the wake of Sept. 11, new light is thrown on the international ties increasingly
linking Muslim and neo-Nazi extremists (from
the Southern Poverty Law Center's "Intelligence Report," Spring
As Germany's defeat loomed during the finals months
of World War II, Adolf Hitler increasingly lapsed into delusional fits
of fantasy. Albert Speer, in his prison writings, recounts an episode
in which a maniacal Hitler "pictured for himself and for us the destruction
of New York in a hurricane of fire." The Nazi fuehrer described skyscrapers
turning into "gigantic burning torches, collapsing upon one another, the
glow of the exploding city illuminating the dark sky."
An approximation of Hitler's hellish vision
came true on Sept. 11, when terrorists destroyed the Twin Towers in New
York, killing nearly 3,000 people. But it was not Nazis or even neo-Nazis
who carried out the attack, which allegedly came at the hands of foreign
Muslim extremists. Still, in the aftermath of the slaughter, white supremacists
in America and Europe applauded the suicide attacks and praised Osama
bin Laden, the mastermind of the massacre. An official of America's premier
neo-Nazi group, the National Alliance, said he wished his own members
had "half as much testicular fortitude." The awestruck leader of another
U.S. Nazi group called the terrorists "VERY BRAVE PEOPLE." Neofascist
youth in France celebrated the event that evening with champagne at the
headquarters of the extreme right Front National. Jan Kopal, head of the
Czech National Social Bloc, declared at a rally in Prague that bin Laden
was "an example for our children." German neo-Nazis, some wearing checkered
Palestinian headscarves, rejoiced at street demonstrations while burning
an American flag. Horst Mahler, a former left-wing terrorist and prominent
member of the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD) in Germany proclaimed
his solidarity with the terrorists and said America had gotten what it
What's going on here? For decades, American
extremists have lumped Arabs in with dark-skinned "mud people." In Europe,
neo-Nazis have been implicated in countless xenophobic attacks on Arabs,
Turks and other Muslims. Extremist parties on both sides of the Atlantic
hope to bar entrance to non-white immigrants.
The peculiar bond between white nationalist
groups and certain Muslim extremists derives in part from a shared set
of enemies: Jews, the United States, race-mixing, ethnic diversity. It
is also very much a function of the shared belief that they must shield
their own peoples from the corrupting influence of foreign cultures and
the homogenizing juggernaut of globalization. Both sets of groups also
have a penchant for far-flung conspiracy theories that caricature Jewish
But there is more. Even before World War
II, Western fascists began to forge ideological and operational ties to
Islamic extremists. Over the years, these contacts between Nazis and Muslim
nationalists developed into dangerous networks that have been implicated
in a number of bloody terrorist attacks in Europe and the Middle East.
Wealthy Arab regimes have financed extremists in Europe and the United
States, just as Western neo-Nazis have helped to build Holocaust denial
machinery in the Arab world. In the 1970s, Saudi Arabia hired an American
neo-Nazi as a lobbyist in the United States. In the 1980s, U.S. neo-Nazi
strategist Louis Beam openly called for a linkup of America's far right
with the "liberation movements" of Libya, Syria, Iran and Palestine. In
the 1990s, an American Black Muslim was convicted in a plot to bomb the
United Nations and other New York landmarks that was masterminded by a
blind Egyptian cleric (see sidebar: "Strange Bedfellows").
Just last year, a meeting sponsored by a U.S. holocaust denial group brought
together Arab and Western extremists in Jordan (see sidebar "Between
Although links like these illustrate the
ties between Muslim extremists and Americans, such ties are far more developed
in Europe. But since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, there are a number
of signs including a spate of articles by American neo-Nazis that have
appeared in Islamic publications and Web sites that an operational alliance
may be taking shape in the United States as well.
Banking for Allah
Perhaps the best contemporary snapshot of this Nazi-Islamist extremist
axis comes in the person of one Ahmed Huber, a neo-Nazi whose home in
a suburb of Berne was raided by Swiss police on Nov. 8, after U.S. officials
had identified him as a linchpin in the financial machinations of Osama
bin Laden. The raid was part of a coordinated law enforcement dragnet
that seized records from the offices of Al Taqwa, an international banking
group. Al Taqwa, which literally means "Fear of God," had been
channeling funds to Muslim extremist organizations around the world, including
Hamas, a group active in the Israeli-occupied territories.
