You are viewing blog items for December 2015.
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Monday, 28 December 2015, 22:38
After a year in which we barely paused to take a breath, the team at HOPE not hate is taking a few days off to relax with friends and family. We hope you get the chance to do the same. Thank you for all your support this year, which has helped us achieve so much. Here's a round up of our 2015. Hope you enjoy it, and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
January: Reporting on ISIS
HOPE not hate team member Joe Mulhall travels to Iraqi Kurdistan, and sends back a dramatic eye witness account of the human suffering and mass displacement of people resulting from ISIS’s advances across Syria and Iraq. HOPE not hate leads the condemnation of the murderous Jihadi ideology of ISIS, and of other groups internationally which share its views.
February: Community Hope in Dudley
In response to an English Defence League march in Dudley, HOPE not hate led the positive community rejoinder, which saw 400 messages of HOPE being displayed in a pop up shop in Dudley town centre, a stone’s throw from the rally. Dudley Central Mosque responded to the protests by opening their doors to provide food, hot drinks and shelter from the cold to local people and anti-racist supporters.
The HOPE not hate team went on tour! Two weeks of travel up and down the country as part of the #NoVoteNoVoice bus tour paid off as thousands of individuals registered to vote and pledged to play their part in the May General Elections. Engaging vulnerable groups and marginalised communities across England and Wales, the bus tour was the highlight in an ongoing campaign for voter registration in 2015.
HOPE not hate focussed our energies on political campaigning in April. We knew which seats were most at risk of a UKIP victory, and we employed a nuanced and localised approach to our campaign. In the few weeks before the election, we put out over half a million pieces of literature, in fifty different versions, up and down the country.
May: General Election 2015
Hunkered down on election night after a final day spent doing yet more leafleting with fabulous volunteers in Thurrock, we had the satisfaction of seeing UKIP lose in every seat we had targeted, and even slipping into third place in Thurrock due to the voter mobilisation we had promoted. You can’t beat good old fashioned leafleting!
June: Golders Green Together
Working with Jewish organisations, HOPE not hate led a positive response to a planned anti-Semitic rally, scheduled to take place on the Jewish Sabbath Golders Green. Coordinating a campaign of solidarity and unity among the different faith communities of this vibrant area, we leafleted the area, saw posters displayed in shops, and spoke in schools. Fabulously, the rally was moved to Whitehall, with a pathetic 27 neo-Nazis eventually turning out. Everyone from local MP Mike Freer to passers-by helped celebrate by decorating the heart of Golders Green in gold and green ribbons.
July: #Walk Together
To mark 10 years since the 7/7 bombings, when 52 people died on the streets of London, we joined friends from across the spectrum to get off public transport one stop early and walk, and remember the victims of 7/7. As well as being supported by Faiths Forum for London, Hope Not Hate, Islamic Society of Britain, Faith Matters, Trust for London, The Big Iftar, British Humanist Association, St John Ambulance, New Horizons in British Islam, City Sikhs, Inspire, JW3 Jewish Community Centre London, Armed Forces Muslim Forum and British Future, a group of trade union activists walked from the Unison headquarters to Kings Cross Station, where one minute’s silence was observed.
August: Muhammed cartoons competition
Just when we thought it was time to take a holiday, we heard about a Counter-Jihadist plan to create a Muhammad cartoon competition in September. Those behind this initiative were hoping to incite outrage and a counter-reaction from the Muslim community, in order to inflame communal tensions. They were doing so under the (false) guise of free speech. Luckily, we were one step ahead, and were able to publish a report into those involved and exposing their motivations. Once it became clear how incendiary their intentions were, events took a change of direction, and the plans were quickly cancelled citing supposed security concerns.
Our Together community organising campaign took a huge boost from HOPECamp, our four day residential training campaign. Taking 50 budding lay activists from key geographic areas in the UK, the group included professionals in the field of race equality, students, representatives from faith and LGBT+ communities, with a majority of women, and over a third from ethnic minority communities. The four days comprised some intensive pooling of collective knowledge and an opportunity to learn new techniques and practises. Post HOPECamp, our team has kept in touch with participants, offering support and advice where necessary, as they put their new found knowledge and inspiration into practise.
