'Obsession' Captures Islam's War Against the West
Review by Jason Apuzzo & Govindini Murty
With the passing of time, it has become obvious that one of the 20th century's most consequential legacies has been that of European nihilism. How else does one describe the terrible legacy of both the German Nazi movement, and that of Soviet Communism?
Nihilism has sometimes been described as the absence of values. A better definition is that nihilism represents the elevation of one value above all: that of force, or of power - especially the eminent power of the state.
It was the fateful calling of the United States to defeat the nihilistic movements of Nazism and Communism over the course of World War II and the Cold War. Yet only a few years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a third threat has emerged to challenge the freedoms enjoyed by the advanced civilizations of the Western world.
This new threat styles itself as a religious revival, as a fundamentalist return to the original tenets of Islam. Yet, as depicted in filmmakers Wayne Kopping, Raphael Shore and Peter Mier's marvelous new documentary, "Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West," this explanation does not tell the entire story.
"Obsession" uses unique footage from Arab television to create an insiders' view of the hatred Islamic radicals are teaching in the Middle East, their incitement of global jihad, and their goal of world domination. The film features interviews with Daniel Pipes, Steve Emerson, Alan Dershowitz and even a former PLO terrorist and a former Hitler Youth commander.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of "Obsession" is the link the film draws between radicalized Islam, or what is sometimes called 'Islamo-fascism,' and Nazism proper. Director Wayne Kopping investigates a fateful and unusual meeting in early 1941 between Adolph Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who was one of the fathers of modern Arab nationalism and a virulent anti-Semite (besides being an important mentor to Yasser Arafat). Haj Amin al-Husseini was a fervent admirer of Hitler.
Hitler apparently confided to the Mufti in this meeting the deeper motivation behind the Nazis' political mission in Europe: eradication of the Jews (a secret he requested the Mufti "lock away in his heart"). Hitler and the Grand Mufti would subsequently form a political alliance, and the Mufti would even assist in the raising of Bosnian-Muslim units of the Wehrmacht.
This alliance reveals a great deal about the supposed secular absolutism of Nazism, and also the willingness of Islamic radicals to form strategic alliances with 'Infidels.' Kopping goes on to show the striking parallels between the rhetoric of modern Islamic anti-Semitism and that of the Nazis.
What is it, exactly, that these two seemingly disparate movements share in common? What is it that unites the Nazi concentration camps with the suicide bomber and his belt of explosives?
Surely virulent anti-Semitism is part of the equation. Yet anti-Semitism alone cannot explain the complex phenomenon of Islamic terrorism - which has spread to all corners of the globe, from Southeast Asia to the streets of New York.
Ultimately one returns to the nihilism that informs both of these movements. As documented so ably in "Obsession," today's Islamo-fascists seek to dominate, to impose a legalistic religious order on both the Middle East and the wider world - and that includes India, Southeast Asia, and the West.
Islamo-fascism's methods, however - whether in the form of state-sponsored tyranny, or terrorism - are totally non-religious. At issue in Islamo-fascism's war against the world is always political power - power at the expense of even the most basic respect for life.