Huber, a former journalist who converted
to Islam and changed his first name from Albert, served on the board of
Nada Management, a component of Al Taqwa. After Swiss authorities froze
the firm's assets and questioned Huber, the 74-year-old denounced Washington
for doing the bidding of "Jew Zionists" who "rule America."
In January, Nada Management announced that it had gone into liquidation.
A well-known figure in European neofascist
circles, Huber "sees himself as a mediator between Islam and right-wing
groups," according to Germany's Office for the Protection of the
Constitution. Portraits of Hitler and SS chief Heinrich Himmler adorn
the walls of Huber's office, alongside photos of Islamic political leaders
and a picture of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the present-day boss of the French
In accordance with his self-proclaimed
mission to unite Muslim fundamentalists and extreme right-wing forces
in Europe and North America, Huber has traveled widely and proselytized
at numerous gatherings. In Germany, he speaks often at events hosted by
the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party, which publicly welcomed the Sept.
11 terrorist attacks. Huber also befriended British author David Irving
and other Holocaust deniers while frequenting "revisionist"
A bin Laden Fan in Chicago
At the same time, Huber made the rounds of the radical Islamic circuit
in Western countries. In June 1994, he spoke about the "evils of
the Jews" at a mosque in Potomac, MD. (just outside Washington, D.C.),
where videotapes of Huber's speeches are on sale. During a subsequent
visit to Chicago, he attended a private assembly that brought together,
in Huber's words, "the authentic Right and the fighters for Islam."
Huber told journalist Richard Labeviere that "major decisions were
taken [in Chicago] … [T]he reunification is under way."
Huber acknowledges meeting al-Qaeda operatives
on several occasions at Muslim conferences in Beirut, Brussels and London.
He has been quoted in the Swiss media as saying that bin Laden's associates
"are very discreet, well-educated and highly intelligent people."
The U.S. government claims that Huber's banking firm helped bin Laden
shift financial assets around the world. But Huber denies any involvement
in terrorist activities. He insists Al Taqwa was engaged in charitable
work, providing aid for social services that benefited needy Muslims.
Described as "the financial heart
of the Islamist economic apparatus," Al Taqwa is intertwined with
the Muslim Brotherhood, a longstanding, far-right cult whose emblem is
a Koran crossed by a sword. The influence of the Brotherhood extends throughout
the Muslim world, where it vigorously, and often violently, opposes secular
Arab regimes. In 1981, partisans of the Muslim Brotherhood were implicated
in the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. Several members
of Islamic Jihad, an extremist sect closely associated with the Brotherhood,
were also involved in the Sadat assassination. By the early 1990s, Islamic
Jihad would closely ally itself with bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
Back to the Beginning
The roots of the Muslim Brotherhood -- and, in many ways, the Nazi-Muslim
axis -- go back to the organization's formation in Egypt in 1928. Marking
the start of modern political Islam, or what is often referred to as "Islamic
fundamentalism," the Brotherhood from the outset envisioned a time
when an Islamic state would prevail in Egypt and other Arab countries,
where the organization quickly established local branches. The growth
of the Muslim Brotherhood coincided with the rise of fascist movements
in Europe -- a parallel noted by Muhammad Sa'id al-'Ashmawy, former chief
justice of Egypt's High Criminal Court, who decried "the perversion
of Islam" and "the fascistic ideology" that infuses the
world view of the Muslim Brothers, "their total (if not totalitarian)
way of life ...[and] their fantastical reading of the Koran."
Youssef Nada, current board chairman of
Al Taqwa, had joined the armed branch of the Muslim Brotherhood as a young
man in Egypt during World War II. Nada and several of his cohorts in the
Sunni Muslim fraternity were recruited by German military intelligence,
which sought to undermine British colonial rule in the land of the sphinx.
Hassan al-Banna, the Egyptian schoolteacher who founded the Muslim Brotherhood,
also collaborated with spies of the Third Reich.
Advocating a pan-Islamic insurgency in
British-controlled Palestine, the Brotherhood proclaimed their support
for the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, in the late 1930s.
The Grand Mufti, the preeminent religious figure among Palestinian Muslims,
was the most notable Arab leader to seek an alliance with Nazi Germany,
which was eager to extend its influence in the Middle East.
