Hitler en de Arabieren
by Emerson Vermaat
Soesterberg, Netherlands: Uitgeverij Aspekt, 2016. 190 pp. €19.95
Reviewed by Beila Rabinowitz
Militant Islam Monitor
Middle East Quarterly
In Hitler en de Arabieren (Hitler and the Arabs), Dutch investigative journalist Vermaat details the convergence and synthesis of Nazi and Islamist theology. Citing archival and contemporary sources, he explores the roots of modern Arab anti-Semitism, focusing on the Muslim cleric Haj Amin al-Husseini, grand mufti of Jerusalem, who played a major role in wedding Islamism to the Nazi belief system.
Husseini forged an alliance with the Nazis based on a shared vision of making a world that was "Judenrein" (devoid of Jews)
and the concept of the "Übermensch" (master race), an idea with a parallel in the Qur'an, for example: "You are the best nation produced [of] mankind!"
Although the Nazis considered the Arabs to be Semites, the notion of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" took precedence over racism. Husseini is quoted assuring Hitler: "The Arabs are the natural allies of Germany, given that they have the same enemies." Many Nazis also saw Islam as a religion that was compatible with the dogmatic tenets of Nazism (such as self-sacrifice and waging all-out war against any ideological opponents). Himmler for example, deeply admired the Islamic doctrine of "martyrdom," finding it "befitting a soldier." Hitler's biographer and SS member Johann Van Leers eventually converted to Islam in 1957.
Vermaat provides extensive documentation illustrating the shared roots of Nazism and Islamism and how both toxic ideologies continue to play an influential role in the modern Middle East. In the chapter "Muslim Extremism and the Apocalypse," Vermaat explains: "It was the Nazis who were the first to partner with radical Muslims against the Jews." His conclusion that in "many respects, radical Muslims can be viewed as the Nazis of today" is as inescapable as it is undeniable.
Related Topics: Antisemitism | Beila Rabinowitz | Spring 2017 MEQ
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