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A chilling, fascinating, and nearly forgotten historical figure is resurrected in a riveting work that links the fascism of the last century with the terrorism of our own. Written with verve and extraordinary access to primary sources in several languages, Icon of Evil is the definitive account of the man who during World War II was called “the führer of the Arab world” and whose ugly legacy lives on today.

In 1921, the beneficiary of an appointment the British would live to regret, Haj Amin al-Husseini became the mufti of Jerusalem, the most eminent and influential Islamic leader in the Middle East. For years, al-Husseini fomented violence in the region against the Jews he loathed and wished to destroy. Forced out in 1937, he eventually found his way to the country whose legions he desperately wished to join: Nazi Germany.

Here, with new and disturbing details, David G. Dalin and John F. Rothmann show how al-Husseini ingratiated himself with his hero, Adolf Hitler, becoming, with his blonde hair and blue eyes, an “honorary Aryan,” while dreaming of being installed Nazi leader of the Middle East. Al-Husseini would later recruit more than 100,000 Muslims in Europe to fight in divisions of the Waffen-SS, and obstruct negotiations with the Allies that might have allowed four thousand Jewish children to escape to Palestine. Some believe that al-Husseini even inspired Hitler to implement the Final Solution. At war’s end, al-Husseini escaped indictment at Nuremberg and was harbored in France before being given a hero’s welcome in Egypt.

Icon of Evil
chronicles al-Husseini’s postwar relationships with such influential Islamic figures as the radical theoretician Sayyid Qutb and Saddam Hussein’s powerful uncle, General Khairallah Talfah, and his crucial mentoring of the young Yasser Arafat. Finally, it provides compelling evidence that al-Husseini’s actions and writings serve as inspirations today to the leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations pledged to destroy Israel and the United States.
Revelatory and unsettling, Icon of Evil reveals an essential character in the worst crimes of the modern era. It is an important addition to our understanding of the past, present, and future of radical Islam.


From the Hardcover edition.
Published: Random House Publishing Group an imprint of Random House Publishing Group on Jan 1, 2008
ISBN: 9781588367037
List price: $12.99
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This is a very readable and well documented account of the political career and legacy of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the influential mufti of Jerusalem who allied himself and the Arab cause to Nazi Germany. Escaping trial for war crimes, he returned to the Middle East and continued in the creation of today's radical Islam. A fairly brief book, I felt that it greatly enhanced my understanding of modern history.The book focuses on the mufti's political and polemical career, almost completely ignoring his private life except to note his fondness for luxury. Family members are mentioned only if they, like Yassar Arafat, were disciples of his vision. If he had a wife (or wives) and children, they are not mentioned here. The chief focus is on the Nazi years; one criticism that I have is that there is no explanation of why he went into eclipse in the 1960s.One comment, this is not a criticism, is that the book is written from a Jewish/Zionist point of view. This is not a secret, and I am not aware of any evidence that the authors have shaded the facts. It is rather in the tone of the work. One problem that I have in discussing the Arab-Israeli situation is that I can genuinely sympathize with both sides. I don't find it surprising that al-Husseini, and quite a few other Palestinians, were not enthralled with the prospect of massive immigration of Jews into Palestine with the subsequent formation of a Jewish state. What is unconscionable is how this became the excuse for mob violence, murder of opponents and a call for the extermination of all Jews throughout the world. As an atheist, I put al-Husseini on my list of people who prove that religion doesn't necessarily create moral people. I will never lose sympathy for Israel in the face of the rabid, and sometimes deranged accusations against Jews. I have not yet heard that Zionists have been accused of arranging the 2004 tsunami, but I won't be surprised if that's coming. There is a substantial section on the history of radical Islam, especially in Palestine, up to the present, including the continuing popularity of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Blood Libel, Mein Kampf and Holocaust denial. The authors feel that this is all so obviously nonsense that they fail to examine the matter of whether or not Muslims, either the leadership or the average person, actually believe this. These ideas are spread by the governments, but do they actually believe it themselves, or is this a completely cynical manipulation of public opinion? A very worthwhile book.read more
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This is a very readable and well documented account of the political career and legacy of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the influential mufti of Jerusalem who allied himself and the Arab cause to Nazi Germany. Escaping trial for war crimes, he returned to the Middle East and continued in the creation of today's radical Islam. A fairly brief book, I felt that it greatly enhanced my understanding of modern history.The book focuses on the mufti's political and polemical career, almost completely ignoring his private life except to note his fondness for luxury. Family members are mentioned only if they, like Yassar Arafat, were disciples of his vision. If he had a wife (or wives) and children, they are not mentioned here. The chief focus is on the Nazi years; one criticism that I have is that there is no explanation of why he went into eclipse in the 1960s.One comment, this is not a criticism, is that the book is written from a Jewish/Zionist point of view. This is not a secret, and I am not aware of any evidence that the authors have shaded the facts. It is rather in the tone of the work. One problem that I have in discussing the Arab-Israeli situation is that I can genuinely sympathize with both sides. I don't find it surprising that al-Husseini, and quite a few other Palestinians, were not enthralled with the prospect of massive immigration of Jews into Palestine with the subsequent formation of a Jewish state. What is unconscionable is how this became the excuse for mob violence, murder of opponents and a call for the extermination of all Jews throughout the world. As an atheist, I put al-Husseini on my list of people who prove that religion doesn't necessarily create moral people. I will never lose sympathy for Israel in the face of the rabid, and sometimes deranged accusations against Jews. I have not yet heard that Zionists have been accused of arranging the 2004 tsunami, but I won't be surprised if that's coming. There is a substantial section on the history of radical Islam, especially in Palestine, up to the present, including the continuing popularity of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the Blood Libel, Mein Kampf and Holocaust denial. The authors feel that this is all so obviously nonsense that they fail to examine the matter of whether or not Muslims, either the leadership or the average person, actually believe this. These ideas are spread by the governments, but do they actually believe it themselves, or is this a completely cynical manipulation of public opinion? A very worthwhile book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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