October 24, 2007

The Meaning of Islamofascism

Carroll Andrew Morse

Islamofascism is a term more controversial than it should be. That's a major part of the reason the University of Rhode Island College Republicans are attempting to make people aware of its meaning through their sponsorship of Islamofascism Awareness Week at URI.

URI Women's Studies Professor Donna Hughes laid out some different options for describing the nexus of fundamentalist Islam and the willingness to use violence to achieve political goals in her Islamofascism Awareness Week lecture delivered last night (and posted immediately below).

Christopher Hitchens explained the commonalities between Islamofascism and the archetypal historical example of fascism, Nazism, in yesterday's Slate Magazine...

Both movements are based on a cult of murderous violence that exalts death and destruction and despises the life of the mind. ("Death to the intellect! Long live death!" as Gen. Francisco Franco's sidekick Gonzalo Queipo de Llano so pithily phrased it.) Both are hostile to modernity (except when it comes to the pursuit of weapons), and both are bitterly nostalgic for past empires and lost glories. Both are obsessed with real and imagined "humiliations" and thirsty for revenge. Both are chronically infected with the toxin of anti-Jewish paranoia (interestingly, also, with its milder cousin, anti-Freemason paranoia). Both are inclined to leader worship and to the exclusive stress on the power of one great book. Both have a strong commitment to sexual repression—especially to the repression of any sexual "deviance"—and to its counterparts the subordination of the female and contempt for the feminine. Both despise art and literature as symptoms of degeneracy and decadence; both burn books and destroy museums and treasures.
Stephen Schwartz has also explained why the ideology of modern Islamic terrorists is, in a precise academic sense, appropriately labeled as fascism. Writing in the Daily Standard last year, Schwartz said…
Fascism is distinguished from the broader category of extreme right-wing politics by its willingness to defy public civility and openly violate the law. As such it represents a radical departure from the tradition of ultra-conservatism. The latter aims to preserve established social relations, through enforcement of law and reinforcement of authority. But the fascist organizations of Mussolini and Hitler, in their conquests of power, showed no reluctance to rupture peace and repudiate parliamentary and other institutions; the fascists employed terror against both the existing political structure and society at large. It is a common misconception of political science to believe, in the manner of amateur Marxists, that Italian fascists and Nazis sought maintenance of order, to protect the ruling classes. Both Mussolini and Hitler agitated against "the system" governing their countries. Their willingness to resort to street violence, assassinations, and coups set the Italian and German fascists apart from ordinary defenders of ruling elites, which they sought to replace. This is an important point that should never be forgotten. Fascism is not merely a harsh dictatorship or oppression by privilege.

Islamofascism similarly pursues its aims through the willful, arbitrary, and gratuitous disruption of global society, either by terrorist conspiracies or by violation of peace between states. Al Qaeda has recourse to the former weapon; Hezbollah, in assaulting northern Israel, used the latter. These are not acts of protest, but calculated strategies for political advantage through undiluted violence. Hezbollah showed fascist methods both in its kidnapping of Israeli soldiers and in initiating that action without any consideration for the Lebanese government of which it was a member. Indeed, Lebanese democracy is a greater enemy of Hezbollah than Israel.

Fascism rested, from the economic perspective, on resentful middle classes, frustrated in their aspirations and anxious about loss of their position. The Italian middle class was insecure in its social status; the German middle class was completely devastated by the defeat of the country in the First World War. Both became irrational with rage at their economic difficulties; this passionate and uncontrolled fury was channeled and exploited by the acolytes of Mussolini and Hitler. Al Qaeda is based in sections of the Saudi, Pakistani, and Egyptian middle classes fearful, in the Saudi case, of losing their unstable hold on prosperity--in Pakistan and Egypt, they are angry at the many obstacles, in state and society, to their ambitions. The constituency of Hezbollah is similar: the growing Lebanese Shia middle class, which believes itself to be the victim of discrimination.

