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FTR #430 the First Refuge of a Scoundrel

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Samuel John­son not­ed cen­turies ago: “Patri­o­tism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” This broad­cast sup­ports the con­tention that reli­gion is usu­al­ly the first. High­light­ing net­work­ing between far-right and explic­it­ly fas­cist ele­ments across dra­mat­ic reli­gious divides, the pro­gram illus­trates that pol­i­tics, and not reli­gion, is the com­mon ele­ment among them. In this time of lethal­ly-politi­cized reli­gious sen­ti­ment, it is impor­tant to bear this in mind. Begin­ning with col­lab­o­ra­tion between Ital­ian fas­cist ele­ments asso­ci­at­ed with the for­mer P‑2 Lodge and both Vat­i­can-relat­ed and Israeli Likud Par­ty func­tionar­ies, the pro­gram dis­cuss­es the role of for­mer U.S. Ambas­sador Maxwell Rabb in this con­cate­na­tion. The P‑2 milieu is also involved with the net­works sur­round­ing the Al Taqwa/Muslim Broth­er­hood nexus inter­sect­ing Al Qae­da. One of the prin­ci­ples of the Al Taqwa orga­ni­za­tion (Achmed Huber), in turn, net­works with Euro­pean neo-pagan fas­cists. The pro­gram con­cludes with dis­cus­sion of the dif­fer­ence between Islamism and tra­di­tion­al Islam, as well as the anti-Semit­ic rants of the out­go­ing Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Youssef Nada attor­ney Pier Felice Barchi’s efforts on behalf of Sil­vio Berlus­coni (Ital­ian PM and for­mer P‑2 mem­ber); Ahmed Huber’s par­tic­i­pa­tion with the New Right/­neo-Pagan Aval­on Gemein­schaft; the fas­cist antecedents of the Aval­on Gemein­schaft; an Imam’s analy­sis of the hereti­cal nature of politi­cized Islam or Islamism.

1. Under­scor­ing the essen­tial­ly polit­i­cal nature of far right and fas­cist net­works that man­i­fest them­selves as super­fi­cial­ly reli­gious, the broad­cast begins with an excerpt from FTR 252 con­cern­ing the net­work­ing between the Vat­i­can-linked milieu of Sil­vio Berlus­coni, ele­ments of Israel’s far-right Likud Par­ty and Maxwell Rabb, for­mer US Ambas­sador to Italy. The meet­ing described here took place in ear­ly 2000. One can only won­der if this net­work­ing was con­nect­ed to the US Repub­li­can Party’s under­min­ing of the Clinton/Gore administration’s attempts at bro­ker­ing a Mideast Peace. (“Inter­na­tion­al Fas­cist Axis” by Ger­ry Gable; The Search­light; Octo­ber of 2000 #304; p. 9.) Berlus­coni is a for­mer mem­ber of Licio Gel­li’s P‑2 lodge. His asso­ciate Fini is the head of the Nation­al Alliance, the direct suc­ces­sor to Mus­solin­i’s fas­cist par­ty in Italy.

2. In turn, Berlus­coni is heav­i­ly net­worked with peo­ple from the Mus­lim Brotherhood’s Al Taqwa net­work. Pier Felice Barchi is the attor­ney for Al Taqwa pres­i­dent Youssef Nada. As dis­cussed in FTR#’s 356, 359, 387, Barchi is close­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Ban­ca del Got­tar­do, the cor­re­spon­dent bank of Al Taqwa and the for­mer Swiss sub­sidiary of the P‑2-con­trolled Ban­co Ambrosiano.

“The Aki­da Bank of Nasred­din was also sup­posed to be con­cerned with the spread­ing of Islam­ic bank­ing prac­tices. The Lugano-reg­is­tered affil­i­ate of the bank list­ed along with its founder Nasred­din, the Tessi­no-based Pier Felice Barchi. This attor­ney had great expe­ri­ence with rich and influ­en­tial for­eign cus­tomers. Barchi was also con­cerned with the Tessi­no finan­cial inter­ests of Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Berlus­coni and the Sau­di minor­i­ty part­ner in Berlusconi’s media group Medi­aset, Prince al-Waleed al Talal.”

(“Report on Islamists, The Far Right, and Al Taqwa” by Kevin Coogan; p. 7.)

