Arab sympathy for Hitler may have been understandable when the Arabs were fighting British and French colonialism, but there is no excuse for it now - argues liberal columnist Iman Al-Quwaifli in the Saudi newspaper al-Watan. Via MEMRI: (with thanks: Eliyahu)
In an article in the Saudi daily Al-Watan, liberal columnist Iman Al-Quwaifli criticized the phenomenon of sympathy for Adolf Hitler and for Nazism in the Arab world. She pointed out that sympathy for Hitler takes two forms: popular admiration for him as a strong leader who was "more powerful than the Jews," and sympathy cloaked in intellectual terms, such as the pseudo-scientific argument that truth is a fluid concept and history is written by the victors. She wrote that the latter kind of argument is a travesty of true scientific thinking, and that sympathy for Hitler contravenes Islamic and Arab values.
An example of admiration for Hitler in today's Arab world can be seen in a talk show recently aired on the Egyptian channel Al-Nas, where Egyptian cleric Hussam Fawzi Jabar justified Hitler's actions against the Jews.
Following are excerpts from Al-Quwaifli's article:
"Those Who Wave the Slogan 'History Is Written by the Victors' Do Not Bother to Find Out the Truth about Hitler"
"The Arabs' enthusiasm for Hitler during World War II was understandable. In that period, they were [living] under British or French occupation, or, in the better case, under mandatory rule, and it seemed like a victory by Hitler and the Axis was the only way to get rid of the British and French. Slogans like 'Allah hai, Allah hai, Hajj Muhammad Hitler jai' ['Allah lives, Allah lives, Hajj Muhammad Hitler is coming']... presented Hitler as a Muslim. Though applying the name 'Hajj Muhammad' to Hitler is ludicrous, the Arabs' aspirations [at the time] were understandable, especially assuming that they were ignorant of the Nazi philosophy and its implications. But what is not understandable, and must not be accepted, is Arab sympathy for Hitler that persists to this very day, based on various justifications.
"Contemporary sympathy for Hitler is of two kinds: First, there is popular sympathy, [fueled by the Arabs'] present hardships, [which cause them to be] impressed [by the fact] that there used to be someone more powerful than the Jews. This sympathy is manifest in support for dictators like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao, who are perceived as models of achievement, constructivism and discipline imposed at all costs.
"The other kind of sympathy, which is more significant, involves exonerating Nazism in the guise of a cultured, scientific [debate]. [The proponents of this stance] take a critical approach to knowledge and history, arguing that 'history is written by the victors,' and questioning Hitler's image as an icon [of evil]. This pseudo-scientific approach is weak and thin, and has nothing to do with [real] scientific [thinking]. Those who wave the slogan 'history is written by the victors' do not bother to find out the truth about Hitler by reading histories – neither those written by the victors nor those written by critical thinkers who do not belong to the imperialistic West that won [WWII]."
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