Sunday, August 14, 2005


Indoctination nazi and muslim style

Watching the Channel4documentary, Hitler's Children, I was struck by similarities amd differences between the nature of nazism and the current problem with extremist muslims. Four out of five Germans during the thirties were members of the Hitler Youth; the programmes detailed the intensive indoctination they received- sporting, social, proto military and, always, the glorification of Hitler himself. Consequently they were easy clay to mould into the children's Division, which fought efectively resisting the D Day invasion force. Also the young neophytes who defended Berlin as the Russians entered. They were prepared to lay down their lives for their fatherland and hundreds, thousands, did so. Some willingly executed innocent Jewish prisoners and committed other atrocities, rather like the young members of African militias in the Congo and Sierra Leone. Some former members spoke to the camera of their horror at what they had become and their remorse at what they had done in the name of false values.

Muslim recruits to extremist groups seem to undergo a similar process of indoctrination whereby they believe giving their lives for Islam is a noble thing to do. They do not join vast organisation. Rather, they seem to have entered a process when at vulnerable ages or stages in their lives; some middle class and angry with their parents, others already deviating and detached from society, even to extent of being part of the criminal world. Some travelled to Afganistan or Palestine and were drawn in at this time. The typical form of organisation is a small discussion group or cell which forms, developes and becomes determined to do something to defend muslims under attack in the Middle east and elsewhere.

Muslim activists do not undergo training in the field but plan specific acts, often briefed by instructions on the internet or, we know little about this, some kind of 'mastermind' or charmismatic teacher. The process is almst wholly different but the results not dissimilar. Wheras Hitler's constructions were defeated on the battlefields of Europe, the challenge of the radical muslims can only be met through a combination of understanding the grievances which lead young people to commit themselves to such action; squeezing out the support for such actions in their respective local communities; and infiltrating the dangerous groups out of which cells emerge.

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