The Enemy of My Enemy

The Alarming Convergence of Militant Islam and the Extreme Right

George Michael

In the violent world of radical extremists, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." In this provocative study, George Michael reveals how that precept plays out in the unexpected bonding between militant Islam and the extreme right in America and Europe.

At first glance these two groups would seem to share little if any common ground. Why would various neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, white separatists, and antigovernment radicals find themselves attracted to movements such as Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Egyptian Islamic Jihad? After all, the extreme right's racist and radical Christian segments tend to deride and exclude all nonwhites and non-Christians, while Islamic fundamentalists angrily denounce all non-Muslims, especially Americans, as infidels. Nevertheless, as Michael shows, they have developed strikingly similar critiques on such issues as American foreign policy, the media, modernity, and the New World Order.

“[This book] would be suitable for nearly all audiences. For those less familiar with the field, George offers easily the most accessible and good overviews of both Islamic militancy and the extreme Right. For more advanced audiences, this book would be valuable because it is unique in addressing its subject matter. Regardless of the possible audience, this book deserves and requires that it be read carefully.

—Perspectives on Political Science

“George Michael has written a very important book. Not only has he effectively described the historic background of both U.S. and non-U.S. extremist and hate groups and militant Islamic groups, but he has effectively shown how such groups share goals and objectives and, therefore, are likely to develop and encourage future cooperative efforts. This densely documented, well-organized and focused, thoughtful, important book is highly recommended.

—Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies
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The first book to focus on the growing linkage between these two movements, The Enemy of My Enemy analyzes the histories and ideologies guiding these disparate groups, clarifies the nature of their mutual appeal, and shows how the Internet and globalization have made increased interaction possible. Michael notes that one particularly dominant thread running throughout both camps is a fervent anti-Semitism, accompanied by strong pro-Palestinian views, anger over Israel's influence on American policymakers, and opposition to the Iraq War and the U.S. presence in the Middle East.

Michael also speculates on how the so-called War on Terror might unfold if this unexpected and alarming convergence grows stronger. While the thought of Americans assisting or fighting alongside Islamic militants-in America-sounds utterly far-fetched, Michael points out that some members of the extreme right have publicly expressed admiration for Al Qaeda's audacious attacks on 9/11.

Daring to consider the unthinkable, Michael provides an insightful and sane look at the possibilities for collaboration between these groups and raises a quiet but clear alarm for anyone concerned about America's future.

About the Author

George Michael is professor of criminal justice at Westfield State University and the author of Confronting Right-Wing Extremism and Terrorism in the USA.