Schwartz would disagree with Wednesday night's URI speaker, Robert Spencer, on where the roots of Islamofascism lie. Spencer believes that Islamofascism is a direct and natural outgrowth of Islamic theology. Schwartz believes that Islamofascism is a modern totalitarian movement that takes on the trappings of Islam, when convenient, to gain a legitimacy and a respectability that openly fascist ideologies can never possess.

But they would both agree that Islamofascism is something real that people should not fear discussing.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

This is absolutely pathetic.

"Islamofascism" is simply a bete noir used by the monied interests to distract attention from the fact that the middle class way of life is being systematically destroyed by the wealthiest among us. They use their vast resources to buy gov't to pass, repeal, or ignore specific laws.

We are turning into a two-tiered, class-stratified culture. A person born into the lowest quintile in Europe has a better chance of moving up than a person in the US.

The latest ProJo jobs supplement is touting that tourism jobs are available the year 'round. Woo-Hoo! $8.50 an hour! Woo-Hoo! Gotta buy me a wheelbarrow to haul away all that money.

Perhaps "Islamofascism isn't being discussed because because most people are smart enough to realize it poses no threat to the American way of life.

They can kill us, but they cannot take away our lifestyle. The monied interests, on the other hand, are a clear and present danger. More, they're organized and incredibly well-financed.

Why, I repeat, do you want to turn the clock back to the 1880s? Why do you waste time on "Islamofascism" when there are real threats to our lifestyle?

One of the fastest growing job categories is domestic help: cooks, nannies, landscapers, housekeepers... You know, what they used to call "servants." Does that sound like a healthy economy? No. It's a two-tiered economy, where the haves can buy and sell the ever-growing numbers of have-nots.

Don't believe me? Look at the US Census website, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bureau of Economic Analysis...the stats are there.

Wake up, people. Smell the millenium. Median wages are stagnant. The income of the top 1% is soaring. And it's not really about money; it's power.

Posted by: klaus at October 24, 2007 7:37 PM

Class warfare from the Left to distract from their utter impotence on national security.

Shocking, I tell you. Shocking.

Posted by: Brendan at October 24, 2007 8:36 PM

Hey Klaus, I hear that Kate Brewster is looking for a date.

Why don't you give her a call?

I'm sure that it would be love at collectivist first sight.

And if you're last name begins with a B, then you both already have monograms that work.

And before long, well, nature will take its course and before long you'll hear the pitter patter of little red diaper babies holding people's marches around the house (that is, assuming she doesn't "choice" them out of existence first).

Posted by: Ragin' Rhode Islander at October 24, 2007 9:08 PM


1. Your obsession with the late 1800s has blinded you to the fact that you'd like to turn the clock back to at least the early 1600s, when average people had to just accept being killed in a religious/political war as part of the risk of daily life. These days, people prefer to stop leaders and organizations who openly declare that they'd like to do some killing from being able to do so.

2. Even more on point, had you been around in the 1920s or 1930s, would you have also been arguing that people in the middle class should be ignoring the ideology of violence coming from the Italian fasci and the German National Socialists, because the real enemy was "monied interests"? You do realize what side that would put you on, don't you?

Of course, given your extremely pinched view of history, maybe you don't.

Posted by: Andrew at October 25, 2007 8:56 AM

Any comment on the "fraudulent" press releases sent out by the URI Republicans about "protests" accompanying their event?

Surely you don't condone such misinformation in an event about fascism, do you?

Posted by: Matt Jerzyk at October 25, 2007 1:12 PM

You of course have proof of that, right Matt?

Posted by: J at October 25, 2007 2:16 PM

Hello (anonymous) J,

Of course I have proof!

So answer the question!!!

Posted by: Matt Jerzyk at October 25, 2007 2:42 PM

It's nice to see the spirit of Abbie Hoffman live on in the College Republicans. Why should sixties radicals have all the fun?

Posted by: rhody at October 25, 2007 2:43 PM

How can I comment on something I don't know to be true?

Getting back to the topic, Brown is hosting a seminar tonight on Islamo-facism.

Check out the overtly biased Brown Daily Herald article:


Even the title itself gives makes no attempt to hide the prejudice found within.

