They make an odd gang: football thugs, gay activists, French celebrities, Jewish academics, uneasy alliances of feminists and conservatives, politicians hungry for power. The only thing they have in common is a belief that 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 online underground community 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 groups blossomed across Europe - until a massacre by Norwegian Anders Breivik disillusioned many.
The Arab Spring, a series of Islamist terrorist attacks and the European migrant crisis reinvigorated the movement. By this time prominent American counter-jihad bloggers had jobs writing for Breitbart News, a right-wing news outlet with 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 and counter-jihad policies. Far-right movements across Europe took note. Christopher Othen weaves together current events and history into a compelling account of the counter-jihad movement.
Christopher Othen is an English writer currently based in Eastern Europe. He has worked as a journalist, legal representative for asylum seekers, and an English language teacher. In off-the-clock adventures he has interviewed retired mercenaries about war crimes, discussed lost causes with political extremists, and got drunk with an ex-mujahidin who knew Osama Bin Laden. His first book, 'Franco's International Brigades: Adventurers, Fascists, and Christian Crusaders in the Spanish Civil War' has been published in four editions. His third, 'Lost Lions of Judah' was published by Amberley in spring 2017.