Radical Muslims in 'tolerant' Britain (Credit: Getty Images)
‘Islamofascism' is an often-disputed term. Drawing an analogy between Islamic extremism and fascist movements can be controversial. Roger Griffin, a leading authority on fascism, argues that jihadism is significantly different to European fascism: it isn't nationalistic, nor does it make (officially) much of race or rely on a de novo created spirituality. Instead it relies on texts a millennium old. A similar argument was made by Lee Harris, who said the difference between Islamic totalitarianism and the modern totalitarianisms of fascism and communism, is that the latter were new creations, whereas the former has deep roots within pre-existing cultures.
Part of the reason why the response to Islamic jihad within "infidel" nations — like the UK — has been so haphazard is the lack of any real model of how to deal with such a problem. However, in looking at the way that Germany deals with its persistent neo-Nazi problem, there are solutions available. The similarities between the neo-Nazi and neo-fascist enclaves in Germany and the Islamic totalitarian nests in Britain are quite startling.
Both regard themselves as keepers of a sacred tradition that cannot be expressed in rational terms. Therefore both call on their members to hold themselves apart from and outside society — to avoid contamination. Both flatly reject their nation state and pledge allegiance to another body — the Ummah in the case of the jihadists, the Reich in the case of the neo-Nazis. Both seek to establish their own chunks of turf in which their writ run, instead of the law of the land. Both say that they must bide their time until they have sufficient power to overthrow the liberal order. Both dream of a mindless empire, in which women are reduced to machines to breed more soldiers. Both cultivate more polished and deceptive figures to act as the disseminators of the ideology in the wider body politic. And both have a taste for ruthless violence as a way of backing this up. This makes these phenomena entirely different from any other group within liberal democracy.
Debate is the great coordinating mechanism of the liberal society. Individuals and groups can disagree loudly about all sorts of issues, they can damn each other as the worst thing to happen to the country since records were kept, they can loudly say that they would never want a child of theirs to marry one of the others — but the fact that they only use rhetoric and argument unites them far more than it divides.
However, German neo-Nazis and Islamic totalitarians have no interest in winning a debate, but in winning a war. Take the case of seizing turf: in Britain, the ‘Sharia Patrol' in East London, harassed couples and confiscated alcohol from drinkers on the grounds that they were in a ‘Muslim area'. German neo-Nazis similarly try to create what they call volksbefreitezonen. Literally translated, ‘zones freed by the people', and more literally translated, areas where it can be extremely unwise to to look like an immigrant, or even simply anti-fascist.
It is the willingness to use violence that makes a fool of liberal attempts at ‘dialogue'. You simply can't have any sort of debate or discussion with people whose final argument is a knife or a baseball bat — or a bomb. Neo-Nazi terrorism is no laughing matter: the National Socialist Underground has been responsible for two bombings and a string of murders in Germany throughout the last decade. On top of the deaths, the effect of intimidation is powerful. Those that merely leave the neo-Nazi 'scene' — let alone those who speak out — often need witness protection for fear of retaliation. A direct comparison can be made to the fact that even in Britain, those who leave Islam often do so in fear of their lives, and to criticise Islam or jihad can prove extremely dangerous.
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