Noted writer VS Naipaul believes the emergence of the Islamic State consitutes what he calls the ‘Fourth Reich’, and has called for its ‘military annihilation’ because it had become the ‘most potent threat to the world’ since the Third Reich.
In a rare intervention in the discourse on IS, the Nobel laureate contributed a lengthy article to the mass circulation ‘Daily Mail’ on Sunday, in which he traces the historical context of Islam and the rise of the IS, which, according to him, is ‘dedicated to a contemporary holocaust’.
A known critic of Islam, Naipaul, 82, has commented in the past in favour of Hindutva forces in India, and also participated in a political event at the Bharatiya Janata Party office in New Delhi in 2004.
Criticising the recent destruction of historical artefacts in Syria, Naipaul wrote: “Isis is dedicated to a contemporary holocaust. It has pledged itself to the murder of Shias, Jews, Christians, Copts, Yazidis and anyone it can, however fancifully, accuse of being a spy”.
He added: “It has wiped out the civilian populations of whole regions and towns. Isis could very credibly abandon the label of Caliphate and call itself the Fourth Reich”.
“Like the Nazis, Isis fanatics are anti-semitic, with a belief in their own racial superiority. They are anti-democratic: the Islamic State is a totalitarian state, absolute in its authority. There is even the same self-regarding love of symbolism, presentation and propaganda; terror is spread to millions through films and videos created to professional standards of which Goebbels would have been proud”.
Naipaul, whose last public appearance in London was at a conference on Margaret Thatcher in June last year, wrote: “Just as the Third Reich did, Isis categorises its enemies as worthy of particular means of execution from decapitation to crucifixion and death by fire”.
“Whereas the Nazis pretended to be the guardians of civilisation in so far as they stole art works to preserve them and kept Jewish musicians alive to entertain them, Isis destroys everything that arises from the human impulse to beauty”.
Naipaul traced the socio-religious reasons for some British Muslim youth travelling to Syria to join IS, and concluded that “Its military annihilation as an anti-civilisational force has to now be the objective of a world that wants its ideological and material freedoms”.