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Europeans Ignore ‘Counter-Jihad’ Extremists

Published: 17/04/2012 12:18:37 PM GMT
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BRUSSELS - As far-rights group are allying together to spread their anti-Islam message, activists opine that the Europeans are turning a blind eye to the rising threat of far-rightists, who see themselves on a ‘counter-Jihad' (more)

BRUSSELS - As far-rights group are allying together to spread their anti-Islam message, activists opine that the Europeans are turning a blind eye to the rising threat of far-rightists, who see themselves on a ‘counter-Jihad' mission.

"Post-9-11, all major authorities have themselves in the EU focused on the direct threat of Islamic terrorism while they took their eye off the ball on the radicalization of Europeans," Daniel Hodges, a campaigner for Hope Not Hate, a London-based NGO, told EUobserver.

A report released by Hope Not Hate on Sunday, April 15, found that far-right groups are forcing alliances throughout Europe and the US to spread their anti-Islam message to a wider audience.Global Anti-Islam Far-right Network Grows

It revealed that far-right groups were growing in reach and influence since the mass killing in Norway by an anti-Islam extremist.

The report said since the Norwegian killings, the far-right groups have continued to grow, gathering a network of foundations, bloggers, political activists and street gangs.

The movement features over 300 organizations and key individuals that make up the ‘Counter-Jihad' movement, including the right-wing political parties, who are increasingly using anti-Muslim rhetoric to garner votes.

"EU authorities have been lagging on radicalization in Europe,” Hodges said.

“They've been slow to grasp the power of the Internet and social media that encourages and helps co-ordinate the activities of the groups.”

The report named the United Kingdom as one of Europe's most active countries in terms of far-right movements, with 22 anti-Islamic groups currently operating.

In Europe as a whole, 133 organizations were named in the report, including seven in Norway, and another 47 in the US, where a network of neo-conservative, evangelical and conservative organizations attempts to spread "negative perceptions of Islam, Muslim minorities and Islamic culture".

The study refers to the consolidation of links between European and US anti-Islamic organizations as a more worrying aspect of the rising far-right.

Hodges believes that these far-right groups were being funded by undamentalist Christian organizations.

"There is a link between these groups and the religious fundamentalist movement in the US and in Europe. A lot of the funding for these groups come from these religious movements in Europe."

Far-right Extremism

Analysts believe that Europeans have failed to seriously tackle the danger posed by far-right groups.

"The threats from the far-right and radicalization in Europe are quite real,” Sindre Bangstad, an anthropologist at the University of Oslo, told EUobserver.

“In the Norwegian experience, the authorities have taken a one-sided approach. The PST, the police intelligence services who monitor terrorism threats in Norway, had only limited knowledge of right-wing extremists.”

However, Bangstad, who is writing a book about the Norwegian mass killer, thinks that a few far-rightists are prepared to use deadly violence.

"They do not constitute a credible threat to democracy in Europe," he said.

The European Commission has already admitted that EU countries and institutions failed to stem far-right threats.

"Let's face it: neither the EU member states nor the European Commission have taken enough action to face the growing problem of radicalization," EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said at the inauguration of the EU Radicalization Awareness Network last year.

Across Europe, far-right politicians have accelerated their rhetoric against Muslim minorities in recent years.

In Britain, far-right groups like the English Defence League and the British National Party are playing the card of immigration to stoke sentiment against Muslims and immigrants.

In the Netherlands, far-right lawmaker Geert Wilders called for banning the Muslim face-veil in the Netherlands and stopping immigration from Muslim countries.In Sweden, the far-right Sweden Democrats unveiled plans to impose a moratorium on building new mosques in the Scandinavian country.

Reproduced with permission from