Although he loathed Arabs (he once described
them as "lacquered half-apes who ought to be whipped"), Hitler
understood that he and the Mufti shared the same rivals -- the British,
the Jews and the Communists. Indicative of the old Arab adage, "The
enemy of my enemy is my friend," they met in Berlin, where the Mufti
lived in exile during the war. The Mufti agreed to help organize a special
Muslim division of the Waffen SS. Powerful radio transmitters were put
at the Mufti's disposal so that his pro-Axis propaganda could be heard
throughout the Arab world.
A Mecca for Fascists
After the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Grand Mufti fled to Egypt. His arrival
in 1946 was a precursor to a steady stream of Third Reich veterans who
chose Cairo as a postwar hideout. The Egyptian capital became a safe haven
for several thousand Nazi fugitives, including former SS Captain Alois
Brunner, Adolf Eichmann's chief deputy. Convicted in absentia for war
crimes, Brunner would later reside in Damascus, where he served as a security
advisor for the Syrian government.
Several American fascists visited the Middle
East during this period, including Francis Parker Yockey, who made his
way to Cairo in the summer of 1953, a year after the corrupt Egyptian
monarchy was overthrown by a military coup. The Brotherhood had played
a major role in instigating the popular uprising that set the stage for
the emergence of Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser as Egypt's new leader. But Nasser,
who had little interest in mixing politics and religion, would subsequently
have a falling out with the Islamic fundamentalist sect.
When Nasser wanted to overhaul Egypt's
secret service, he asked the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency for assistance.
But the U.S. government "found it highly impolitic to help him directly,"
CIA agent Miles Copeland recalled in a memoir; so the CIA instead secretly
bankrolled more than 100 German espionage and military experts who trained
Egyptian police and army units in the mid-1950s.
An American Reaches Out
During this period, the Grand Mufti maintained close relations with the
burgeoning Nazi exile community in Cairo, while cultivating ties to right-wing
extremists in the United States and other countries. H. Keith Thompson,
a New York-based businessman and Nazi activist, was a confidant of the
Mufti. "I did a couple of jobs for him, getting some documents from
files that were otherwise unavailable," Thompson acknowledged in
Thompson also carried on a lively correspondence
with Johannes von Leers, one of the Third Reich's most prolific Jew-baiters,
who converted to Islam and changed his name to Omar Amin after he took
up residence in Cairo in 1955. "If there is any hope to free the
world from Jewish tyranny," Amin wrote Thompson, "it is with
the Moslems, who stand steadfastly against Zionism, Colonialism and Imperialism."
Formerly Goebbels' right-hand man, Amin became a top official in the Egyptian
Information Ministry, which employed several European fascists who churned
out hate literature and anti-Jewish broadcasts. Another German expatriate,
Louis Heiden, alias Louis Al-Hadj, translated Hitler's Mein Kampf
The Egyptian government also published
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the infamous anti-Semitic forgery
that purports to reveal a Jewish master plan for taking over the world.
A staple of Nazi propaganda, the Protocols also are quoted in Article
32 of the charter of Hamas, the hard-line Palestinian fundamentalist group
that is supported by the Muslim Brotherhood -- even though Muslim scholars
say such views are an anathema to mainstream Islam. "There are no
historic roots for anti-Semitism in Islam," says Hasem Saghiyeh,
a columnist at Al Hayat, a London-based Arab newspaper. "The
process of translating books like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
on as popular a scale started in Nasser's Egypt, but only the Islamic
fundamentalist movement incorporated them into its literature."
Mercenaries for Palestine
After Israel's overwhelming victory in the Six Day War in June 1967, a
mood of desperate militancy engulfed the Palestinian refugee camps. Deprived
of a homeland, the leaders of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
apparently felt that they couldn't afford to turn down offers of help,
no matter how unsavory the donors. Karl von Kyna, a West German neo-Nazi
mercenary, died during a Palestinian commando raid in September 1967.
Eager to continue their vendetta against
the Jews, several right-wing extremists subsequently joined the Hilfskorp
Arabien ("Auxiliary Corps Arabia"), which was advertised in
the Munich-based Deutsche National-Zeitung, a pro-Nazi newspaper, in 1968.
The following year, the Popular Front for
the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hijacked several commercial airplanes.
