The Jihad Factory
A Mosque in Munich:
Nazis, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West
by Ian Johnson
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade
$27.00 List Price
“I consider only the Mohammedans to be safe. All the others I consider unsafe,” Adolf Hitler proclaimed at his headquarters one day in 1942. “I don’t see any risk if one actually sets up pure Mohammedan units.” The Soviet Union, Hitler’s enemy, had a population of millions of Muslims who felt their religious and nationalist aspirations were being quashed by the Communist state. The führer’s idea was simple: exploit this anger for military and propaganda gain. Like much else about the Nazis’ expansion eastward, these plans would crumble. However, once the United States emerged from World War II and geared up to fight the USSR, its former ally, the CIA sought to employ militant Muslims to combat Communism. But if Hitler thought there was nothing to lose by mobilizing Islam for his own gain, the United States would learn otherwise—particularly on that cloudless morning of September 11, 2001.
Before the smoke had cleared, critics of US policy claimed that the attacks were the result of unintended consequences, a form of blowback. The desperate search to find a cause for the massacre yielded this story: The United States had armed and trained Islamic fundamentalists, the mujahideen, to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the latest cold-war front line. Their battle won and the Soviet Union dead, these emboldened fighters, Osama bin Laden among them, had turned their sights on their former benefactors. We had helped create the monster.
As most people understand it, Afghanistan is where the story began and September 11 where it ended. But the great surprise—the revelation,