HOW ISLAMISTS CAME TO DOMINATE EUROPEAN ISLAM
By Dr. Daniel Pipes
However, rather than turn to anti-Islamist Muslims who reject the triumphalist goal of applying Islamic law in Europe, they promoted non-violent Islamists, hoping these would persuade co-religionists to express their hatred of the West in lawful ways. This effort featured Tariq Ramadan (b. 1962), a prominent Islamist intellectual. For example, London's Metropolitan Police partially funded a conference Ramadan addressed and Prime Minister Tony Blair appointed him to an official "working group on tackling extremism."
Deploying an Islamist may have seemed like an original and clever idea, but it was neither. Western governments have been allying without success with Islamists for decades. Indeed, they have been allying with Ramadan's own family.
In 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower hosted a group of foreign Muslims that included Said Ramadan (1926-1995), a leader of arguably the most influential Islamist organization of the Twentieth Century, the rabidly anti-Western Muslim Brotherhood – and also Tariq's father. The Eisenhower-Ramadan meeting took place in the context of sustained U.S. government efforts to rally Muslims against Soviet Communism, in part by putting Said Ramadan on the CIA payroll. Talcott Seelye, an American diplomat who met with him about that time explains: "We thought of Islam as a counterweight to Communism."
Then there was Hasan al-Banna (1906-1949), Tariq's grandfather, Founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, and recipient of Nazi funding. American diplomats in Cairo in the late 1940s had "regular meetings" with al-Banna, found him "perfectly empathetic," and perceived his organization to be a "moderate" and even a "positive" force. The British apparently offered al-Banna money.
In other words, Western governments have a history of ignoring the Islamists' repulsive ideology and working with them, even strengthening them.
In a stunning piece of investigative historical research, Ian Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist formerly with the Wall Street Journal, reveals new twists and turns of this drama in his just-released book, A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27).
Johnson opens with a review of the systematic Nazi efforts to recruit Soviet Muslims from among their prisoners of war. Many Muslims loathed Stalin; and between 150,000 and 300,000 of them fought for the Axis in World War II. In other words, over and above their unfulfilled propaganda effort directed at Arabs, the Nazis actually fielded a substantial force of mainly Turkic Muslims under the leadership of a scholarly Nazi enthusiast named Gerhard von Mende.
After the German defeat in 1945, Johnson follows von Mende as he continued his anti-Communist work with ex-Soviet Muslims, now in a Cold War context. But von Mende's network of former soldiers proved not very competent at the task of arousing Muslim hostility against the Soviet Union. Their leading intellectual, for example, had served as the Imam of an SS division that helped suppress the Warsaw uprising of 1944. Islamists quickly proved themselves far more competent at this political and religious challenge. Johnson explains that they "wear suits, have university degrees, and can formulate their demands in ways that a politician can understand."
The heart of his fascinating study lies in tracing the evolution, much of it in Munich, from old soldiers to new Islamists. It's a classic tale of 1950s intrigue, complete with rehabilitated Nazis, CIA-front organizations, and dueling Soviet-American ambitions.
Johnson shows how, without anyone quite planning it, the Americans usurped von Mende's network and handed it over to Said Ramadan. This early U.S. boost to the Muslim Brotherhood, Johnson argues, gave it the means to establish an Islamist framework just in time to welcome the surge of Muslim immigration to Europe in the 1970s.
Thus did the Islamist domination of European Muslims have two hidden facilitators, Nazi and American. Its origins in Operation Barbarossa reveals the ugly pedigree of today's Islamist strength. Hitler and his thugs could not have foreseen it, but they helped set the stage for Eurabia.
American backing for Islamists prompts Johnson to warn against the futility of allying with the Muslim Brotherhood and its ilk – as Tony Blair once again recently attempted. However tempting, it invariably harms the West. The lesson is simple: be cognizant of history and do not assist the Islamists.
May 25, 2010 updates: (1) The published book lacks photographs to help bring its leading characters come to life. Fortunately, these are available on Ian Johnson's website.
(2) Coincidentally, I spent the Summer of 1953 (at the age of three) in Munich, just as that city was emerging as a center of Islamic activism, precisely because of the major presence of ex-Soviet Muslims living there. An excerpt from my father's autobiography, Richard Pipes, Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger (Yale University Press, 2003), page 74, explains why he took the family to Munich:
His research that Summer provided the basis of his article, "Muslims of Soviet Central Asia: Trends and Prospects," The Middle East Journal, Spring, 1955, pp. 147-162, and Summer, 1955, pp. 295-308.
