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HUNDREDS of anti-Muslim self-styled “counter-jihadists” are influencing world leaders to help push Islamophobia, research by Hope Not Hate revealed today.
The anti-racist campaign group has highlighted more than 200 individuals and organisations worldwide, with English Defence League (EDL) co-founder Tommy Robinson listed as the most high-profile British figure.
The band of bigots have “gone out of their way” to push “messages of division and intolerance” on the street, in far-right circles, pressure and lobby groups, the media and even in influencing presidential figures and political leaders worldwide, Hope Not Hate warned.
The campaign’s chief executive Nick Lowles said it is vital to expose those who “harbour long-term hostility” towards Muslims, “drive it through our airwaves” and “manipulate and distort in order to provoke further conflict.”
“Talk of a Muslim ‘invasion’ posing a threat to Western civilisation has moved from the fringes of social media and activist blogs to media-grabbing street demonstrations — and now into the parliamentary chambers of Europe,” Mr Lowles warned.
“There are those in the so-called counter-jihad movement who have made it their life’s work to promote a clash-of-civilisations narrative between Islam and the West.
“These figures are working hard behind the scenes to drive that hatred and influence others.”
Mr Lowles said that Finsbury Park mosque attacker Darren Osborne had self-radicalised after “gorging on anti-Muslim material” from Mr Robinson and Britain First.
Mr Robinson’s central role in the EDL has seen him praised by counter-jihad activists across Europe and North America, with copy-cat defence leagues emerging overseas.
British media personality Milo Yiannopoulos, best known as the former technology editor of anti-Muslim US news outlet Breitbart, is also listed in the report.
While his targets are wider than just Islam, he primarily focuses on “big picture issues” such as “the evils of Islam and the defence of Western values.”
Hope Not Hate lists Frank Gaffney Jnr as a well-connected and influential figure among conservatives in the US who holds events that attract Republican legislators and presidential candidates.
It has been suggested that Mr Gaffney, who has advised Donald Trump, was behind the US President’s comments about Muslims creating no-go zones in the US and Britain.
Mr Gaffney was also appointed to Republican candidate Ted Cruz's advisory team in 2016.
Hope Not Hate has launched an online hub, the International Islamophobia Scene, to coincide with its research.
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