This thing nearly killed me but I finally got it on the page. The untold story of how an unlikely anti-Islamic alliance of gay activists, feminists, fascists, evangelical Christians, populist politicians, and surfing rabbis from California fuelled the rise of the hard right across Europe and gave us President Donald J Trump.
Right now there’s champagne to be drunk and a 1,000 yard stare to shake off. While I work on that, here’s a deep dive into what the book’s about. Salut!
A Clash of Civilisations
They’re a strange gang. Football thugs, gay activists, Jewish academics, French celebrities, uneasy alliances of feminists and conservatives, politicians hungry for power. The only thing they have in common is a belief Islam will overrun the West.
To fans, they’re the counter-jihad, fighting to protect us from the unrepentant medievalism of the Muslim world. To enemies, they’re a bunch of delusional racists preaching hate who might just have a hotline to the White House. Soldiers of a Different God is the first account of how the anti-Islamic counter-jihad movement fuelled the rise of the populist right and helped get Donald Trump elected President of the USA.
The movement was born when al-Qaeda slammed hijacked airplanes into America on 11 September 2001. The West found itself at war with extremist Islam. As coalition troops invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, iconoclastic journalists like Oriana Fallaci and Melanie Phillips warned that Muslim immigrants in the West were a potential enemy within. The pair got their ideological ammunition from a mysterious woman called Bat Ye’or, who turned out to be a middle-aged Jewish-Egyptian ideologue with a career on the fringes of academia.
An internet underground of bloggers arose to spread the message. Soon sites like Gates of Vienna, Jihadwatch, Little Green Footballs, and Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs were warning the world that Islam posed an existential threat to democracy and justice. In 2007 the Counter-Jihad Conference in Brussels brought activists face-to-face with mentors like Bat Ye’or for the first time. Two years later British conference attendees hooked up with football hooligans and an Evangelical Christian millionaire to form the English Defence League. Similar anti-Islamic movements blossomed across Europe – until a shooting spree by fascist Norwegian supporter Anders Breivik brought down a media storm and disillusioned many.
The movement resurrected itself when the Arab Spring gave birth to the Syrian Civil War. Islamic State declared a Caliphate. A wave of terror attacks shook Europe and America: the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, the Nice truck attack, the Fort Hood shooting, the Pulse nightclub massacre. The Muslim migrant crisis turned up the heat.
By this time prominent American counter-jihad bloggers had jobs writing for Breitbart.com, a right-wing news outlet worryingly close to the transgressives of the alt-right movement. Some people at Breitbart had the ear of a New York billionaire considering a run in the 2016 Presidential election. Donald J Trump would get elected that November on a platform of populist nationalism. One of his first acts as President was a travel ban on citizens of six Muslim countries. The counter-jihad world celebrated. Far-right populist movements across Europe took note.
If you can’t wait for Soldiers of a Different God: How the Counter-Jihad Movement Created Mayhem, Murder, and the Trump Presidency to be published in autumn 2018 then check out my other books in paperback, hardback, or ebook: