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Book Review: Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East

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Book Review: Nazis, Islamists, and the Making of the Modern Middle East

rubinreports.blogspot.ca, Dec. 1, 2014

“The enemy of your enemy is your friend,” wrote the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini, about his reverence for Nazi Germany that had fought his enemies, the (British) colonialists and the Zionists. While this may have been an understatement, it is common knowledge that the Palestinian Arab leader ruined his reputation by collaborating with the Nazis. The exact nature and extent of his collaboration and the solidity of its ideological foundations, however, were not fully explored until the publication of this study. It is to the credit of these two fine scholars, the late Israeli historian Barry Rubin and his colleague Wolfgang G. Schwanitz, that they discovered documentary proof in German, Yugoslav, Israeli, British and Russian archives of how the Grand Mufti made maximal efforts to provide the Nazis—who were notoriously short of allies—with as much assistance as he could.

Goebbels and Himmler were grateful to the Grand Mufti for his support. With his usual self-gratulatory tone, Goebbels wrote in his diary that al-Husaini was “intelligent and had good judgment.” With the help of the Mufti, the Nazis hoped that they could win the support of four hundred million Muslims. As late as May, 8, 1944, Himmler gave the Mufti an entire afternoon of his precious time. During this meeting the two men discussed horses, Arabic poetry and the achievements of the Muslim units that the Mufti had helped enlist and which fought for the Third Reich. These included the Hanzar (Khanjar) division which “had participated in the murder of thousands of Bosnian Jews, Christian Serbs and Roma (“Gypsies”).”…

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