IMPACT: Gates of Vienna is an international far-right, anti-Muslim blogging website established in 2004 by the United States-based blogger Edward S. May and his wife. The website features the work of hard-line anti-Muslim writers and is a central player in the counter-jihad movement within the United States and across Europe. The blog has served as a platform for Fjordman, a Norwegian anti-Muslim writer, whose views were the ideological inspiration of Norwegian mass murderer, Anders Behring Breivik.
The first Gates of Vienna blog entry appears to have been posted in January 2003 on Blogspot by Baron Bodissey, a pseudonym used by blog founder Edward S. May. May and his wife, who writes under the name Dymphna, run the blog from Virginia. May, who also writes pieces under the name Ned May, calls himself a “computer programmer with some outlandish right-wing political ideas.” The name of the blog is a reference to the 1683 siege of Vienna, when joint Polish and Austrian armies defeated the Ottomans and began to undo their domination of eastern Europe. Contrary to historical evidence, the blog and many other anti-Muslim voices frame the siege as a fight between Christianity and Islam.
In an October 2004 post May, writing under his pseudonym Baron Bodissey, wrote that “Gates of Vienna” referred to the “Global War on Terror” as “The Great Islamic Jihad, Third Wave,” and stated that the “thesis of this blog is that, like it or not, we are in a religious war.” In an April 2007 post, May stated the biggest threat to the West was “[…] the evil combination of the powerful socialist state, the poison of multiculturalism, and the violent intolerance of Islam.”
May is also a member of the board of directors of the International Free Press Society (IFPS), an American and Danish based group. IFPS seeks to defend free speech from “forces within Islam [that] are conducting a jihad against the West.” According to a report by UK-based anti-racism organization HOPE not Hate, IFPS’s advisory board members include conspiracy theorist Bat Ye’Or, and several US anti-Muslim actors such as Frank Gaffney, Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Brigitte Gabriel, and Ibn Warraq.
Over the years, May has participated in numerous anti-Muslim activities around the world such as the “Counter-jihad” conferences. The self-identified “Counterjihad Movement” is a loose network of writers, bloggers, think tanks, politicians, and advocacy groups who believe Islam is not a religion but a political movement that seeks to overthrow the West.
An April 2007 post written by Dymphna revealed that May organized the first “UK and Scandinavia Counterjihad Summit” which took place in Copenhagen. The summit served as a gathering point for various far-right bloggers, speakers, and organizations. The post noted that May’s visit had “become a reunion with the Scandinavian commenters from Gates of Vienna, some of whom are also meeting each other in person for the first time.”
According to HOPE not Hate, Gates of Vienna is “one of the most influential counter-jihad sites in the world” and “has become a platform for many of the movement’s most extreme and hardline writers.” A 2019 article by Pharos, a project of Vassar College, found that “most of the material on the site is devoted to demonstrating that immigration from Muslim countries poses an existential threat to ‘Christian Europe.’” The posts relate everything to Islam and to the supposed enablers of an alleged “Islamization” of the West. The website also features a banner on its webpage promoting the books and activities of international anti-Muslim figures such as far-right political leader Geert Wilders, anti-Muslim activist Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, and far-right leader of the English Defense League (EDL), Tommy Robinson.
In July 2012, May gave a speech at the “Counterjihad Conference – International Conference for Free Speech & Human Rights” in the European Parliament in Brussels. In his speech entitled, “Free speech after Breivik,” a reference to the Norwegian far-right terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik who killed seventy-seven people in 2011 and holds deeply anti-Muslim views, May said, “All of those who struggle every day to resist the advance of shariah in Europe felt the effects of the massacre immediately…as the finger of blame pointed in their direction.” He went on to claim that “the global alliance of Leftists and Islamic organizations has prepared an arsenal ready to be used against us whenever the opportunity arises. Their purpose is to shut down any criticism of Islam and shariah.” Other attendees at the conference included notable anti-Muslim figures such as Alain Wagner, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Valentina Colombo (a senior scholar at the European Federation for Democracy), far-right journalist Felix Strüning, Sabatina James, and Tommy Robinson. The conference was covered by the Gates of Vienna as well as FrontPage, an online magazine owned by David Horowitz.
Breivik had been a frequent reader of Gates of Vienna. In a July 2011 article, the Guardian noted that Breivik, under the moniker Year 2183, responded to a post by Fjordman, insisting that, “only the forced deportation of Muslims will suffice.” Fjordman, whose real name is Peder Are Nøstvold Jensen, is one of the blog’s most popular writers. A September 2011 article by Andrew Brown in the Guardian notes that in his manifesto, “A European Declaration of Independence, ” Breivik cited Gates of Vienna eighty-six times and Fjordman 114. Brown notes that, “Breivik referred to something he called ‘the Vienna school of thought,’ which consists of the people who had worked out the ideology that inspired him to commit mass murder.” The manifesto also alludes to the name of the blog. As late as May 2014, Gates of Vienna has encouraged its readers to financially support Fjordman.
Gates of Vienna gave Fjordman the platform to disseminate his anti-Muslim views. In a 2008 blog post for the site, Fjordman urged citizens to arm themselves in the face of increasing crime and violence in the West. For Fjordman the political elites, such as anti-racist “Multiculturalists,” could “collaborate closely with persons calling for the destruction of Western civilization and the annihilation of the white indigenous population, and it doesn’t even register in the eyes of the political establishment,” thus referring to his anti-Muslim conspiracy theory of “Eurabia” promoted by Bat Ye’or. Fjordman claimed, “Change will only come when they [political elites] fear us, and the consequences of their own betrayal, more than they fear Muslims.”
