At the present moment, Islamists are firmly entrenched in the happenings of the world. Only looking at the news from the past few days, one finds much news relating to Islamists. The Syrian uprising rages on (with the rebels being supported by Al Qaeda), there is a possibility for Egypt (a country with an Islamist president) to see more turmoil, violence continues in Afghanistan, and a car bomb killed six people in Iraq.

Through a study of Islamists, one will find something interesting and disturbing—the similarities between, the former ties, and the potential for close ties between fascists and Islamists.

The incendiary moniker “fascist” is hurled much in politics. A violent protester, during his arrest, may scream about the “fascist” police, or a politician may insert a kindly-toned accusation of “fascism” at his opponent. Liberals use “the far right” as code for fascist—though it is far from the truth.  It is apparent then, that there is much misunderstanding about fascism today. Therefore, it is not surprising that there is an absence of knowledge of the ties between radical Islam and fascism.

Due to this lack of understanding about fascism, it is necessary to briefly provide an overview of it. Wikipedia defines fascism as “a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology …” Fascism is utterly opposed to the concepts of freedom and the free market. Private property and other rights are not respected. Fascism also is often tied to a race, nationality, or culture—just as the Nazis were obsessed with the “Aryans” or Mussolini’s Italy was with their “Roman” heritage. Fascism also wholly rejects individualism in favor of collectivism. The state is everything to the fascist, and thus the fascist is not opposed to trampling all else in favor of “the state.”

Islamist governments are undoubtedly fascist—and this not an unwise proclamation. Consider their economics. Islamic economics (i.e. deriving from Islamic texts) is not a free market system, promoting government intervention in the economy, and mandated interest rate of zero, among other things. While not a Communist system, this system is still far from the free market.

In terms of law, Islamists implement sharia law. This all-encompassing legal system not only grossly encroached on natural rights, but is also bloody and absurd. Sharia law is based upon the writings of a “prophet” who may not have even existed.  In contrast, the common law system of the United States, along with other nations, has a foundation of reason, with an inherent sense of liberties and rights.

It is clear, then, that the difference between Mussolini’s Italy and Saudi Arabia, or Nazi Germany and Iran are minor (if not superficial). Then it is time to examine the history.

In 1941 an Islamist named Haj Amin al-Husseini arrived in Europe to meet with the fascist governments of Italy and Germany. He was there for one purpose—to gain support of these nations in his dreams of Arab states in the Middle East (as much of the Middle East was under the control of European empires at the time). Al-Husseini was not just a diplomat, but was previously the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem (a Sunni cleric) and highly involved in the politics of the region. Among his beliefs in radical Islam, al-Husseini was also vehemently opposed to the formation of a Jewish state.

During his time in Europe, al-Husseini was able to procure funds from the Italian government, and promises from both the Italian and German governments. He also toured a concentration camp and, after being told of the “Final Solution,” concluded it should be used in his own corner of the world. Al-Husseini also worked as a broadcaster and recruiter. The latter aspect is of particular interest, as he was responsible for the formation of Islamic units (formed predominantly from Muslims in the Balkans) in the Nazi military. After the war, al-Husseini left Europe to return to the Middle East.

At this point in history, fascism in Europe would slowly re-surface—whether in the form of Britain’s National Front, the Greek National Socialist Party, or the New European Order (encompassing the whole of the continent). In Spain, fascism remained the system of government until the death of Francisco Franco in 1975.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, the Islamists continued in their struggle—the Lebanese Civil War eroded what was once a beautiful nation, the murderous history of the Palestinian Liberation Organization commenced, and Muamar Gaddafi ruled Libya in a fascist manner.

Obviously, both the European fascists and the Islamofascists had much in common, though each thought their views superior. Yet ties between, for example, the British National Front and the PLO appear nonexistent. Perhaps the reason for this was the alliance between many of the Islamists and the Soviet Union—as fascists generally oppose Communism vehemently (though this is an irony).

But it is to the current day that we must make a connection between fascist movements (whether blatantly using the name or not) and Islamists. Such is more likely in Europe—due to geography, a greater concentration of fascist movements, and the existence of “no-go zones” in European cities (i.e. areas of cities that are virtually autonomous and under Sharia Law).

Consider several important issues of both the Islamists and fascists. Fascists have enthusiastic supporters of the Occupy Wall Street Movement—as the movement has much in common with fascism. For Islamists, such would be very easy to support—as it is anti-free market and they agree about the evil of Wall Street (tying it to Jewish conspiracy theories). Also, consider the issues of Israel. Holocaust revisionism (i.e. the assertion that “mainstream” views on the Holocaust are wrong) and opposition to a Jewish state are prominent in both groups.

For these reasons, there is a great possibility for Islamic terror to gain an even greater foothold in Europe—via using the fascists as a temporary ally. Outside of Europe, it is not hard to imagine that Occupiers and fascists would gladly aid Islamists (if some are not already doing so). True, differences exist, but neither would have an issue with destroying the other when “victory” is achieved.

It is not absurd to say that fascists and Islamists are dug into the present world, and are not leaving easily. Therefore, anyone who supports freedom must confront these ideas on the intellectual field. By doing so, their viewpoints will lose such power and influence that they will be left weak. The oft-spoken phrase “It can’t happen here,” is wrong. “It” could happen here, or in another part of the world—all that is required is good people who do not act.

Christian Lopac | Wabash College | @CLopac