It is axiomatic that a knowledge of history is a prerequisite for understanding the present. But the question is: How much weight should we give to controversial figures from the past when deciding how to think about current conflicts?
According to the authors of a new book about Haj Amin al-Husseini (1893-1974), the grand mufti of Jerusalem, who played a key role in fomenting and exacerbating the struggle between Jews and Arabs during much of the 20th century, the answer is quite a lot.
The book, "Icon of Evil: Hitler's Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam", by David G. Dalin and John F. Rothman, makes the case that you can draw a direct line from al-Husseini to not only the Palestine Liberation Organization and Hamas — groups that took up his battle against Zionism — but to Iran, Al Qaeda and the 9/11 conspirators.
That's a searing indictment that both supporters of Israel and its foes ought to examine closely. And if this book fails to deliver the definitive account of the Mufti's life in English that students of this period of history have been waiting for, it nevertheless shines a spotlight on a figure who deserves far greater attention than he has received in recent decades.
July 23, 2008
The Mufti of Jerusalem's Nazi ideology lives on among contemporary Islamists
Haj Amin al-Husseini and his hatred for Jews deconstructs occupation as a root cause of Muslim terrorism. Via JWR:
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