Nadeem Al Mahi
A homemade family film showing Elizabeth II performing a Nazi salute has sparked a debate so quintessentially English that one is only allowed to engage in it if one is snacking on tea and crumpets while watching the dressage. It is a triumvirate of Britishness; the Royal Family, The Blitz spirit and fascism. Yes, fascism is thoroughly British with various members of the British Royal Family and aristocracy having flirted with Fascism and fascist leaders. Some, like Oswald Mosely, adopted it as a cause transcendent. The film in question, features Edward VIII, briefly King of England and a Nazi sympathiser, after his abdication from the throne he retained the title Duke of Windsor. His brother, George VI (the current queens father), was on close terms with the Nazi politician and aristocrat, the Duke of Coburg; with whom they met many times leading up to the Second World War. The British aristocracy’s allegiances with Fascism and Hitler are well known and well documented amongst British Historians, yet hardly ever spoken of.
What is more alarming though, is that at the time MI5 were actively trying to undermine Oswald Mosely’s British Union of Fascists as well as other political extremists on the left and right, meaning that they viewed fascism and political extremism as dangerous. Many other legislations also existed at the time to curtail political descent. The Defence of The Realm Act, known as DORA was passed in 1914 days after the outbreak of the First World War. In 1920 certain powers from DORA were made permanent in the Emergency Powers Act 1920, later to be updated as the Emergency Powers Act 1939. The powers in these acts related to defending the realm against sedition and invasion. The Emergency Powers Act 1939 specifically dealt with Nazi sympathisers. Oswald Mosely fell afoul of the Defence Regulation 18b and was interned in 1940 along with his wife.
The only reason I bring this up is to ask this question; why is that Muslim children are subjected to Channel and Muslim women subjected to Shanaz for actions or words that are in fact less offensive and seditious than a Nazi salute? If the predominant narrative that parents are radicalising their children is to be believed, given that Elizabeth II’s immediate family were Nazi sympathisers, a young Elizabeth giving a Nazi salute is extremely alarming. So why was she not forced in to care, like so many Muslim children? In fact, we should be doubly alarmed, because not only did a young Elizabeth do a Nazi salute, but in 2005 her son, Harry, wore a Nazi uniform as a costume to a ‘Colonials and Natives’ (in itself extremely racist) party. For once proving the ‘parents radicalise their children narrative’ true.
There is a second discussion here too, that of the appropriation of symbolism. Unfortunately, Islamic symbolism has been co-opted by groups that have no Islamic credibility or any legitimacy from Muslims, and yet Muslims have been lumped together as a homogenous group. David Cameron continually lumps together groups such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir who work for a legitimate Caliphate together with ISIS. A few weeks ago there was furore over a man who carried an Islamic flag in front of Westminster, because people believed him to be symbolising ISIS. While this symbolism does not belong at all to ISIS, the Nazi salute (at that time) belonged exclusively to the Nazis. It also exclusively symbolised Nazi Fascism and anti-Semitism, and to this day continues to be a rallying cry for neo-Nazis, yet no one has accused Elizabeth II of believing in Nazism.
No one is arguing that Elizabeth II should be retroactively punished for her salute, or that her children should be taken off her – we are not that petty. We are simply pointing out the ridiculous nature, as well as the double standards, of the Prevent narrative and anti-extremism narrative.