The neo-fascism we never talk about

Hashem Abedi is one of the worst mass murderers in our history – why aren’t we talking about him?

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill


It isn’t only because of the non-stop media coverage of Covid-19 that yesterday’s conviction for one of the worst acts of extremist violence of modern times has not generated much discussion. It is also because that act of extremist violence was executed by an Islamist. And we just don’t like talking about the problem of Islamism. We certainly don’t try to galvanise people in opposition to it, as left-wingers do following far-right acts of violence. And nor do we dig down to try to uncover the ideologies and tensions that might have energised the violent outburst, as media outlets do whenever a white man shoots up a school. No, we move on. We say it was probably a rarity. We say, ‘Don’t look back in anger’.

This is the real reason why yesterday’s guilty verdict against Hashem Abedi for 22 murders has not trended or stirred up much debate or even made a huge dent in the news cycle. Not only because we’re all obsessing over the coronavirus, but also because talking about Islamist extremism is a no-no in these stringent PC times in which nothing must ever be allowed to expose the discontents of the ideology of multiculturalism. Twenty-two murders. You might expect that to warrant rather more discussion. Those 22 victims were, of course, the attendees of Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena in 2017, where Hashem’s brother, Salman, detonated a suicide bomb that slaughtered children and parents and pop fans.

Yesterday, at the Old Bailey, Hashem was found guilty of assisting his brother in this violent act of extremist hatred and Islamist supremacy. Hashem assisted his brother through the entire process. They sourced chemicals together. They bought thousands of bolts and screws that were packed into the bomb in order that it would inflict as much harm as possible. Hashem’s fingerprints were found at key addresses where the plans were hatched and in a car where the bomb materials were stored. Prosecutors said Hashem stood ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with his brother in the preparation of the bloody act and was ‘just as guilty as murder’. That guilt has now been established. Hashem is now, following yesterday’s verdict, one of the most notorious mass murderers in the history of this country.

Where’s the debate? The outrage? The concern that an extremist ideology – ISIS-inspired Islamism – has fuelled numerous mass acts of violence over the past five years, leading to the deaths of scores of people in stabbings, vehicle attacks and bombings? Where are the hashtags, the anti-fascist statements, the gatherings of activists to say, ‘We have to weed this dangerous extremism out of our society’? That is the kind of thing we always see and hear following far-right violence. Such violence is always held up as proof of warped thinking in certain sections of society and as a sure sign that the neo-fascistic threat lurks in everyday life. But we never hear those kinds of things being said in relation to Islamist extremism.

In fact, we hear the opposite. Don’t get angry, we’re told. Don’t talk about it too much. Don’t look too far into the community tensions and supremacist ideology that motors this violence. Don’t even name it: witness the hostility heaped on those who refer to this kind of violence as Islamist or Islamic. They will be accused of Islamophobia. They will be told that they are stirring up racial hatred. They will be demonised as the true threat to the social fabric. The authorities’ instinct after every Islamist attack in recent years has been to stymie public discussion, negate social concern, and police strong emotions. That’s why Oasis’s ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ became the anthem of our national grieving after the slaughter in Manchester carried out by Salman and Hashem – not only because it’s a Mancunian pop classic, but also because it captures officialdom’s obsessive concern with neutering emotional and political responses to radical Islam.

Such are the double standards that social commentators are even made uncomfortable by any suggestion that there should be a firm response to Islamist terrorism. When it comes to far-right or neo-fascistic groups, we are told they must be fought; they must be defeated; there must be an unforgiving response to these dangerous, hateful groups. But with radical Islamists, it’s all about ‘de-radicalisation’. Which effectively means therapy. They are seen as not being fully in control of their own ideological convictions and dire crimes. The very use of the term ‘radicalised’ reduces them to passive creatures who have had something bad done to them, probably by a twisted preacher on the internet. Apparently they need our help. Fascists must be defeated, but violent Islamists must be cared for, put on the couch, pitied. They are treated as more sympathetic than other extremists – that is how far the ideology of identitarian pity for certain groups has gone.

