Friday, 29 June 2018 01:07

Belgium – Nationalist politician compares Islam to Nazism

June media monitoring highlight for Belgium. Comparing Islamist terrorists, or Islam in general, to Nazism is a narrative used by many far-right wing politicians. This is incorrect from several perspectives.

 This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of June, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.

sam van rooyDate of publication: 8 June 2018

Media outlet: Het Laatste Nieuws (HLN), a Dutch-language daily newspaper published in the Netherlands and Belgium

Author: Sam van Rooy, interviewed by Philippe Truyts. Sam van Rooy is a spokesperson for the Antwerp regional section of the Flemish nationalist party Vlaams Belang


Headline: “’Islamisation is a bigger problem than terrorism’ - Sam van Rooy: crown prince of Filip Dewinter and third on the VB [Vlaams Belang] list”

Description of the anti-Muslim and antisemitic content: In this interview, Sam van Rooy talks about his new book ‘For freedom against Islamisation’ and shares his views on Islam. He says that Islam is as bad as national socialism. When challenged by the journalist on this statement, van Rooy argues that in 14 centuries, Islam has claimed 270 million lives and that it must be treated as a totalitarian ideology. Van Rooy also added that terrorism, as a problem, is less important than “the gradual Islamisation of our entire society, through demographic, legal, economic and political means.” 

Myth debunked:  Comparing ISIS, Islamist terrorists, or Islam in general, to Nazism is a narrative used by many far-right wing politicians. This is incorrect from several perspectives. First, it assumes that the beliefs of all Muslims are the same, whether they are war-mongers or peace-makers. While religion has certainly been used to justify nefarious acts, comparing Islam to national socialism means saying that the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are complicit in the crimes of a minority of extremist, and neglects that Muslims are the primary victims of terrorist attacks across the world. The second reason why the comparison is wrong is that it minimises the Holocaust and the horror of extermination camps. The Nazi racial ideology, which targeted Jews and other groups for persecution and annihilation, was enforced between 1933 and 1945 by a state through a series of laws and policies that planned and systematically implemented the genocide of six million Jews and tens of thousands of people of other groups considered as ‘racially inferior’. As Katharine Gelber, Professor at the University of Queensland, argues, even  when used to refer to a systematic and horrific abuse of human rights, the term “Nazi” should be avoided because it “risks diluting the term, blurring the meaning of what occurred during the Nazi period and overlooking key, defining aspects of the historical record such as the state-sanctioned nature of the Holocaust”. 

More to read:

When words fail: comparing Islamic State to the Nazis misses the mark

Islamophobia No Longer Needs Terrorism as Justification 

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