Home Islamism, Hamas and Al Queda's Nazi Roots
Home Islamism, Hamas and Al Queda's Nazi Roots

Islamism, Hamas and Al Queda's Nazi Roots

(The following is a compressed and adapted version partly of Dr. Matthias Kuentzel's writings on the Nazi origins of Islamism and Arab Nationalist Anti-semitism. Sources for it can be located here, here, here, here, here and here)

Dr. Kuntzel's book Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 is well worth reading

Despite common misconceptions, Islamism was born not during the 1960s but during the 1930s. Its rise was inspired not by the failure of Nasserism but by the rise of Fascism and of Nazism.

It was the Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928 in Egypt, that established Islamism as a mass movement. The significance of the Brotherhood to Islamism is comparable to that of the Bolshevik party to communism: It was and remains to this day the ideological reference point and organizational core for all later Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda and Hamas.

The starting shot for this campaign, which established the Brotherhood as an antisemitic mass movement, was fired by a rebellion in Palestine directed against Jewish immigration and initiated by the notorious Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini. The Brotherhood organized mass demonstrations in Egyptian cities under the slogans "Down With the Jews!" and "Jews Get Out of Egypt and Palestine!"

“This burgeoning Islamist movement was subsidized with German funds,” Küntzel writes. “These contributions enabled the Muslim Brotherhood to set up a printing plant with 24 employees and use the most up-to-date propaganda methods.” The Muslim Brotherhood, Küntzel goes on, was a crucial distributor of Arabic translations of “Mein Kampf” and the “Protocols.” Across the Arab world, he states, Nazi methods and ideology whipped up anti-Zionist fervor, and the effects of this concerted campaign are still being felt today.

Their Jew-hatred was also inspired by Nazi influences: Leaflets called for a boycott of Jewish goods and Jewish shops, and the Brotherhood's newspaper, al-Nadhir, carried a regular column on "The Danger of the Jews of Egypt," which published the names and addresses of Jewish businessmen and allegedly Jewish newspaper publishers all over the world, attributing every evil, from communism to brothels, to the "Jewish danger."

The Brotherhood's campaign used not only Nazi-like patterns of action and slogans but also German funding. As the historian Brynjar Lia recounts in his monograph on the Brotherhood, "Documents seized in the flat of Wilhelm Stellbogen, the Director of the German News Agency affiliated to the German Legation in Cairo, show that prior to October 1939 the Muslim Brothers received subsidies from this organization.

Nowhere, however, had the hatred against Jews become more deeply entrenched than in Egypt where the Muslim Brothers called on the Palestinians to kill the Nashashibis in the name of God and who mobilized the masses in support of the Mufti against Jews.

The Mufti's so-called "Arab Revolt" took place against the background of the swastika: Arab leaflets and signs on walls were prominently marked with this Nazi symbol; the youth organization of the Mufti´s political party paraded as "Nazi-scouts", and Arab children greeted each other with the Nazi salute. Those who had to pass through the rebellious quarters of Palestine attached a flag bearing the swastika to their vehicles so as to insure protection against assaults by the Mufti's volunteers.

It was not until May 8, 1945, however, that the ideological approach between the Mufti, the Muslim Brothers and the Nazis reached its peak. This became obvious as early as November 1945. During this very month, the Muslim Brothers committed the worst anti-Jewish pogroms in all of Egypt´s history: The core of antisemitism had thus begun to shift from Germany to the Arab world. On the anniversary of the Balfour-declaration, demonstrators rampaged the Jewish quarters of Cairo. They plundered houses and shops, attacked non-Muslims, devastated the synagogues and then set them on fire. Six people were killed, several hundred more were injured.

Substitute religious for racial purity, the idealized ummah of the rule of the four righteous caliphs of the mid-7th century for the mythical Aryan "Volksgemeinschaft", and most ideological and organizational precepts of Nazism laid out by chief theoretician Alfred Rosenberg in his work The Myth of the 20th Century and by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, and later put into practice, are in all essential respects identical to the precepts of the Muslim Brotherhood after its initial phase as a group promoting spiritual and moral reform. This ranges from radical rejection of "decadent" Western political and economic liberalism (instead embracing the "leadership principle" and corporatist organization of the economy) to endorsement of the use of terror and assassinations to seize and hold state power, and all the way to concoction of fantastical anti-Semitic conspiracy theories linking international plutocratic finance to Freemasonry, Zionism and all-encompassing Jewish world control.