October: Refugee Crisis projects
HOPE not hate has followed the growing refugee crisis with huge concern. October saw the culmination of several of our grass roots campaigns on the issue of refugees and immigration. From OurCupOfTea, a fabulous opportunity for people to get together to share a cup of tea with people they would not generally have shared space with before, to our appeal for Doctors of the World together with Philosophy Football, to our work supporting activists in local community projects, we worked hard to keep the narrative positive and the activism useful.
November: Voter Registration
In November, we tackled the huge issue of voter registration. A consequence of the government changes to the way we register to vote is that there is a huge drop off in voter registration amongst vulnerable communities, private renters and students. Through a multi-faceted campaign which included direct approaches to universities, student unions, electoral return offices and faith groups, and through door to door distribution of campaign cards, we significantly raised the profile of this issue amongst affected communities.
December: Counter Jihad Report
December saw the online publication of an updated version of HOPE not hate’s assessment of the Counter-Jihad movement. The report contains an analysis of how anti-Muslim sentiment takes place from the extremist margins right through to mainstream commentary, and an explanation of how the Counter-Jihad movement only fuels Islamic extremism.
Posted: 28 Dec 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 22 December 2015, 13:56
From the International Business Times (21 December 2015)
As they gathered for the main Friday prayer service on 11 December, Muslims at the Islamic Society of Palm Springs heard a loud explosion and saw flames erupt from the lobby of the building. While no one was injured, the bombing of the Palm Springs centre represented the 63rd attack on a mosque in America so far this year, with 17 taking place in November alone. This is roughly three times the number of incidents compared with last year.
After the shootings in San Bernadino on 2 December by an Islamic State (Isis)-inspired couple, according to The New York Times the top Google search in California using the word "Muslims" was "kill Muslims". The Times said in the same article that it had found a direct correlation between anti-Muslim searches and anti-Muslim hate crimes.This all comes off the back of Donald Trump's call to temporarily ban all Muslim immigration from America.
Even here in the UK, there was a tripling of anti-Muslim attacks in London after the Paris terror atrocities; a woman was pushed into the path of a Tube train, while other high-profile incidents took place before and after Paris on public transport, including two women who attacked and then threw a Muslim woman off a London bus in October, shouting "this isn't bloody Africa".
These incidents, and many more besides, reflect growing anti-Muslim sentiment which we, at HOPE not hate, have characterised as "moving from the margins to the mainstream" in a new report into the "counter-jihad" movement.
The term "counter-jihad" is used by scholars and commentators to describe a broad range of anti-Muslim activists and organisations which don't just attack Islamism, but also Islam and Muslims more generally. Many share a belief that Islam is an expansionist, often violent or intolerant religion, which is on a collision course with the West, with Europe at danger of turning into "Eurabia". A few even want to bring about that confrontation.
As well as documenting the rise of organised anti-Muslim activity, our report (which covered over 900 organisations across 22 countries, using publicly accessible data) showed how the rhetoric of this broad movement has become worryingly mainstream.
While the report was clear that criticism of Islamist extremism (as well as criticising religion) was perfectly legitimate – we ourselves have exposed violent Islamists, as well as opposed intolerant preachers, strongly supported the Jewish community, and called on the Left to do more to tackle Islamist extremism – it was important for authorities to take note of rising anti-Muslim prejudice.
At its most extreme end, one of counter-jihadism's most notorious adherents is Norwegian killer Anders Breivik, who slew 77 mainly young victims in Norway in 2011. He cited many counter-jihadist thinkers (both American and European) in the 1,500 page manifesto he produced to justify his killings, blaming "cultural Marxism" for undermining Europe via mass immigration from the Islamic world.
His Facebook friends included 600 members of the English Defence League (EDL), the notorious anti-Muslim street movement whose founder, Tommy Robinson, is a prominent counter-jihadist and now preparing to launch an anti-Muslim Pegida UK. (Robinson has revealed he was paid £8,000 by counter-extremism think tank the Quilliam Foundation after supposedly quitting the EDL "thanks" to the organisation in 2013.)
Breivik also quoted a prominent counter-jihadist blogger nicknamed Fjordman, aka Peder Jensen, who has written that immigration and multiculturalism are to blame for allowing Islam to take hold in Europe. He predicted civil war within a generation and in one blog urged people to take up arms.