This erasure of debate, this clampdown on strong emotions, is explicitly designed to guard contemporary British society from interrogation and discussion. Has the ideology of multiculturalism made us more divided? Why are there fairly significant numbers of people who feel completely un-integrated into British society? Why do people who were born here or who lived here for a very long time loathe this society with such violent passion? It is the desire to avoid these kinds of questions that motors the collective amnesia enforced in the wake of Islamist attacks. And so even though Hashem Abedi is a worse mass murderer than Peter Sutcliffe, and a more violent extremist than Soho gay-pub bomber Paul Copeland, his name is unlikely to be remembered for long. And even though the Manchester Arena bombing was one of the worst acts of violence in modern British times, it is rarely commemorated or talked about. ‘Don’t look back in anger’ is becoming ‘Don’t look back at all’.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: YouTube.

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Charles Hannis

6th April 2020 at 9:09 am

Compare with the NZ response to the Christchurch shootings where it has become a defacto holy day as St Jacinda and her acolytes continually remind us of the evil that was perpetrated there by, of course, a right wing extremist.

Hunter McDonald

4th April 2020 at 7:55 pm

Religions are just organised superstitions. Quite why any “respect” is accorded these organisations, I cannot fathom, unless it is that so many of our politicians are religiose. (What a joke it is that “bishops” of the Church of England actually sit in our legislature, the House of Lords!!!)
As for Islam, it is an intolerant nonsense, that should not be tolerated here. Muslims should be barred from the UK permanently. El Cid found in the 11th century that they had to be repelled and the tolerance of this intolerant superstition must stop.
Tolerance may be thought a good thing, but tolerance of the intolerant is silly and self destructive.

Sarah Thompson

25th March 2020 at 7:43 am

As a Mancunian living three minutes walk from the area where the bomb went off, I can say that the response to it then, and on subsequent anniversaries was, and has been, quite disgusting in my view. I got so sick to death of balloons, flowers, ‘celebrities’ reading poetry to crowds, the constant refrain of ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ and the ‘inspirational’ messages projected on to buildings very much looked like a desire to ‘stymie public discussion, negate social concern, and police strong emotions.’ Walking round the city centre on these anniversaries one could almost believe that the council has found a way of pumping some sort of tranquilliser into the air or that Valium has been added to the drinking water.

Asif Qadir

23rd March 2020 at 7:22 am

Mr O’Neill.

Sorry l haven’t seen this article before now. You are actually the only one amongst you that actually speaks some sense sometimes, and so l must commend you for that.

Colin Broughton

20th March 2020 at 7:37 pm

Recip Erdogan, President of Turkey, declared that ‘Islam cannot be either ‘moderate’ or ‘not moderate’, there is only Islam. Of course, he is right. There are only pious Muslims and those who prefer a quiet life.

‘Islamism’. ‘Islamist’ and so forth are designations invented by Western liberals. They cannot grasp that Muslins can be religiously motivated to do what they do, because they generally have no or little religious belief themselves.

Likewise, because ‘all religions are the same’, they cannot grasp that Islam is not Christianity. Notwithstanding being devoid of religious belief themselves, their own ideas of right and wrong are Christian at base, however perverted.

ISIS and like adherents did nothing that cannot be identified as originating in the words of the Qur’an and in the actions and injunctions of Mohammad, the perfect man and ‘beautiful pattern’ of behaviour for Muslims to follow.

The Prophet himself declared, ‘I have been made victorious with terror.’

Sun God

23rd March 2020 at 9:55 am

Right Colin. Are there really only two types of believers: active and passive? Funny how Muslims, like Christians, have been fussing over various minor (and major) differences of opinion for well over 1000 years. Allah, so it seems, is not exactly perfect.

The Koran does indeed say: ‘There is no God but God and Mohammad is his prophet’. This does not mean that the faith cannot and will not evolve as it faces the modern world over the coming years. Just compare Islam in parts of Indonesia with that in parts of Arabia.

