Soldiers of a Different God
How the Counter-Jihad Movement Created Mayhem, Murder and the Trump Presidency
- Christopher Othen
15th August 2018
They make an odd gang: football thugs, gay activists, French celebrities, Jewish academics, uneasy alliances of feminists and conservatives, politicians hungry for power. The only thing they have in common is a belief that Islam will overrun the West.
The movement was born with 9/11. As coalition troops invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, iconoclastic journalists like Oriana Fallaci and Melanie Phillips warned that Muslims in the West were a potential enemy within. They got their ideological ammunition from a mysterious woman called Bat Ye’or, a Jewish-Egyptian ideologue with a career on the fringes of academia. An online underground community spread the message. Soon sites like Jihadwatch and Little Green Footballs were warning the world that Islam posed a threat to democracy.
In 2007 the Counter-Jihad Conference in Brussels brought activists face-to-face with mentors like Bat Ye’or for the first time. Then British conference attendees hooked up with football hooligans and an Evangelical Christian millionaire to form the English Defence League. Similar anti-Islamic groups blossomed across Europe – until a massacre by Norwegian Anders Breivik disillusioned many.
The Arab Spring, a series of Islamist terrorist attacks and the European migrant crisis reinvigorated the movement. By this time prominent American counter-jihad bloggers had jobs writing for Breitbart News, a right-wing news outlet with the ear of a New York billionaire considering a run in the 2016 Presidential election. Donald J. Trump would get elected on a platform of populist nationalism and counter-jihad policies. Far-right movements across Europe took note. Christopher Othen weaves together current events and history into a compelling account of the counter-jihad movement.