Breivik heavily quoted writings from two of the US's most notorious counter-jihadist activists, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who were banned from entering the UK in 2013, following a mass petition and lobbying by our organisation. Geller has placed anti-Muslim advertisements on to US buses and metro systems, via her organisation the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI). She runs an organisation with Spencer called Stop Islamization of America (SIOA).
Geller and Spencer in turn have links to scores of other counter-jihadist networks, both in the US and internationally. "Geller has mingled comfortably with European racists and fascists," says the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), adding she has called Islam "the most radical and extreme ideology on the face of the earth". Spencer and Geller both share strong links to Robinson.
Meanwhile, when Donald Trump claimed Muslims supported violence and wanted to be governed by Sharia law, during his now-infamous "ban Muslims" speech, he was referring to a shoddy poll produced by Frank Gaffney Jr, founder of the Center for Security Policy (CSP). Although he denies having formally advised Trump, this year Gaffney organised three National Security Action Summits, each of which hosted Trump, as well as other Republican candidates, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson.
Gaffney, whom the SPLC refers to as "one of America's most notorious Islamophobes", is the host of a programme on Secure Freedom Radio where he has interviewed anti-Muslim and far-right figures, including the white nationalist activist Jared Taylor.
Gaffney has promoted all manner of bizarre anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, including the idea that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim and wasn't actually born in America; that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the highest levels of the US government; and talks of "creeping sharia", a common refrain among counter-jihadist thinkers that has been reflected in those states passing anti-Sharia law legislation.
During his speech, Trump also referred to "no-go" areas in Europe – "sections in Paris that are radicalised where the police refuse to go" – which again pulled on counter-jihadist thought. Daniel Pipes, an influential player in the international counter-jihad movement, has been credited as being the first to popularise this myth. While he has since withdrawn his comments, the no-go zones idea persists.
We profiled dozens of other counter-jihadist organisations in the US, including ACT! for America, which is one of the most pernicious groups. It campaigns against the introduction of Sharia law and the (perceived) Islamisation of America. ACT! is run by Brigitte Gabriel, who denies that there can be a moderate Muslim.
"A practising Muslim goes to mosque... believes God gave him women to be his property – to beat, to stone to death... He believes Christians and Jews are apes and pigs because they are cursed by Allah. He believes it is his duty to declare war on the infidels because they are Allah's enemies," she has said.
A tiny number of (self-identified) "reform Muslims" linked in our report have spoken at meetings organised by ACT!, appeared in films organised by Frank Gaffney, or sit on the advisory or editorial boards of other noted counter-jihadist organisations.
As we wrote recently, "when attacking anti-Muslim hatred we must apply the same standards that we would when taking on Islamists and the traditional far right: namely that sharing a platform with extremists or showing them any support is completely unacceptable, let alone sitting on the board of such groups or addressing their meetings".
Sadly, it is all too easy to write off the Trumps of the world as rambling, unintelligent and reactionary racists – but the truth is much more worrying. These figures are simply the most high-profile proponents of an increasingly influential set of ideas being promoted by a group of activists around the world and which deserve exposure – just as we would do with any other extremists.
From the International Business Times (21 December 2015)
Posted: 22 Dec 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Elisabeth Pop | on: Friday, 18 December 2015, 13:34
Today is International Migrants Day and Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, has the following message for the world - "Let us commit to coherent, comprehensive and human-rights based responses guided by international law and standards and a shared resolve to leave no one behind".
His call for humanity and solidarity is a timely warning. Because, despite what hate and scaremongers keep on telling us every single day, be they politicians or most of the media, migrants are not sub-humans and #MigrationIsNotACrime. It is in fact the engine of economies, innovation and cultural tolerance.
So, today, on International Migrants Day, let’s remember how many people put their life at risk, cross mountains, deserts and seas, when they have nothing left to loose and are desperately searching for HOPE and a harbour.
And as we look at the above infographic, from the September/ October issue of the HOPE not hate magazine (http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/get-hope/issue21/), which illustrates the worst humanitarian crisis in history, I hope we can hear the human stories behind it and we will ask ourselves – What can I do to make a difference?
I do, however, fear the answer.