When three PFLP members stood trial after blowing up an Israeli jet in
Zurich, the legal costs for their defense were paid by Francois Genoud,
an elusive Swiss banker described by the London Observer as "one
of the world's leading Nazis." Genoud had previously picked up the
tab for Adolf Eichmann's legal defense, and a number of other Nazi war
criminals and Arab terrorists would also benefit from his largesse. Where
did the money come from? According to European press accounts, Genoud
was managing the hidden Swiss treasure of the Third Reich, most of which
had been stolen from Jews. "Security services claim he transferred
the defeated Nazis' gold into Swiss bank accounts," reports Gitta
Sereny, who called Genoud "the most mysterious man in Europe."
After World War II, Genoud served as the
financial advisor to the Grand Mufti. In 1958, the Swiss Nazi set up the
Arab Commercial Bank in Geneva to manage the war chest of the Algerian
National Liberation Front, whose partisans were fighting to free their
country from French colonial rule. Several Third Reich veterans, including
Major General Otto Ernst Remer, who had served as Hitler's bodyguard,
smuggled weapons to the Algerian rebels, while other German advisors provided
military instruction. Under the guise of supporting the Arabs' struggle
against French colonialism, Genoud and his Nazis cohorts were following
the same geopolitical strategy that Hitler had pursued in the Middle East.
Black September and Achille Lauro
In addition to brokering arms sales to Arab militants, Genoud helped subsidize
terrorist networks in Europe and the Arab world. This financier of fascism
waited until the statue of limitations ran out before admitting that he
had personally written and sent ransom notes demanding $5 million to the
German airline Lufthansa and several news services after PFLP terrorists
hijacked another jet in 1972. That same year, the Black September organization
murdered nine Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. When Black September
leader Hassan Salameh needed medical attention, Genoud arranged for him
to be treated at a private clinic in Lausanne.
In 1974, PLO chief Yasser Arafat publicly
indicated a willingness to renounce international terrorism and declared
his interest in a settlement that would finally establish a Palestinian
homeland in the Israeli-occupied territories. These steps toward moderation
angered Arab hardliners, who ruled out any compromise with Israel. Not
surprisingly, Genoud and other neofascists favored the most belligerent
factions that kept calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state.
After bombing four U.S. Army bases in West
Germany in 1982, Odfried Hepp, a young neo-Nazi renegade, went underground
and joined the Tunis-based Palestine Liberation Front (PLF). Hepp, one
of West Germany's most wanted terrorists, was arrested in June 1985 while
entering the apartment of a PLF member in Paris. Four months later, PLF
commandos seized the Achille Lauro cruise ship and murdered Leon Klinghoffer,
a wheelchair-bound Jewish American. Included on the PLF's list of prisoners
to be exchanged for the Achille Lauro hostages was the name of Odfried
Fundamentalist Revolution in Iran
Islamic fundamentalism got a tremendous boost when the Ayatollah Khomeini
toppled the Shah during the 1979 Iranian revolution. The Ayatollah's description
of the United States and the Soviet Union as "the twin Satans"
dovetailed neatly with the "Third Position" politics of many
European and American neofascists, an ideology the rejects both American
capitalism and Soviet Communism. Some white supremacists also shared Khomeini's
dream of launching a "holy war" against what was seen as decadent,
Western-style democracy. When Iran issued a call for the assassination
of author Salmon Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses, several
neo-Nazi groups supported the Iranian fatwa.
Far-right fanatics also hailed the 1983
suicide car-bombing by Iranian-backed Shiite terrorists that killed 271
U.S. Marines in Beirut. The British National Front had nothing but praise
for Khomeini's Islamic Revolutionary Guards: "Their belief in their
cause is so strong that they will run through mine fields unarmed to attack
enemy positions; their ideals are so all-consuming that they will drive
truck bombs into enemy camps knowing full well their [own] death is inevitable
.... This power, this contempt for death, is the stuff of which victories
In 1987, French police cordoned off the
Iranian embassy in Paris and demanded that a magistrate be allowed to
interrogate Wahid Gordji, an Iranian official suspected of orchestrating
a series of bombings that rocked the French capital during the previous
a year. French investigators got on to Gordji's trail after they discovered
a check for 120,000 francs (about $20,000) that he had written to Ogmios,
a neo-Nazi publisher and bookstore in Paris. The money was used to underwrite
a slick catalogue promoting The Myth of the Jewish Holocaust and
similar titles. But the Iranian government rebuffed French authorities,
who wanted to question Gordji, causing a rupture in diplomatic relations
between Paris and Tehran. The six-month embassy stand-off was finally
resolved after French officials met with representatives of a group called
"The Friends of Wahid Gordji" -- a group which included the
redoubtable Nazi banker Francois Genoud.