Not surprisingly then, as Italian and German fascism sought greater stakes in the Middle East in the 1930s and '40s to counter British and French controlling power, close collaboration between fascist agents and Islamist leaders ensued. During the 1936-39 Arab Revolt, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German military intelligence, sent agents and money to support the Palestine uprising against the British, as did Muslim Brotherhood founder and "supreme guide" Hassan al-Banna. A key individual in the fascist-Islamist nexus and go-between for the Nazis and al-Banna became the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini - incidentally the later mentor (from 1946 onward) of a young firebrand by the name of Yasser Arafat.

A central role in the propaganda offensive was played by a Nazi wireless station, now almost totally forgotten. Since the 1936 Berlin Olympics a village called Zeesen, located to the south of Berlin, had been home to what was at the time the world’s most powerful short-wave radio transmitter. Between April 1939 and April 1945, Radio Zeesen reached out to the illiterate Muslim masses through daily Arabic programmes, which also went out in Persian and Turkish. At that time listening to the radio in the Arab world took place primarily in public squares or bazaars and coffee houses. No other station was more popular than this Nazi Zeesen service, which skilfully mingled antisemitic propaganda with quotations from the Koran and Arabic music. The Second World War allies were presented as lackeys of the Jews and the picture of the "United Jewish Nations" drummed into the audience. At the same time, the Jews were attacked as the worst enemies of Islam: "The Jew since the time of Muhammad has never been a friend of the Muslim, the Jew is the enemy and it pleases Allah to kill him".

One of its regular listeners was a certain Ruhollah Khomeini. When in the winter of 1938 the 36-year-old Khomeini returned to the Iranian city of Qom from Iraq he “had brought with him a radio receiver set made by the British company Pye ... The radio proved a good buy… Many mullahs would gather at his home, often on the terrace, in the evenings to listen to Radio Berlin and the BBC”, writes his biographer Amir Taheri.

Even the German consulate in Tehran was surprised by the success of this propaganda. “Throughout the country spiritual leaders are coming out and saying ‘that the twelfth Imam has been sent into the world by God in the form of Adolf Hitler’” we learn from a report to Berlin in February 1941. So, “without any legation involvement, an increasingly effective form of propaganda has arisen, which sees the Führer and Germany as the answer to every prayer… One way to promote this trend is sharply to emphasize Muhammad’s struggle against the Jews in the olden days and that of the Führer today.“

While Khomeini was not a follower of Hitler, those years may well have shaped his anti-Jewish attitudes which in turn would later shape the attitudes of his most ardent follower Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In November 1945, just half a year after the end of the Third Reich, the Muslim Brothers carried out the worst anti-Jewish pogroms in Egypt's history, when demonstrators penetrated the Jewish quarters of Cairo on the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration. They ransacked houses and shops, attacked non-Muslims, and torched the synagogues. Six people were killed, and some hundred more injured. A few weeks later the Islamists' newspapers "turned to a frontal attack against the Egyptian Jews, slandering them as Zionists, Communists, capitalists and bloodsuckers, as pimps and merchants of war, or in general, as subversive elements within all states and societies,"

In the following decades, large print-runs of the most infamous libel of the Jews, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, were published at the behest of two well-known former members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat.

While the conflict between Zionism and anti-Zionism appeared on the surface to be about land, it concealed within it a far bigger conflict, over the question of how to relate to modernity. While the modernisers as a rule sought compromise with the Zionists, the Islamists denounced any attempt to reach an understanding with the Jews as treachery.

Islamism, or fascism with an Islamic face, was born with and of the Muslim Brotherhood. It proved (and improved) its fascist core convictions and practices through collaboration with the Nazis in the run-up to and during World War II. It proved it during the same period through its collaboration with the overtly fascist "Young Egypt" (Misr al-Fatah) movement, founded in October 1933 by lawyer Ahmed Hussein and modeled directly on the Hitler party, complete with paramilitary Green Shirts aping the Nazi Brown Shirts, Nazi salute and literal translations of Nazi slogans. Among its members, Young Egypt counted two promising youngsters and later presidents, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar El-Sadat.

