This is the age of fear, inequality and extreme forms of government. The 20th century has seen the rise and fall of totalitarian governments and the terror and loss of human lives as a result. Today in the West, there is a new kind of terror – Islamic Fundamentalism, which in many ways mirrors Fascism of the past century. Even though they are two completely different philosophies, they have some similar goals.
Both ideologies require fanaticism of devotion to the causes of these regimes. Islamic Fundamentalism encourages suicide bombings, like the one we have seen in the tragic events of September 11, promising the one who dies a path to heaven and eternal glory of Allah. Fascism preached that fighting and dying for the fatherland, killing Jews and their allies who were “threatening the civilized world” was an honourable thing to do and was strongly encouraged. Fascism tends to celebrate masculinity, mystical unity, and the regenerative power of violence, just like Islamic Fundamentalism.
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The ideals of Islamic Fundamentalism are opposed to human rights. Freedom of expression, information, freely choosing, changing and discarding one’s religion and the right to life are some of the fundamental Human Rights, which are threatened by fundamentalism, going to the extent of advocating death for non-believers and freethinkers. Fascism also rejects the liberal doctrines of individual autonomy and rights, political pluralism, and representative government, yet it advocates broad popular participation in politics and may use parliamentary channels in its drive to power.
Both Islamic Fundamentalism and Fascism are involved in dehumanization and escape-goating of the enemy, seeing them as an inferior or subhuman force, perhaps involved in a conspiracy that justifies eradicating them. In the first instance, it is the non-believers and most importantly, it is the U.S. and the Americans, in the latter the hatred of racially inferior people like the Jews, gypsies, mentally disabled, homosexuals or any other group that did not fit a strict set of qualifications as a pure and loyal Aryan. Fundamentalism has been a major source of violent conflict in society.
The amount of bloodshed inspired and motivated by religion has been terrible. Apart from open religious wars like crusades and jihad, there is also the problem of what is known as “communal riots” which are between two religious groups. During such riots, persons belonging to one religious group deliberately destroy the life and property of persons belonging to another religious group, even if they do not have any personal enmity with them. The same is true of the fascist who did not hesitate to wipe millions of people in their quest for domination and ethnic cleansing. Although the motivations are slightly different, the fascists having the eugenics as the basis of their ideology, and the goal of lebensraum, and the fundamentalists had the religious basis, and literal interpretation of the Koran, the result nonetheless is extreme violence and terror.
Fascism developed from political unrest and depression in the host country. It is non -religion based; in fact, it discourages people’s devotion to the church. To this end, fascism calls for a “spiritual revolution” against signs of moral decay such as individualism and materialism and seeks to purge “alien” forces and groups that threaten the community. Islamic Fundamentalism is a dogmatic, religion-based ideology that obstructs the growth of a rational, secular morality based on human desires and needs. It is the belief in the literal truth of the religious scriptures—and communalism, or antagonism and hatred for persons belonging to other religious groups, are closely related to one another. Both of these movements, however, promote violent means to achieve their goals, require charismatic leaders and supreme organizations to promote male superiority and are ultimately anti-modernity.
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