© Daniel Pipes 2010
Originally Published in National Review Online, May 25, 2010
Republished with the Permission of Daniel Pipes
Reprinted from the Daniel Pipes Mailing List, May 25, 2010
Article URL: http://www.danielpipes.org/8412/islamists-dominate-european-islam
Middle East -- Arabs, Arab States,
& Their Middle Eastern Neighbors
American Foreign Policy -- The Middle East
International Politics & World Disorder:
War, Peace, & Geopolitics in the Real World:
Foreign Affairs & U.S. National Security
Page Two Page One
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
Counterterrorism & U.S. National Security
U.S. National Security Strategy
Author or co-author of eighteen books, Dr. Pipes is a regular columnist for National Review Online, Front Page Magazine, the New York Sun, and the Jerusalem Post. His analyses of world trends and of forces and developments in the Middle East have appeared in numerous North American newspapers, including the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He frequently appears on American network television, as well as at universities and think tanks, to discuss the Middle East, Islam, and the Islamist threat to the U.S.A. and the West. He also has appeared on BBC and Al Jazeera, and has lectured in approximately twenty-five countries.
Dr. Pipes is a Polish-American Jew whose parents fled Poland in 1939, immigrated to the U.S.A., and assimilated well into
American society and culture. His father is Richard Pipes, an American historian specializing in Russian and Soviet history
and serving as Professor of History at Harvard University from 1950 until his retirement in 1996. During the Cold War, the
worldview of Richard Pipes was strongly anti-Soviet and anti-Communist.
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
LINKS TO PARTICULAR ISSUES & SUBJECT MATTER CATEGORIES
TREATED IN THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, U.S.A.:
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
American Government 5 * American Politics * Anglosphere * Arabs
Arms Control & WMD * Aztlan Separatists * Big Government
Black Africa * Bureaucracy * Canada * China * Civil Liberties * Communism
Congress, U.S. * Conservative Groups * Conservative vs. Liberal
Constitutional Law * Counterterrorism * Criminal Justice * Disloyalty * Economy
Education * Elections, U.S. * Eminent Domain * Energy & Environment
English-Speaking World * Ethnicity & Race * Europe * Europe: Jews
Family Values * Far East * Fiscal Policy, U.S. * Foreign Aid, U.S. * Foreign Policy, U.S.
France * Hispanic Separatism * Hispanic Treason * Human Health * Immigration
Infrastructure, U.S. * Intelligence, U.S. * Iran * Iraq * Islamic North Africa
Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
Jihad & Jihadism * Jihad Manifesto I * Jihad Manifesto II * Judges, U.S. Federal
Judicial Appointments * Judiciary, American * Latin America * Latino Separatism
Latino Treason * Lebanon * Leftists/Liberals * Legal Issues
Local Government, U.S. * Marriage & Family * Media Political Bias
Middle East: Arabs * Middle East: Iran * Middle East: Iraq * Middle East: Israel
Middle East: Lebanon * Middle East: Syria * Middle East: Tunisia
Middle East: Turkey * Militant Islam * Military Defense * Military Justice
Military Weaponry * Modern Welfare State * Morality & Decency
National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
North Africa * Patriot Act, USA * Patriotism * Political Culture * Political Ideologies
Political Parties * Political Philosophy * Politics, American * Presidency, U.S.
Private Property * Property Rights * Public Assistance * Radical Islam
Religion & America * Rogue States & WMD * Russia * Science & Ethics
Sedition & Treason * Senate, U.S. * Social Welfare Policy * South Africa
State Government, U.S. * Subsaharan Africa * Subversion * Syria * Terrorism 1
Terrorism 2 * Treason & Sedition * Tunisia * Turkey * Ukraine
UnAmerican Activity * UN & Its Agencies * USA Patriot Act * U.S. Foreign Aid
U.S. Infrastructure * U.S. Intelligence * U.S. Senate * War & Peace
Welfare Policy * WMD & Arms Control
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
POLITICAL EDUCATION, CONSERVATIVE ANALYSIS
POLITICS, SOCIETY, & THE SOVEREIGN STATE
Website of Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor