The article argues that categories such as ‘Islamophobic’ and ‘Right Wing’ are inadequate and even misleading descriptors of reactions to Islam in Europe, and should be replaced by a distinction between neo-nationalism, anti-Islamic activism, and street-level thuggery. Neo-nationalism is a well-established but underused descriptor; anti-Islamic activism and street-level thuggery are more novel and are explored in the article. The article applies this three-fold distinction to the case of Denmark. It is argued that the neo-nationalist Danish People's Party can be understood as a response to neo-nationalist views that are widespread among the Danish population. It is then argued that street-level thuggery, of which a small movement called Stop the Islamisation of Denmark is taken as an example, may be eye-catching, but is ultimately unimportant. Anti-Islamism, in contrast, may be important. Two Danish examples are examined: the very Danish Tidehverv movement, which shows how Christianity can still matter even in an apparently secular society, and the Free Press Society, a more influential Danish organization that is shown to be part of an international movement.
Something Varied in the State of Denmark: Neo-nationalism, Anti-Islamic Activism, and Street-level Thuggery
7 September 2014
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