Hassan Al Banna knew that faith, good works and numbers alone do not a political victory make. Thus, modeled on Mussolini's blackshirts (al-Banna much admired "Il Duce" and soul brother "Fuehrer" Adolf Hitler), he set up a paramilitary wing (slogan: "action, obedience, silence", quite superior to the blackshirts' "believe, obey, fight") and a "secret apparatus" (al-jihaz al-sirri) and intelligence arm of al-Ikhwan to handle the dirtier side - terrorist attacks, assassinations, and so on - of the struggle for power.

Under a new, more radical leader, Sayyid Qutb, the al-Ikhwan fight for state power continued and escalated. A mid-1960s recruit was Ayman al-Zawahiri, present number two man of al-Qaeda and the brains of the organization. Osama bin Laden has the money, proven organizational skills, combat experience, and the charisma that can confer the air of wisdom and profundity even on inchoate or trivial utterances and let what's unfathomable appear to be deep in the eyes of his followers. But he's no intellectual. The brains of al-Qaeda and its chief ideologue by most accounts is Egyptian physician Ayman al-Zawahiri, 51, the organization's number two man and former head of the Egyptian al-Jihad, which was merged with bin Laden's outfit in February 1998 to form the "International Front for Fighting Jews and Crusaders".

The mad notion of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy, suppressed in Germany since May 8, 1945, survived and flourished in the political culture of the Arab world. An especially striking example is the charter adopted in 1988 by the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, better known as Hamas.

In the Charter, the Jews are accused of being behind all the shocks of modernity: “They aim at undermining societies, destroying values, corrupting consciences, deteriorating character and annihilating Islam. (They are) behind the drug trade and alcoholism in all its kinds so as to facilitate its control and expansion.” In addition, they are held responsible for every major catastrophic event in modern history: The Jews "were behind the French Revolution [and] the Communist Revolution. . . . They were behind World War I . . . they were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. . . . There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it. . . . Their plan," states Article 32 of the charter, "is embodied in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying."

For example, in the “Letter to the American People” of November 2002, which the report repeatedly cites, bin Laden warns: “The Jews have taken control of your media, and now control all aspects of your life making you their servants and achieving their aims at your expense.” Osama goes on: “Your law is the law of rich and wealthy people. . . . Behind them stand the Jews who control your policies, media and economy.” Yet the report’s authors inexplicably fail to see the significance of these words and the ideology behind them.

The idea of using suicide pilots to obliterate the skyscrapers of Manhattan originated in 1940s Berlin.

“In the latter stages of the war, I never saw Hitler so beside himself as when, as if in a delirium, he was picturing to himself and to us the downfall of New York in towers of flame,” wrote Albert Speer in his diary. “He described the skyscrapers turning into huge burning torches and falling hither and thither, and the reflection of the disintegrating city in the dark sky.”

Not only Hitler’s fantasy but also his plan of action foreshadowed September 11: He envisioned having kamikaze pilots fly light aircraft packed with explosives and with no landing gear into Manhattan skyscrapers. The drawings for the Daimler-Benz Amerikabomber from the spring of 1944 show giant four-engine planes with raised undercarriages for transporting small bombers. The bombers would be released shortly before the planes reached the East Coast, after which the mother plane would return to Europe.

Hitler’s rapture at the thought of Manhattan in flames indicates his underlying motive: not merely to fight a military adversary, but to kill all Jews everywhere. Possessed of the notion that the whole of the Second World War was a struggle against an imaginary Jewish enemy, he deemed “the USA a Jewish state” and New York the center of world Jewry. “Wall Street,” as a popular book published in Munich in 1919 put it, “is, so to speak, the Military Headquarters of Judas. From there his threads radiate out across the entire world.” From 1941 on, Hitler pushed to get the bombers into production, in order to “be able to teach the Jews a lesson in the form of terror attacks on American metropolises.” Towards the end of the war this idea became an obsession.

