The British from Iraq where they had defeated a pro-Axis rebellion and by troops landed along te Persian Gulf. There was only limitedd resistance. Reza Shah abdicated (September 16). His son ascended the throne as Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. At the time of the War, Iran had just begun to develop its petroleum indutry. It did not play an important factor in the War. Britain fought the War largely with American oil, although the 8th Army fought the War in the Western Desert largely with Iraqi oil. Iran's importance in the War was largely as a conduit for American Lend Lease shipments to the Soviets.


Libya was the only Arab/Muslim that was a part of the Axis world at the start of the War. NAZI propaganda had little impact on Libya which was an Italian colony. The Italian Fascists conducted a brutal colonial war in the 1920s, even employing poison gas. They then began to colonize the country with Italian settlers. The goal was to displace or Italianize the Arabs. This was similar to French policy in Algeria, but was very different from British policies. Thus the Libyans turned to the British for assistance. NAZIFAscist anti-British propaganda in Libya had little impact. They had experienced Fascist brutality before the rest of the world. The rest of the Arab world, however, did not seem to recognize the potential dangers of a Fascist dominated world or the the possibility that the Fascist would be a much more brutal colonial master. Even in neighboring Egypt where the British were in the process of withdrawing bfore the War, the dangers of Fascism had little impact. In fact important nationalist groups embrazed the NAZIs.


World War II began with the NAZI German invasion of Poland (September 1939). Within a year, the Germans invaded and occupied France (June 1940). French POWs including some Moroccas wre interned in POW camps in Germany. Some were used as forced labor on the Atlantic Wall. The fall of France surrprised many nationalists who thought French military power was invincible. The situation did not immediately change because under the Franco-German Armistice the Vichy regime retained control of France's colonial dependencies. This essentially created an associated with the Germans, although Marshall Pétain refused Hitler's request to join the War as aerman ally. Even so, Moroccan nationalists viewed the Germans differently than other Arab nationlists. French Moroccan authorities were loyal to Vichy. They instituted actions against Jews based on Vichy racial laws. The King and Moroccan authorities did not prticvipate in the Vivhy abti-Semetic campaign. The Allied Torch landings changed the situation radically (November 1942). Moroccan troops subsequently fought with the Free French in Italy and France They acquired an impressive military record, but this was marred by attriocuies committed on civilins--secially rapeing women--the Marocchinate, .


Plaestine was part of Ottman Empire for several centuries. The province has a largely Arab population. Zionism was founded in Europe during the 19th century and promoted emmigration to Palestine with the purpose of founding a Jewish homeland. The Ottomons permited small-scale Jewish emmigration. THe Ottomans joined the Cetral Powers in World War I seeking to regain lost territory in the Balkans. As part of the operations of the Arab Army and Col T.H. Lawrence and a 1917 Britih offensive undeder Allenby, Palestine fell. After the War, the British administered Palestine under a League of Nations trusteeship. The rise of Fascism in Europe encouraged many Jews to seek refugee and strengthened the Zionist movement. The British attempted to restrict Jewish immmigration. The expanding Jewish population also resulted in growing anti-Semitism among the Palestinians. This had opposition to British colonial rule caused many Palestinians to sympathize and seek support from the NAZIs. About 6,000 Palestinian Arabs served with the British, but about 26,000 Jewish volunteers also served.

Soviet Union

Muslim populations were brought into the Russian Empire between 17th and 19th centuries by a series ot Tsars beginning with Catherine the Great. With World War I and the Revolution, Muslims attended to break free of the Russians. There were efforts to form independent Muslim states which were assisted by the Turks and their German allies. The Young Turks dreamed of a Greater Turkey Sultanate. An Islamic Army appeared in the Caucasus, made up of Azeris, Ajars, and other Caucasian Muslims. They were assisted by a Turkish army commanded by Nuri Pasha, firmly committed to Pan-Turanian ideas. They besieged non-Muslims towns in the Caucasus and starved them into submissions. Some participated in the Armenian Genocide. With the Revolution and the collapse of Tsarist military power, Muslims rose up in Central Asia. The free government of Turkestan was announced in Central Asia. The Emirs of Khiva and Bukhara proclaimed their independence. The Turkish-Tartar peoples in Crimea and the Volga Basin rose up. This occurred after the fall of the Rsar and the commencement of the Civil war. The Bolshevicks emerged victorious from the Civil war and deployed the Red Army in the rebelious areas to being them back under Russian control--now Societ rather thsn Tsarist. The Muslim population simmered, some resisting Stalin's collectivization and atheist campaigns. Stalin's Soviet Union was an atheist state which waged a ceasless campaign against religion. Much of the campaign was focused on the Orthodox Church of Russia. Churches were destoyed or defiled and priests arrested and sent to the Gulag. Other religions were also attacked, including Islam which wascwell estanlished in the Caucauses and Central Asia. These attacks caused considerable resentment, but Muslims were powerless to confront the NKVD and Red Army. One attempt occurred in Chechnya. Hasan Israilov, a forner cimmisar, led an uprising which was ruthlessly supresssed. Muslim acquiessence changed when NAZI Germany invaded the Soviet Unioin (June 22, 1941). Barbarossa and the approach of the NAZIs there came the apportunity of resisting Soviet domination. Muslims were not the only Soviet citizens welcoming the NAZIs. There was considerable rejoicing in both the Baltics and western Uukraine. Catholics in the Ukraine also welcomed the NAZIs. The other major group was Muslims. The first Soviet Muslims to come in contact with the NAZIs were the vast number of Red Army soldiers taken prisioner in the opening phase of Barbarossa. The NAZIs were stopped at Vostock-on-Don in 1941, but the Whermacht 1942 summer offensive took the Germans into the Crimea and the Caucases.


