LIVE BLOGGING FROM ICSR CONFERENCE- Report Launch Launch: A Neo-Nationalist Network: The EDL and Europe’s Counter-Jihad Movement
Launch: A Neo-Nationalist Network: The English Defence League and Europe’s Counter-Jihad Movement
Our aims was to outline the European network of the Counter-Jihad movement as well as the ideology of the far right movement and tactics used to mobilise a following.
The EDL has tried to spread the ‘defence league’ idea throughout Europe in light of support coming from other places like the US. These leagues have emerged in Scandinavia and throughout Europe.
‘Counter-jihad’ is a self-described movement of activists in Europe and America who have identified Islam as a threat. The movement is highly decentralised and has used the internet to become a more coherent movement. These include umbrella organisations like SOIN and EFI. These umbrellas work to build a networks. These umbrella groups have held multiple meetings, the most recent in Stockholm and Norway, to materialise rhetoric. The event was regarded a failure due to low attendance, but neglected what the goal had been.
The movement is inspired by a belief in a jihadist terrorist threat and that Islam is an evil ideology aimed at dominating the West. Islamisation is seen everywhere by the movement. This term is prominent in the movement and is used to create fear.
Attempts to reform or interpret Sharia any other way than an essentialist manner are rejected by these groups and lead Islam to be perceived as more extreme than it is. Sharia law is seen to be an impediment to the imposition of liberal values.
The ‘defence league’ also believes in an impending civil war in Europe between Europeans and Muslims. Strong rhetoric like ‘sex grooming’ is used to mobilise members. These sexual assaults are seen as an inevitable consequence of Muslim integration into Europe. ‘Rape jihad’ is a concern for the EDL and it has gained interest since the British media has been reporting on the existence of ‘sex grooming gangs’.
The Counter-Jihad world is made of 3 groups: Traditional right wing extremists, populistic radical rightists, and islamiphobes. These groups are not all explicitly anti-Islam but they have this rhetoric within their parties. The groups use a model taken from US history on how to maintain networks split into defence leagues, populist right parties, organisations, individuals and websites/blogs. All of these sub-groups are discussed within the report.
The website ‘Atlas Shrugs’ is most famous for the Ground Zero Mosque debates and the propagation of Obama as a Kenyan-born Muslim. The ‘International Civil Liberties Group’ gathers the elite within the networks. The 910 group, started by the Gates of Vienna website claims ‘rebirth—resistance’ to move past 9/11 and fight back. The 910 group have no command center.
The Sweden Democrats are hard core Nazis and are predicted to win 10-20% in the election next year. The Fremskrittpartiet in Norway have nearly 23%, and in Denmark, the Populistic Right has 12.3%. Most of these people want to become mainstream and change the system from within. We must see them in this context.