A couple of days ago, I read in the Independent, that “in 12 hours, up to 20 million people saw the harrowing image of Aylan Kurdi” and that “at the peak of the uproar over [his] death this summer, images of the drowned Syrian three-year-old were being tweeted 15 times a second”.
But in reality, collective indignation and sympathy were short lived. Their place was soon taken by the ugly sound and actions of nationalism, driven by identity crisis, economic uncertainty and security anxieties. As a nation and as a continent, Britain and Europe have turned against refugees and populist, anti-immigration politics are taking centre stage.
This week the first 1,000 refugees, out of the 20,000 the government has pledged to settle, have reached Britain. I would suggest far too few, when the refugee community in the UK, the world’s sixth largest economy, makes up only 0.25% of the national population and less than 0.75% of the world refugee population. Far too many seems to be the nation’s response, according to the most recent poll conducted by The Times which shows that 49 per cent of us want “fewer or no refugees” to be settled in the British Isles.
And we are not alone in our growing fear of others more desperate than us, who more often than none are non-White and non-Christian. Unfortunately, a cold chill descends over Europe (http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/get-hope/issue22/) and whether we like it or not, it will be the test of the country and continent we claim to be and of the people, Brits and Europeans, we want to be. HOPE is in our hands.
Posted: 18 Dec 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles and Joe Mulhall | on: Tuesday, 15 December 2015, 07:25
As they gathered for the main Friday prayer service last week, worshippers at the Islamic Center of Palm Springs heard a loud explosion and saw flames erupting from the lobby of the building. While thankfully no-one was injured, the bombing of the Palm Springs centre represented the 63rd attack on a mosque in America so far this year, with 17 taking place in November alone. This represents roughly three times the number of attacks last year.
After the shocking Islamist attack in San Bernadino on 2 December, the top Google search in California with the word “Muslims” in it was “kill Muslims.” The New York Times said that it found a direct correlation between anti-Muslim searches and anti-Muslim hate crimes. This all comes off the back of Donald Trump’s call to temporarily ban all Muslim immigration from America.
Even here in the UK, there was a tripling of anti-Muslim attacks in London after the Paris attacks; a woman was pushed into the path of a Tube train, while other high-profile incidents took place before Paris on public transport.
These incidents, and many more besides, reflect growing anti-Muslim sentiments which as our new report into the Counter-Jihad movement exposed last week, is moving from the margins to the mainstream. We covered over 900 organisations across 22 countries, with research compiled by independent experts and cross-referenced with many publicly-available sources and reports (from prominent civil rights organisations, mainstream media, academic institutions, etc).
While our report was clear that criticism of Islamist extremism (as well as criticising religion) is perfectly legitimate – we ourselves have exposed violent Islamists, as well as opposed intolerant preachers, and called on the Left to do more to tackle Islamist extremism – the term ‘counter-jihad movement’ has come to be used by scholars and commentators to describe a broad range of anti-Muslim activists and organisations which don’t just attack Islamism but also Islam and Muslims more generally.
Margins to mainstream
As well as documenting the rise of organised anti-Muslim activity, our report showed how the rhetoric of this broad movement has become worryingly mainstream. These are quite clearly troubling times and just as HOPE not hate has exposed antisemitism and long stood firm with the Jewish community in the UK (organising the highly-successful Golders Green Together coalition in north London with multiple Jewish organisations, against neo-Nazi intimidation, plus supporting initiatives such as the Jewish-Muslim Women’s Network) we feel it’s important that more people take notice of rising anti-Muslim prejudice.
Sadly, despite our report raising these serious issues, there have been a few people, most notably the controversial figure of Maajid Nawaz, who have sought to undermine the report and with patent hyperbole accused us of a ‘witchhunt’. In doing so he ignores the majority of our research, the vast nature of its scope and the public sources from which it is drawn.
Mr Nawaz is the co-founder of the British-based Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think tank which has been influential in Westminster but struggled to win the trust and support of the British Muslim community. In 2013 Nawaz very publicly staged a press conference with the founder of the anti-Muslim street movement, the English Defence League (EDL), claiming Quilliam had ‘facilitated’ EDL leader ‘Tommy Robinson’ quitting the organisation. Two years and one prison sentence (for mortgage fraud) later, Robinson has announced he is launching a new anti-Muslim PEGIDA UK movement in the New Year, after speaking at rallies of the organisation in Germany and claiming that refugees were ‘invading Europe’. He also revealed that he was paid £8,000 by Quilliam, despite failing to renounce his anti-Muslim views.