Posted by: J at October 25, 2007 4:00 PM

I believe I was asking Andrew's opinion, not you - anonymous J.

Posted by: Matt Jerzyk at October 25, 2007 5:25 PM

Matt Jerzyk, please post a link to these press releases or e-mail them to one of us so they can be researched and discussed.

Posted by: Monique at October 26, 2007 7:19 AM


If the rumors about the protest e-mail being a hoax were to be true (and at the risk of sounding like Dan Rather, I emphasize the "if" here), I would say that it was a silly and counter-productive thing for the senders to have done because...

  • It would have taken the attention away from the intended focus of the Islamofascism Awareness Week events,
  • It would have been a disservice to the serious scholars and speakers who participated, and
  • It would have been just plain dishonest (something doesn't have to be bad political tatics to be a bad idea.)

Posted by: Andrew at October 26, 2007 2:06 PM

Wow. "Kate Brewster is looking for a date?"

"Pathetic" has just plummeted even lower.

Posted by: klaus at October 26, 2007 2:10 PM

PS. In the 20s and 30s, the monied interests were backing the Nazis.

Prescott Bush was doing big business with them until 1942.

FYI, Prescott Bush is GHW Bush's father, and GW Bush's grandfather.

Posted by: klaus at October 26, 2007 2:14 PM

Muslims Against Sharia congratulate David Horowitz FREEDOM CENTER and Mike Adams, Tammy Bruce, Phyllis Chesler, Ann Coulter, Nonie Darwish, Greg Davis, Stephen Gale, David Horowitz, Joe Kaufman, Michael Ledeen, Michael Medved, Alan Nathan, Cyrus Nowrasteh, Daphne Patai, Daniel Pipes, Dennis Prager, Luana Saghieh, Rick Santorum, Jonathan Schanzer, Christina Sommers, Robert Spencer, Brian Sussman, Ed Turzanski, Ibn Warraq and other speakers on the success of the Islamofascism Awareness Week.

Islamofascism (or Islamism) is the main threat facing modern civilization and ignorance about this threat is astounding. We hope that this event becomes regular and reaches every campus.

A great many Westerners do not see the clear distinction between Islam and Islamism (Islamofascism). They need to understand that the difference between Islam and Islamism (Islamofascism) is the same as the difference between Christianity and Christian Identity Movement (White Supremacy Movement).

Original post

Posted by: Muslims Against Sharia at October 26, 2007 5:18 PM

To think that David Horowitz was a syndicated consumer reporter back in the 70s, and used to use his powers to help ordinary Americans.
If I were a corporate power, I'd work pretty hard on seducing someone like him, too.

Posted by: rhody at October 27, 2007 10:14 PM


The consumer advocate and the conservative activist are two different people who share the same name. (As a child, I remember enjoying watching David Horowitz the consumer advocate's program where he'd do stuff like bury a Timex watch at the beach, then come back a week later to see if it was still ticking like the TV commercials claimed it would be. He was sort of the original [and extremely low-budget] version of "Mythbusters".)

Anyway, I hope you're not planning on voting for John Edwards in the Democratic primary because you hope he'll be able to use his psychic powers to help the country.

Posted by: Andrew at October 28, 2007 4:54 PM


I'm always amazed by however little you seem to know about history, through your comments, you show you know even less.

Up until about mid-1930s, German business classes did the risk-averse thing business classes frequently do, they hedged their bets amongst different (non-socialist) political parties, including the Nazis, 1) primarily to counter the socialist movement that existed at the time, but also 2) to try to have some influence over the growing fascist movement in Germany and its ideology that the purpose of business had to be defined and controlled by the state.

They thought they could deal with the guys espousing the murderous ideology. They thought that ideas didn't matter, as long as the material side of life was being properly managed. They were wrong, as are the people who think the same thing today.

Posted by: Andrew at October 28, 2007 6:06 PM

Andrew, I don;t know whether to feel chastened or relieved that there are two David Horowitzes out there.
The psychic is John Edward, without the S. Trust me on this one - my wife was totally hooked on that charlatan's show for awhile.

Posted by: Rhody at October 28, 2007 7:45 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.