Nazis in Baghdad
Links between white supremacists and the Iranian government continued
after Khomeini's death in 1989. On several occasions in recent years,
American neo-Nazi chieftain William Pierce has been interviewed by Radio
Tehran. U.S. white supremacists have also snuggled up to Iran's archenemy,
Saddam Hussein. In 1990, Gene Schroder, an ideologue of the far-right
"common-law court" movement, joined a delegation of Midwest
farmers to Washington for a meeting in the Iraqi embassy, where Iraqi
officials were trying to drum up opposition to the impending Persian Gulf
War. During that 1991 war, Oklahoma Klan leader Dennis Mahon organized
a small rally in Tulsa in support of Saddam. Mahon says he later received
a couple of hundred dollars in an unmarked envelope from the Iraqi government.
In addition, shortly before the war, German
neo-Nazis solicited support from Iraq for an anti-Zionist legion composed
of far-right mercenaries from several European countries. The members
of this so-called international "Freedom Corps" pretentiously
strutted around Baghdad in SS uniforms. But as soon as bombs started to
fall on the Iraqi capital, the neo-Nazi volunteers scurried back to Europe.
A number of prominent neofascists have
expressed support for Saddam, including Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the Russian
demagogue, who visited Iraq after the Gulf War. Jean Marie Le Pen of the
French Front National also got the red-carpet treatment when he met Saddam
in Baghdad. Although he built his political career by disparaging Arab
immigrants, Le Pen now claims that he is deeply concerned about the plight
of Iraqi children who have suffered under sanctions imposed by the United
Nations. His wife, Jany, who heads a group called SOS Children of Iraq,
has joined Le Pen on several trips to Baghdad. Thus far, however, Arab
children in France have yet to benefit from the supposed good Samaritan
act of the Le Pens.
The Libyan Connection
On June 28, 2000, the Times of London reported that Libyan leader
Muammar Ghaddafi had ordered the deposit of $25 million into a bank in
Carinthia, the Austrian province governed by Jorg Haider, defacto leader
of the far-right Freedom Party. (The Freedom Party is an immigrant-bashing
organization that is home to many neo-Nazis and former Nazis and has downplayed
German war atrocities.) Col. Ghaddafi's cash gift -- which Haider described
as "Christmas for Austria" -- was meant to ease the strain of
sanctions imposed on Austria by the European Union after the Freedom Party
joined Austria's national governing coalition.
This was the second rabbit Haider pulled
from his hat as a result of two private forays to Tripoli, where he met
Ghaddafi. After his first Libyan excursion, Haider announced he was tackling
Austria's high gas prices by arranging for Libyan gasoline to be sold
in Carinthia at a discount. News photos showed Haider, the Porsche-driving
populist, beaming as he pumped gas for motorists.
Over the years, Ghaddafi has been wooed
by several neofascist leaders, including Italian fugitive Stefano delle
Chiaie, who was accused of masterminding a series of bomb attacks in Rome
and Milan. Described in a 1982 CIA report as "the most prominent
rightist terrorist … still at large," delle Chiaie wrote a letter
to Ghadaffi, inviting him to join in a common struggle against "atheistic
Soviet Marxism and American capitalist materialism," both of which
were supposedly controlled by "international Zionism." Delle
Chiaie added: "Libya can, if it wants, be the active focus, the center
of national socialist renovation [that will] break the chains which enslave
people and nations."
Ghaddafi, the Green Book and Western Extremism
Links between Libya and the European far right have been scrutinized in
several parliamentary and judicial probes in Italy. One Italian judicial
inquiry found that the Libyan embassy in Rome had provided money to aid
the escape of Italian terrorist suspect Mario Tuti shortly after the bombing
of an express train near Florence in 1974. Tuti was later captured and
sentenced to a lengthy prison term for orchestrating the attack, which
killed 12 people and injured 44 others.
