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Anders Breivik’s spider web of hate

9 September 2011 General 17 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

Anders Breivik’s manifesto reveals a subculture of nationalistic and Islamophobic websites that link the European and American far right in a paranoid alliance against Islam and is also rooted in some democratically elected parties.

The Guardian has analysed the webpages he links to, and the pages that these in turn link to, in order to expose a spider web of hatred based around three “counter-jihad” sites, two run by American rightwingers, and one by an eccentric Norwegian. All of these draw some of their inspiration from the Egyptian Jewish exile Gisele Littman, who writes under the name of Bat Ye’or, and who believes that the European elites have conspired against their people to hand the continent over to Muslims.

As well as his very long manifesto, Breivik also laid out some of his thoughts on the Norwegian nationalist site In his postings there, Breivik referred to something he called “the Vienna school of thought”, which consists of the people who had worked out the ideology that inspired him to commit mass murder. He named three people in particular: Littman; the Norwegian Peder Jensen who wrote under the pseudonym of Fjordman; and the American Robert Spencer, who maintains a site called Jihad Watch, and agitates against “the Islamisation of America”.

But the name also alludes to a blog called Gates of Vienna, run by an American named Edward “Ned” May, on which Fjordman posted regularly and which claims that Europe is now as much under threat from a Muslim invasion as it was in 1683, when a Turkish army besieged Vienna.

All of these paranoid fantasists share a vision articulated by the Danish far-right activist Anders Gravers, who has links with the EDL in Britain and with Spencer and his co-conspiracist Pamela Geller in the US. Gravers told a conference in Washington last year:

“The European Union acts secretly, with the European people being deceived about its development. Democracy is being deliberately removed, and the latest example being the Lisbon Treaty. However the plan goes much further with an ultimate goal of being a Eurabian superstate, incorporating Muslim countries of north Africa and the Middle East in the European Union. This was already initiated with the signing of the Barcelona treaty in 1995 by the EU and nine north African states and Israel, which became effective on the 1st of January, 2010. It is also known as the Euro-Mediterranean co-operation. In return for some European control of oil resources, Muslim countries will have unfettered access to technology and movement of people into Europe. The price Europeans will have to pay is the introduction of sharia law and removal of democracy.”

Spencer’s is linked to 116 times from Breivik’s manifesto; May’s Gates of Vienna 86 times; and Fjordman 114 times.

Spencer and Geller were the organisers of the protest against the so-called 9/11 mosque in New York City. They also took over Stop Islamisation of America, a movement with links to the EDL and to a variety of far-right movements across Europe. Of the two, Spencer is less of a fringe figure. He has been fulsomely interviewed by the Catholic Herald in this country and praised by Douglas Murray of the Centre for Social Cohesion, who called him “a profound and subtle thinker”. Damian Thompson, a leader writer on the Telegraph, once urged his readers to buy Spencer’s works, especially if they believed that Islam was “a religion of peace”. Last week, Spencer’s blog re-ran a piece from Geller’s Atlas Shrugged website claiming that Governor Rick Perry, the creationist rightwinger from Texas, is actually linked to Islamists via Grover Norquist, the far-right tax cutter whom Geller claims is “a front for the Muslim Brotherhood”. Geller also once republished a blogpost speculating that President Obama is the love child of Malcolm X.

As well as the “counter-jihad” websites such as Spencer’s and May’s, analysis of Breivik’s web reveals a dense network of 104 European nationalist sites and political parties. Some of these are represented in parliaments: Geert Wilders’s Dutch Freedom party; the French National Front; the Danish People’s party, the Norwegian Progress party (of which Breivik was briefly a member before he left, disgusted with its moderation); the Sweden Democrats. Others, like the EDL, are fringe groupings. Then there are those in between, such as the Hungarian far-right party Jobbik. But they range all across Europe. They are united by hostility to Muslims and to the EU.

One place where these strands intertwine is the Brussels Journal, a website run by the Belgian Catholic MEP Paul Belien, a member of the far-right Vlaams Belang party. The British Europhobic Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan appeared for three years on the Brussels Journal’s masthead. Hannan has since denounced the European neo-fascist parties as not really rightwing at all.

To appear on this list is not to be complicit in Breivik’s crime. Peder “Fjordman” Jensen was so shocked by it that he gave himself up to the police and gave an interview to a Norwegian paper in which he appeared genuinely bewildered that his predictions of a European civil war should have led anyone to such violence.

It is still more unfair to blame Melanie Phillips. Although she was cited by Breivik at length for an article claiming that the British elite had deliberately encouraged immigration in order to break down traditional society and she has written that “Bat Ye’or’s scholarship is awesome and her analysis is as persuasive as it is terrifying“, she has also argued, with nearly equal ferocity, against the “counter-jihad” belief that there is no such thing as a moderate Muslim.

The world view of the counter-jihadis echoes that of the jihadis they feel threatened by. The psychological world of the jihadis has been described by the British psychiatrist Russell Razzaque, who rejected recruitment by Hizb ut-Tahrir when he was a medical student. It is not just a matter of a black-and-white world view, he says, though that is part of it. “It’s a very warm embrace. You felt a sense of self-esteem, a sense of real embrace. Then it gives you a sense of purpose, which is also something you’ve never had so much. The purpose is a huge one. Part of a cosmic struggle when you’re on the right side: you’re another generation in the huge fight that goes back to the crusades.”

