Author(s): Christopher Othen
History | No Category
They're a strange gang. Football thugs, gay activists, Jewish academics, French celebrities, uneasy alliances of feminists and conservatives, politicians hungry for power. The only thing they have in common is a belief Islam will overrun the West. The movement was born with 9/11. As coalition troops invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, iconoclastic journalists like Oriana Fallaci and Melanie Phillips warned that Muslims in the West were a potential enemy within. They got their ideological ammunition from a mysterious woman called Bat Ye'or, a Jewish-Egyptian ideologue with a career on the fringes of academia. An internet underground arose to spread the message. Soon sites like Jihadwatch and Little Green Footballs were warning the world that Islam posed a threat to democracy. In 2007 the Counter-Jihad Conference in Brussels brought activists face-to-face with mentors like Bat Ye'or for the first time. Then British conference attendees hooked up with football hooligans and an Evangelical Christian millionaire to form the English Defence League. Similar anti-Islamic movements blossomed across Europe - until a shooting spree by fascist Norwegian Anders Breivik disillusioned many. The Arab Spring, then a series of Islamic terrorist attacks and the Muslim migrant crisis turned up the heat. By this time prominent American counter-jihad bloggers had jobs writing for Breitbart.com, a right-wing news outlet. Some people at Breitbart had the ear of a New York billionaire considering a run in the 2016 Presidential election. Donald J Trump would get elected on a platform of populist nationalism. One of his first acts as President was a travel ban on citizens of six Muslim countries. The counter-jihad world celebrated. Far-right populist movements across Europe took note. Christopher Othen weaves together current events and history into a driving narrative.