Aim: To understand the re-emergence of far right groups across Europe in response to a perceived threat from Islam.
The July attacks carried out in Norway by Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people, were the first of their kind in Europe. Breivik was mobilised by a budding ‘Islamisation ideology’ that is rapidly being adopted by many of the continent’s traditional far-right movements. This holds that, after years of unchecked immigration, Europe is on the brink of elimination at the hands of Islam and Muslims. Muslims, it is claimed, are a fifth-columnist threat to Europe’s culture and liberal traditions and it is the duty of indigenous Europeans to resist this onslaught.
Some, such as Breivik, advocate that terrorist violence is the only effective response to this threat, while others, including the English Defence League (EDL), organise street protests and campaigns against the Muslim presence in Europe and call for the government to take authoritarian measures such as banning all Muslim immigration and the building of mosques.
The EDL, along with a number of other like-minded European organisations, has helped inspire a Europe-wide support network that works together to organise anti-Islam conferences and marches throughout Europe. This network is rapidly growing, with new national affiliates appearing frequently to assist in spreading the ideology and recruit local followers.
Through a combination of field research and open source analysis, ICSR’s ongoing research into this movement will look at how the ideology has been developed and used to mobilise Europeans. In addition, we will provide information on the creation of this Europe-wide movement and the main individuals involved in its development. This research will culminate in a soon to be released study, which will be made available on our site upon publication.
The report for this project, ‘A Neo-Nationalist Network: The English Defence League and Europe’s Counter-Jihad Movement’, has now been published and is available online here.