Ghadaffi's financial largesse and his militant
anti-Zionism has generated support for the Libyan regime among right-wing
extremists around the world, including in Great Britain, where the Green
Book, Ghaddafi's political manifesto, was promoted by the neo-Nazi
National Front. In 1984, according to former British Nazi leader Ray Hill
(who later renounced racism and worked with antiracists), the Libyan People's
Bureau put up money for a special anti-Semitic supplement to the National
Front's monthly magazine. In addition, Ghadaffi's government picked up
the tab for several junkets so that neofascists from England, France,
Canada, the Netherlands, and several other countries could visit the Libyan
Col. Ghaddafi is also widely admired by
white supremacists in the United States. The Green Book has been
featured as the top online book on the website of the American Front,
whose professed aim is "to secure National Freedom and Social Justice
for the White people of North America." Asserting that he is "against
race mixing," American Front leader James Porrazzo praises Libya
and says that his group has much in common ideologically with Louis Farrakhan's
Nation of Islam, which has its own links to Ghaddafi (see sidebar, "Strange
Bedfellows). Porazzo also says he has "great respect for the actions
of Hamas and Hezbollah," two radical Islamist groups involved in
suicide bombings, as long as they "see that their home is in the
Mideast and that their religion is great for their people but not intended
for all mankind."
"Working for Their Races"
The Philadelphia-based American Front thinks highly of Osama bin Laden,
too, describing him as "one of ZOG [Zionist Occupation Government,
the name many extremists give to the federal government, which they believe
is run by Jews] and the New World Order's biggest enemies." And it
is not alone. Wolfgang Droege, one of 17 Canadian racists who traveled
on a "fact-finding mission" to Libya in 1989, is similarly enamored
of bin Laden, seeing parallels between bin Laden's struggle and others
supporting "racial nationalism" in North America. "I've
had dealings with Black Muslims, I've had dealings with Arabs, I've had
dealings with people of various races, and I realize that some of these
people are as motivated as I am in working for the interest of their race,"
Droege told MacLeans magazine.
While they wouldn't want bin Laden, or
anyone of non-European descent, living next door, leaders of the hard-core
racist movement in the United States have seized upon the Sept. 11 attacks
as an opportunity to expand their strategic alliance with Islamic radicals
under the pretext of supporting Palestinian rights. After hijacked airplanes
demolished the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon, a number of
Muslim newspapers published a flurry of articles by American white supremacists
ranting against Israel and the Jews. Anti-Zionist commentary by neo-Nazi
David Duke appeared on the front page of the Oman Times, for instance,
and on an extremist website based in Pakistan (www.tanzeem.com).
Another opinion piece by Duke ran in Muslims, a New-York-based
English-language weekly, which also featured a lengthy critique of U.S.
foreign policy by William Pierce, head of the rabidly racist National
Alliance. In the wake of Sept. 11, several American neo-Nazi websites
also started to offer links to Islamic websites.
The psychological dynamics that propel
the actions of Islamic terrorists have much in common with the mental
outlook of neo-Nazis. Both glorify violence as a regenerative force and
both are willing to slaughter innocents in the name of creating a new
social order. The potential for an alliance between American neo-Nazis
and Islamic terrorists -- an alliance that could develop into strong operational
ties -- cannot be ruled out given the long and sordid history of fascist
links to the Muslim world.
Some American Black Muslims make common cause with domestic neo-Nazis
and foreign Muslim extremists.
In 1961, Elijah Muhammad, founder of the black supremacist Nation of Islam,
met with Ku Klux Klan leaders at the Magnolia Hall in Atlanta. Although
they had different ideas about the skin color of the master race, they
shared the belief that blacks and whites should stay separate. The following
year, Muhammad invited American Nazi Party chief George Lincoln Rockwell
to address a Nation convention in Chicago, even though Rockwell had often
called blacks "the lowest scum of humanity." Flanked by a dozen
storm troopers in swastika armbands, Rockwell told an audience of 5000
Nation devotees that he was "proud to stand here before black men
… Elijah Muhammad is the Adolf Hitler of the black man."
Sporadic contacts between Black Muslims
and white supremacists continued after Louis Farrakhan set up his own
branch of the Nation of Islam in 1975. Klan leader Tom Metzger was so
impressed with Farrakhan's anti-Semitic bombast that he donated $100 to
the Nation after a Farrakhan rally in Los Angeles in September 1985. A
month later, Metzger and 200 other white supremacists from the United
States and Canada gathered on a farm about 50 miles west of Detroit, where
they pledged their support for the Nation of Islam. "The enemy of
my enemy is my friend," explained Art Jones, a neo-Nazi militant
from Chicago. "I salute Louis Farrakhan and anyone else who stands
up against the Jews."