3. Fur­ther devel­op­ing the fascist/reactionary nature of these osten­si­bly reli­gious oper­a­tives, the pro­gram details Al Taqwa’s Achmed Huber and the latter’s con­nec­tions with the pagan Aval­on Gemein­schaft. The Aval­on Gemein­schaft man­i­fests a reli­gious phi­los­o­phy alto­geth­er incom­pat­i­ble with the Mus­lim faith to which he adheres.

“ . . . Achmed Huber is not only a devout Mus­lim and sup­port­er of polit­i­cal Islam; he is also a lead­ing mem­ber of the avowed­ly pagan Swiss-based Aval­on Gemein­schaft (‘Aval­on Soci­ety’ also known as the Aval­on Kreis or Aval­on Cir­cle). Avalon’s esti­mat­ed 150 mem­bers include aging Swiss SS vol­un­teers, youth­ful far right fanat­ics, and died-in-the wool Holo­caust deniers. Each sum­mer sol­stice, this mot­ley melange of char­ac­ters jour­neys deep into the Swiss woods to rit­u­al­ly wor­ship the pre-Chris­t­ian Celtic gods of ancient Europe. They then spend the rest of the year bemoan­ing the Enlight­en­ment and deny­ing the Holo­caust.”

(“Achmed Huber, The Aval­on Gemein­schaft, and the Swiss ‘New Right’” by Kevin Coogan; [orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in Hitlist; April/May 2002]; p. 1.)


“Although Huber is one of Avalon’s lead­ing mem­bers, he was not involved in found­ing the group. Aval­on began as a curi­ous mix­ture of Old Right and New Right cur­rents that reflect­ed its found­ing mem­bers’ involve­ment in a far right youth group known as the Wik­ing-Jugend Schweiz (WJS) as well as their lat­er rejec­tion of cadre-based pol­i­tics for the cre­ation of Aval­on as a self-pro­claimed elite soci­ety. Besides being steeped in mys­ti­cal imagery, Avalon’s founders also embraced ‘New Right’ jar­gon most fre­quent­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the French the­o­rist Alain de Benoist, his Paris-based think-tank, GRECE (the Groupe­ment de Recherche et d’Etudes pour la Civil­i­sa­tion Europeene), and GRECE’s coun­ter­part, Pierre Krebs, Thule Sem­i­nar. . . .”


5. After detail­ing the ear­ly his­to­ry of the antecedents of the Aval­on Gemein­schaft, the pro­gram notes its pagan nature—consistent with Huber’s fas­cist pol­i­tics, but not his Mus­lim reli­gion.

“ . . . Start­ing in 1987, mem­bers of the Swiss branch of the Thule Sem­i­nar took part in a pagan gath­er­ing around the Celtic hol­i­day Lug­nasad, along with a del­e­ga­tion from the WJS and var­i­ous neo-Nazis from across Europe. In 1988, the Swiss branch of the Thule Sem­i­nar, along with the Cir­cle Proud­hon, orga­nized seem­ing­ly schol­ar­ly-sound­ing talks on top­ics like ‘The His­to­ry of the Tem­plars’ and ‘The Her­itage of the Indo-Euro­peans’ on the grounds of Gene­va Uni­ver­si­ty.”

(Ibid.; p. 2.)


“Although lack­ing the schol­ar­ly chops of a de Benoist or a Krebs, Avalon’s founders were quick to pro­claim their own elite sta­tus as well as their embrace of pagan ideas. Gross­weil­er, for exam­ple, said that Avalon’s mem­bers ‘con­sid­er our­selves as an intellectual/spiritual elite and know that our ideas are incom­pre­hen­si­ble to sim­ple peo­ple.’ Avalon’s emer­gence also came wrapped in a heavy dose of Celtic mys­ti­cism. One Aval­on tract began, ‘Avalon—white mist cov­ered island in an icy sea. Aval­on, land of inner rest and the con­fi­dent, holy land of the Celts. Aval­on, orig­i­nal home­land and secure pole of our Euro­pean cul­ture. The land of King Arthur gives our soci­ety its name. Many of our way and beliefs shall find the pow­er in the cir­cle to resist the time of the wolf (the destruc­tion of val­ue). This is our spir­i­tu­al place of refuge, [the] place of the call­ing to mind of Europe’s eter­nal val­ues, Courage, Hon­or, Loy­al­ty. Achmed Huber’s lat­er emer­gence as a key Aval­on leader no doubt reflects both his well-devel­oped net­work­ing skills as well as his pow­er­ful con­tacts inside the Euro­pean right. . . .”



