Saturday, December 11, 2004

From the Mail: More on 'Islamofascism'

Petro writes:

Whilst I agree that the term is both ugly, awkward and mostly useless, it is arguably correct for a large percentage of the people we're fighting in Iraq. The term, as I remember it, originated due to the roots of the Baathist party which held power in Iraq and still holds power in Syria and possibly other countries . . .

Baathism was started in the 1940s by Arabic admirers of Mussolini's politics--or at least this was widely reported during the run up to the *current* war. Baathism is a philosophical, if not direct descendent of the Fascist party, so it is not that great a step to call those who adhere to it and wish to see it reinstated as Islamofacists. Of course, once levied against a rather narrow set, those who only see black and white then use it as a convenient handle for all of "militant" islam, which is a mistake as *most* militant muslims aren't politically sophisticated enough to be facists.

Thanks for the writings, and happy Holidays.

BV: Thanks for the response. You rightly point out that Baathism is closely related to Fascism. Given that Baathists are (at least nominally) Muslims, 'Islamo-fascism' would appear to have a second legitimate use as something more than a mere term of abuse. But we shouldn't overlook the difference between Baathism, which is a secular and non-theocratic movement, and militant Islam as a religiously driven ideology. On the other hand, here is an article on the linkage between Saddam's Baathism and Osama's Islamism.