Why we fight: understanding the Counter-Jihad Movement

lee - why we fight

This survey article deals with a network that can be loosely described as the ‘Counter Jihad Movement’ (CJM). CJM activists are a loose collection of bloggers, political parties, street movements, think tanks, campaign groups and pundits across several countries, all united by the shared belief that, to some degree, the ‘Muslim world’ is at war with the ‘West’.

Overall, the CJM shares a great deal with right wing extremism more broadly. However, the movement is varied enough that not all components sit easily alongside traditional conceptions of right wing extremism. Occasionally the CJM have been indirectly implicated in violence.

In July 2011, 77 people, the majority members of the left-wing Workers Youth League, were murdered in Norway in attacks carried out by Anders Behring Breivik. Breivik attempted to justify his attacks in a compendium of political thought that drew heavily on the writings of CJM sources.

This article attempts to provide an overview of the CJM and highlight some of the key research debates in the area, including the potential rhetorical relationship between state-backed counter terrorism and the CJM, links to violence, and the similarities and contrasts between the CJM and traditional far-right narratives.

(From the journal abstract)


Lee, Benjamin. 2016. ‘Why We Fight: Understanding the Counter-Jihad Movement’. Religion Compass 10 (10): 257–65. http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/80734/.