With the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States organised anti-Muslim activists – self-styled ‘counter-jihadists’ (CJ) – have an ally in the White House.
Trump’s election and his subsequent selection of Cabinet officials and advisors has accelerated a process of mainstreaming of anti-Muslim sentiment that has been happening for some years. The result is that prominent anti- Muslim activists are now at the very centre of power and decision making in America. The results of this have been seen all too clearly this week with Trump signing an executive order suspending America’s refugee programme for four months, banning all Syrian refugees and barring all citizens from seven Muslim majority countries.
Worryingly a similar process of mainstreaming is happening in Europe, too. This side of the Atlantic the picture is more complex with a combination of ‘counter-jihadists’ entering the mainstream in certain areas, while in others they have been shunned but some of their ideas have been adopted by mainstream politicians and commentators.
This is all laid out in our new report Going Mainstream: The mainstreaming of anti-Muslim prejudice in Europe and North America. Read it here.
This mini-report traces the journey of conspiratorial ‘counter-jihad’ activists and their ideas from a marginal and ignored, primarily internet-based political discourse, into the White House and the parliamentary chambers of Europe.
2017 will be a very important year for politics, with numerous key elections in Europe. These include France’s Presidential elections, where Marine Le Pen of the Front National is a main contender, as well as the Dutch general election where the anti-Muslim poster boy Geert Wilders and his Party For Freedom are expected to do very well, plus elections in Germany, where the anti-Muslim populist movement the Alternative for Germany (AfD) is hoping to continue its growth.
Importantly, this report also argues that it is possible and helpful to conceptualise ‘counter-jihadism’ as one part of a wider offensive against the western liberal progressive consensus, sharing key objectives with the traditional far right, the populist radical right and the so-called ‘Alt’/or New Right.