Islamic Fascism: Qutb and Azzam

Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al-Queda and planner of the 9/11 attack on America, was first politicized not by specific U.S. policies, but by the writings of Sayyid Qutb and the Jihadist lectures of Abdullah Azzam, both of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qutb was the son of a highly-educated Egyptian nationalist. He traveled to the United States and lived for two years in Colorado while attending university. Qutb was a devout Muslim and wrote of the United States: "No one is more distant than the Americans from spirituality and piety." American sexual permissiveness and promiscuity particularly appalled Qutb. He was incredulous at the liberties permitted American teenagers. He feared the same influences would invade Egypt.

Qutb concluded that major aspects of American life were "primitive" and "shocking." His experiences in the U.S. partly formed the impetus for his total rejection of Western values and his move towards pure Islamic traditionalism upon returning to Egypt. Resigning from the civil service, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1950s, an organization suffused with Nazi Jew-hatred and supported by Nazi financing, as I reported in Part 1 of this article. He became editor-in-chief of the Brotherhoods' weekly newspaper, and later became head of the Muslim Brotherhood propaganda section, as well as an appointed member of the Guidance Council, the highest branch in the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qutb believed that the timeless message of the Koran included the sacred duty of faithful Muslims to wage jihad "against the corrupt new Kingdom of Israel, its imperial American sponsor, any other Western influences, and corrupt Muslim rulers." According to Qutb, a Muslim must wage war against any influences in opposition to traditional Islam, and especially against a "Zionist Entity" in Dar al-Islam.

The writings of Qutb resonated with many Muslims, who were radicalized by them. He developed a huge following of jihadists in Egypt, which swelled the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood, and eventually throughout the Arab World. His writings contributed greatly to recruiting Egyptians and other Arabs to the cause of Islamic Jihad. Most of today's Islamist leaders are followers of the writings of Qutb.

Abdullah Azzam was a Palestinian who went to Egypt to continue his Islamic studies at Cairo's Al-Azhar University. During his studies he met Sheik Omar Abdel-Rachman, the man behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, now serving a life sentence in the U.S., Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and now the ostensible leader of Al-Queda, and other followers of Sayyid Qutb. Azzam was a visionary. He was heavily influenced by the writings of Qutb. He envisioned a pan-Islamic transnational movement that would transcend the political map of the Middle East. He also envisioned the restoration of the Caliphate and the destruction and removal of the "Zionist Entity" from Dar al-Islam. Azzam was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and one of the original founders of the Muslim Brotherhood of Palestine, now known as Hamas.

In 1976 Azzam moved to Saudi Arabia and became a lecturer at the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah where he became a mentor to a young student by the name of Osama Bin Laden. Both Azzam and Qutb planted the seeds that drove Bin Laden to his destiny.

Keep in mind that Islamofascism is not an ideology that ignites protest in its followers as they rub up against social injustice. On the contrary, what provokes Islamic violence is any sign of modern development in the Muslim world, such as scientific inquiry, political or personal self-determination, women's equality, the existence of religions other than Islam, especially the existence of the State of Israel. The radicalization of Islam is not the consequence of poverty and lack of opportunity. It is the result of their longstanding desire to destroy the Jewish state, eliminate Jews from the middle east, and establish Islamic rule throughout the world.

The failure of the West to see this, and our failure to recognize the substance of Islamist ideology -- the Death Cult, the Hatred of Jews, Nazi ideology, which was taken up by the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1930s and 1940s, and their profound dislike of freedom, leads back again and again to the mistaken belief that the root cause of terrorism is U.S. policies.

This approach is appealing to the West because of the specious hope it holds out: if Islamic terrorism has its roots in American policy, then a change in that policy can lessen terrorism. These erroneous views are strongly held by the American left.

Ultimately, the refusal on the part of the West to recognize the Islamists' true motives results in a reverse of responsibility: the more deadly the terrorism the greater is American guilt. Our support of Islamist hate groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot, Hamas, weakens us and increases the threat to ourselves and to our allies in the region.

A struggle against Islamic Jihad waged in ignorance of its history and ideology will not succeed. Not to confront the real ideological roots of Islamic Jihad, especially its well-documented connection to its Nazi anti-Semitic origins, stymies any Western push for political, economic, or cultural modernization of the Muslim world.

The greatest threat to our freedom and to the future of America as we know it is the Islamist threat. It is the overriding issue of our day. The fact that this is not recognized by a majority of Americans, particularly on the left, enhances that threat.

Gary Aminoff can be reached at