The website of the Council On American Islamic Relations (CAIR) recently published a statement criticizing a well-known critic of Islam and Islamism for speaking at a European conference attended by individuals with ties to far-right political parties. Robert Spencer, best known for his “Jihad Watch” website and blog, recently attended the “Counterjihad Brussels 2007” conference in Belgium which was also attended by representatives of the Belgium Vlaams Belang and Swedish Sverigedemokraterna parties. According to CAIR:
Spencer recently spoke at a so-called “Counterjihad Brussels 2007” conference in Belgium attended by those with links to far-right parties such as Filip Dewinter of Vlaams Belang (Belgium) and Ted Ekeroth of Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden). Both parties have been accused of either having a racist platform, a neo-Nazi past or having links to neo-Nazis and other racists. Vlaams Belang is the successor to the Vlaams Blok party, which was banned in 2004 for being an illegal racist political faction. (Vlaams Belang’s founders were Nazi collaborators in World War II.)Of Sverigedemokraterna, the International Herald Tribune wrote: Sverigedemokraterna, or the Sweden Democrats, have been part of this country’s political landscape for almost 20 years, but they were considered too close to the Nazi-inspired far-right to contend for large numbers of votes.
CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood organizations have often been criticized for their own support of speakers with a neo-Nazi past and, in this instance, their criticism of the organizations in question is accurate. Both Vlaams Belang and the Sverigedemokraterna have historical ties to neo-Nazi activity though they also have tried to clean up their image in recent years.