In a 2008 post, Fjordman presented ten reasons as to why Europeans should get rid of the European Union, claiming that the EU “is currently the principal (though not the only) motor behind the Islamization of Europe, perhaps the greatest betrayal in this civilization’s history. Appeasement of Islam and Muslims is so deeply immersed into the structural DNA of the EU that the only way to stop the Islamization of the continent is to get rid of the EU. All of it.” He also claimed that the “EU is deliberately destroying the cultural traditions of member states by flooding them with immigrants and eradicating native traditions.” In a February 2008 blogpost, May cross-posted Fjordman’s latest piece for Spencer’s Jihad Watch, which used the work of Lorenzo Vidino to support conspiracy theories on the supposed influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In 2008, Fjordman published a book titled Defeating Eurabia, consisting of a series of articles that he had previously published in May’s Gates of Vienna, Spencer’s Jihad Watch, Pamela Geller’s Atlas Shrugs, and Paul Belien’s Brussels Journal. The book has also been translated into German and is exclusively advertised by the German anti-Muslim blog, PI-News.
In an analysis of a three-part series published in 2017 on the blog entitled “How Long Until the Dark Ages Return?” Pharos observes that, “the basic argument of the series is that today’s immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries are comparable to the ‘barbarians’ who many xenophobes claim destroyed the Roman Empire.” The ways in which Muslim immigrants are portrayed is, “if anything, worse than the tribes whose ascendancy marked the decline of Roman power ‘angry young men that terrorize our society’ including the ‘6-year olds doing beheadings in Syria’ with the ‘full support [of] their own religion.’” According to the series, these “New Dark Ages” will begin sometime between “2025 and 2035.” Its authors use racist portrayals to support arguments of a decline—asserting the existence of “no-go areas” in Europe controlled by Muslims, where “the inhabitants live there in their own societies under their own rules and religion.”
Other prominent individuals whose work features on Gates of Vienna include Paul Weston, a British far-right politician who joined the UK Independence Party (UKIP) in 2010. Weston’s writing has appeared in the blog since 2007. A July 2009 blogpost consisted of ramblings about the percentage of the Muslim population in Britain, asserting that the actual number was “far higher than anyone has yet to admit.” He routinely used examples that equated Muslims to mosquitos, and even stated that he was “tempted to note that Sharia courts are expanding like mosquitoes.” He went on to claim that, “Britain is out-Mecca-ing Mecca as a destination for Muslim students from Pakistan, who come to the UK on fraudulent study visas all the time.” In another July 2011 post, Weston claimed that the BBC knew “that Breivik’s views on Cultural Marxism, mass immigration and Multiculturalism are shared by millions of Europeans and Britons,” but was shutting down “these views,” knowing it will “drive future Breiviks to just such a course of murderous action.” Weston was part of the self-proclaimed human rights organization, International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA), alongside Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff.
In December 2010, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, a central figure in the transatlantic network of anti-Muslim and anti-Islam organizations and activists, published a report for Gates of Vienna. The report covered her visit to Israel with a “delegation from the European Counterjihad, including members of the “New Right” nationalist parties.” In the report, Sabaditsch-Wolff claimed the “presence of anti-Semitism in Europe lies in a thorough understanding of the holy book of Islam, which since the 7th century has openly promoted Jew-hatred.” Sabaditsch-Wolff’s anti-Muslim activities and speaking engagements feature extensively on Gates of Vienna in a section called “Elisabeth’s Voice.”
Sabaditsch-Wolff’s report on her Israel trip was also featured by Breitbart News in January 2011 but under the name of Ned May. Breitbart has published numerous articles by Ned May starting in 2010. In a 2011 article for Breitbart, May criticized the term Islamophobia, arguing that it would be used to stigmatize any “resistance to Islamization.”
Gates of Vienna also covers anti-Muslim activities on a global scale. The blog covered the Prayer Rally for Persecuted Christians in Orlando, Florida, which included Sabaditsch-Wolff and Henrik Ræder Clausen, a member of the far-right Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People’s Party). During their time in the United States, both Sabaditsch-Wolff and Clausen also participated in a conference hosted by ACT! for America, a US-based anti-Muslim organization. In September 2014, the blog covered the Center for Security Policy’s participation at the OSCE.
Clausen is another contributor to Gates of Vienna. Additionally, he was also editor of a now-inactive anti-Muslim blog, EuropeNews. In August 2013, Clausen participated in the OSCE Vienna Meeting representing two anti-Muslim associations, the Austrian/German Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (BPE) and the US International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA).
In 2013, the evangelical activist and author of “Slavery, Terrorism and Islam,” Pastor Peter Hammond, recommended the blogs of Robert Spencer (Jihad Watch), Ned May (Gates of Vienna) and Paul Belien (The Brussels Journal), during his presentation on “The Islamisation of Europe—What can be Done to Stop and Reverse It.” Hammond propagated the demands of Stop the Islamization of Nations (SION), namely an immigration ban for Muslims and the surveillance of all mosques.
In 2015, the Guardian noted that at the time, Gates of Vienna was promoting an “upcoming London exhibition of Muhammad cartoons,” which HOPE not Hate declared was “intended to provoke a reaction from British Muslims,” and had nothing to do with “freedom of speech.” The Guardian noted that some of the content on Gates of Vienna contained “detailed descriptions of how anti-Muslim paramilitary groups could operate during a conflict with European Muslims.” In July 2015, in response to such content, several British Labour MPs wrote to the director of public prosecutions asking her to examine whether the site’s owners were breaking the law.
Updated August 27, 2020