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November 23, 2015

“With Open Gates”: Racist Anti-Refugee Video Goes Viral

“With Open Gates: The Forced Collective Suicide of European Nations,” a virulently anti-refugee propaganda video widely circulated on the Internet has received over four million views on YouTube over the last two weeks. The video uses selective footage of African and Muslim refugees and immigrants to depict them as creating mayhem and destruction throughout Europe.

The video ends with a clip of the founder of a Jewish cultural institute in Sweden, who claims that Jews support efforts to promote multiculturalism in Europe. This segment of the video gives fuel to anti-Semites who blame Jews for non-white immigration to Europe. The statement that accompanied the posting of the video on YouTube blames “Zionist interest” for destroying Europe “from the inside.”

Still shot from "With Open Gates"

Still shot from “With Open Gates”

The clear aim of “With Open Gates” is to increase anti-immigrant and anti-refugee hysteria in Europe by painting refugees as invaders who are destroying European culture and society and pushing the continent to become a non-white majority.

The racist video originated on 8chan, a controversial Internet discussion forum whose “Politically Incorrect” subforum is notorious for racist and anti-Semitic language. A user with the screen name of Gex appears to have created the video, with some assistance from other users. The same person created an earlier video called “End Times Europe,” which uses some of the same footage.

In its first days of release, it was mostly white supremacists in Europe and North America who were extolling the video. Racists on 8chan and elsewhere worked to promote the video and gain more viewers for it. Andrew Anglin, who runs the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer site, asked his readers to make the video go viral. Jared Taylor, who runs the white supremacist website American Renaissance, also supported the video, as did two popular white supremacist forums, Vanguard News Network and Stormfront. InfoWars, an anti-government conspiracy-oriented site, also highlighted the video.

The Right Stuff, a web site that posts articles and Internet radio interviews by white supremacists, claimed that hundreds of thousands of people had viewed the video in the first 3 days after it was posted. They wrote, “If half of the people who watched this video collectively were as triggered as we were…..Thats [sic] like the largest standing army in europe.”

The video picked up steam in mainstream conservative circles after Breitbart in London featured it in a November 11 column. Breitbart reported that the video was being rapidly shared on social media including YouTube and Facebook and online message boards. The video had over a million views by the time YouTube took it down for copyright violations. However, mirror versions of the video soon appeared on social media sites in the U.S. and Europe. YouTube eventually allowed the video to be viewed again once the copyrighted music had been removed.

In the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, the video received even more attention, particularly in more mainstream circles. Former Representative Michele Bachman encouraged people to view it, urging, “After 100 killed by Muslims, watch this video on migrants.” In addition, Washington Times contributor and radio show host Steve Deace devoted an entire column to the video. He writes disparagingly of the refugees going to Europe and says that the video shows what could be at stake in America, “if we continue to let our own cultural heritage bleed out.”

“With Open Gates” demonstrates graphically how the ideas of extremists and white supremacists can resonate with a wide audience. It also illustrates just how receptive so many people in North America and Europe are to anti-immigrant and anti-refugee fear and loathing.

 

 

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October 9, 2015

Nationwide Anti-Muslim Rallies Expected This Weekend 

The main Facebook page for the anti-Muslim rally.

The main Facebook page for the rally

Anti-Muslim bigots have announced plans for rallies primarily targeting mosques across the country this weekend, raising concerns over how bigots can generate attention  for their cause and harm the communities they target.

Unlike more well-known anti-Muslim groups and leaders like the American Freedom Defense Initiative and Pamela Geller, who have planned events around the country for years, this weekend’s planned rallies are driven by a collection of less well-known, loosely affiliated individuals.

Billed as a “Global Rally For Humanity,” the events’ primary Facebook page encourages supporters to set up their own Facebook event pages to enable other supporters to organize rallies where they live. The page notes, “Remember to do your homework and find a local mosque in your area so you can publish the location. Good Luck and welcome to the Global Rally For Humanity!”

The weekend’s planned rallies are modeled after a similar rally in May organized in Phoenix by Jon Ritzheimer, who encouraged attendees to bring their weapons to a protest outside of the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix.

Some of the rallies this weekend are similarly billed as “open-carry events,” which further raises concerns over the types of intimidation tactics that might be used and the potential for violence.

Ritzheimer, who has said he is organizing one of the rallies this weekend, has taken to social media to deliver angry and often incoherent messages with underlying currents of militancy and bigotry. In a July 25 Facebook post, for example, Ritzheimer wrote: “To all my brothers. Be ready for vengeance and be ready to drink beer from the skulls of our enemy. I am the Infidel Allah warned you about!”

Rizheimer was previously affiliated with the Oath Keepers, an anti-government right-wing movement which later distanced itself from his messages and reportedly removed him from the group after he called for the arrest of Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

Some of the rallies this weekend claim to be in response to the planned Nation of Islam (NOI) Justice or Else Million Man March in DC, as well as a wide range of other seemingly unrelated issues, including Syrian refugee resettlement and the Iran deal.

ADL has expressed concern and shared information about the rallies with Law Enforcement.

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May 4, 2015

Garland Shooting Overshadows Anti-Muslim Event Featuring Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders

Police shot and killed two suspects who opened fire at a Garland, Texas, center hosting a “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest.” The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), an anti-Muslim organization headed by Pamela Geller, organized the event, which featured anti-Muslim Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders as the main speaker.  Geller also heads Stop Islamization of America, which operates under the auspices of AFDI and seeks to rouse public fears about a vast Islamic conspiracy to destroy American values.

The shooting overshadowed the Muhammad cartoon contest which AFDI billed as an event “in defense of free speech.”  AFDI asked people to submit cartoons of Muhammad and promised $10,000 to the winner of the contest.  The contest was also AFDI’s response to the terror attack in Paris in which 12 people who worked for the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were killed by Muslim terrorists angry over the depiction of Muhammad in the publication.  It is also evident that the contest would incite the Muslim community and others opposed to anti-Muslim bigotry. AFDI chose to hold it at the same venue where the Muslim community recently held a “Stand With the Prophet Against Terror & Hate” event.

In his speech at the cartoon contest, Wilders asserted that “We will never allow Islam to rob us of our freedom of speech.” He said that the contest was held “in defiance of Islam” and that “depicting Muhammad is an act of liberation.”  Wilders declared, “Let us de-Islamize our societies! No more Islam, no more mosques, no more Islamic schools. It is time for our own culture and heritage.”

It is no surprise that Gellers invited Wilders to be the keynote speaker at the cartoon contest. Both have promoted an anti-Muslim agenda for years and have worked together previously. Like Geller, Wilders has made it his mission to “warn people of the Islamization of our Western societies.”

The cartoon contest was one of four events at which Wilders spoke over the past week in the United States. On April 29, two members of Congress, Steven King (R-IA) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX), invited Wilders to speak at two separate events in DC. At one of the events, a meeting of the Conservative Opportunity Society, founded by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Wilders compared Islam to Nazism and declared that the West should end all immigration from Islamic countries. The next day, Wilders spoke at a press conference in front of the Capitol in Washington, along with Representatives King and Gohmert. Wilders once again spoke out against Islamic immigration and argued that Islam has tried to subjugate the countries where there is a Muslim majority.

Wilders brought up similar themes in his speech at the cartoon contest, which he delivered before the shooting. No matter how offensive an event or program may be, there is no place in our community or our country for the violence that took place outside the event. 

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