So, let’s go have a bacon cheeseburger and a cold beer. Let the believers work it out amongst themselves. If they bother us, smack ’em down. After all, we got the bomb, and they don’t.

Fraser Bailey

20th March 2020 at 9:22 am

Thank you, Brendan, for writing this. The BBC and the MSM must be incredibly grateful to the China Flu for giving them an excuse not to cover this. People are waking up to the true nature of China, but they are still blind to the true nature and intentions of Islam. And the tragedy us that it is probably too late now. The UK and western Europe will under sharia within a few decades.


20th March 2020 at 8:22 am

This is an indication of the great power that the Muslims have already gained in our country. If this is the influence they have achieved so far then imagine the extent of their power in thirty or forty years’ time. It does not bear thinking about. The 3000 mosques in this country must be closed down immediately and the Islamic bigots must be made to publicly abjure their faith.


Daniel Goldstein

21st March 2020 at 12:52 am

Oh, if only!

Peter Anestos

19th March 2020 at 12:21 pm

Thanks, Brendan, for articulating my thoughts for a long time. The principal version of this multiculti myopia here in the States was the notorious Pulse nightclub mass murder in Orlando, Fl. a few years back. Cosmo-left LGBT elements ignored the murderer’s Islamist ideology as a motivator, focused entirely on his supposed personal demons (which all these monsters have) while demanding stricter gun control laws, thereby affirming, callously, their Democrat-aligned politics. “Gays Not Guns!” became the popular mantra at Gay Pride everywhere, and “Islamophobia” regularly condemned, never mind that ISIS, who inspired the killer, would happily throw the lot of us off a tall building given half a chance. And now we have anti-Semites Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib held up as progressive heroines. The good news? This stuff is losing its appeal.

Gordon Das Gopher

19th March 2020 at 11:01 am

So Brendan is there anything stopping you having this conversation on your website? Rather than yet another dig at the ‘liberal’ left and woke media (yeh, they’re nobs, we get it) how about an article outlining what you think are the problems with Islam in the UK today?


20th March 2020 at 8:25 am

BON does not have the cojones to allow full and free discussion of Islam on this w ebsite. People are not willing to stand up against Islam because to do so may be to forfeit one’s life. Islam really is the coronavirus among religions.

Gordon Das Gopher

20th March 2020 at 10:31 am

It doesn’t help people like you Zen getting all hysterical about it – the discussion needs to be sensible.

What I think is sensible would be to regulate religion. I’m not a fan of too much regulation but things like education and health – that affect our lives in substantial ways – are regulated, why not religion?

I’m not religious, but I see the point of religion is to improve people’s well-being and to serve the community and those less fortunate. Get a regulator that makes sure they’re doing that.

Little Black Sambo

22nd March 2020 at 5:50 pm

The regulator in Spain was the Inquisition, which efficiently sorted out the taqqiya-pretend Christians (who were permitted by the koran to be baptized and to receive communion, provided it was done with the pure intention of extending islamic conquest) from the real ones, so that the intruders could deported.

Peter Wright

19th March 2020 at 10:14 am

Brendan,I am reminded of a quote from the late great Christopher Hitchens who years ago described Islamophobia as being ‘created by fascists,used by cowards to manipulate morons’.

Hitch always got to the nub of the issue – do miss him so much !

Ven Oods

19th March 2020 at 8:58 am

Just another facet of the mindset that thinks the girls raped by those (mainly Pakistani) gangs should keep their mouths shut for the sake of ‘diversity’.

Stewart Ware

19th March 2020 at 8:42 am

The Soho bomber was David Copeland, not Paul.

Mark Lambert

18th March 2020 at 11:53 pm

Have a listen to “The Moral Maze” on BBC Radio 4 from last week on the subject of “Islamophobia” and listen to the remote guests. It’s depressing and shows the problems we have.

Daniel Goldstein

19th March 2020 at 5:56 pm

Very depressing, especially the juvenile Dr Francois.

Danny Rees

18th March 2020 at 11:14 pm

Brendan berates the Left for getting angry about terrorist attacks whilst complaining that they don’t get angry about terrorist attacks.

Geoff W

18th March 2020 at 8:51 pm

“The authorities’ instinct after every Islamist attack in recent years has been to stymie public discussion, negate social concern, and police strong emotions.”

The reasons for this aren’t hard to find. Once the problem is admitted, the question becomes what do we do to address it because it has deep and enduring roots in Islamic doctrines. Best expressed by this Islamic scholar:

“Among Muslims and non-Muslims, there is an urgent need to address those obsolete and problematic elements of Islamic orthodoxy that underlie the Islamist worldview, fuelling violence on both sides. The world’s largest Muslim organisation, Indonesia’s Nahdlatul Ulama, of which I am General Secretary, has begun to do exactly that.

The truth, we recognise, is that jihadist doctrine, goals and strategy can be traced to specific tenets of orthodox, authoritative Islam and its historic practice. This includes those portions of Shariah that promote Islamic supremacy, encourage enmity towards non-Muslims and require the establishment of a caliphate. It is these elements – still taught by most Sunni and Shiite institutions – that constitute a summons to perpetual conflict.”

Is he an Islamophobe? No, yet when people are asked if they agree with him they spew hatred at the person asking.

People would rather a ‘managed surrender to Islam’ than face the prospect of having to face down Islam for the intolerant ideology that it is!


” Noting that the Welfare Party had pledged to set up a regime based on sharia law, the Court found that sharia was incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy as set forth in the Convention. It considered that “sharia, which faithfully reflects the dogmas and divine rules laid down by religion, is stable and invariable. Principles such as pluralism in the political sphere or the constant evolution of public freedoms have no place in it”. According to the Court, it was difficult to declare one’s respect for democracy and human rights while at the same time supporting a regime based on sharia, which clearly diverged from Convention values, particularly with regard to its criminal law and criminal procedure, its rules on the legal status of women and the way it intervened in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts.”

Source: “Annual Report 2003 of the European Court of Human Rights, Council of Europe

L Strange

18th March 2020 at 10:12 pm

“People would rather a ‘managed surrender to Islam’ than face the prospect of having to face down Islam for the intolerant ideology that it is!”

That is exactly what is happening.

People were shipped into this country under the delusional wishful-thinking notion that they would culturally adapt to become fully British but, being brown, they would somehow be a ‘better’ sort of British.

Some are still operating under this delusion, of course, but it seems clear that the establishment classes, having realised their error and being too cowardly to attempt to correct it, have decided that the only thing to do is to go with the flow and try to ‘manage’ the Islamification of Britain instead. This requires the indigenous dissent be silenced.

William Murphy

19th March 2020 at 9:21 am

The quote puts a finger on a massive problem:

“Among Muslims and non-Muslims, there is an urgent need to address those obsolete and problematic elements of Islamic orthodoxy that underlie the Islamist worldview, fuelling violence on both sides….”

OK, what elements of Islamic orthodoxy are”obsolete”? That’s a major problem with many religions, not just Islam. Once you declare Doctrine A and Interpretation B as obsolete, where do you stop before you have demolished the entire religion? Especially if Doctrines C, F and R depend indirectly on Doctrine A via a convoluted chain of reasoning which is not blindingly obvious either to the outsider or the ordinary practitioner of the faith. The only strategy which many defenders of the faith will adopt is to desperately cling to everything.

Jo Red

18th March 2020 at 7:49 pm

22 dead children would be a very slow afternoon in BPAS clinics.

Brian Perkins

18th March 2020 at 6:44 pm

Thank you. I was stunned from the very beginning with the “Dont look back in Anger” bullshit. Even worse, that big city managers have a planned response plqn beforehand, to guide the public mood, is fucking disgraceful. These “Dont look back in anger” signs were ready to be printed and instantly handed out, to control the public sentiment from the beginning.

