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Icon of Evil: Hitler's Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islamby David G Dalin
Synopses & Reviews
A chilling, fascinating, and nearly forgotten historical figure is resurrected in a riveting work that links the fascism of the last century with the terrorism of our own. Written with verve and extraordinary access to primary sources in several languages, Icon of Evil is the definitive account of the man who during World War II was called “the führer of the Arab world” and whose ugly legacy lives on today.
In 1921, the beneficiary of an appointment the British would live to regret, Haj Amin al-Husseini became the mufti of Jerusalem, the most eminent and influential Islamic leader in the Middle East. For years, al-Husseini fomented violence in the region against the Jews he loathed and wished to destroy. Forced out in 1937, he eventually found his way to the country whose legions he desperately wished to join: Nazi Germany.
Here, with new and disturbing details, David G. Dalin and John F. Rothmann show how al-Husseini ingratiated himself with his hero, Adolf Hitler, becoming, with his blonde hair and blue eyes, an “honorary Aryan,” while dreaming of being installed Nazi leader of the Middle East. Al-Husseini would later recruit more than 100,000 Muslims in Europe to fight in divisions of the Waffen-SS, and obstruct negotiations with the Allies that might have allowed four thousand Jewish children to escape to Palestine. Some believe that al-Husseini even inspired Hitler to implement the Final Solution. At wars end, al-Husseini escaped indictment at Nuremberg and was harbored in France before being given a heros welcome in Egypt.
Icon of Evil chronicles al-Husseinis postwar relationships with such influential Islamic figures as the radical theoretician Sayyid Qutb and Saddam Husseins powerful uncle, General Khairallah Talfah, and his crucial mentoring of the young Yasser Arafat. Finally, it provides compelling evidence that al-Husseinis actions and writings serve as inspirations today to the leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations pledged to destroy Israel and the United States.
Revelatory and unsettling, Icon of Evil reveals an essential character in the worst crimes of the modern era. It is an important addition to our understanding of the past, present, and future of radical Islam.
"Middle East scholars Dalin (The Myth of Hitler's Pope) and Rothmann collaborate in this harrowing account of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the British-appointed Mufti of Jerusalem and the political and spiritual head of the Palestinian Arab community from the 1920s on, who helped seal a powerful bond between Islamic radicals and Nazi officials. A longtime admirer of National Socialism and personal friend of Himmler and Eichmann, al-Husseini championed the Final Solution, made propaganda broadcasts to the Middle East, encouraged Muslim participation in the Waffen SS and called for exterminating Palestine's Jewish population. His advocacy of a holy war against Jews and their British supporters culminated in the massive Arab Revolt of 1937. Escaping to Egypt as the Third Reich collapsed, al-Husseini found his hopes for an 'All-Palestine government' frustrated; however, the Islamization of anti-Semitism proved to be his enduring legacy — he imported and localized Nazi slogans and counted among his acolytes his cousin, the young Yasser Arafat. The authors draw persuasive links between al-Husseini and current contemporary events — notably the execution of journalist Daniel Pearl — giving this history a haunting relevance. (July 1)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Dalin (Hoover Institution, Stanford U.) and Rothmann (Fromm Institute, U. of San Francisco) tell the story of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the one-time mufti of Jerusalem, and his support for the fascists during World War II. In the long-standing debate concerning whether Husseini's activities were driven by anti-Semitic hatred as opposed to anti-Zionism/Palestinian nationalism, they opt decisively for the former. Most of their discussion of Husseini's fascist activities will be relatively uncontroversial, although it's quite clear that when faced with choices of interpretation they are far more likely to chose the one that paints the mufti in a bad light, but their argument gets significantly weaker as they attempt to intimately connect Husseini to virtually every single opponent of the US and Israel in the Middle East including the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Saddam Hussein, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The definitive account of the 20th-century Palestinian leader who allied himself with Hitler links the fascism of yesterday with the Radical Islam of the 21st century.
About the Author
David G. Dalin is the Taube Research Fellow in American History at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is the author, co-author, or editor of nine books, including Religion and State in the American Jewish Experience (with Jonathan D. Sarna), The Presidents of the United States and the Jews, and The Myth of Hitlers Pope. His numerous articles and book reviews have appeared in American Jewish History, Commentary, First Things, The Weekly Standard, and the American Jewish Year Book.
John F. Rothmann serves on the faculty of the Fromm Institute at the University of San Francisco. He is an author, teacher, archivist, political consultant, and talk show host on the ABC-affiliated KGO 810-AM Newstalk Radio in San Francisco. He has lectured on American politics and the presidency and the Middle East throughout the United States, Canada, and Israel.
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