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(Part II of II)

First of all, Islamism, Nazism, and Communism are all totalitarian ideologies; very little private space is granted to people who are told what to do in various walks of life; for those ideologies, the individual is unimportant and his rights are irrelevant. Secondly, all three ideologies are centred upon the principle of infallibility, namely the existence within them of an allegedly flawless factor that is surrounded by unquestionable assertions before which reason is forced to be utterly powerless (e.g., Hitler’s genius, Marx’s foresight, Allah’s perfection.) People are thus expected- and indeed compelled- to obey unhesitatingly, and any diversity or dissent is met with uncompromising intolerance. Thirdly, all three ideologies dehumanize those whom they deem to be their opponents, whether they are Jews, the bourgeoisie, or unbelievers; consequently, the well-deserved fate of those enemies is annihilation. Fourthly, Islamism, Nazism, and Communism need enemies as much as people need oxygen; putting their governed under a mental state of siege, scaring them into thinking that others intend to wipe them off the face of the earth, and fully mobilizing people’s energies and resources to face those enemies are techniques that have been frequently used by partisans of the said ideologies; xenophobia is therefore an indispensable part of such ideologies. Fifthly, while they demean their adversaries, those ideologies glorify their adherents who are described to us as the elite of humanity, worthy of far more respect and rewards than others are. Sixthly, integral to those three ideologies is the extremely bitter hostility towards freedom of thought and expression; very rarely, if ever, is the freedom to think for oneself as vilified as it is in Islamism, Nazism, and Communism; the anaesthetization of reason is the absolutely vital precondition for the blossoming of those aforementioned ideologies. And seventhly, diversity and pluralism are considered anathema in Islamism, Nazism, and Communism, unless that diversity is within those ideologies themselves and even then, tolerance and peaceful coexistence may not necessarily be the order of the day.

One therefore cannot but conclude that it would be irrational for anyone to believe, with any degree of seriousness, that moderate adherents of Islamism, Nazism, or Communism actually exist, simply because those ideologies are by their very nature extremist. One may find individuals or groups who are less extremist than some others (Albert Speer vs. Himmler; Brezhnev vs. Stalin; the Muslim Brotherhood vs. the Islamic State group), but it would not be wise to perceive of those less extremist elements outside of the framework of the extremist ideologies to which they belong.

It could in fact be reasonably argued that Islamism is even worse than Nazism or Communism: While the principle of infallibility found in both Communism and Nazism accounts to a large extent for the intolerance and violence of their adherents, the principle of infallibility in Islam is actually more lethal, in consideration of its association with what is perceived as an eternal, supreme being (God), as opposed to ephemeral humans and their transient artifacts (the Politburo and Marx’s scientific laws in Communism, or Adolf Hitler and racial superiority in Nazism.) Moreover, Islamism appears to be far less hesitant in risking death and destruction, given its very tantalizing expectation of living eternally in paradise; hence its more callous attitude towards suicide bombings or even (the possibility of ) a nuclear war. By contrast, both Nazism and Communism strongly focus on happiness and fulfillment in this world, something which places an unexpected degree of restraint on their nihilistic tendencies, provided it is made obvious to their adherents that their very survival is at stake. In addition, even though those three ideologies are all totalitarian, Islamism is the most totalitarian of all, particularly because it tells its followers what to do to a considerably greater extent than Nazism or Communism does: Muslims are told how to eat, drink, enjoy themselves, sleep, dress, make love, work, worship, even think; women in particular face more paralyzing discrimination in Islamism than they do in Communism or Nazism. The hold that Islam has on its adherents is so powerful that it becomes an integral part of their being, not merely a religion in which they believe.

Another important point is the fact that both Nazism and Communism had a central authority which, when it foundered, everything else in its realm did: When Nazism and its Führer were overwhelmed in 1945, Nazism crumbled; similarly, when the Soviet Union collapsed at the end of the 1980s, Communism went to waste in almost all other Communist countries; by contrast, Islam has never had such a central authority: The failure of one or more Islamist state does not mean much for the rest of Muslim countries, which is something that has caused endless headaches for those wrestling with Islamism. This fact is made much worse by another significant component of the Islamist weltanschauung:  The prospect of failure in Islam appears remote when compared to that of Nazism or Communism: The only time when Nazism was really popular was during the rise of Hitler; as long as he was politically successful, Nazism was successful; when he finally failed, Nazism failed with him. Nowadays, Nazism is embraced by very small, marginal groups only. Communism lasted longer than Nazism did, but it too collapsed when it became patently obvious that it was unable to deliver the success, prosperity, and happiness that it had earlier promised. Islamism, however, is shielded from such decisive failure by its firm belief in the supposed existence of an afterlife in which Muslims are to be the ultimate- and only- victors; all else shall be confined to the eternal fires of hell. This belief has singlehandedly saved Islamism- and Islam in general- from final disintegration: “Don’t worry, brothers,” Islamists would tell their coreligionists, “if we suffer or fail in this world, it does not really matter that much, since this life is only a passing phase; the greatest life lies in the hereafter, and that is our real victory.”

Those difficulties with Islamism as outlined above are aggravated by the existence of over 1.5 billion Muslims, many of whom are in fact Islamists, who are spread out among more than fifty countries, and who have such a high birth rate that by the end of this century, Muslims might easily outnumber Christians. If we add to all of the aforementioned the very sad- and in many ways pathetic- emergence of numerous apologists for Islam, especially in the Western world’s academia, mass media, and politics, with all of the adverse consequences arising therefrom, particularly in respect of the crucial issue of freedom of thought and expression, as well as of the urgent need to address the very serious challenges and dangers Islamism poses to the rest of the world, above all in the Middle East, one cannot but conclude from this that the fight against Islamism is indeed far more arduous than that undertaken against Nazism or Communism. Such a gargantuan struggle is neither for the weak-minded nor for the faint-hearted; in a nutshell, the war for enlightenment in the Middle East is not for Muslim apologists.

About the Author

Husam Dughman comes from a family that is historically descended from Europeans on his father’s side and Middle Easterners on his mother’s side. He was born in Libya and educated in Libya and the United Kingdom. Before Qaddafi came to power, Husam Dughman’s father had been the president of the University of Libya and his maternal grandfather had been a prime minister. Immediately following Qaddafi’s military coup d’état in 1969, both stood up to the Qaddafi regime and were consequently imprisoned: Husam Dughman’s father was incarcerated for a period of 10 years, during which he was subjected to regular torture by the Qaddafi regime, and his grandfather was incarcerated for five years.

In the 1990s, Husam Dughman returned to Libya and worked as a university professor of political science. Due to conflicts with the Qaddafi regime, he resigned from his university position in 1997 and subsequently worked in legal translation. Years later, Husam Dughman left Libya for North America, where he has been working as a newcomer specialist, helping new immigrants and refugees with their settlement. He currently resides in the United States.

Husam Dughman has published a book, Tête-à-tête with Muhammad, and he has also published various articles about the Middle East. He is currently working on a new book on the Abrahamic religions and scepticism. You can find out more by visiting his website at http://www.husamdughman.com