This clearly mirrors Breivik’s self-image. What makes him particularly frightening is that he seems to have radicalised himself, just as jihadis do, before he went looking for advice and guidance on the internet. But he was able to take the last few steps into mass murder all alone, so far as we know. Jihadi groups also withdraw from the world into a cramped and paranoid universe of their own. Suicide bombers such as the 9/11 and 7/7 groups spent months psyching each other up before the crime, talking obsessively for hours every day. But Breivik, though he withdrew from society to his farm, seems to have spent his time alone with the internet. It allowed him to hear his own choir of imaginary friends, and hear inside his head their voices cheering him on to murder and martyrdom. Here they are, mapped.

Original post: Anders Breivik’s spider web of hate


  1. salim,

    no word on those websites? no answer to those questions? strange, i thought those would be softballs?

  2. Do these bubbleheads even KNOW what Jihad is? its a struggle you dimwits! READ TH QURAN ITS NOT HARD.

  3. elle,

    there is jihad of the sword, right?

    “The term ‘jihad’ has accrued both violent and non-violent meanings. It can simply mean striving to live a moral and virtuous life, spreading and defending Islam as well as fighting injustice and oppression, among other things.”

    “A poll by Gallup showed that a “significant majority” of Muslim Indonesians define the term to mean “sacrificing one’s life for the sake of Islam/God/a just cause” or “fighting against the opponents of Islam”.”

  4. What is your source of information that the Jobbik party of Hungary is anti-Islam or anti-Muslim? In fact they welcome an alliance between Hungary, Turkey and Asian-Muslim countries:

    “We also need not worry about the fact that as a Christian nation, we would be dealing with non-Christian nations. Living a non-Christian way of life is already a common, wide-spread practice within the EU. Besides which, we can safely say that a true Muslim believer or any other true believer in their own country is closer to God the Almighty, than non-practicing Christians inhabiting Europe today.” – Gábor Vona, President of Jobbik Movement

  5. true but in the end jihad itself is a struggle in deed. spread by the sword yea i know of that saying. actually, islam didn’t go into other countries to just kill. ok?. they tried to propose islam to the nations’ leaders. Some denied and pushed against the muslims and inveded their land and threatened war and even wwent for violence against muslim messengers or inhabitants in that area. How do you think the muslims responded.

    They had to. God doesn’t let the prophet just issue a war for no reason.

  6. Elle
    So what I get out of your comment is that Islam was spread by the Point of a Sword. If I’m reading correctly, then Islam does not deserve the label “religion of Peace”?

  7. The Jobbik party of Hungary is deeply anti-Semitic and is using old rituals of the Nazi days. Even if Jobbik is not Islamophobic, we also need to shun anti-Semitism and the revival of Nazism! We need to support human rights and dignity for all – and not side with any person or group that believes some should have no human rights and dignity!


    those shia, they spread corruption throughout the land?????

  9. The biggest and oldest problem Muslims which gave way for misconceptions is the fight between shia and sunni. The only difference between them is that Shias believe that Ali should have been calip before Abu Bakr.

  10. Elle
    1400 years latter they are still killing each other. We non-muslim look at that and would laugh at the thought of Islam being a religion of peace if we didn’t fear that muslim would bring it here. (Oh, you have.)

  11. elle,

    poor ali, he’s in washing muhammads body preparing him for burial and omar nominates Abu Bakr to be caliphate and next thing he knows. but didn’t ali write a koran? don’tthe shias have “saints”?

  12. Mike maybe I shoudl tell you that the so called terrorist suspects have had the charge changed to…murder and one of them has been released. They are NOT suspected of terrorist activities any longer. I predict even the murder charges will be dropped.

  13. swed,

    thanks for the update, kept us posted.

  14. JAW

    As regular Muslims, not the leaders of Middle eastern countries, we won’t see the difference between Muslims. Shias and Sunnis are like bffl’s, but Al Qaeda and Taliban make it such a big deal. Like wtf, whatever God willed happened, its not worth the struggle. I agree with you to some extent Muslims need to work on our solidarity but because of what is happening in the Middle East we can’t focus on that.

  15. Wether you tell them or not,Allah says Their they will never believe untill death aprroche them,tell the
    to ready Quran with open minded.ISLAM mean peace, History told us that during the time of islamic rulimg the world konw more peace than know.Glory be to Allah the Lord of the World.


    It wasn’t spread by the sword. At all. Wars in the name of religion have popped up in history but I want you to read the book “History of the Muslim Civilization” by Noura Durkee and huseyin A.

    It covers ALLLLLLLL of Islam’s history from the early days of Mekka to the Ottoman empire. You seem like a smart person, read up. The Lord didn’t create a Prophet who was bloodthirsty, and He most certainly didn’t create the religion of peace only for the nice name. God is fair, and just, and merciful. He knows what he’s doing, apparently though the so called Islamic governments think they do too.

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