As Anders Behring Breivik goes on trial, there is growing concern about the rise of the increasingly strident anti-Islam movement which seems to have inspired him.
In total we feature over 300 organisations and key individuals that make up the ‘Counter-Jihad’ movement. It covers the right wing political parties, who are increasingly using anti-Muslim rhetoric to garner votes. It also explores the websites and bloggers who propagate scare stories about Islam. It covers the street gangs, like the English Defence League, and the likeminded groups they inspire around Europe. It also discusses the funders and the foundations which bankroll the network.
Perhaps most interestingly, it reveals the inter-connections between the different strands.
The ‘Counter-Jihad’ movement is the new face of the far right in Europe and North America. Replacing the old racial nationalist politics of neo-Nazi and traditional far right parties, with the language of cultural and identity wars, it attempts to present itself as more mainstream and respectable. And as we have seen in countries such as Switzerland, Netherlands and Denmark these new right-wing populist parties, with an anti-Muslim and anti-immigration message, can garner support from far broader swathes of the population than the old-style racist parties.
I was struck by the inclusion of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre, organisations which wave the ludicrous ‘Christians are being persecuted in Britain’ banner and whose barrister Paul Diamond was linked to the empty threat of legal action against the Methodist Church a couple of years ago.
Fear and hatred of others are a continuing temptation. The desire for a scapegoat on whom to pin the world’s ills is never very far away, especially at times of economic uncertainty. But hatred and fear have no place in the Kingdom of God, and Christians everywhere should be encouraged by the work of Hope Not Hate.
Sadly, I know they won’t be.