COLLECTED ESSAYS - written during a stay in Berlin in 1939 - Karen Blixen compares in the chapter, "Letters from a country in war", Nazism with Islam:
"Could there ever have been something like this Third Reich? Of the events that I have personally known in my life, the one that comes closest to it is Islam, the Mohammedan world and worldview.
- The word Islam means devotion, it is probably the same as the Third Kingdom expresses in its show of hands (the Hitler salutation): Yours in life and death.
Islam is of the two the highest ideal because it is higher to serve God than to serve a homeland or a race. The cry of the minaret: "There is only one God and Muhammad is his prophet," is of a more everlasting nature than any battle cry of the chosen people. The crescent is a more noble sign than the garden cross - (which at least has something troubled and broken, spasmodic in its movement, where not, as on the towers at the entrance to the stadium, the hooks are bent to form fragments of a periphery, which collect the figure and bring it to rest.)
Yet the two worlds have many things in common. But one should not think of the old Islam, which we now know, after it has found a modus vivendi between the world religions. You have to go back eleven or twelve centuries to the meeting with the young Muhammadan movement as it arose and unfolded like a banner and went forward to subdue the world. Then there must have been lightning and thunder in the clouds, and the surrounding kingdoms must have felt badly about the situation. Where did the desert people get this power?
The Islamic world view, like Nazism, has a tremendous self-esteem: The believer stands above all unbelievers, one faithful soul is worth more than the gold of the whole world. It is, in its essence, class-destroying as the Third Reich, the one Muhammadan is whether he is a water carrier or emir, as good as the other. It has a great cohesion and great helpfulness among the believers - 10% of your fortune you must give to those in need of Islam, and it is not alms but a debt you pay. In its rituals, Islam has a resemblance to the Third Reich: the believers do not have time to become strangers to each other. Some things in "Mein Kampf" are like chapters in the Qur'an.
Islam became widespread with the sword, it is an indictment against it by other religions, which, at this point, cannot all themselves have the best conscience. I want to quote as far as I remember it, because you can't buy English books here in Berlin - what Carlyle has to say about it in her book: "Heroes and Hero-Workship", which for the rest has much of the Third Reich's thinking. "With the sword," he writes. “Yes, but from where did the Prophet get the swords? Every new religion begins with a minority of one single man - on the one hand he, on the other hand, all the others. - It would not benefit him to try to spread his faith with the sword. Let him get his swords. "
The very idea of the paradise of Islam is created by a fantasy of war, an ideal for an army in the march. - "As long as you march, you must suppress all your desires and keep abstaining, persistent, ready for battle. But when the city is occupied and we have gone to camp, it all becomes quite different. ”It is a five-year plan in a supernatural dimension.
Islam is characterized by its desert origin, which is sandstorms in it and large mirages. On the other hand, I think, the Third Reich has a purely ecstatic respectability, an ambition of life and death, in heaven and on earth. Which of the two mentalities is the most dangerous is not good to know.”
The Swiss theologian Karl Barth, 1939:We do not know whether Hitler is going to found a new Islam. He is already on the way; he is like Muhammad.
The emotion in Germany is Islamic; warlike and Islamic. They are all drunk with wild god. That can be the historic future.
One suspects the two figures communicated, but we don't know. And while we are here, today the political establishment as soon, as they wish to vilify a political leader, compare him or her with Hitler; in the 1930'ies it appears some European intellectuals compared Hitler with the prophet of Islam.