Some observers claim that political concessions by Israel would be enough to stop anti-Jewish hatemongering within the Arab-Islamic world. They are wrong. For Islamists, the issue at stake is not the welfare of individual Palestinians but the abolition of enlightenment, reason, and individual freedom – achievements whose spread is attributed primarily to the Jews.

The historical record gives the lie to the assumption that Islamic antisemitism is caused by Zionism or Israeli policy. In fact, it is not the escalation of the Middle East conflict that has given rise to antisemitism; it is rather antisemitism that has given rise to the escalation of the Middle East conflict - again and again.

There is a sure way of identifying the real roots of such antisemitism, and that is to look at the current attitude in this part of the world to Hitler and the Nazis. If Germans in Beirut, Damaskus, and Amman are greeted with compliments for Adolf Hitler, this can hardly be Israel’s doing. When Iranian cartoons show Anne Frank in bed with Adolf Hitler, what on earth has this to do with Zionism?

When graffiti in Hampstead Garden Suburb combine swastikas with the words “kill all Jews” and “Allah” – what on earth has this to do with Zionism? Our historical excursion has, however, revealed that this combination is in no way accidental. The linkage of “kill all Jews”, “Allah” and the swastika indicates a specific ideology, one that is connected both historically and ideologically with Nazism and needs to be opposed with equal determination.

Those who view the Jews as such kind of global force of evil cannot sincerely criticise Hitler’s Final Solution. Instead they will deny the Holocaust to the outside world while secretly drawing inspiration from it, as a kind of precedent that proves it can be done, that one can murder millions of Jews. Every denial of the Holocaust contains an implicit appeal for its repetition.

The naivety or malice with which the political left has nevertheless yielded to the siren songs of Islamism is therefore frightening. Thus, in May 2006 Noam Chomsky met the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, and defended and praised Hezbollah’s insistence on keeping its arms, in defiance of United Nations decisions; Tariq Ramadan, an eloquent Islamist, has been given star treatment at European anti-globalization events; the Muslim Brotherhood’s TV preacher, Sheikh Qaradawi gets invitations from the left-wing Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone; while the Socialist Workers Party have made the strategic decision to ally with a British offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood – the Muslim Association of Britain – in building the Stop the War Coalition. Last summer thousands of people were mobilised by this alliance to march through central London chanting “we are all Hezbollah now”.

Of course, a left which brands Israel as abstractly “evil” is not going to take Islamic antisemitism seriously. Demonising Israel entails becoming deaf to antisemitism. Or, as Sigmund Freud put it, “a participant in a delusion will not of course recognise it as such”.


  1. Birds of a feather flock together is the saying. Both are sons of evil and so they are of one mind.

  2. Anonymous24/1/08

    "Of course, a left which brands Israel as abstractly “evil” is not going to take Islamic antisemitism seriously. Demonising Israel entails becoming deaf to antisemitism."

    Exactly, Sultan. Not only do these same people not take Islamic anti-Jewish hatred seriously, they gloss over and obfuscate its existence with their defence of Islam the religion, perpetuating the politically correct fantasy that Islam the religion is not the source of, and inspiration for, all terrorism. These same people will vacillate and hesitate when it comes to defending the rights of the Jews of Israel, and yet they will be ever so careful not to refer to Islam the religion as the germ of the malefic efficacy boldly proclaiming in so many newspapers every day that Israel and her Jews are "abstractly evil." Their cowardice reminds me of the definition, "sheep in credulity, wolves for conformity."

    Below is an article I wrote on this particular subject. I thought it might be relevant to the subject of your article, "Islamism, Hamas and Al Queda's Nazi Roots." Edit as you see fit.

    And have a happy Shabbos, Sultan. Keep your stick on the ice. :-)

    Your friend,
    Hockey Hound

  3. Frightening. Islam is resurrecting Adolf Hitler; and now the civilized world will have to destroy him again.

    When will he be detroyed for all enternity??

    "The Jew since the time of Muhammad has never been a friend of the Muslim, the Jew is the enemy and it pleases Allah to kill him".

    Here they show their own self-hatred since they claim to be brothers or cousins of the Jewish people.


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