The March for Free Expression and the Emergence of the Global Counterjihad
To mark the fifth anniversary of the creation of the 910 Group, the precursor of the International Civil Liberties Alliance, I have decided to write a short account of how I became involved with the Counterjihad Movement. Others may see the events that I was part of differently and the opinions that I put forward are purely my own. There are many chapters in this account, but the first significant chapter is the March for Free Expression (MfFE) that culminated in a demonstration under the gaze of Admiral Lord Nelson in London’s Trafalgar Square on Saturday 25 March 2006. This is the chapter that I will address here.
The March for Free Expression (MfFE) was not an overwhelming success, freedom of expression was not secured in Britain and a coherent movement to protect freedom of expression from the imposition of sharia norms was not created under its umbrella. However, it did inspire some British activists, who would one day help lay the foundations of the global Counterjihad, to make other arrangements and do some of the groundwork for the most important grass roots political movement of the early twenty-first century – the Counterjihad.
Before I outline my experiences on the MfFE I will explain my own motivation for getting involved in the cause. Some had become active in the 1980s following the fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie, others following the first attack against the World Trade Centre or that against the USS Cole, and probably a majority after the attacks of 11 September 2001. People who formed the early Counterjihad movement were often awakened to the dangers posed by sharia norms by a single specific event. There have been other similar catalysts for awakening since 9/11.
My own epiphany, the event that unplugged me forever from ‘The Matrix’ of political dogma, was the Danish Cartoon crisis. At the time I was involved in the politics of the left and, as such, I would approach the work of the Counterjihad from a left wing perspective. My principal concern at the time was the threat that radical Islam posed to freedom of expression. The reaction to the cartoons and the apparent lack of response from the Government and the Police to do anything about it is what forced me to become active in this cause. I felt fear that my culture was under threat, just like the Muslims claimed to be happening to theirs in the aftermath of 9/11. It appeared, and still appears, that Islamic norms trump Western norms in countries like Great Britain, and when concessions have to be made it is always the West that has to make them.
The scenes outside the Danish Embassy in London and the apparent unwillingness on the part of the authorities to deal with the outrageous and unacceptable threats on the placards of protestors convinced me that there was something deeply wrong with the way my country was being run. In fact the general unwillingness, of those with power and influence, to support the principle of freedom of expression left me deeply worried. It seemed to me that our most cherished freedom was been sacrificed to ensure that some followers of Islam would not create a fuss and that Islamic values now trumped Western values. Why was Freedom of Expression something that was not seen as valuable anymore?
I was motivated to read up on Islam and to seek opinions on the subject. Rather than reassuring me that the events that I had witnessed were isolated I was awakened to the realisation that they were not and the more I read the worse the situation appeared. The facts made the situation appear much worse than I imagined. Perhaps this is why governments in Western countries fear facts so much and seem willing to persecute those who utter them?
This marked the beginning of my work in what would become the global Counterjihad movement. The first public appearance of what was to become my Counterjihad name ‘Aeneas’ was on the Spiegel Online International Forum on a thread entitled ‘Muslims in Europe: New Steps needed for Integration?’ I found the forum by accident when I was seeking information about Islam on the Internet. As a good debate seemed to be taking place on the subject of my concern I decided to join in. I continued by quest for information and it is then that I discovered a new campaign called the ‘March for Free Expression’ and it was this that became the focus of my energies.
The MfFE was organised via a blog which received its inaugural post on 28 February 2006 that invited people to sign a petition. This was my first experience of blogs and it was interesting to witness how effective blogs were as campaigning tools. In fact, as many of those posting comments at MfFE were bloggers I became acquainted with a wide range of blogs covering the issue of Islamisation and jihad. These proved to be a useful supplement to my other research.
The debate in the comments section of the MfFE blog often got quite heated, especially as opponents of the campaign gravitated to the website. The main opponent was an organisation called MAC (Muslim Action Committee). There were also people commenting from the BNP, the Marxist left, as well as a wide cross section of British political opinion in between. At some point the blog admin decided to set a requirement registering with Blogger in order to leave comments. This meant that I had to set up a Blogger account. I had previously never even contemplated running a blog but this meant that I had effectively been pushed into a whole new world of blogging and I would establish the blog ‘Beernsandwiches’ on 4 June 2006.
The MfFE went out of its way to engage with its Muslim opponents. The main organiser of the MfFE, Peter Risdon – posting as ‘Voltaire’, even appears to have made the effort to enter into dialogue with the campaign’s principal opponent – MAC (Muslim Action Committee) as the exchange near the top of THIS comments section and THIS open letter clearly illustrates. It would appear from this that a decision was made not to display the cartoons that were the main reason the demonstration had been called in the first place. In this regard the right to free expression was compromised on the altar of dialogue, with Western Civilisation giving way to Islamic demands. As we have seen since that time, ‘dialogue’ has been characterised by repeated demands for our surrender or to put it another way, our submission to Islam.
On the day of the actual demonstration, in order to show solidarity with Denmark, many protestors took Danish flags but they were informed that due to some sort of byelaw flags of other countries could not be flown in Trafalgar Square. That does not seem to have prevented the flying of foreign flags from around the world to be displayed in the years that have followed. This was my first real experience of the double standards that are employed by the British state and it left a bad taste in the mouth.
Many Muslims now point to the invented concept of ‘Islamophobia’, but the way the Government tried to pour cold water on the March for Free Expression poured cold water on the dialogue that was being offered by those posting on the MfFE blog. If my concerns regarding the threat posed by freedom of expression could have been assuaged at that point I would probably not have been involved in the Counterjihad and many others would not either. By attempting to stifle debate Governments of the West effectively gave birth to the Counterjihad. They are still trying to stifle debate and they are getting more heavy-handed in their efforts. First they oppose freedom of expression, then they invent laws to stifle it, then they engage in actual repression, they express concerns about demonization and then proceed to demonise. What is their next step, the establishment of a gulag system for dissidents?
Many of us who were new to demonstrations witnessed our first example of politically motivated police harassment. Even though the Danish cartoons had been discouraged, inevitably some found their way into the square. I understand that a protester had been arrested for displaying one of these cartoons. The crowd was asked to pass the placard containing the cartoon on the basis that ‘the police cannot arrest us all’. The willingness of the police to make such an arrest was another example of double standards and a two tier system. Unfortunately double standards have apparently become official police doctrine across Europe over the last five years as the persecution of Tommy Robinson, the politically motivated show trial of Geert Wilders, and judicial harassment of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff clearly demonstrate. This contrasts starkly with the relative leniency granted to those of neo-Marxist or Islamist outlooks. Political policing now seems to be out of control as the political establishment uses its control of state institutions to crack down on its political opponents. The police and judiciary should be neutral and not be influenced by the politicians, but now the separation between them has at the very least become seriously blurred.
The MfFE was a success because it happened despite massive opposition, and it planted seeds that have given many opponents of state dogma in Britain motivation and direction. THIS is the BBC coverage of the MfFE and photographs from the MfFE can be seen HERE, and HERE.
I continued to comment on the MfFE site as the ‘movement’ that had been built up appeared to fizzle away into apparent oblivion. I must admit, I was now so committed to the cause that was established by the MfFE that I continued to comment on that blog to the bitter end, until an alternative became available.
Some of the ‘refugees’ from the MfFE were attracted to a forum called ‘Talk Veritas’, where the debates that were started by the MfFE were continued and developed. Many of the people on Talk Veritas would eventually join the 910 Group providing it with a solid British presence that would ensure that it became an internationally outward looking organisation rather than one focused specifically on the United States.
During this phase of activity I established my own small blog – ‘beernsandwiches’, and began writing about matters relevant to our newly established cause. I also kept an eye on the various blogs that I had now become aware of. It was while reading one of those blogs – ‘Infidel Bloggers Alliance’ (IBA), that I had my first contact with what would become the 910 Group. An article had been published on that blog entitled ‘The Time Has Come’ and a debate was been had about the need for an umbrella organisation to protect non-Muslims from what appeared to be the rise of bullying by Islam in our Western societies. This was something that I was enthusiastically in favour of and I offered my support to the idea.
In the meantime, and unbeknown to many of those commenting on IBA, the idea had already been mooted a couple of days earlier on another blog, ’Gates of Vienna’,a site that would later become the intellectual powerhouse of the Counterjihad itself. Obviously an idea whose moment had come was now growing in influence. It was at Gates of Vienna that another significant article had been written entitled ‘The Emperor is Naked’ and right there in the comments section the reader can see the 910 Group coming together in an atmosphere of profound excitement.
A representative from the as yet unnamed 910 Group noticed our discussions over at IBA and invited us to take part. My own ‘recruitment’ to the 910 Group can actually be seen in the comments section of that particular article. All I wanted was freedom of expression, and when this was withheld by the British State I had started my journey in the Counterjihad.
The 910 Group was still unnamed but it was already beginning to grow, the second chapter in the history of the Counterjihad would be the growth of the 910 Group itself, but that is beyond the scope of this particular essay. Perhaps I will write about that chapter later….