Tarring Jihad's Opponents
The British organization HOPE not Hate (HnH), a group formed in 2005 to oppose the "politics of hate" of the British National Party and the English Defense League in the service of the "anti-racist and anti-fascist movement" and enjoying the "support of the Daily Mirror, trade unions, celebrities and community groups across" the United Kingdom, has published on its website a Counter-Jihad Report. HnH's chief executive Nick Lowles writes in the report's online introduction that the "Counter-Jihad" (CJ) movement "is a broad church of people and ideas embracing neo-Conservatives, Christian evangelicals, hard-line racists, football hooligans, nationalists, right wing populists and some former leftists." This "new face of the political right in Europe and North America" has replaced the "old racial nationalist politics of neo-Nazi and traditional far right parties" with an "anti-Muslim and anti-immigration message" based on "cultural and identity wars" in order to be "more mainstream and respectable." Already "increasingly ... poisoning the wider political and media discourse," the CJ will, in HnH's leftist materialistic analysis, "only grow" as "economic hardship bites and insecurity breeds fear."
Although "numerically small," the CJ's rhetorical "poisons" can have "deadly effect." The "Norwegian killer Anders Behring Breivik[,]" infamous for his bloody July 22, 2011 attacks, for example, was "inspired by many of the 'counter-jihadists' we profile in this report" and, accordingly, features with his personally created fantastical military attire and assault rifle on the Counter-Jihad Report's masthead. Fellow counter-jihadists outlets include Robert Spencer's well-known Jihad Watch website as well as pictures of Spencer's sponsor, the American conservative political activist and publisher David Horowitz, and Dutch politician Geert Wilders. "Almost a quarter" of Breivik's "1,500 page Manifesto" (available in PDF form here) comprised quotations "from other people-the overwhelming majority from people featured in this report" such as the "'counter-jihadist' blogger Fjordman" (Peder Nøstvold Jensen), who alone provided "[h]alf of these 375 pages of quotes." "Perhaps," concedes Lowles, Breivik "would have gone on a killing spree without reading their work but it is clear their writings had an important impact on the creation of his political mindset." In response to this threat, HnH "is establishing a permanent 'Counter-Jihad' Monitoring Unit."
Perusal of HnH's Counter-Jihad Report makes me wonder whether I will ever appear in its pages, as so many of HnH's listings are known to me one way or another. In the American section of the report's "International 'Counter-Jihadist' map," for example, appear the Legal Project (LP) and its parent Middle East Forum (MEF), along with their founder Daniel Pipes. LP, for which I have worked and written two blog postings (available here and here), has the objective of countering Islamist efforts to suppress expression critical of Islam in general of Muslim groups in particular. Pipes' own personal profile here, meanwhile, describes him as a "[p]owerhouse behind the international counter-jihadist movement" who was "[c]ited 18 times (together with his MEF) in Anders Breivik's manifesto."
In the American section as well appears the pseudonymous Ibn Warraq (translated by HnH as "son of a papermaker"), the South-Asian American, British-educated former Muslim, whose numerous book titles appear in his profile. Among them is Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Muslim Democracy, a book personally sold to me at a presentation by this erudite and pleasant critic of Islamic authoritarianism and favorably reviewed by me here at American Thinker, which in turn also appears in the American section of HnH's global review. Making it into the American section are additionally the websites Pajamas (PJ) Media, edited in part by my Facebook friend and online interlocutor Barry Rubin, and Jihad Watch, read by me almost daily. Another Facebook friend of mine and casual acquaintance, Frank Gaffney, Jr., also has a profile here. The Canadian-Iranian Ali Sina and his website Faith Freedom International (publisher of another blog post by me), meanwhile, make their appearance in the Canadian section of HnH's global CJ review.
The outlook exhibited by HnH's listing of these names and organizations does not bode well for open discussion concerning Islam around the world. The suggestion that HnH's cited "counter-jihadists" are simply supplanting "neo-Nazi and traditional far right parties" in conjunction with "hard-line racists" and "football hooligans" can only provoke calls to suppress "counter-jihadist" freedom of opinion as "hate speech" before someone like Breivik supposedly acts out a CJ agenda with violence. In such reasoning, the memory of Julius Streicher, the Third Reich's anti-Semitic propagandist executed by the Allied Nuremburg tribunal on October 16, 1946 for his role as publisher of the Nazi party organ Der Stürmer, looms large. To such proponents of this oft-advocated "CJ = Breivik" thesis, the arguments of Fjordman at Horowitz's online Front Page Magazine that Breivik's bizarre thinking drew inspiration from a wide range of sources like Fidel Castro, Mohandas Gandhi, Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy, and al-Qaeda, even while Breivik at trial expressly rejected Fjordman as a role model, will be unavailing. Defenders of freedom in general and of unfettered examination of Islam in particular should be on guard against HnH and their ilk.