“ . . . Huber and [WJS co-founder Roger] Wutrich have also por­trayed Aval­on in a press com­mu­nique as a high­ly respectable group that spon­sors gath­er­ings ded­i­cat­ed to sci­en­tif­ic and cul­tur­al themes—particularly the hon­or­ing of Europe’s ‘Celtic Ger­man­ic inheritance’—as well as to ground­break­ing crit­i­cal research into ques­tions of con­tem­po­rary his­to­ry. Avalon’s eager embrace of Holo­caust deniers, even more than its strange cel­e­bra­tions of the sum­mer sol­stice, have stripped it of even a vague sense of legit­i­ma­cy as a seri­ous orga­ni­za­tion engaged in his­tor­i­cal research . . . .”

(Ibid.; p. 3.)


“ . . . Final­ly, it seems par­tic­u­lar­ly iron­ic that a self-pro­claimed Mus­lim like Huber would be asso­ci­at­ed at all with any ‘New Right’ group­ing, even with a pale par­o­dy of the New Right, as Aval­on appears to be. Huber, after all, is a self-pro­claimed devo­tee of Islam, an utter­ly monothe­is­tic reli­gion. In the New Right canon, monothe­ism has always been por­trayed as the orig­i­nal sin. This has been so ever since de Benoist iden­ti­fied the Enlightenment’s uni­ver­sal­is­tic val­ues as a sec­u­lar exten­sion of a monothe­ist world­view; name­ly the Judeo-Chris­t­ian tra­di­tion which Islam claims to com­plete. New Right the­o­rists insist that they embrace pagan­ism and the pagan notion of a uni­verse of plu­ral­is­tic gods pre­cise­ly out of their desire to dethrone monothe­is­tic thought struc­tures which they see as essen­tial to the future elim­i­na­tion of Amer­i­can ‘mono­cul­ture.’ That a fanat­i­cal Islam­ic monothe­ist like Huber could spend each sum­mer sol­stice out in the woods wor­ship­ping Celtic gods is one more twist to his already bizarre life.”


9. Much of the rest of the pro­gram dis­cuss­es the pro­found dif­fer­ence between Islam as it was revealed by the Prophet Muham­mad and Islamism as it is pro­fessed by the likes of Osama bin Laden. (Sheikh Palazzi is the head Imam of the Ital­ian Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ty.)

“ . . . Some Mus­lim schol­ars, such as my friend and col­league, Pro­fes­sor Khalid Duran of Tem­ple Uni­ver­si­ty of Philadel­phia, mark the dis­tinc­tion between ortho­dox Islam­ic doc­trine and its polit­i­cal coun­ter­feit by call­ing the for­mer ‘Islam’, and the lat­ter ‘Islamism’.”

(“Ortho­dox Islam­ic Per­cep­tions of Jihad and Mar­tyr­dom” by Sheikh Pro­fes­sor Abdul Hadi Palazzi; text of an address giv­en to the Feb­ru­ary 20–23, Inter­na­tion­al Con­fer­ence on Coun­ter­ing Sui­cide Ter­ror­ism spon­sored by the Insti­tute for Counter-Ter­ror­ism of the Inter­dis­ci­pli­nary Cen­ter in Her­z­lyia; p. 2.)


“ ‘Whether Islamists like the term fun­da­men­tal­ist or not, their under­stand­ing of reli­gion resem­bles that of fun­da­men­tal­ists in oth­er reli­gions. This is not to say that Islamists are more reli­gious or more gen­uine­ly Islam­ic than oth­er Mus­lims. A com­mon mis­un­der­stand­ing in the West has it that Islamists are the one hun­dred per­centers among Mus­lims, and that they are the peo­ple of tra­di­tion. This is not at all the case. Islamists have a prob­lem with the peo­ple of tra­di­tion, espe­cial­ly the Sufis (mys­tics). Islamism is a late 20th cen­tu­ry total­i­tar­i­an­ism. It fol­lows in the wake of Fas­cism and Com­mu­nism, pick­ing up from those and seek­ing to refine their meth­ods of dom­i­na­tion. Islamists mold tra­di­tion to serve their polit­i­cal ends. This caus­es them to clash with tra­di­tion­al­ist Mus­lims who resist this manip­u­la­tion of reli­gion for pow­er pol­i­tics. Islamism is not a reac­tion of peo­ple feel­ing a loss of reli­gious mean­ing, but a reac­tion to a sense of loss in the polit­i­cal sphere; it is a quest for pow­er, an attempt to con­quer the state, not to regain inde­pen­dence for reli­gion, least of all indi­vid­ual faith’.”