There are several aspects of Mr Nawaz’s attack piece on our report that are demonstrably untrue, including his peculiar attempt to undermine it by explaining that it was written by ‘two white men’. One of us is of mixed parentage and the other is of Indian descent. Our director, Nick Lowles, sits on the Government’s Anti-Muslim hatred working group and with others in the Muslim community has worked to raise awareness of difficult issues, such as the grooming/child sexual exploitation scandals. Nick has also, sometimes at risk to his own safety, exposed countless neo-Nazi and far-right groups, as well as authored several books. He is a respected expert on extremism often consulted by media and government.
Nawaz’s misrepresentation of our report as akin to a ‘hit list’ is wildly off-the-mark and, to reverse his argument, in our view highly irresponsible of him to do so. The figures who were named in our report and to whose inclusion he objects have been the subject of open critique and controversy in the US from many reputable and publicly-quoted sources: notably reports compiled by mainstream civil rights organisations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for American Progress or a specialist academic centre within Georgetown University (none of which Maajid Nawaz has, tellingly, sought to directly question). In fact, his criticism is noticeable for its anger, not its facts. It hardly needs saying but HOPE not hate has never and will never condone violent attacks.
Nawaz also disingenuously attempts to paint HOPE not hate as a ‘far left’ organisation, calling us ‘the regressive left’: let us remind him that we draw supporters from across all of the major political parties in Britain, including the Conservatives; from scores of organisations; communities of all persuasions; and from tens of thousands of supporters across the political spectrum.
Now the obviously absurd aspects of his attack have been dismissed it is worth replying to the crux of his criticism. In essence it boils down to the inclusion of several people in our report – out of 920 people and organisations – that he felt should not have been included as they are ‘Muslim reformers’.
After consultation with several sources we removed one of the people (a person with a very marginal mention) but retained the others.
One of the figures whose inclusion Mr Nawaz stridently objected to was Zuhdi Jasser. In 2014, Jasser said that the ‘quiet majority’ of American Muslims ‘hate America’. He has also suggested that American Muslim military personnel should not be allowed to have beards, and that American Muslim school kids who recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic will encourage them to ‘join ISIS.’
Jasser is also an Advisory Board member of the Clarion Project (cited in the seminal report Fear, Inc, produced by the Center for American Progress, as a media outlet which was part of ‘the Islamophobia echo chamber’), as well as a Consulting Editor of Family Security Matters (a role he shares with Donald Trump’s notorious anti-Muslim source Frank Gaffney), plus a supporter of the Coalition to Stop Shariah (CSS). He has also spoken at meetings of ACT! For America (one of the most pernicious counter-jihadist groups in the USA).
For those still in doubt, don’t just take our word for it. The Center for America Progress’s Fear, Inc report into US Islamophobia labelled Jasser as a ‘validator’ for groups such as ACT! The highly-respected civil rights group, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), in a report from CPAC 2015, had an entry on Jasser which described him as ‘one of the few Muslim spokespersons within the anti-Muslim movement’.
Jasser and his organisation are also noted supporters of the Coalition to Stop Shariah, which is run by renowned Islamophobe Frank Gaffney Jnr and his Center for Security Policy. Gaffney has been in the news a lot recently after it was revealed that Donald Trump drew on his work for his anti-Muslim comments, which suggested Muslims supported violence and that there were Muslim “no-go” areas in Europe.
Maajid Nawaz also protested at the inclusion of another gentleman, Tawfik Hamid, whom the SPLC writes is ‘one of the first to spread the groundless fear of Shariah law’. He has also been criticised for a piece in the Wall Street Journal calling on Islam to prove its peacefulness, and a column in The Washington Examiner that pushed the notion of Sharia law ‘taking over’ in the USA. Furthermore, he is listed in Fear, Inc as being a ‘validator’ for anti-Muslim groups, and listed as one of the ‘misinformation experts’.
