THE conspiratorial anti-Islam beliefs of the American far Right — which now have a place in the White House under Donald Trump — are beginning to leak into the political mainstream in Europe, the anti-fascist organisation Hope Not Hate has said.
So-called “counter-jihadism” — a loose collection of ideologies based on an extreme opposition to Islam, and belief that there is a clash of civilisations between Muslims and the Christian West — has long been associated with extreme and fringe movements.
But a report from Hope Not Hate, Going Mainstream: The mainstreaming of anti-Muslim prejudice in Europe and North America, has suggested that not only are these views now represented by some of President Trump’s advisers and officials: they are also present in European parliaments and political discourse.
Figures such as Michael Flynn, a retired army general who, on Monday, resigned as National Security Adviser to Mr Trump, and Mike Pompeo, a Republican Congressman chosen by the President to lead the CIA, have connections with more radical figures in the American counter-jihadist movement, the report states.
Mr Flynn has even said in a tweet that “Fear of Muslims is rational”, and described Islam as a “malignant cancer”.
This rise to prominence in the United States is being mirrored in Europe, too, the report suggests. The leaders of countries such as Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland have all used stereotypes and language that originated in the counter-jihadist movement, while in nations such as France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria, parties espousing anti-Islam rhetoric have risen to prominence in recent years.
“We have witnessed a shift from the margins to the mainstream” for counter-jihadist ideas in both the US and Europe, the report concludes.
“In America this has meant the welcoming of extremist activists into positions of authority, first in the wake of 9/11 and then with the help of Trump.
“In Europe we have seen the adoption of ‘counter-jihadist’ rhetoric and conspiratorial assertions by mainstream politicians in the wake of the 2015 migrant crisis and the spate of tragic terror attacks.”