Responding to the ‘counter-Jihad’

by Richard on April 16, 2012

Image Source: guardian.co.uk via Richard on Pinterest

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.

Hope Not Hate has compiled a worryingly long list of organisations and individuals that make up this ‘counter-Jihad’ movement.

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.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Mark Byron 04.18.12 at 2:36 am

You counter things with love and the Word, not by blowing up mosques or fellow-travelers. Fighting fire with fire merely keeps the fire department busy.

If I am reading things right from this side of the pond, there is a tendency in the UK to try and tone down any Christian rhetoric or British cultural item that might make Muslims angry. It doesn’t compare to the lethal persecution that we see in many countries, but quite a few people are bothered by that heckler’s veto that is in play; totally writing it off seems a bit off as well.

2

Richard 04.18.12 at 7:48 am

>> “If I am reading things right from this side of the pond, there is a tendency in the UK to try and tone down any Christian rhetoric or British cultural item that might make Muslims angry.”

I don’t think I recognize that, certainly not in any conscious, systematic way. You do sometimes get odd corners of civic officialdom who understand neither Christianity nor Islam making some odd statements but broadly speaking I think the “British way” (and I realise that sounds really pompous) is for us just to get on with things. That’s just as true of British Muslims as it is of the rest of us. I just don’t see that “heckler’s veto”. What I do see is a nasty alliance of fear-mongering bigots who are stoking up resentment and hatred. The fact that there are “christian” groups involved in this is an affront to the gospel.

3

Mark Byron 04.20.12 at 2:07 am

I’ll buy that. The amount of “Christian” content in most Muslim-bashing rounds to zero in the vast majority of cases, looking more like Breivik’s uncivil civil religion than anything Jesus would recognize.

I see a few horror stories now and then, like (IIRC) taking The Three Little Pigs out of the library lest Muslims get upset, but a lot of the people doing the telling are folks on an anti-Muslim kick. Remind me to take such stories with multiple grains of salt.

4

Richard 04.20.12 at 6:15 am

I will. Almost always, on closer investigation of these stories they turn out to be false or exaggerated.

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