The Nation's contacts with non-black extremists
has not been limited to domestic neo-Nazis and Klansmen. During his international
travels, Farrakhan has been officially welcomed in a number of countries,
including several repressive Arab states. The Final Call, Farrakhan's
newspaper, describes one such globetrotting expedition in 1986, when he
visited Libya for discussions with Colonel Ghaddafi, who had given Farrakhan
a $5-million interest-free loan the previous year. After Libya, Farrakhan
ventured to Jeddah, where he conferred with top Saudi Arabian officials
before paying a courtesy call to Idi Amin, the exiled Ugandan despot.
Farrakhan was also warmly received by General Zia-ul-Huq, the military
dictator of Pakistan, whose abysmal human rights record coincided with
efforts to impose a harsh Islamic fundamentalist regime in his country.
An American Takes Up the Cause
During the 1980s, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan played a crucial role in supporting
the U.S.-backed mujahedeen resistance forces that were fighting to expel
the Soviets from Afghanistan. Islamic volunteers from all over the world
flocked to mujahedeen training camps in Pakistan to help win this holy
war against godless Communism. They were joined by scores of combatants
from the United States, including Clement Rodney Hampton-El, an American
Black Muslim unaffiliated with the Nation of Islam, who suffered arm and
leg wounds in Afghanistan.
After returning to Brooklyn, Hampton-El
worked closely with a shadowy splinter group called al-Fuqra, whose followers
in the United States and Canada are predominantly Black Muslims. Several
other al-Fulqra initiates had also trained in Pakistan as part of the
effort to throw the Soviets out of Afghanistan. Founded in 1980 by a Pakistani
mystic named Shiek Mubarik Ali Jilani, al-Fuqra was organized into independent
terrorist cells. An avowed enemy of the Nation of Islam, al-Fuqra has
been linked by U.S. officials to 17 homicides and 13 firebombings in the
United States. Its targets were usually other minorities or rival Muslim
In 1995, Hampton-El was sentenced to 35
years in prison for his involvement in a failed plot to bomb the United
Nations and other New York City landmarks. Nine other Muslim extremists
were convicted as co-conspirators in this case, including Sheik Omar Abdel
Rahman, a blind Egyptian cleric, who is serving a life sentence for his
role as ringleader of the plot. The blind sheik has also been linked to
the terrorists who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, killing six
people and injuring more than 1000. Hampton-El told an FBI informant that
he had participated in a test explosion for the first attack on the World
According to recent reports, the Justice
Department is probing possible links between al-Fuqra and Osama bin Laden's
al-Qaeda network. American officials have obtained a videotape of a December
1993 meeting in Sudan, then a nerve center for the bin Laden organization,
where al-Fuqra leader Shiek Mubarik Ali Jilani met with members of Islamic
Jihad, Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups. Representatives of al
Qaeda are also believed to have been present at this meeting. Federal
officials also believe that al-Fuqra members collaborated with Wadih El-Hage,
who was sentenced to life in prison this year for conspiring with Osama
bin Laden in the bombings of two American embassies in Africa in 1998.
U.S. Holocaust deniers help unite neo-Nazis, Arab extremists.
American extremists who claim that Jews fabricated the Holocaust to discredit
Hitler and to justify the dispossession of Palestinians have made common
cause on the propaganda front with jihadists from the Middle East. At
the forefront of this collaborative effort is the Institute for Historical
Review (IHR), the leading promoter of Holocaust denial in the United States.
Founded in 1978, the Southern California-based
IHR distributes books, pamphlets, audio and videotapes that purport to
prove the Holocaust never happened. These "assassins of memory,"
as French literary historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet calls the Holo-hoaxers,
also publish the Journal of Historical Review, which tries mightily
to impress its readers with footnotes and other scholarly trappings. A
recent issue spoke breathlessly of a "white-hot trend: the rapid
growth of Holocaust revisionism, fueled by increasing cooperation between
Muslims and Western revisionists, across the Islamic world."
Early last year, the IHR organized a conference
on "Zionism and Revisionism" that was set for Beirut that March.