Stuart Smith

18th March 2020 at 6:43 pm

Thomas Hamilton killed 16 children a teacher then himself.
As a result all us pistol shooters got the blame and we lost our sport, yet when the 7/7 bombings took place, the Westminster killings, and this killing of 22 people at a concert, everybody says the only person to blame was the person / people doing the crime.
I want to be treated equally under the law, so all mosques must not allow the practice of islam, but Christianity maybe practiced within, or another religion.
please tell me who is the special case here pistol shooters or muslims?
That is what happened to the shooting ranges, you could use them but not for pistol shooting, but other shooting.
I do not know why islam gets treated like royal game.
But it is wrong.

Keith Lloyd

18th March 2020 at 6:58 pm

As a rifle shooter (at targets, for sport and recreation) I must agree with you. Well said.

Geoff W

18th March 2020 at 8:52 pm

I wish there was a like option on this site.

Little Black Sambo

22nd March 2020 at 5:52 pm


Brandy Cluster

18th March 2020 at 5:41 pm

Thank you, a thousand times, Brendan for calling out this staggering hypocrisy – which amounts to suppression of truth and denial of freedom of speech. The calling cards of the regressive Left.

Jim Lawrie

18th March 2020 at 7:10 pm

They were also in the playing deck of the Left in Weimar Germany. Alongside resort to the Court. As this continues, the more people will consider alternative outlets for their grievances.

Willie Penwright

18th March 2020 at 4:33 pm

One reason there is little or no outcry, either from right or left, against this Islamic terrorism is fear. After the Charlie Hebdo murders, the western press gave up and never again published material that would offend the religious zealots. Even Boris Johnson’s mildly amusing comparison of blanketed women with postboxes was met with outrage from the liberal press and politically righteous.
I too am afraid because I know that if I were to express my views on a religion that regards women as chattels and condones barbarism, I would be exposing myself to violence. Islamic terrorism has worked.
Until publications, politicians and broadcasters, acting together, reclaim our right to publicly discuss this poisonous ideology there will be no possibility of a solution. To our shame an annual atrocity is sufficient to keep us silent.

Daniel Goldstein

18th March 2020 at 5:26 pm

You are right. At the very least, expressing these feelings will result in social ostracism from the herd.

Brandy Cluster

18th March 2020 at 5:43 pm

My son had his own successful winemaking business. He made the mistake of engaging in a political argument under his wine label name (yes, peak stupidity) and he has lost all his business in one go. A complaint was received from a few people on Twitter who accused him of racism and he has lost everything in a heartbeat. I warned him about this years ago and he didn’t listen – but this is the world we inhabit now. Agree with me or you are FINISHED. My son’s business has had a complaint from a Chinese woman when a couple of the guys said to her “thanks for coronavirus”. I doubt these two guys will ever work again.

Brandy Cluster

18th March 2020 at 5:44 pm

Clarification; I was referring to another son’s business re the Chinese woman.

Jim Lawrie

18th March 2020 at 6:27 pm

The fear is not just of the terrorists. It is that they can enlist a willing state against their critics. The recent example of Tommy Robinson will make anyone else in his situation consider summary justice. The road to fascism is paved with good intentions to be laid upon us.

Jonathan Smith

19th March 2020 at 3:52 am

Yes Jim you are right. The English Defence League was effectively the only street protest movement against Islamism. It was suppressed and mischaracterised in ways that left-wing protest against far-right groups never was… and we’re all familiar with what’s happened to Tommy Robinson.

Jim Lawrie

18th March 2020 at 3:47 pm

No one talks about any crime perpetrated by immigrants. Whoever they are. To the extent that homegrown TV crime series portray almost exclusively indigenous, white, working class criminals, with the ethnics in the role of detectives, prosecutors, pathologists, nurses, doctors, social volunteers etc … Ethnic criminals when they feature are always victims of circumstance. That is how they are excused in the real world, and they know it.
The parents of this pair ought to be deported. Instead, they live off the State.