“ ‘Like most total­i­tar­i­an ide­olo­gies, Islamism is a utopi­anism. Islamists seek to dom­i­nate by the most advanced tech­nolo­gies; in that sense they are mod­ernists. But their mod­el for an ide­al soci­ety takes inspi­ra­tion from an ide­al­ized sev­enth cen­tu­ry Ara­bia and an a‑historical view of reli­gion and human devel­op­ment in gen­er­al. It is an anachro­nis­tic mode of think­ing in con­flict with mod­ern con­cepts of democ­ra­cy, plu­ral­ism and human rights’. A rel­e­vant dif­fer­ence between tra­di­tion­al (or ortho­dox) Islam and fun­da­men­tal­ism is in the way of under­stand­ing the link between reli­gion and pol­i­tics.’”



“ ‘Few Mus­lims would deny that polit­i­cal com­mit­ment is part of Islam­ic ethics, but most dis­agree with the Islamist insis­tence that there exists a clear­ly defined ‘Islam­ic sys­tem’, dif­fer­ent from all oth­er polit­i­cal sys­tems. Islamists refuse to accept a sec­u­lar state that puts a mem­ber of a non-Mus­lim minor­i­ty at part with a mem­ber of the Mus­lim major­i­ty, and a woman at par with man’.”



“Accord­ing to tra­di­tion­al Islam­ic the­ol­o­gy, prophets are sent among human beings to teach them some nec­es­sary truths about the nature of God, about ethics, about those actions and those omis­sions which cause pros­per­i­ty in this world and beat­i­tude in the here­after. It can some­times hap­pen that those Prophets are called to preach in a milieu where a state and a com­plex social orga­ni­za­tion does not exist at all, and this caus­es them to assume a role of polit­i­cal lead­er­ship. This was, for instance, the role of Moses as a leader of the Chil­dren of Israel in the exo­dus from Egypt, or the posi­tion of Muham­mad as a gov­er­nor of the state cen­tered in Med­i­na. Even so, Islam­ic ortho­doxy teach­es that this hap­pens per acci­dent, and polit­i­cal lead­er­ship is not among the nec­es­sary ele­ments of the prophet­ic mas­ter­ship. As a mat­ter of fact, the Qur’an uses dif­fer­ent titles to describe the Prophet Muham­mad, but none of these titles refers to a polit­i­cal func­tion. The Qur’an says that Muham­mad has been sent as an ‘Admon­ish­er’, as a ‘Warn­er’, as ‘some­one who calls to God’, as ‘ a shin­ing light’, but it nev­er says that he was sent as a polit­i­cal social leader or as a head of State”

(Ibid.; pp. 2–3.)


Sheikh Palazzi describes the essen­tial dif­fer­ence between politi­cized Islam (Islamism) and the faith as revealed by Moham­mad. “Islamists, on the con­trary, have a com­plete­ly oppo­site atti­tude. Accord­ing to their point of view, the dif­fu­sion of Islam can­not be sep­a­rat­ed from the cre­ation of a claimed ‘Islam­ic State’. The role of Mus­lim schol­ars is imme­di­ate­ly con­fused with the role of lead­ers of a polit­i­cal move­ment or par­ty. Islamists con­tin­u­ous­ly repeat that ‘Islam is both reli­gion and gov­ern­ment’. This is the basic descrip­tion of their creed. What they for­get to under­line is that those words ‘Islam is both reli­gion and gov­ern­ment’ (‘al-Islam din wa dawlah’) are nei­ther found in the Holy Qur’an, Hadith (the say­ings of the Prophet Muhammed) or in ancient, author­i­ta­tive Islam­ic sources . . .”

