Hate Is Hate

By Arthur Hayes

The terrible events in Oslo, perpetrated by Anders Breivik, a lone and deranged right wing extremist, are sadly reminiscent of similar tragic events that occurred in the UK in 1999 at the hands of another deluded neo Nazi, David Copeland. This, however, has not been the only recent burst of extremist behaviour within the public domain; a UK-based Islamic extremist group has begun a campaign to create an Islamic Emirate within the UK. This article will highlight similarities between not only Breivik and Copeland, but also between their campaigns and that of the supporters of the Islamic Emirate.

Copeland planted three bombs in areas of London traditionally associated with ethnic and sexual minorities in a self-motivated extreme right wing political crusade against those he despised. The bombs killed three and injured over 100. Prior to the bombings he had been a member of two extreme right wing - albeit legal - British political parties and had been on medication for depression. He had also abused alcohol and illegal drugs. After his arrest he confessed to being responsible for the three attacks and admitted to having racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic views. He stated that he targeted ethnic minorities because he simply didn’t like them and wanted them out of the UK. He claimed to be a member of a nonexistent Waffen SS group in England and openly supported Nazi ideals such as the existence of a “white master race”. He hoped that his actions would spark a racial war in the UK, resulting in some form of ethnic cleansing by the  “white master race” who in his mind were the sole rightful inhabitants of the British Isles.

Breivik appears to have engaged in a mass murder that targeted the “cultural Marxists and multiculturalist traitors” who he claims are responsible for allowing what he called the “Islamification of Norway”. Breivik wrote a 1500 page document entitled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence”, in which he claims to have been ordained into the “Knights Templar Europe”.  According to his diatribe, this group has been established to combat the “Islamification of Europe”. For nearly a decade it seems that the attitude and policies of the Norwegian political establishment, together with the consequences of these policies, gnawed away at Breivik’s mind. This led to the swirling mental fantasy world in which he took pictures of himself dressed in ceremonial military dress and Special Forces’ uniform, Masonic garb and personal protective equipment.    

Just prior to Breivik’s murderous slaughter of innocents, another form of extremist behaviour in the UK came into the public domain. Bright yellow signs calling for the imposition of Sharia law have appeared in a few London boroughs with large  Muslim  communities, such as Newham and Tower Hamlets. These posters feature the words “Sharia Controlled Zone” emblazoned across the top with images banning alcohol, gambling, music, prostitution, drugs and smoking tobacco underneath.

It appears that the UK Islamic extremist organisation Muslims against Crusades (MAC), led by Anjem Choudary, perhaps the UK’s most prominent Islamic extremist, is behind this. Choudary has stated that the posters will appear in the 25 areas of the UK that Prevent2011 highlighted as locations where Islamic extremism and radicalisation were taking place. Choudary and his followers claim that local Muslim communities within those areas will not tolerate what he refers to as  “the fruits of western civilisation”.

On 7 July 2011, the fourth anniversary of the London terrorist attacks, Choudary published a paper entitled “Islamic Prevent - Preventing Secular Fundamentalism and the Occupation of Muslim Lands”, as part of a wider long term campaign called  “Islamic Emirates.” This is designed to turn twelve UK cities and boroughs into independent Islamic states based on Sharia law and functioning outside secular democracy.

In this document, Muslims are told that their only true identity is an Islamic one. They must reject the rule of secular law and abide by the Sharia, reject democracy and multi-faith society and not have any non-Muslim friends. According to the Choudary view, they cannot participate or integrate in any manner with non-Islamic society or authority. Added to this, Muslims who have been “affected” by Western society must be “rehabilitated”.

This interpretation of Islam appears, thankfully, to be shared only by a tiny minority within the wider UK Muslim communities. This infers that the likelihood of such an   extreme vision being actively implemented anywhere in the UK is very remote. Similarly, the distorted ideals that Copeland and Breivik hold so dear are shared by an equally miniscule percentage of the communities from which they emerged.

At first glance these appear to be diametrically divergent viewpoints. Yet if one looks deeper, similarities exist. For example, both of the right wing terrorists mentioned earlier and Choudary dream of what is effectively ethnic cleansing. Those deemed unworthy of acceptance into the hallowed land blessed by the imposition of the new messianic creed will be excluded or, to use Choudary’s chilling term, “rehabilitated”. This is strikingly reminiscent of Nazi era language.

Whilst the violent extreme right wing has traditionally been the territory of the deranged loner, Islamic terrorism has been predominantly the preserve of semi-organised cells, often indigenous to the society in which they strike.  There have, however, been a small number of Islamist loner attacks within the UK, such as that carried out by Nicky Reilly and that planned by Andrew Ibrahim. Regardless of the form the terrorist takes, the likelihood of them successfully achieving their long-term macro political goal is equally remote, bordering on sheer delusion. Very few terrorist campaigns have ever achieved in absolute terms their primary objective.

Despite this, individuals and groups still emerge and become active within society, motivated by hatred of others based on ethnic, religious or sexual differences. Some, like Copeland and Breivik, use crude violence to highlight their aims and ideals; whilst the actions of MAC attempt to greatly exacerbate difference, separation and exclusion. MAC may not indulge directly in political violence but their activities, whilst ostensibly lawful, will enhance a flammable mixture which may lead to outbursts of violence. Both factions espouse hate and each is no better than or different to the other.


Arthur Hayes is a Senior Counter-Terrorism Officer with over 20 years’ experience. He has taken part in major counter-terrorism operations and intelligence gathering against a diverse range of targets, including Irish Republicans, Middle Eastern and domestic Islamic extremists.  


4 August 2011