Daniel Goldstein

18th March 2020 at 5:29 pm

Yes, anything else would be a “negative portrayal”. It’s refreshing to read the comments on this site (mostly).

Christopher Tyson

18th March 2020 at 8:55 pm

I’ve often commented that dramatists and in particular advertisers are intent on pushing there own false reality of a multi-cultural society. These dramas never show people making criticisms of PC or identity politics, unless to portray these people in an unfavourable light, and there is happy, clappy multi-culturalism (Stepford Blacks as I call them, happy consumers) with all the conflict and tension removed or indeed denied. However may or may not know that the person you have replied to, not only disapproves of the cultural representation of ethnic minorities, he also disapproves, to put it mildly of ethnic minorities themselves.

Keith Lloyd

18th March 2020 at 7:01 pm

The Ipswich Star daily reports on crime and the perpetrators are only rarely English. But Archant Press prevent any comments by disabling commentary. But, then, we live in a new country.

Marvin Jones

18th March 2020 at 3:30 pm

For many years that I have discovered and begun to comment on this magazine and other right of centre newspapers, I have been warning of the uncontrollable powers that the Moslems have gained and achieved from the sheer numbers that have been let in, and then as Anjem Choudary some time ago told his followers and fellow Moslems to claim as many benefits as possible and breed themselves to a majority. This is now well on the way to being fact, as our cowardly imbeciles of the left condone, encourage and accept every threat without one Iota of worry.

Gareth Edward KING

18th March 2020 at 3:08 pm

Douglas Murray has talked about Hashem Abedi’s parents as being refugees of Gadaffi’s Libya being unable to live under that tyrant’s regime due their radical islamism. Lo and behold, they end up in the UK bringing up two sons in a multi-cultural society as is ours. Shouldn’t the team at the Home Office that were responsible for assessing their parents’ eligibilty for asylum be brought to justice?

Dominic Straiton

18th March 2020 at 3:36 pm

Its time that lawfare was used against individuals that have brought this about. It is being used to bankrupt and persecute Tommy Robinson.

Jim Lawrie

18th March 2020 at 3:48 pm

State benefits must cease to be a right.

Jim Lawrie

18th March 2020 at 4:21 pm

The refusal to prosecute the P*ki bastard who sexually assaulted his 8 year old daughter is a warning to us all that nothing is off limits.

Brandy Cluster

18th March 2020 at 5:46 pm

I’m sorry to have to say that the UK, along with Europe, is peak stupid and has engineered its very own destruction. Sad, but inevitable with milquetoast politicians and do-gooder faux sentimentality. Those who die are the modern equivalents of the figure of Christ; they must die so that do-gooders can feel it’s business as usual and the ‘other’ can have all the attendant rights and freedoms.

You just couldn’t make it up!!!!

Keith Lloyd

18th March 2020 at 7:02 pm

Yes. They should. But they will not.

Fraser Bailey

20th March 2020 at 9:23 am

Yes, people at the Home Office should be held responsible. Instead, they will be promoted. The people who handed this family 200k in benefits should also be jailed for life. But they too, will escape all punishment.

Andy Bolstridge

20th March 2020 at 12:14 pm

and there is another outrage – its not just the Islamics who are allowed to roam freely with their murderous ideology, but many “benefit monkeys” are running around too. It seems ot share a common purpose of allowing those who want to destabilise the state (for whatever reason, but I think usually because they would vote Labour if they “won” the culture wars) to carry on without the problems the rest of us have, like managing the mortgage or rent or going to work every day.

Instead our money is funnelled to the very people who contribute less than nothing to normal society, but as they’re on the left-wing fringe, nothing is done or will be done to get them off welfare and into work.

I’m sure that if we struck at the root problem – excessive welfare and benefits culture – and changed it to one of personal responsibility, we’d solve most of the problems facing us. Or at least, we’d have a far smaller benedfits bill that could be spent more productively.

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