(Ibid.; p. 3.)

15. Under­scor­ing the hereti­cal nature of the sui­cide bombers, Sheikh Palazzi presents pas­sages from the Qur’an on the sub­ject of tak­ing one’s own life.

“ . . . The evil sta­tus in the here­after of those who com­mit sui­cide is described in a say­ing of the Prophet Muham­mad that is con­tained in Sahih Mus­lim, anoth­er author­i­ta­tive com­pi­la­tion. It says ‘Who­ev­er kills him­self with a knife will be in hell for­ev­er stab­bing him­self in the stom­ach. Who­ev­er drinks poi­son and kills him­self will drink it eter­nal­ly in the hell fire. And who­ev­er kills him­self by falling off a moun­tain will for­ev­er fall in the fire of Hell.’. In the face of all these evi­dent proofs, one is spon­ta­neous­ly led to ask him­self a ques­tion: how is it pos­si­ble for some groups which claim to be ‘Islam­ic’ and to ‘rep­re­sent Islam’ to advo­cate both ter­ror­ism against civ­il pop­u­la­tions and sui­cide ter­ror­ism? . . . ”


16. Islamists and Islam­o­fas­cists also abuse the term “jihad.”

“ . . . In tra­di­tion­al Islam it is clear that mil­i­tary ‘jihad’ and all oth­er forms of mate­r­i­al ‘jihad’ only con­sti­tute the exter­nal aspect of ‘jihad’. The inner dimen­sion of ‘jihad’ is the strug­gle that every Mus­lim under­takes to puri­fy his soul from mun­dane desires, defects and ego­tism. Accord­ing to a well-known tra­di­tion, after com­ing from a mil­i­tary expe­di­tion, the Prophet Muham­mad said, ‘We have returned from the less­er ‘jihad’ to the greater ‘jihad’” [‘Raja’na min jihad al-asghar ila jihad al-akbar’].”



“Muham­mad was asked, ‘O Mes­sen­ger of God, what is the greater ‘jihad’?’ He answered, ‘It is the ‘jihad’ against one’s soul’. This nar­ra­tion has always been quot­ed by Sun­ni schol­ars when explain­ing the inner dimen­sion of jihad. Sufis espe­cial­ly have quot­ed this as an anti­dote against a lim­it­ed, phys­i­cal under­stand­ing of the nature of ‘jihad’. Wah­habis, on the con­trary, com­plete­ly reject this tra­di­tion, in the same way that they deny any deep­er under­stand­ing of the Islam­ic doc­trine. The recent­ly dis­ap­peared leader of the Wah­habi sect, Nasir ad-Din al-Albani, recurred to all pos­si­ble cap­tious argu­ments to prove that the tra­di­tion we cit­ed above is not authen­tic and the ‘greater jihad’ sim­ply does not exist.”



“On the con­trary, we think that med­i­tat­ing on this tra­di­tion can con­tribute very much to under­stand­ing the present sit­u­a­tion of those who con­fuse ‘jihad’ with ter­ror­ism. Crimes against civ­il pop­u­la­tions can by no means be a legit­i­mate form of ‘jihad’ with ter­ror­ism. Crimes against civ­il pop­u­la­tions can by no means be a legit­i­mate form of ‘jihad’ for the sim­ple rea­son that they are caused by hate, the most irra­tional of human pas­sions. Since fight­ing those anti-human pas­sions is in itself the greater ‘jihad’, refut­ing those who abuse Islam to legit­i­mate ter­ror­ism is also a very impor­tant form of the real ‘jihad’.”


19. Recent remarks by the (thank­ful­ly) out­go­ing Prime Min­is­ter of Malaysia are symp­to­matic of the influ­ence of Nazi-gen­er­at­ed anti-Semi­tism on con­tem­po­rary Islam. Speak­ing of the Jews, he said:

“ . . . ‘they invent­ed social­ism, com­mu­nism, human rights and democ­ra­cy so that per­se­cut­ing them would appear to be wrong, so that they can enjoy equal rights with oth­ers.’”

(“ ‘Jews Rule the World’ Speech Leads to Apol­o­gy in Malaysia” by Slo­bo­dan Lekic; San Jose Mer­cury News; 10/17/2003; p. 3AA.)


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