Neo-Nazis Find They Share Views of Militant Muslim Groups on U.S., Israel
by Peter Finn, The Washington Post
BERN, Switzerland - A portrait of Adolf Hitler has long adorned the study
of Ahmed Huber, a 74-year-old Swiss convert to Islam who lives outside this
small capital city. After Sept. 11, he twinned the picture with one of Osama
"A provocation," said Huber, the voluble proponent of a strange alliance,
one apparently strengthened in the aftermath of Sept. 11: Muslim
fundamentalists and neo-Nazis, who share a hatred of the United States,
Israel and Jews.
For years, Huber has been barnstorming the far-right circuit, speaking
a European congress of neo-Nazi youth organizations and Germany's far-right
National Democratic Party. He has taken the same message to Aryan youth
meetings in the United States.
And then there's his other identity. Huber works frequently with militant
Islamic groups. He is a director of Nada Management, a Swiss company
described by the U.S. Treasury Department as a financial adviser to bin
Laden's terrorist network. He acknowledges having met al Qaeda operatives,
but denies any financial role in the organization.
In an interview here, Huber said his role is to build a bridge between
radical Muslims and what he calls the New Right in Europe and the United
"The alliance has come," Huber said. "The 11th of September has brought
together [the two sides] because the New Right has reacted positively in
big majority. They say, and I agree with them 100 percent, what happened
the 11th of September, if it is the Muslims who did it, it is not an act
terrorism but an act of counterterrorism."
Other members of far-right groups and people who study the movements
agree that the September attacks pushed some members of the groups together.
"There is a sense of sympathy, [a sense] that there is common ground," Horst
Mahler, a member of the National Democratic Party, said in an interview
his home outside Berlin. "There are contacts with political groups, in
particular in the Arab world, also with Palestinians. That's a fact that
not being concealed."
How many of Germany's estimated 58,000 neo-Nazis are taking part in the
alliance is unclear; to date there is no evidence that neo-Nazi violence
against Muslim immigrants, a recurring problem in Germany, has declined.
Alfred Schobert, a researcher at the Information Service Against
Right-Wing Extremism in Duisburg, Germany, sees divisions among neo-Nazis
the issue. "Some of them, particularly the grass roots, are traditional
racists and they want to have nothing to do with Muslims," he said. "But
some of the leaders see potential in this."
Certainly the events of Sept. 11 produced fits of joy among some members
of the European far right, according to groups that monitor hate speech.
Young supporters of the National Front in France drank champagne on the
evening of Sept. 11, according to groups opposing neo-Nazis. A Czech
far-rightist, Jan Kopul, proclaimed bin Laden "an example for our children."
At a fascist youth rally in Switzerland, activists wore bin Laden
German neo-Nazi Mario Schulz burned a U.S. flag at a post-Sept. 11 rally,
exclaiming in front of skinheads wearing Palestinian scarves, "This is what
it looks like, the symbol of terror."
In the same period, the writings of William L. Pierce, the American whose
novel "The Turner Diaries" inspired Oklahoma City bomber Timothy J. McVeigh,
have appeared on the Web site of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite Muslim group
linked to Iran. Pierce also has been interviewed regularly on Radio Iran
telephone from his compound in West Virginia.
"We have a common cause: getting the U.S. government off the back of
rest of the world and getting the Jews off the back of the U.S. government,"
Pierce said in a telephone interview. "There is ground for joint action."
ruled out violence on the grounds that "we're so outgunned by the
Authorities in the United States and Europe are skeptical of an enduring
alliance. "It's an unnatural bond," said an FBI official in Washington.
German official offered a similar assessment: "I don't see it. They both
hate the Jews, but in the end, they also dislike each other."
The outlines of cooperation were visible before Sept. 11. In 1991, German
neo-Nazis tried to form a "Condor Legion" to fight alongside Iraqis against
the U.S.-led international coalition. More recently, members of the European
far right have journeyed to Baghdad to express solidarity with President
In late 1997, a German neo-Nazi and convert to Islam, Steven Smyrek,
allegedly trained at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, was arrested in Israel
for planning a suicide attack, according to the Duisburg center.
Also that year, a Holocaust denial conference planned for Beirut would
have brought together Pierce, Mahler of Germany's National Democratic Party,
who planned to speak on "The Final Solution to the Jewish Question," and
representatives of Hezbollah and other radical Muslim groups. The conference
was canceled by Lebanon's government.
According to Huber, some Nazi veterans also feel common cause with
By his account, a group of aging SS officers and members of Hitler's
personal guard who meet every few weeks in the German state of Bavaria for
beer and conversation recently bestowed the title "honorary Prussian" on
Laden. They praised his "valiant fight" against the United States, Huber
One of the members called Huber after the meeting to tell him that
henceforth they had decided to call the al Qaeda leader "Herr von Laden,"