TELOSscope: The Telos Press Blog

Nazism in the Middle East

Writing in the journal Contemporary European History, Mia Lee reviews a group of recent books that focus on the historical connections between Nazism, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the rise of al-Qaeda. Included in the review is Matthias Küntzel’s Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11, published by Telos Press. Purchase your copy in our online store, and save 20% by using the coupon code BOOKS20.

An excerpt from the review:

Küntzel begins his narrative with the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, which became the largest mass organisation in Egypt in the 1930s. During the war the Brotherhood was stridently anti-British, anti-foreigner and increasingly anti-Jewish. Its leader, Hassan al-Banna, had ties to al-Husaini. Once the war was over al-Banna was one of the most prominent Arab leaders to petition the Allied authorities for al-Husaini’s release from detention, and when the Mufti escaped from France in 1947 al-Banna personally welcomed him in Cairo. On the evidence of these ties, as well as his study of the Brotherhood’s ideology, Küntzel argues that the Brotherhood was the key point of transference of anti-Semitism from National Socialism to the Arab world. . . .

Although Küntzel looks only at a few key figures in the Brotherhood, he also examines the Brotherhood’s ideology in order to demonstrate its natural alliance with Nazism: a phobia of sensuality/sexuality, gender roles that naturalised women as mothers and wives and a celebration of martyrdom. Küntzel further argues that the Muslim Brotherhood shared a common worldview with National Socialism: ‘the German idea of the people (Volk) defined by language, culture and blood rather than borders and political sovereignty, was far closer to the Islamic notion of the umma [community of believers] than to the British or French concept of citizenship.’ Because the Muslim Brotherhood was the most popular mass political movement in the 1940s, he continues, it subsequently became the vehicle for dispersing ‘Islamofascism’ and Nazi-inspired anti-Semitism to international Islamic terrorist organisations.

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