An NRO Symposium* * *
August 17, 2006, 4:39 a.m.
Are we at war with “Islamic Fascism”?
The president, as well as Senator Rick Santorum, has taken to using “Islamic fascism” to describe the enemy in this war we’re in — both provoking some outrage. Is the wording right? What does it mean? Would you put it differently? We asked a group of experts just that. Here’s how they responded.
Bush’s use of the term “Islamic fascist” is both sincere and correct. However, the scope of his definition is of limited utility. The problems of the current Middle East extend beyond those “Islamic fascists” who proselytize a skewed, militant version of Islam. The present conflict includes secular Arab despots who flout the rule of law, violate human rights, and crush political dissent.
The president has shown that he understands the war, but the gap between his rhetoric and action is considerable. The State Department exacerbates this problem when it actively launders the image of Colonel Qadhafi, an “Islamic fascist,” who has American blood on his hands and pioneered a strain of Islamism mixed with Arabism.
In an Islamic state, the Koran rules and freedom of worship and expression are restricted. Allegiance to the ruler is a religious duty. “O you who have attained to faith! Pay heed unto God, and pay heed unto the Apostle and unto those from among you who have been entrusted with authority”(The Koran 4:59). Arab rulers use religion to intimidate those who dare to dissent — Colonel Qadhafi labels his opponents as “Zanadiqah,” a religious term that means “heretics.”
Islamists fear losing control, so they incite hatred against people from other faiths. In Libya, disrespect for other faiths and the deliberate propagation of hate are official state policies. Earlier this month, during a speech to Libyan religious clerics and teachers — all of whom are state employees — Colonel Qadhafi warned against imitating Jews and Christians. He stressed the superiority of Islam and warned that there is a conspiracy against it. In essence, Qadhafi was invoking the Koranic verse, “O YOU who have attained to faith! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for your allies: they are but allies of one another and whoever of you allies himself with them becomes, verily, one of them; behold, God does not guide such evildoers” (The Koran 5:51). Perhaps “Islamic fascism” usefully describe more people than the president wants.