Finally, Maajid specifically defends the controversial figure of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Again, the highly-respected Southern Poverty Law Centre describes her thus: “Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an anti-Muslim activist of Somali origin who used the political bully pulpit to bash Islam and Muslims.” Whilst a Dutch parliamentarian, she worked closely with Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, who has called for parts of the Qu’ran to be banned. Ali has compared Islam to Nazi Germany, and said that Islam is ‘the new fascism’ and ‘a destructive, nihilistic cult of death’. Brandeis University cancelled its plans to award her an honorary degree in 2014, following a wave of scrutiny.
Mr Nawaz also complained that those he objected to being included were only guilty of ‘guilt by association’. When attacking anti-Muslim hatred we must apply the same standards that we would when taking on Islamists and the traditional far-right: namely that sharing a platform with extremists or showing them any support is completely unacceptable, let alone sitting on the board of such groups or addressing their meetings.
If Maajid Nawaz truly wants to oppose anti-Muslim extremism, as he claims, he should welcome our report, engage with its findings regarding the rise of anti-Muslim hatred, while approaching us directly – instead of launching wild attacks on social media and blogs – to raise his concerns about the small number of people he objected to being in there. His failure to do so, coupled with his continued concerted efforts to attack and vilify us, must raise serious questions.
Posted: 15 Dec 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Thursday, 10 December 2015, 15:19
Yesterday, HOPE not hate released a report into the ‘Counter-Jihad movement’, a loose alliance of individuals and organisations fuelling anti-Muslim sentiment worldwide.
Our main conclusion was that anti-Muslim hatred was moving from the margins to the mainstream – as has been proved in the last few days by Donald Trump and his widely-attacked comments about banning Muslim visitors to America.
Over 900 groups and individuals across 22 countries were mentioned in our report, one of the most comprehensive of its kind ever produced.
Coming off the back of Trump’s “ban Muslims from America” speech, as well as rising anti-Muslim sentiment post-Paris and San Bernadino attacks, the strong showing of the Front National in France during regional elections, and the founding of a new PEGIDA UK movement by the former leader of the English Defence League, its launch was very timely.
However, there has been some concern raised over social media about the naming of three particular individuals in the report. Their defenders pointed out they were ‘Muslim reformers’. After consultation with several sources we removed one of the three (a person with a very marginal mention) but retained the other two – and here’s why.
One of the figures we included in The Counter-Jihad Movement was Zuhdi Jasser, who is the founder as well as President of an organisation called the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD). In 2014, Jasser said that the “quiet majority” of American Muslims “hate America.” He’s also suggested that American Muslim military personnel should not be allowed to have beards, and that American Muslim school kids who recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Arabic will encourage them to “join ISIS.”
He is an Advisory Board member of the Clarion Project (formerly the Clarion Fund), as well as a Consulting Editor of Family Security Matters (FSM), plus a supporter of the Coalition to Stop Shariah (CSS). He has also spoken at meetings of ACT! For America. All of these groups fit into the broader counter-jihadist milieu and are included in our report.
The Clarion Project (formerly known as the Clarion Fund) was founded in 2006 to educate Americans on issues of national security, in particular radical Islam. It was cited in the seminal report Fear, Inc, produced by the Center for American Progress, as a media outlet which was part of “the Islamophobia echo chamber”.
Before the 2008 presidential election the Clarion Fund distributed a DVD: Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West, to more than 28 million swing-state voters. According to Fear, Inc, Jasser narrated The Clarion Fund’s film, The Third Jihad, which “claimed that radical Muslim extremists had infiltrated America with the nefarious purpose of establishing a theocracy”.
Family Security Matters (FSM) is a rightwing think tank that was founded in 2004 as a "national security resource for American families". In 2010 it launched the Eurabia Watch blog [“Eurabia” is a fantasy term among some counter-jihadists, who believe that Europe is being overrun by Muslims] and supports the Coalition to Stop Shariah. I shall return to FSM and CSS shortly.
Yet it is ACT! for America that is one of the most pernicious counter-jihadist groups in the USA. It is a single-issue, grassroots national security campaigning organisation. ACT! campaigns against the introduction of Sharia law and the (perceived) Islamisation of America.