After the fall of France. French authorities in Syria, recognized the authority of Vichy Government. This included a military force totling about 40,000 Legioneers and Muslim soldiers backed by 90 tanks and prepared fortifications. Admiral Darlan provided logistical support to the Germans and Italians in efforts to support the Rashid Ali revolt in Iraq. This was a clear violation of Vichy's neutrality. Syria located in the Eastern Mediterranean was of some strastegic importance. The British feared that Vichy would allow the Luftwaffe to establish air bases in the country. This would have threatened the British position in Egypt as well as provided a jumping off point to seize the oil fields in Iraq. Churchill thus ordered Wavell after putting down the Iraqii Revolt to seize Syria (June 1941). Degualle assured Wavell that the Vichy garison would come over to the Free French with little resistance. They did not. The British and Free French forces entered Syria from Palestine. There was toughh fighting, but the Allies reached Damascus (June 17).


The French established a protectorate over Tunisia (1881). Although supported by the British, the action was protested by Italy which also had designs on Tunisua. The French colonial era had a modernizing influence on the country, but also also served to foment Tunisian nationalism. Nationalists founded the Young Tunisian Party (1907) which worked for Tunisian autonomy. Another group Destour ('constitution') demanded independence (1920). The Bey endorses Destour (1922), but the French make few concessions. With the rise of Mussolini in Italy, the French fortify the Libyan-Tunisian border. More assertive nationalists led by Habib Bourguiba break away from Destour and form Neo-Destour (1934). As in the other French colonies, the fall of France shocked Tunisian nationalists (June 1940). One of the reasons Italy entered the War was to gain Tunisia. Hitler refused, however, to countenance the transfer. Tunisia then played a role in the final chapter of the World War II struggle for North Africa. Hitler seized Tunisia before the Allies could take the ports, but was unable to supply the Axis units there as the Allies cloed in.


Turkey was an independent Muslim state at the time of World War II. The country's modern founder, Kemal Atatürk , had created Turkey out of the old Ottoman Empire as a secular state. Perhaps more important for Turkey at the time were Pan-Turkish ideals which still had great sway. And of course it is impossible to completely separate Pan-Turkism and Islam. Both the Allis and Axis attempted to enduce Turkey to enter the War on their sides. President Inönü appears to have been firmly committed to neutrality. The Germans as World War I allies had considerable contacts. They also had a great deal to offer the Turks--in effect an expansive Pan-Turkic empire streaching into Soviet Central asia. Of course this could be achieved only as long as the German military could deliver the needed military victories. In the end the survival of the Red Army decided the issue and Turkey remained neutral throughout the War.


Most of Bosnia was assigned to the NDH Croayian puppet state. This was in part to compensate Croatia for Dalmatia and other Croatian populated areas assigned to Italy. It was also away of controlling the Bosnia Serbs who were preceived as anti-Axis. The Germans formed a SS division in Bosnia. It was fornmed from Croat Muslims in Bosnia and ethnic Germans in Croatia, but not Croatian Christians. The division was responsible for terrible attrocities.


Albania was the only majority Muslim country in Europe. Muslims also lived in neighboring Yugoslavia (mostly Kosovo and Bosnia). Italy occupied Albania and experienced little opposition (1939). The NAZIs and their Axis allies invaded Yugoslavia (April 6). The invasion began with the terror bombing of Belgrade. Within 12 days the country was in NAZI hands. The NAZIs carved up Yugoslavia, parceling out portions to their Axis allies, especially the Italians. The Italians had earlier invaded Albania (1939). A large area of southern Yugoslavia were anned to Albania, then in Italian habds. This included Kosovo and Metohija which at the time were part of Serbia. Included was territory southwest of Lake Scutari which was part of Montenegro. Finally the western region of Macedonia, which was then southern Serbia (Juzna Srbija) was included in the territory given to Albania. Italy and the Aklbanians attempted to drive ethnic Serbs out of Kosovar and neigboyting regions. After the Italian surrender, the Germans were increasingly streached to control the Balkns. They formed the 21st Waffen SS Division Skanderbeg, mostly of Kosovar Muslim recrits, to aid in security operations.


The rise of Fascism after World War I is a well studied historical phenomenon in Europe and Japan. Rarely connected with this phenomenon is the the rise of Islamism. The two phenomenon are connected in a number of ways. One was a rejectiion of the internatiional system established by the Allies after World War I. The pillars of this world order were Britain and France. America even though it did not join the League of Nations was a major economioc pillar. Thus Islamicim developed in the Middle Eastern countries occupied or strongly influenced by the Nritishand French. Interestingly, the sitution was different in Libya whicvh was Fascist Italy used great brutality to supress Arab nationalism. Anti-colonialism, however, was only part of the story. Other elements including rejection of liberal democracy and intolerance of minorities, especially Jews, were key elements of the Islamicism which developed at the samde time as European Fascism and was incouraged especially by the rise of Hitler and the NAZIs in Germany. An important aspect of the Islamicists and NAZIs was the belief in the demomnic nature of Judaism and aleged Jewish conspiracies. As a result, major Islamic leaders made common cause with the NAZIs or were symoathetic to the NAZIs. The best known is the Grand Mufti, Amin al-Husseini, who made radio brioadcasts from Berlin urging his followers to kill Jews. Another Ismacist who thought well of Hitler was Hassan al-Banna who founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

Islam and Fascism

Some authors have suggested that there are many basically Fascist tenants inherent in Islam. This is probably most obvious with Islamic fundamentalists which some commentators refer to Islamofascism. But others see major tenants of the Koran supportive of basic Fascist ideology. The mainstream media in America and Europe has while often hightly critiical of Christianity, been very reluctant to criticise Islam. [Berman] Rather we are often likely to see boiler piece politically correct journalism pointing out how Muslims are non-violent law abiding citizens and that Islam is a modern, albeit strict religion. We happen to believe this. But we also believe that basic tenants of Islam create a situatiion where honest, non-violent Muslims are willing to tolerate or even feel sypathy toward Islamic fundamentalists willing to use violence and terror. Thus it is a useful academic exercise to abandon P.C. thought and assess the relationship between Islam and Fascism. This is particular important because some spokes men for Islam like Tariq Ramadan, am Islamic phios\opher at Oxford (Hassan al-Banna's grandson) clain that the Grand Mufti and his grandfather had no connection with Fascism, but that the World War II alliances were just making common cause with the colonial powers.

Muslim Military Forces

Hitler and the NAZIs after the fall of France thought that the War was won. For Hitler this meant that he could now proceeed with one of his most cherished objectives--thecseizure of Lebenraum in the East. This meant the invasion of the Soviet Union. Operation Barbarossa was planed as a massive stroke which would destroy the Red Army with one massive stroke, just as Poland, France, and the other occupied countries had been crushed. The Soviet Union proved a much more difficult undertaking. For the first time, massive German casualties were experienced. The Germans after the huge losses before Moscow (December 1941) found themsleves needing to look for additional manpower. One of the populations the Germans looked for recruits among was among Muslims. Here they found many willing recruits both in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. Both the Wehrmacht and SS formed military units with Muslim recruits. For the Germans, Muslim recrits were especially useful. Because of the SSove atheist campaign they bitterly resented the Stalin's Communist rulke. And they also tended to be anti-Russian because of the long hitory of Russin incursions into the Cauucasses and Central asia. And there was the added dimension that most we anti-Semitic as well. The Germn foreign policy iniative in the Middle asr played upon Arab resentment against the British and French. The British and Jew hating Grand Mufti made propagada broadcsts for the Germans as he srt most of the War in Berlin. He also hgelped the Grmans organize Muslim miitary units in the Balkans. He incouraged the Germans to kill ven more Jews. In addition, none other than SS-Reichführer Heinrich Himmler took a particular interest in Islam.


Berman, Paul. The Flight of the Intelectuals.

Haddad, Ezzelarab. E-mail message (October 10, 2012).


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Created: 6:32 PM 5/2/2007
Last updated: 9:19 AM 8/17/2014