A previous Jihad Watch article detailed the inadequacies as a counter-jihad tool of the Abdullah X online animated series produced by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD). Such failings are part of a wider pattern of ideological incoherence at interrelated Anglo-American “counter-extremism” think tanks such as ISD and Quilliam, which have undeserved reputations for effectively combating jihadism.
Significantly, ISD and Quilliam have, in the latter’s words, the questionable “aim to tackle extremism of all kinds,” as if a single organization could expertly handle disparate ideological threats such as jihadists and white supremacists. ISD has absurdly equated the “damage caused by groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda from the Middle East and resurgent neo-Nazi movements in the West.” Yet jihadist mayhem and associated sharia civilizational challenges to the West, often state-sponsored, are part of a wider global struggle for freedom that makes whatever stateless groups ISD defines as “neo-Nazi” pale by comparison.
ISD’s 2017 report on “The Fringe Insurgency,” concerning the “extreme right” and associated phenomena such as “Islamophobia,” is indicative of ISD’s sometimes misplaced priorities. The report reveals its leftist bias while discussing “Social Justice Warrior” (SJW), a respectable conservative term that is critical of leftists, like “political correctness.” Nonetheless, the report stigmatizes SJW as a “term used by far- and extreme-right activists to decry socially progressive individuals.”
One of the report’s authors, Julia Ebner, has previously made even more questionable statements condemning counter-jihadists when, like fellow ISD staff members Erin Saltman and Rashad Ali, Ebner worked for Quilliam. She wrote the libelous 2017 Guardian article denouncing “American alt-right leaders Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller” and their outlets “such as Gates of Vienna, the FrontPage Mag and Jihad Watch.” Amidst analogies of “rightwing extremists” with jihadists and even suggestions that the former are more dangerous than the latter, she has also falsely accused English political activist Tommy Robinson of being a “white supremacist.”