It supports the Coalition to Stop Shariah and claims 170,000 members worldwide in 630 local chapters across the United States, as well as in 12 other countries. ACT! organises an annual national conference to which leading activists and ideologues in the counter-jihad movement are invited.
In 2009 ACT! for America launched a Stop Shariah Now campaign to increase public awareness over the “perceived threat” of creeping Sharia law into the USA.
Interestingly, ACT! works closely with the American Public Policy Alliance (APPA), the Center for Security Policy (CSP), the wider Tea Party movement as well as Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) – which is classified as a “hate group” by the Anti-Defamation League and was co-founded by the notorious counter-jihadist, Pamela Geller, who was referred to 12 times in Norwegian killer Anders Breivik’s ‘manifesto’. Along with SIOA’s Executive Director Robert Spencer, Geller has had frequent contact with English Defence League founder ‘Tommy Robinson’ and has placed anti-Muslim advertisements onto US buses and tubes, via her organisation the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).
ACT! is run by Brigitte Gabriel, who by any stretch of the imagination is one of the leading anti-Muslim activists in America. Let me give you a flavour of Gabriel's mindset. She denies that there can be a moderate Muslim: just practising and non-practising Muslims. And this is what she says about practicing Muslims:
I call it a practicing Muslim and a non-practicing Muslim. I think it is a better description than “moderate” and “radical.” A practicing Muslim goes to mosque, prays five times a day, doesn’t drink, believes God gave him women to be his property – to beat, to stone to death… He believes Christians and Jews are apes and pigs because they are cursed by Allah. He believes it is his duty to declare war on the infidels because they are Allah’s enemies. That is a practicing Muslim.
She claims that 98% of the world’s Muslim population fits into her definition of “practicing Muslim”.
At a 2004 “concert against terrorism” at Duke University, Gabriel referred to Arabs as “barbarians”. She has elsewhere claimed that Islamist terrorists "are really just very devout followers of Muhammad. They are following his example and doing exactly what the Koran teaches and their mullahs exhort them to do."
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, during a 2007 lecture to the Defense Department’s Joint Forces Staff College in 2007, as part a course on Islam, she told her audience that Muslims should be prohibited from serving in public office on the basis of their faith. She went on:
“If a Muslim who has — who is — a practicing Muslim who believes the word of the Koran to be the word of Allah, who abides by Islam, who goes to mosque and prays every Friday, who prays five times a day — this practicing Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America.”
In March 2011, Gabriel told The New York Times: “America has been infiltrated on all levels by radicals who wish to harm America. They have infiltrated us at the CIA, at the FBI, at the Pentagon, at the State Department.” She repeated this message on the ACT! website: “Tens of thousands of Islamic militants now reside in America, operating in sleeper cells, attending our colleges and universities. … They are here — today.”
Alongside Zuhdi Jasser, whom we included in our report, fellow contributing editors to Family Security Matters (FSM) include Frank J Gaffney Jnr, who appears to have had a strong influence on Donald Trump’s recent statements about Muslims (in 2007 Jasser appeared in one of Gaffney’s films). When Trump recently said that 25% of Muslims polled agreed that violence against America was justified as part of global jihad, and that 51% said that Muslims in America should have the chance to be governed by Sharia, he was quoting Gaffney’s discredited research.
Gaffney bandies about the idea that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated its way into the American political sphere; has written about the “jihadist vote” in America; and pushed questions about President Obama’s birth.
Likewise, Trump’s comments about Muslims creating no-go zones in the US and the UK also appear to have originated from Gaffney. The Daily Beast has credited Gaffney with pushing the idea of state and federal anti-Sharia laws.
Other contributing editors to FSM include Clifford Kincaid (on the Editorial Board of Pamela Geller’s Stop Islamization of Nations); Daniel Adams (co-founder of Geller’s Stop Islamization of America) and Brigitte Gabriel, of ACT!. Contributors include both Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer (who runs the Jihad Watch blog as well as SIOA with Geller: his writings were cited dozens of times in the manifesto written by Anders Breivik and he was banned with Geller from the United Kingdom as an extremist in July 2013), America’s two leading anti-Muslim activists.
For those still in doubt, don’t just take our word for it. The Center for America Progress’s Fear, Inc report into US Islamophobia labelled Jasser as a “validator” for groups such as ACT! The highly-respected civil rights group, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), in a report from CPAC 2015, had an entry on Jasser which described him as “one of the few Muslim spokespersons within the anti-Muslim movement”.
The inclusion of a second individual which was questioned by some on social media, Tawfik Hamid, was also justified in The Counter-Jihad Movement. The SPLC has said that “Hamid was one of the first to spread the groundless fear of Shariah law”. He has also been criticised for a piece in the Wall Street Journal calling on Islam to prove its peacefulness, and a column in The Washington Examiner that pushed the notion of Sharia law ‘taking over’ in the USA. Furthermore, he is listed in Fear, Inc as being linked to Brigitte Gabriel, of ACT! For America, as another “validator” for anti-Muslim groups, and listed as one of the “misinformation experts”.
As we set out in our report, the Counter-Jihad movement is a disparate and varied mix of people and organisations who believe that Western civilisation is under attack from Islam. Some are of course more extreme than others. Whilst the counter-jihadists have some differences between them, all agree that Islam is a supremacist religion and many see little difference between violent Jihadists and the ordinary Muslims who live their lives peacefully.
If anyone wants to discuss the inclusion of those cited in our report, then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Counter-Jihad Movement: Anti-Muslim hatred from the margins to the mainstream: www.hopenothate.org.uk/counter-jihad/
Posted: 10 Dec 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Saturday, 5 December 2015, 13:28
Pegida UK co-leader Tim Scott resigns after just two days following C4 News debacle. Looks like Stephen Lennon will be running it alone now
Posted: 5 Dec 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Friday, 4 December 2015, 11:16
Labour comfortably beat off the challenge from UKIP in the Oldham West and Royton parliamentary by-election, surpassing expectations by winning 62% of the vote. UKIP trailed a poor second with just 23% of the vote.
I big thank you to all our supporters who worked tirelessly to put out almost 30,000 leaflets across the constituency.
The third and final leaflet, targeting UKIP candidate John Bickley, was deemed to be particularly effective.
Posted: 4 Dec 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 1 December 2015, 20:41
I'm delighted to announce that we have just received our 1,500th donation to our fundraising appeal, which is quite phenomenal. There has been an amazing response from our supporters, who clearly value our work and want to see us continue. So a huge thank you to everyone who has donated so far.
We set ourselves an initial target to raise £30,000 this week and we are well on the way to achieving it. Our current figure stands at £21,452.
If you haven't donated but wish to support our work going forward, please donate here:
Posted: 1 Dec 2015 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Nick Lowles | on: Tuesday, 1 December 2015, 10:35
Last night ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Lennon) announced that he was going back onto the streets.
Speaking at a Pegida demonstration, in Dresden, Germany, Lennon said that he was going to hold a big anti-Islam march in England on Saturday 6 February as part of a European-wide day of action.
Of course, when Lennon talks about 'anti-Islam' he means anti-Muslim. He told the crowd that he wanted a Europe "free from Halal food", "free from Muslim rape gangs", free from "the visual scars of minarets" and the "sounds of call to prayer" and free from people "who cover their faces, walk around our streets and refuse to integrate."
He effectively told the crowd that Muslims have no place in his Europe.
HOPE not hate will not accept this and we will match his hate with our HOPE. We will respond positively and prove that the majority of people are on our side.
To do this we need money. Can you help?
Yesterday we launched an appeal to make up some of the shortfall we will face because of the likely reduction in Trade Union funding. Because of the Trade Union Bill and its impact on union funding, we could lose over £100,000 a year in funding.
Over 700 people donated in one day, which is absolutely fantastic, but we need more if we are to run the positive campaigns like what is needed against Lennon.
I am asking all HOPE not hate supporters to join me in donating a minimum of £1 a week on an on-going basis.
Can you chip in £1 a week?
Against the backdrop of the refugee crisis and the terrorist attack in Paris, Lennon and his Muslim-hating mates think that their time has come. He and his friends are stepping up their activities in the hope of further dividing society.
But we will stand in their way and not let them win.
In these really difficult times HOPE not hate is needed more than ever, so please give us the means to meet Lennon's hate with our HOPE.
Posted: 1 Dec 2015 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments