Political Context, Landscape and Key Players

In Britain, America, across Europe and the Western World Islamophobia is at an all-time high. It has long been fostered by mainstream politics and media as a scapegoat and a tool for domestic and foreign policy. Over time this has fuelled domestic far-right fascism that has become increasingly imbedded in to the mainstream narrative and has peaked with the campaign for Brexit in Britain and the election of Donald Trump in America. Mainstream politics and media have facilitated the process that has normalised extreme-right rhetoric and action. This has allowed governments to legislate increasingly Islamophobic policies. This is a purposeful and strategic vicious cycle.

What may have previously occurred at a distance, behind closed doors, is now out in the open. The gap between aggressive, grassroots, fascist and Islamophobic organisations like the KKK or Britain First and those at the very top of politics in Britain and America has narrowed. It is now well documented that they are bed-fellows.

 Steve Bannon founded Breitbart News and later become Chief Strategist for Donald Trump at the White House.

Steve Bannon founded Breitbart News and later become Chief Strategist for Donald Trump at the White House.

BREITBART: AN ALT-RIGHT MEDIA NETWORK

Mainstream politics and media continue to fuel and be fuelled by this agenda. A key element of this agenda is a growing network of far-right, anti-Islam online media outlets across North America and Europe that funnel information to each other and push stories out in to mainstream news and political agenda, Most of these “alt-right” outlets are funded by mainstream political donors and figures.

The central hub of this media network is Breitbart news, a white-supremacist, anti-Islam website that was run by Steve Bannon before he left to run Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and later became President Trump’s Chief Strategist. Both Donald Trump’s campaign and Breitbart are funded by Father and Daughter duo, Robert and Rebekah Mercer.

Breitbart also has political aspirations in Europe. Breitbart London was set up in February 2014 in the run up to crucial UK general elections, with the hope to influence the election result and the subsequent Brexit vote.

Then editor in chief, Raheem Kassam, is an ex-Muslim, former Chief Advisor to UKIP’s Nigel Farage and former national executive board member of the Conservative Party. He has been Campaigns Director at the neoconservative British foreign policy think tank, The Henry Jackson Society and worked at the right-wing, anti-Muslim think tank The Gatestone Institute, which is chaired by John Bolton. It was Raheem Kassam who accompanied Nigel Farage to Washington to be the first British politician to meet President Trump just days after his election; a meeting facilitated by Kassam’s boss, Steve Bannon.

In its extensive 32-page report; Breitbart: A rightwing plot to shape Britain’s future Hope Not Hate documents that “Breitbart is just one part – albeit a vital part – of a wider political project…In Britain, this operation will be at the heart of a new political venture to create a new far right party run by multimillionaire Arron Banks and Nigel Farage…This new party will sweep aside UKIP and hope to capitalise on the uncertainty and compromise that will undoubtedly accompany Brexit. Breitbart is not a news website. Breitbart is a political project, with a specific political agenda, staffed by willing propagandists.”

Arron Banks is a former Conservative donor who defected to UKIP, a party that has an ideological heritage stemming from the right-wing of the Conservative Party and is made up of many former Tory members and supporters.

THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY CONNECTION

In his academic article “Who leads and who follows? The symbiotic relationship between UKIP and the Conservatives” Professor Tim Bales reminds us that it was not UKIP but the Conservative Party that first fused populism and Euroscepticism. But the 2007 financial crisis and the 2010 Conservative coalition government with the Liberal Democrats provided UKIP with an opportunity to fill a gap and in turn exert significant pressure on the Tories, forcing Prime Minister David Cameron to promise a Brexit referendum.

Bales “reminds us that anyone wanting to understand populist Euroscepticism needs to appreciate that the relationship between the radical right and its mainstream, centre-right counterpart is more reciprocal, and even symbiotic, than is commonly imagined.”

In Britain, that symbiotic relationship is stronger than ever. Brexit was about anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiment – key themes that the Tory Party have stoked, and that UKIP capitalised on. Now UKIP, in conjunction with extreme elements inside the Tory Party are using their momentum to put a gun to the government’s head on key issues. The government has to keep fanning these flames to appease their audience, but by doing so are burning down the house.

 Theresa May has focused obsessively on policing the Muslim community through draconian laws

Theresa May has focused obsessively on policing the Muslim community through draconian laws

But they are hostage, only because they have lost control of a hostile environment they created and were manipulating dangerously close to tipping point. In her controversial years as Home Secretary, Theresa May focused obsessively on the Muslim community; extraditing Muslims to the United States, passing increasingly draconian laws against Muslims including PREVENT legislation and expanding “counter extremism” policy to mean “opposing British values.” As Prime Minister she said she would “rip up human rights law”16 if they stood in her way of expanding anti-Muslim “terror” legislation.

Mainstream politics and media is now so aggressively anti-Muslim, that it has paved the way for the largest far-right street movement that the UK has seen in a generation. This alliance between mainstream politics and extreme right fascism was clearly demonstrated on the weekend of the 9th and 10th June 2018.

FROM TOMMY ROBINSON TO AL QUDS DAY

On Saturday 9th, 15 thousand far-right fascists mobilised in London to protest the jailing of anti-Muslim far-right leader Tommy Robinson.  

Robinson, a former member of the fascist British National Party (BNP) founded and led the far-right English Defence League (EDL) until 2013. He has been jailed numerous times for crimes including assault, fraud, football hooliganism, and entering the United States illegally.  

His sudden departure from the EDL was surrounded in dubious circumstances after he made a “truce” with the equally controversial government-funded “Muslim anti-extremism” think tank Quilliam Foundation, headed by Majid Nawaz, and agreed to work with them to “tackle Islamist ideology”.

Nawaz is a former member of Hizb Ut-Tahrir, who after being imprisoned, had a “change of heart” and endorsed secular-Islam and set up The Quilliam Foundation. Both he and his organisation are highly controversial and deeply disliked in the Muslim community, though they have received millions of pounds of government funding to tackle extremism and in more recent years received heavy funding from pro-Israel and right wing organisations.

The farcical truce between Quilliam and Robinson was short lived. Robinson quit Quilliam and claimed they paid him to join the group26. He went on to set up the UK branch of the fascist anti-Islam group Pegida, and has since used the momentum of Brexit, Trump and the newly found network of “alt-right” media to redefine himself as a journalist and commentator. He has authored two books; Enemy of the State and Mohammed’s Koran: Why Muslims Kill for Islam and has become a reporter for Rebel Media, where he’s known for his aggressive door-stepping of people, including of Quilliam Foundation in 2017.  

Rebel Media is an alt-right outfit funded by Canadian self-proclaimed Zionist Ezra Lavant that employs many vicious British far-right voices, including mainstream commentator Katie Hopkins. When she was writing for The Sun, Hopkins caused controversy for calling migrants cockroaches that should be stopped by gunships. In another instance, she responded to the Manchester terrorist attack, by saying the UK needed a “final solution” – the Nazi term for the Holocaust.

In May 2018, Robinson was “reporting” via live stream from outside a court, making comments that inflamed and conflated the criminal case with the idea that all Muslims are paedophiles. Tens of thousands of people watched the live feed. He was arrested for Contempt of Court and jailed for 13-months.

It was this prison sentence that was being protested on Saturday 9 June, where the alliance between mainstream politics and extreme right fascism was clear too see. Ezra Lavant stepped in to pay for Robinson’s legal fees and give him a new “top UK legal team.” The Middle East Forum, the pro-Israel American think tank headed by Daniel Pipes proudly admitted they funded Robinsons legal team; funded, organised and staffed the FreeTommy rallies, funded travel for Congressman Paul Gossar to speak at the event and lobbied US ambassador, Sam Brownback, to raise the issue with the UK ambassador which he did.

Steve Bannon sent a message of support to the rally and Lord Malcolm Pearson of Rannoach gave a speech. Also present were many of the established far-right and fascist groups, as well as newer outfits like “The People’s Charter Foundation”.

The People’s Charter Foundation say they are a “campaign group run by diverse group of passionate UKIP, Tory, and other patriots” who “work closely with the Bruges Group, the Campaign for Independent Britain and the Bow Group. All three of these are mainstream British think-tanks closely linked to the Conservative Party. Many former Tory MP’s have ran these organisations. The People’s Charter’s motto is “Make Britain Great Again” taking directly from the Trump play book.

 Al Quds Day 2018

Al Quds Day 2018

The following day, Sunday 10th June, was the annual Al Quds Day. Mainstream Zionist organisations The Zionist Federation and The Board of Deputies3 had launched another scathing and inflammatory campaign against Al Quds Day and organised a counter demo.

It is important to note that the previous year had seen the same type of campaign. That same year, terrorist Darren Osborne, targeted Finsbury Park mosque leaving one person dead. In court, it was revealed that Osborne was originally targeting Al Quds Day after hearing about it in the media but got stuck in traffic on his way to undertake the terrorist attack against Al Quds Day. The court trail documented how Osborne watched a BBC documentary about “Muslim” grooming gangs that triggered a spiral of radicalisation. Al Quds Day organisers say that radicalisation was spurred on by the inflammatory campaign against Al Quds Day that year, that saw Majid Nawaaz use his mainstream radio show on LBC to extensively target Al Quds Day and call attendees terrorist waving supporters akin to ISIS.

Yet, the exact same rhetoric was used again in the lead up to Al Quds Day 2018. The Zionist Federation and The Board of Deputies had launched a mainstream campaign against Al Quds Day throughout the year. But who were they actually mobilising? Sunday’s counter demo saw none other than the People’s Charter Foundation make a strong showing. Also present were Free Tommy Robinson protesters, violent football hooligan fascist groups like the Chelsea Headhunters, all standing with the organisers – mainstream Zionist organisations The Zionist Foundation and The Board of Deputies of Jews. Speaking at the anti-Palestine, pro-Zionist event was Tory MP Matthew Offord from the Conservative Friends of Israel, and a key note address by none other than Quilliam Foundation’s Majid Nawaz. The far-right marched with pro-Israeli activists, hurling abuse and physically attacking peaceful pro-Palestinian demonstrators.

The events of that weekend perfectly summarise the current alliance; a toxic mix of mainstream politics, Islamophobia (as produced by Muslims and non-Muslims) and fascism.

They were illustrated again on July 14th at another #FreeTommy protest, again funded by the Middle East Forum, that saw Raheem Kassam host, the head of UKIP give a speech where he refused to use the word Islam and called it the “cult of Mohammad” and an Australian former-IDF soldier take the stage and proclaim he is the world’s “proudest Jewish Nazi” when it comes to fighting Islam.

The July 14th protest was coordinated to coincide with Donald Trump’s visit to the UK and dubbed a “pro-Trump rally”. Steve Bannon was also in the UK. Boris Johnson, then British foreign minister, chose that same weekend to resign from the government over Brexit and throughout the rally Boris Johnson was praised as the next leader of the UK.

Not surprising that in the weeks since it has been revealed “Boris Johnson has been privately talking to Steve Bannon as they plot their next moves” and that “Bannon said he had been in direct contact with Johnson and two other potential challengers to May: Michael Gove, who is still a member of May’s cabinet, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, a leader of an anti-EU Conservative Party faction.” Also confirming the predictions of the earlier Hope Not Hate report Steve Bannon “has pledged to bolster the continent’s far right with a new foundation called The Movement that would dole out resources to eurosceptics and anti-EU populists….UKIP has pledged to work with Steve Bannon’s European alt-right movement, forging what critics have branded an “unholy alliance” to bring down the EU and fuel populism across the continent.”

This all clearly illustrates why In Britain, America, across Europe and the Western World Islamophobia is at an all-time high. Because, as was stated at the start, it has long been fostered by mainstream politics and media as a scapegoat and a tool for domestic and foreign policy. This is a purposeful and strategic vicious cycle.