Billed as an opportunity for North American and European extremists to
meet their counterparts in the Islamic world, the event was delayed and
relocated due to complaints by Jewish groups and diplomatic pressure from
the United States and Europe. An open letter signed by 14 leading Arab
intellectuals also denounced the conference, which was eventually held
in Amman, Jordan. The featured speaker at this scaled-down meeting, hosted
locally by the Jordanian Writers Federation, was French negationist Robert
Faurisson, a longtime IHR advisor, who told a sympathetic audience that
"Hitler never ordered or allowed the killing of anyone on account
of his or her race or religion" and "the Germans suffered, in
reality, a fate far worse than that of the Jews."
Feeding the Propaganda Machine
Driven by the proliferation of neo-Nazi propaganda and antagonism toward
Israel, Holocaust denial has gained widespread acceptance across the Arab
world in recent years. It's no coincidence that commentary on the IHR
website is translated and posted in Arabic, as well as in German and English.
IHR director Mark Weber takes pride in the fact that he and other "revisionists,"
as they like to call themselves, have been interviewed on Iranian state
radio. Iran's Islamic fundamentalist regime has granted refuge to several
European Holocaust-deniers, who were convicted of violating hate speech
laws in their home countries. Jurgen Graf, an IHR editorial advisor, fled
to Tehran rather than serve a 15-month sentence in a Swiss prison.
A key IHR ally among Muslim extremists
is Ahmed Rami, a former Moroccan army officer who fled his native country
after joining a failed coup attempt against King Hassan in 1972. Today
Rami runs Radio Islam, a Stockholm-based neo-Nazi propaganda outfit. In
addition to articles such as "USA's Rulers: They are all Jews,"
the website of Radio Islam carries the full text of The Protocols of
the Elders of Zion, one of the vilest forgeries in modern history.
For many Palestinians, denying the holocaust
is tantamount to negating any Jewish claim to Israel. Columbia University
professor Edward Said, a Palestinian American, laments the proliferation
of this tendency among Arabs. "If we expect Israeli Jews not to use
the Holocaust to justify appalling human rights abuses of the Palestinian
people, we too have to go beyond such idiocies as saying that the Holocaust
never took place," asserts Said.
Such idiocies have become increasingly
common in leading newspapers in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and
other Arab countries, where official thinking is reflected in tightly
controlled national media. Support for holocaust denial enables corrupt
Arab governments to deflect attention from their failures, including their
own exploitation of Muslim populations and their brutal repression of
many peoples -- Kurds, Berbers, Egyptian Copts, Maronite Lebanese, and
others -- who, like the Palestinians, are being denied the right to self-determination.
Saudi Arabia at the Forefront
Of all the Arab nations involved in promoting anti-Semitic propaganda,
Saudi Arabia is perhaps the most egregious offender. In the late 1970s,
for instance, the Saudi government retained the services of American neo-Nazi
William Grimstead as a Washington lobbyist. During this period, the Saudi
royal family lavished funds on a numerous Sunni fundamentalist organizations,
including the Pakistan-based World Muslim Congress (WMC), which was headed
by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, an anti-Semitic Nazi collaborator, until
his death in 1974.
A few years later, the WMC mailed no-holocaust
literature to every member of the U.S. Congress and the British parliament.
Issah Nakleh, a Palestinian writer affiliated with the WMC, became a fixture
at IHR conferences in the United States and a regular contributor to the
Journal of Historical Review. Nakleh was also well known to readers
of The Spotlight, the anti-Semitic weekly published by the IHR's
now-defunct parent organization, the Liberty Lobby. Acknowledging their
political kinship, WMC secretary-general Dr. Inamullah Khan, a trusted
advisor to the Saudi royal family, sent a letter to The Spotlight,
praising its "superb in-depth analysis" and stating that the
paper deserved "the thanks of all right-minded people."
Like many American and European neofascist
groups, the WMC espoused a "Third Position" ideology critical
of both Cold War superpowers, as underscored by this headline from
Muslim World, the WMC's official mouthpiece: "U.S. and USSR --
Both Serve Zionist Interests." But the WMC tempered its anti-American
tirades when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. Working closely
with Saudi and U.S. intelligence, the WMC supported the Afghan mujahedeen
in their struggle against the Soviet-backed rulers in Kabul. During this
period, WMC chief Inamullah Khan also served as head of the Pakistani
section of the World Anti-Communist League, an international umbrella
organization that included fascist collaborators from Europe, Latin American
death squad bosses, and right-wing extremists from Asia and North America.
After the Soviets abandoned Afghanistan, the World Muslim Congress and
several other Islamic extremist groups once again turned their fundamentalist
wrath against the United States.